There are a few options for mounting transducers on kayaks; through- hull shooting, fitting a side arm or utilising a scupper hole would probably be the three most common. The Trident series of fishing kayaks feature a ‘transducer compatible scupper hole’. Essentially this is a recess in the hull of the kayak below one of the scupper holes, in this case the one on the front right as you sit in the cockpit.
It makes perfect sense to me to utilise this feature rather than opting for the through-hull configuration. Most kayakers seem to think that having your transducer shoot through the hull is fine and has no effect on the returns that you can read on the display. I am a little sceptical about this. Granted, the beam only has to pass through and return through a thin piece of plastic but this if interference of sorts. I prefer to have the transducer in contact with the water as I believe that that unobstructed contact with the water has to give the best readings. Besides, through-hull shooting will not give you accurate water temperature readings which can be very useful information to have at your disposal.
Utilising a side arm can be very beneficial for those that do not want to glue a transducer to the inside of their kayak’s hull. The obvious attraction to this method is the fact that the transducer hangs over the side of the kayak and is now in constant contact with the water, giving you the best sonar and temperature readings. Some of the side arms that are now available for the purpose are very small and neat, making both a useful and striking feature on the kayak. I used a side arm on my previous kayak for a couple of year and I honestly encountered no problems with the method. I have heard of other anglers tangling fishing lines in them and experiencing slight amounts of drag when paddling. These may be issues to invest a small bit of thought in before purchasing.
On any kayak that has a transducer compatible scupper hole; this is exactly where the transducer should be mounted. In most kayaks it will be sensibly designed to accommodate transducers from all major manufacturers. It enables the transducer to be in contact with the water and eliminates the need to add extra appendages to the kayak. I am of the opinion that a transducer mounted in this fashion also results in the tidiest rigging job.
Fitting a DSI Transducer
With a scupper hole that can accept the transducer, this can be a fairly easy install. What makes it even easier is using the ‘Kayak Scupper Hole Transducer Mounting System’ produced by ‘Lowrance’ which is absolutely made for this job. This part of the install is particularly easy because all that is involved is to follow the very clear and precise instructions that Lowrance supply with the mount.
The DSI transducer has to be allowed to slide onto the bracket that holds it and then locked in place with the nylon, treaded bar.
Offer up the transducer to the scupper hole and add the supplied protective rubber and foam that come with the mount.
On the cockpit side of the install, add the inner cap and secure into place with the nylon wing nut supplied. If needed, trim the treaded bar to size and the install is complete.
For anybody who already owns this system, or, if any ‘Lowrance’ staff or designers are reading this, you will probably be wondering about the cap that should be positioned on the top of this install, the one that bears the company name. I have omitted this from the install for very good reason. The whole idea of a scupper hole is to allow excess water that makes its way into the kayak to be drained quickly. To me, completely blocking this scupper hole seemed to totally defeat the purpose of it being there in the first place. For this reason I left the cap off the top of the install to and it really does allow the water to drain from the right side of the cockpit a lot faster than if the cap remained. Perhaps that is something to think about for the Lowrance research and development teams – a cap that is drilled to allow the free passage of water through it?
Running the Wiring Back to a Power Source
Any electronics on a kayak will obviously need power to run them. My DSI unit is powered by a 12v 7ah battery. If I had paid a little more attention in physics lectures then I would be able to explain to you exactly what this means. Suffice to say that this power source will run the unit for a couple of days on the water before it needs charging. With all batteries it is best to keep them ‘topped up’ with charge rather than letting them discharge fully. The ‘Trident’ series of kayaks feature a ‘Battery Bag’ just behind the main bow hatch. This holds the battery perfectly, keeps it out of harm’s way and stops it moving around inside the kayak.
To get the cable to the battery all I have to do is pass it through the kayak and into the hull. The large hole that we drilled beside the screen mount now comes into play. Line the hole with marine sealant for a watertight seal.
Pass the wiring through the open gland and pull through, leaving a small length free to allow for screen angle adjustment when out on the water.
Tighten up the gland and connect up the wiring to the battery, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Your entire installation is now complete, go and find some fish!