For me, there is nothing better than poling a flat looking for tailing redfish. For that, I keep my kayaks rigged pretty simple. Take my Stealth 14 for instance; I like to keep the front cockpit area pretty clean. I have one Scotty flush mount with an extension, this way when I’m poling it’s very easy to reach down and grab the rod without taking my eyes off the fish I may have spotted. I had some custom cut Seadek material added over the built in live well hatch which serves two purposes. It’s easy on the feet and dampens any noise from dropped objects. Pretty simple and clean.
Now let’s take that to the other extreme.
I’m a board member for the Tampa Bay Chapter of Hero’s on the Water, a program designed to take wounded veterans out kayak fishing and we recently had a kayak donated to us. This kayak is tricked out, front lights, compass, depth finder, GPS, built-in live well, you name it, there’s a good chance this kayak has it.
Another area for customizing is what seems to be a mandatory item for all fishing kayaks. The milk crate. Mine is no exception. I have the standard three rod holder mounted to the back; I then took Scotty mounts and bolted them to either side of the crate. Most times when I head out, I only take two rods with me, so I will slip them in those holders. It gets them out of the way while I cast in the sitting position. Another item that I added is a fanny pack. The ones I get are for hiking and they come with two spare pouches for water bottles. You can purchase these at any Walmart, in it I keep my loose items like spare spools of leader, small measuring tape etc. Here’s a good tip I picked up for keeping the zippers free of corrosion, keep a tube of Chapstick in there. Every other trip apply some to the zippers, this keeps them lubed up and corrosion free. The side pockets come in handy for storing your pliers, fish grips, bug spray or sun tan lotion. Don’t throw the water bottles away either, these make great water tight containers for all sorts of stuff.
Another thing I did for my milk crate was add a false bottom. (The white pieces of board) If you’re a big guy like me, 6’2”, 240 lbs, the rear tank well of your kayak might always have some water in it. So I took some left over material that I used for making measuring boards and made a false bottom. This will keep my tackle trays and more importantly my camera off the bottom of the crate and out of the water.
Another item on a fishing kayak that seems to get customized is an anchor trolley, whether you use pulleys or carabineers, an anchor trolley is a must have for your kayak.
If the shallow water is where you like to do your fishing, then a stakeout pole is another handy item to have. Search any kayak fishing forum and you will find tons of information on them, yet another item that lends itself to customizing. I make my own out of readily available material from your local Home Depot. With a little customizing, it also doubles as holder for my camera, making those hero shots much easier when you’re by yourself.
Rigging your kayak isn’t that difficult, it allows you to be creative, and sometimes unique. More importantly it allows you to customize your fishing machine the way you want it.
About the Author: Bill Howard is a Pro Staff Member at Yakangler.com, as well as Malibu Kayaks. He is also on the Columbia Sportswear Pro Team. Bill is an avid photographer and writer, contributing to numerous websites and publications in the Tampa Bay area.
In 2008 he completed a 17 day, 129 mile trip around Tampa Bay raising nearly $4000 dollars for the American Heart Association. He is also a board member for the Tampa Bay Chapter of Hero's on the Water.