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How I Rig My Kayak – The Best Kayak Fishing Accessories

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This season marks my 7th year of kayak fishing and over that time I’ve had the opportunity to try a plethora of kayak fishing accessories. When I started, kayak fishing was still fairly new in Canada and there wasn’t a ton of accessories available locally. So, a lot of my first accessories were DIY ideas found through various kayak fishing websites and forums. Now that I have a few years under by belt and have gone through a few iterations of gear, I feel like I’ve reached a point where I’ve really dialed in my system. What follows is my list of the kayak fishing accessories I’ve found to work best for me.

Old Town Bigwater PDL 132

My current ride is a Bigwater PDL 132, it’s Old Town Canoes’ biggest and baddest pedal drive and the workhorse of the fleet. I’ve thrown everything mother nature could dish out at this boat and it’s handled the roughest of lakes with confidence.

Bigwater PDL 132 rigged and ready!

A Tour Bow to Stern

Battery – 10ah Dakota Lithium

Lithium batteries are light and powerful. The 10ah battery has enough juice to power my Humminbird Helix 5 for an entire 24 hours. The 23 ah battery only weighs 6.5 lbs but holds enough power to keep my Helix 5 running for almost a week!

Net and Holder – yak attack roto grip

My Lucky Strike net, with its long handle and big basket, may seem overkill but its the perfect net for a kayak. By using such a big net, I can scoop up the fish, keep the netting in the water and lay the handle across the gunnels or under my leg; which gives me plenty of time to get out my camera and bumpboard. As you can see in the picture, the handle of the net is a bit too thin to fit snugly in the YakAttack Rotogrip. My solution was to grab the nearest roll of hockey tape and build the handle up with a few layers. Not bad, eh?

Ram mount camera mount

The kayak fishing market is still pretty new in my part of the country and when I started recording my adventures, there wasn’t many options available for a camera mounting pole. My local tackle shop carries Ram Mount accessories and through them I was able to special order this very expensive Ram Mount Tough-Pole. The pole is sturdy but its not easy to adjust. The base is designed to swivel but because its a threaded connection, it will loosen if rotated counter-clockwise (lefty-loosey). This is the only accessory on my boat I am ready to replace. The next one I will be trying, and the one I would recommend, is the YakAttack Panfish Pro.

Transducer mount and Old town wire feed-throughs

Old Town Bigwater 132 PDL waterproof grommits

I go into quite a bit of detail on how I mounted my Humminbird Helix 5 SI unit here, check it out of you want to learn more!

Old Town Transducer Scuppers – built for Yeti Ramblers!

I will add, however, that the hole for the transducer cable is the perfect place to store your Yeti!

Yakattack Omega pro vs Scotty R5

On my left is my trusty YakAttack Omega Pro rod holder. I’ve tried many others, but this is the one I keep coming back to. The Omega holds everything, from spinning reels to baitcasters, as well as small 3wt fly rods to giant 8 wt’s as well – I’ve never worried about my rod flying out of the holder as well. The rod holder is only one part of the equation, the mounting base is just as important. Yakattack uses their patented Lock-n-Load system that works in two pieces. The first piece is the track mount, it screws into the base using T-slot bolts that can be mounted to any track system (even gunnel tracks in boats). The second piece is how the rod holder mounts to the base, the rod holder mounts on an outer spline that is independent of the T-slot bolt. This separation allows the rod holder to take any amount of side load left or right without causing the base to loosen from the track.

I also tried the new Scotty R5 rod holder but Scotty’s track mount suffers from the problem YakAttack solved with their Lock-n-Load base. If the rod see’s a counter-clockwise force, say from trolling with the rod holder on the left side, then the base will loosen and possibly send your rod into the lake. That’s why I have it mounted on the right (pictured below).

I keep my pliers at the ready by stuffing them into the oversized holes in the Bigwater’s track mounts.
Handy tackle storage is built into seat – it can fit two 3600 size cases side by side and there is lots of room for more tackle/bait underneath.

NRS Ambush Tackle Crate

Behind the drivers seat I have my NRS Ambush Crate. There are three things I appreciate about this crate that make it indispensable. First, the rod holders come attached and are very secure. Second, the lid flips over and has a generous lip so that rain and the odd wave won’t make their way into the bag with the zipper open. Lastly, the crate has been reliably waterproof, which is really important to me because it’s where I keep one of my most prized possessions – my camera! (There’s tackle and snacks in there too)

Anchor Wizard

Also on my left, but behind the seat and within arms reach, is my handy-dandy Anchor Wizard! Anchoring a kayak and dealing with all the tangled line everywhere is the biggest PITA and the most annoying thing about my kayak. Luckily, someone else was annoyed with this too and came up with a slick way of dealing with it. I’ve spooled my Anchor Wizard with 50 feet of paracord (550) and mounted the sliding anchor receiver to the Predator mounting plate out back. With this setup I am limited to only anchoring in the rear but over the years I’ve found that to be my preference. When anchoring at the rear my back is always to the wind and that ends up being more comfortable, and warmer, anyway.

NRS PFD’s

My Raku pictured top, Chinook pictured underneath – same kit, different PFD’s.

I’ll end this list with the most important kayak fishing accessory – a good PFD. My favorite lifejackets have been ones designed by NRS. The self-inflating ones are also nice for their compact designs but I favour those for a boat with a motor. In a kayak its nice to have pockets to keep regularly used items close at hand.

I keep the following in my PFD pockets:

  • Nite-ize cell phone leash
  • Lip chap
  • Boomerang tool snipping tool
  • VHF Radio on shoulder strap
  • Knife
  • Hook sharpener
  • Whistle
  • Fire starter

If you want to know more about two of the best NRS PFD’s on the market, check out my comparison here:

As always, if you found this list helpful, or want to leave some feedback – leave a comment below!

See you on the water,

– Chris

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10 thoughts on “How I Rig My Kayak – The Best Kayak Fishing Accessories”

  1. Great article! Where did you find your mounting plate for your Anchor Wizard sliding receiver? Anchor Wizard website shows it as currently unavailable.
    Thanks, Paul

    1. I bought mine direct from Anchor Wizard. I would recommend contacting them directly to see when stock will be back in. FYI shipping to Canada was also very reasonable. The main contact there is Cameron, let him know Chris from StringTheoryAngling sent you and he will help you out!

    1. Haha rigging it out and trying new stuff is half the fun! My load is actually pretty streamlined compared to some of the tournament anglers you’ll see. Thanks for the comment!

    1. Good question! I didn’t have to open the hole up any wider, the Rapala pliers I use fit just fine. If you have a bigger set I think you could carve out the existing hole to fit your needs.

    1. Thats a fair question and one I get a lot. When I started kayak fishing it was very simple – just a kayak, a paddle and my rod. As with any hobby though, the longer you stick with it the more stuff you can accumulate. So why don’t I have a boat? The answer is space. I live in a city and storage for a boat didn’t exist when I lived in an apartment or small house. So my kayak has become my boat and I don’t think there is anything on my boat that someone with “real boat” wouldn’t have, except maybe the camera gear. I think your comment is great and one I’m going to have to dive deeper on in a separate post! Thanks.

  2. When, and it will, that thing turns over, please post the video. It will be interesting to see what you save and what you have to cut free.
    Nice neat installation of all the stuff. Good workmanship on that.
    Now go get bloody!
    Scott

    1. You sound like you have some experience! I find that these fishing kayaks are pretty stable, as long as you’re paying attention to your centre of gravity you don’t have to flip, especially on inland lakes here in Alberta. In my 7 years of kayak fishing I have not flipped by accident. If I do fall out (likely because I was messing around) I normally just fall over the side and the boat remains upright. If I do flip all the way over I will likely lose my pliers and my rods – everything else should stay right where I put it.

      Thanks for the comment, Scott!

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