Fishing Kayak Rigging 101

I have received a bunch of requests on how one should rig their kayak for fishing. This is always a question I look forward to and dread answering at the same time. The reason is I know what it is like to get a new kayak and be ready to just dive in and start adding accessories and stuff to it, However this is not the way to do it, because what you do will be permanent and for some when a mistake is made they learn from it but are stuck with it until they purchase a new one.

So I think there are a few questions you must first answer for yourself before attaching anything to your yak.

1) The main use of the kayak. i.e. what type of gear do you need to carry and use to catch the intended species your will mainly be pursuing. How are you using that gear? i.e. will you be trolling, using artificial baits, Live bait, ect. This will dictate what type of accessories and the placement of them.

2) What is your budget? This one factor will dictate what type of gear and accessories you will be adding. The big thing here is that you may need to buy one item at a time and you need to decide which item will have the highest priority in installation and use.

The things I am going to discuss are only suggestions and what has worked for me, so keep that in mind that these recommendations are just that, "suggestions" with room for you to make decisions and and find what will be best for you. The best advise I can give first and foremost is to fish in your yak first then decide over time the best placement for anything you intend to use.

Some materials I use for mounting stuff-
Lexel sealant- can be bought in the paint section of most hardware stores. This is similar to Silicone sealant, however it dries slower, bonds better and is a little firmer than silicone once cured.

Stainless steel loc-nuts,bolts and washers.

Tri-grip rivets or load spreading rivets- these you may need to order from any kayak supply store. have found that the rivets you get from the hardware stores do not work as well as these do.

Trolling: this method is used when you are using live or artificial bait. basically you play out line behind your yak and move forward pulling your bait behind you at a steady pace. If you plan on using this technique you will need some sort of holder to hold your rods while you paddle. I prefer these rod holders to be situated behind me within easy reach.

Most fishing sit on top's usually have flush mount rod holders installed, but if yours does not, it is very easy and cheap to mount a pair of them. other options include rocket launcher type of rod holders like the ones made by Scotty and RAM. Note: if you plan on installing a flush mount rod holder make sure that you purchase the type that are sealed and will not allow water to enter the inside of your kayak.

Some manufacturers are installing a grooved track that makes placement and removal of accessories simple. these are great and make a kayak very versatile.  There are even companies that offer after market tracks that can be mounted on any yak.

Gear storage: This one is easy...Milk crate... There is more than enough stuff about this one on the web, so I will leave it alone in the interest of brevity.

Gear security: You will spend a good amount of dough on odds and ends and it is just a matter of when you will lose it over the side or roll over o tie that gear to your yak. Pad eyes make securing gear a cinch you just mount them anywhere you want to attach a security line or leash.
Fish finder: This is an item that is really handy but not necessary unless you are fishing submerged cover or deep water. When installing one you can mount it permanently or where you can take it out.

Permanent- You want to mount the head unit in a location where it will be out of the way of normal fishing, but not so far away that you can not clearly see it.
The wires for the power and transducer will need to pass through the hull so this entry point will need to be water tight.(you can see the clam seal here that I used to pass the lines through the hull)  I like to mount the transducer inside the hull just forward of where my feet are resting when sitting in the yak. I first scratch the surface with sand paper then wipe it down with rubbing alcohol. I use a product called Lexel to bond it to the hull. make sure that you do not get any air bubbles in the sealant when applying it to the transducer. firmly press the transducer down to the hull so that the Lexel squeezes out around it. put a weight on to hold it in place. It normally takes about 48 hours to cure completely so give it time to dry before use.

Non-permanent: There are a few products out there that will allow you to mount your system in a way as to be able to remove it. Mad Frog Gear and RAM has options for this set up. Have seen some really nice custom jobs also that individuals have come up with.

Anchor trolley- This is a simple device that allows you to adjust the mooring point on your kayak to situate you kayak in the proper position when tied off to a stake out pole, drift chute or anchor.
There are many kits available, however why not make your own by buying the components you need. It will be allot cheaper that way. This device is nothing more than a loop of rope with two pulleys that allows you to move the tie off point forward or backwards on your kayak from your seat.

Mounting procedures- When permanently mounting anything to your hull, there are a few precautions that you must observe to insure a long lasting and water tight install.
1) Mock up/ Measure ten time then when absolutely sure drill.
2)If using Stainless steel nuts and bolts, ensure that you are placing a flat washer on the inside of the hull to spread the load over a broader area. also ensure that you are sealing every hole with lexel prior to tightening your fasteners.
3) If you are going to use rivets then also put lexel on the rivets prior to inserting them and bucking them down.

This is not intended as detailed instructions as to how to rig your kayak out. It is however a general set of suggestions to get you thinking and on the right track to customing your kayak the way that you want it. Good luck and Tight Lines,


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