Rhyme and Reason – How I’m Rigged for Functional Fishing
Over the last 5-10 years or so, the kayak fishing industry has really started to blossom and grow. Whether your choice is to paddle a Jackson Kilroy or Mayfly, or you have chosen to take it a step further with a pedal driven kayak such as the Jackson Kayak Big Rig FD or Coosa FD, there are so many ways to configure each. With a myriad of products available from top manufacturers, the world is your oyster when it comes to buying new gadgets and toys to trick out your yak.
When I purchased my first kayak, I was so excited to hit the water with it, all I purchased aside from a paddle and PFD was a surface mounted rod holder. I rushed home, got out my tools, and quickly affixed it to my boat thinking it was in the prime location for me to use when I went fishing. I took the yak out a few times and found myself never using the rod holder. Or even worse usi9ng it, then struggling to comfortably place my rod in it when I needed to most. I had placed it too far forward in the cockpit of my kayak and it just wasn’t “functional” for my style of fishing. I also didn’t know a whole lot about the various types of kayaks that were out there nor did I know of the endless rigging options that were readily available just up the road at my local dealer. I attended my first tournament shortly thereafter with the Mid-Atlantic Kayak Bass Fishing Series and my mind was absolutely blown. These guys and gals had some of the coolest looking rigs that I never knew existed, each of which was decked out with products from the likes of Yak Attack and several other kayak accessory companies.
Fast forward 6-7 years, a handful of boats, and more “extra” accessories than any one person would ever need, I feel as though I have finally found what I actually need on my kayak in pretty much any situation. More importantly, I know exactly where each item needs to be located to maximize accessibility and minimize interfering with me landing fish.
First I would like to point out that I am right handed and as such cast from the right side of my body. While I can land fish on either side of my kayak, I tend to prefer landing them on the right side of my kayak as that is the side my dominant, stronger arm is on and as such, the side I keep my net on. On my Coosa FD, I primarily keep my net just behind my right should in the flush mount rod holder. If I am paddling my Mayfly, my net is usually laying on the front hatch with the handle angled towards my right side for easy access. As far as rod staging, I tend to do it a little different than many and have had great success with this configuration. I have noticed a lot of anglers with rods staged all around their kayak crates or with track mounted rod holders on both sides of their tank wells. I initially did that as well, but found myself snagging lures on rods when attempting to make long casts, which grew extremely frustrating very quickly (especially in tournament situations where every minute counts.) Because of this, I keep the tracks on the right side of my tank well completely bare. I use a Jackson Kraken Krate with three rod holders on the left side. This serves two purposes with the first being keeping those three rods from interfering with my casts. The second being it allows me to easily turn in my seat and access additional Plano boxes stowed in my crate. I track mount an additional three rod holders on the left hand side of my tank well which again ensures my rods will not interfere with my casts, yet are still readily available should I need to swap out quickly as needed.
Next is my fish finder setup. It is the only piece of gear I have on the right hand side of my kayak with the transducer arm going over the right hand side. I have the unit itself mounted on the track on the forward right hand side of my boats cockpit. Doing so ensures that the track ball for my transducer arm doesn’t loosen due to water pressure as I pedal from spot to spot (as it did when I had my unit on the left side as pictured above). It also allows me to stow my fish finder’s Nocqua batteries in my front hatch, keeping the install clean and completely drill free while managing to keep the cables from being all over the deck of my yak.
This brings me to anchoring systems. For deeper water situations, I have an Anchor Wizard on the left of my seat. The anchor line runs through several track mounted Yak Attack eyelets and through a pulley that is attached to the front carrying handle on the bow of my kayak with a d-ring. The crank of the Anchor Wizard allows it to be manipulated by my non-dominant hand with ease. For shallow water applications, I have a River Stick on the stern of my boat. The para chord that controls it runs through eyelets installed on the right hands side of my boat to a cam cleat that is positioned next to my seat. I have it located here because it is manually operated so it allows me to use the strength of my dominant hand to pull up the stick if it ever gets snagged.