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I had documented this process on the Cuda prior to the last IFA event, but I deleted all the pictures off my camera before the tournament since it wass catch-photo-release and I wanted to give the judges a clean card to look through. So today I had it all planned out, I would film and document what it takes to install the mesh cargo panels on the Coosa. You can pick these up at your local Jackson dealer or through their online store. Well I filmed it, but it was too dark (I was in a poorly lit garage while it rained), so the film came out lousy. Then the install was so easy that I failed to take pictures of all the steps because I just breezed right through. Definitely a one beer job.

Here goes what I do have.

First, gather the materials you’ll need to install them. That includes the boat. You’ll need a drill, 3/16 drill bit, hand riveter (essential tool for kayak anglers), and the mesh cargo panels (which come with the rivets and clips needed to hold the net in place). Some folks will use marine goop as well to seal each rivet hole, but I don’t think it is necessary with the location of these holes.

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Drill holes in the appropriate locations for your boat. For the Cuda it is 5 spots, pretty straight forward. After you drill the holes you can rivet the clips into place. Make sure to press firmly against the kayak while you do. Keep squeezing that handle until you hear it pop.

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4 holes for the Coosa, and you actually need to place the holes for the top clips on top the boat, so it doesn’t interfere with the low position spot of the seat. Also watch when you are drilling the lower holes to not hit the flush mount rod holders.

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Then all you have to do is stretch the mesh net over the clips

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See, I told you it was easy. If I can do it, you can do it.

Tickets acquired! Looking forward to Tom Petty and Dr. John on the first weekend. If anyone has any suggestions on who else I should see, let me have ’em. You can check the line-up here: http://www.nojazzfest.com/

Also picked up a new boat today. A 2012 Coosa in urban camo. Got to see the new Big Tuna in person at Pack & Paddle too. That thing is cool, can’t wait to paddle it. Drew put a bunch of fresh Big Tuna pictures on his flickr account, check ’em out: http://jacksonkayak.com/blog/2012/04/12/big-tuna-photo-fest/

Took advantage of the Mardi Gras holiday and the good weather and headed to the marsh to try to sightfish for reds. The drive down was shaky to start as I narrowly avoided three deer on the side of the road who decided to cross just as I was about to pass. I swear they do that on purpose. Once Zebra came on the radio though I had a good feeling about today’s fishing.

Met up with Blake, his dad, and two of our friends from New Orleans who just got kayaks. Blake gave me a fly he tied up to use for the day. I don’t recall what pattern it was, but it just looked fishy. That fly ended up being pretty damn effective. I caught 7 reds, 2 sheepshead and a black drum on it. That’s a cajun slam in my mind. Sightfishing was pretty decent throughout the morning, with a number of fish tailing and some sunshine here and there. Wind was never an issue as it laid down all day. Clouds rolled in after lunch and made sightfishing pretty tough. The first red I caught was my big fish on the day, 28″.

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A couple of other interesting bits. Early on I was throwing a new 4pc TFO BVK 8wt. I got this BVK because TFO couldn’t replace my TiCr, so they stepped up and gave me a BVK to replace it. They called me to tell me this when I sent in the TiCr for warranty work. I was bummed I wouldn’t get my TiCr back, but looking forward to using the BVK, which is all the rage these days. It is light and I guess fragile too because it broke during the fight with my 2nd red. I don’t think I did anything out of the ordinary to cause it to break – it just broke while under sustained pressure from a 25″ red. The drag on my reel was loose and all line was clear. The rod just snapped right below the ferrule for the top section. This time I remembered to bring a back up rod, the trusty Redington Crosswater. This rod has landed dozens of redfish without problem. TFO has a solid warranty, so I’ll give the BVK a shot at redemption, maybe I just got a lemon?

I also fell in today. First time ever in the marsh. It has happened a few times on rivers, moving water. Unfortunately I wasn’t filming, because I’m sure it would have been hilarious to witness. Anyways, I went to sit down but forgot I had my fly rod in my seat. This was the back up rod, so I didn’t want to put all my weight on it. I sat up to slide the rod forward and get it out of my seat, but I guess I put too much pressure on one side and I went over the other way. The Coosa flipped as I fell out. The only thing I think I lost is the suction cup mount for the GoPro, everything else floated or was leashed. It was pretty funny, I’m glad it was warm out today. Water temps didn’t feel that cold. Just goes to show you, it doesn’t matter how stable you’re boat is or how good your balance is, one mistake is all it takes and you’ll be in the water.