Saturday, June 1, 2024

    Building Out A Fishing Kayak

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    Last summer I purchased a kayak and outfitted it for fishing. The kayak was an Ascend 12t which is a Cabela’s/Bass Pro shops brand. I chose it because it was a sit on top kayak, had a watertight storage compartment in the hull, was 12 ft long, and weighed in at 77lbs. It was not the lightest kayak I could have chosen, but I was confident I could manage the weight myself. The price for the Kayak came in at $600 plus the cost of the paddle and lifejacket.

    Next I spent some time researching accessories. There are some great forums on kayak fishing modifications and a ton of good youtube videos. Here is my kayak:

    So here is what I added to it:

    1. Fish Finder. This Garmin unit was affordable and provided the features I needed. I used the hull storage as a platform to mount the finder and ran the wires through the hull to the rear of the boat where the transducer is located.
    2. Transducer location. This is how the finder receives information. The mount I used is able to fold up when not in use. The Transducer has to be below the waterline.
    3. Minn Kota trolling motor. Its a basic Endura C2 model you can find for about $100. Can propel you at 5mph which is a lot quicker than it sounds. I can cruise in this kayak.
    4. I built my own mount for the motor. I used PVC, a flat board, a couple PVC straps, and a can of Rustoleum green camo paint. The 1-inch PVC tubing fits in the rod holders that the kayak came with and is well supported. Two PVC joints on top are now my new rod holders.
    5. Battery. You need a deep cycle marine battery that is made to be repeatedly charged and discharged. A standard car battery wont work. I opted to put the battery in this Minn Kota Power Station box which works great. Includes a battery meter on the outside and keeps the battery connections encased (important when using a battery near water).
    6. Rod Holder. Scotty 282. Great for trolling. Fits into a track on the kayak and can be moved forward and back.
    7. I attached rubber kayak handles to the middle of the boat on the right and left. The handles the boat came with were at the stern and bow and only feasible to use with 2 people. These handles allow me to lift the boat by myself and get it on top of my car.
    8. 5 Gallon bucket with holes in lid. This is my catch bucket. You could totally get fancy with this and use an aerator to store baitfish or as a livewell for panfish.
    9. Milk Crate. Don’t ask me why, but every kayak angler needs a milkcrate. This is a yak gear model with some pockets that attach to it. Great for storing my tackle box.

    Not Pictured:

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    10. Anchor and Anchor trolley on starboard side. Anchor helps you stop to fish and the trolley allows you to easily position your kayak around the anchor. The trolley is a long pulley mounted to the side.

    11. Rod leashes. A basic rule of kayak fishing is attach everything to the boat. Your paddle should be leashed. Your rods should be leashed. Basically anything you wouldn’t want to sink 30 feet to the bottom if your kayak tipped over.

    A coupe notes about installing everything:

    -Use marine goop on every hole you put in the kayak, especially those below the waterline. Its a clear plastic goo that stays soft, resists UV, and keeps water out.

    -When screwing into the plastic hull don’t over tighten. Your screw wont tighten down like screwing into threads so when you feel resistance stop immediately. Rely on marine goop and super glue to help strengthen the bond when dry.

    -Use JB Weld to fill in any holes from accessories you remove from the kayak. I removed a factory rail on the left side and used JB Weld to fill the holes. It is a plastic welding compound that dries hard.

    Also, I keep it so I can quickly remove every add on from the kayak. The motor mount, motor, fish finder, battery box, all easily detach. I store them in my car while transporting the kayak to avoid any damage during transportation. I can have the kayak set back up and in the water in about 10 minutes. The great thing about the motor mount being in the rod holders is you can just lift it out.

    That’s my fishing kayak. I am happy with how its configured and can easily store it on top of a roof rack for transport. The great thing about a fishing kayak is you can keep modifying and improving to it as you fish more and reassess your needs.




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