I grew up fishing the lakes of northern Indiana, but long ago moved to central Indiana for school and employment. I’ve been ready to get back on the water and enjoy the thrill of fishing once again.
After spending much time shopping for a decent, inexpensive boat, the prospect of this purchase becoming a money pit in repairs, registration, and plates really began to turn me off. So, I started doing some research on kayak fishing, having been made aware of it by a former coworker who flyfishes from his kayak in New York.
As I read more and consumed many videos on Youtube, this really started to appeal to me. I looked at it as a lower-cost way to start fishing again. Additionally, I looked forward to incorporating some exercise, the “primitive” aspect, the ability to access waters that may not receive much pressure from other fisherman, and the awesome “hackability” of the kayak and DIY accessories.
So kayak shopping I went. I decided that I’d enjoy a sit-on-top style of kayak for fishing. Sit-on-tops also have the factor of generally having a higher weight limit than sit-inside types. This is especially important for me, being a rather large fellow (6 ft tall, 290 lbs). After doing some shopping and research, I settled on a Future Beach Angler 144 available at Dunham’s for $349 (on sale, but it seems to always be on sale).
After getting it home, the to-do list got started. Most times I will be fishing alone and needed the ability to load and unload the kayak from the top of my Trailblazer solo. I did some research on commercial loading options, and all were well outside my budget of nearly nothing. So I set about figuring out a system with PVC, dowel rod, and pool noodle to protect my SUV and to somewhat assist rolling it onto the top rack. After some trial and more error, the final product seems to work just fine with a total bill somewhere around $15.
Next, I was a bit concerned with dragging the kayak from the vehicle, usually located in a parking lot, to the water’s edge. I have no issues dragging this kayak, I just wished to prevent damage to the bottom of the kayak from concrete and gravel. More research complete, I decided on a DIY solution whose fantastic instructions are available here: http://palmettokayakfishing.blogspot…art-build.html . I had issues with the axle nuts staying on. Tightening the nuts to the wheel only causes its bearing to lock up, so they must be loose. To have room for this, my axle is slightly longer than the suggested 25.5″. I also had better luck tying the boat down directly on the horizontal supports rather than under the cross-member as suggested in the pictures.
This particular kayak has a molded section in the stern to accomodate a milk crate or a 5 gallon bucket. I opted for the milk crate, whose only modifications were adding two additional rod holders by zip-tying two pieces of 2″ PVC to the back corners. This crate also holds my homemade anchor made from an inexpensive 3 lb dumbbell, my tackle boxes, small landing net, and various other things I might need on the water.
Keeping with the PVC DIY theme, I used 3/4″ PVC and 7/8″ wooden dowel rod to fabricate a 6′ stake-out pole. Nothing complicated here. Just cut a pipe to length, slide the dowel inside of it for rigidity, screw/glue the dowel in place, leaving a few inches out of one end of the pipe. On this end, use a knife to carve out a point. Seal up the screw holes and the end with Marine Goop.
I’ve added a few commercial products to the kayak as well. I purchased an anchor trolley system from Bass Pro Shops (which is actually made by Sealect Designs). It’s not difficult to DIY an anchor trolley, but I would not have saved much money, so I chose to buy the kit. This anchor trolley allows me to control the anchoring location on the kayak in order to adjust the boat position due to wind and/or current. Additionally, I’ve added a Guide Series rod holder from Gander Mountain and a Lowrance X-4 fish finder. The base of the X-4 mount was a perfect fit inside the cupholder at the front of the boat. The transducer is mounted inside the hull using Duct Seal (Electrician’s putty) for a through-hull application. I haven’t had a chance to test this, yet, but all indications on the Internet say this should work fine.