My Illuminati kayak glowing in my basement after bringing it home
For the new season, I decided to upgrade my sonar unit to a Humminbird “598ci HD SI Combo”. This is my first time installing and using a side imaging sonar, and there are some unique installation requirements to consider when installing the transducer. It needs to be installed outside of the hull and have a clear view to each side. I also want to be able to easily move this unit easily between my Cuda and “Big Tuna” so I decided to use a pair of RAM products; their “Flexible Transducer Arm” and “Humminbird Fishfinder Mount”. I attached these to the front RAM Ready inserts installed at the factory on the Cuda. The battery was installed in a Rubbermaid container, set inside the front of the center hatch insert, and secured with a bungee. To route the wires I just had to trim the front edge of the hatch.
The Hummnbird 598ci HD SI Combo unit
The side scan transducer installed on the RAM arm
The battery installed in the center hatch
Next, I turned my attention to the rear of the kayak and set out to install my new YakAttack “BlackPak”, a “MightyMount” for a “VISICarbon Pro” and Tackle Webs. The BlackPak was an easy install; the tank well bungee that comes on the Cuda is perfect for securing it. I did have to move the feet I installed on the BlackPak to make it sit properly on my Big Tuna. The feet actually also help stabilize the BlackPak, as they wedge themselves inside of the tackle box stagers that come molded into the Cuda. I installed the new Tackle Web that was custom made to mount to the side of the BlackPak, and a 16”x12” Tackle Web went on the back of the seat. The MightyMount was attached by the rear hatch to hold the VISICarbon Pro; those were the only four holes I drilled into the hull.
The BlackPak with a the Tackle Web installed, insets show the feet mounted to the bottom of it
Tackle Webs mounted on the Hi/Low Seat and the BlackPak
Finally, I turned my attention to the center hatch. I like to mount a rod holder onto my center hatch, so on went another MightyMount to hold a wide array of rod holder options. However, after spending the last year fishing in the Cuda with rod holders in this location, I’ve come to realize that it is sometimes awkward to access the center hatch when there is a rod in it.My fellow Jackson Fishing Team mate Melita Ganoe came up with an idea to put a hinge in the center hatch to allow easier access. I set out to come up with my own version to allow access to the rear of the hatch without disturbing a rod in the rod holder. With some rivets, Marine Goop®, and a piece of industrial hose I was able to create a hinge that should be fairly waterproof and durable.
Cuda center hatch with hinge
Cuda center hatch open
All of this was accomplished in just a few hours with only four holes drilled in the kayak. The rest of the modifications involved just the hatch cover, or were screwed into factory-installed inserts.