I cannot think of a single kayak that leaves the factory ready for all types of angling that are available to us in Ireland and the UK. At the very least an anchor trolley will have to be added. Some guys love the idea of rigging, some dread it. It used to be the case that if you wanted something added to a kayak then you were going to have to drill through the side of the boat to accommodate it but times have changed. Many kayak manufacturers realise that drilling holes in the side of a new kayak can be intimidating for the uninitiated. With this in mind there are more options becoming available for those that want to stay away from the drill.
Track systems where accessories fit onto a factory fitted tracks along the sides of the kayak are increasingly popular. The Wilderness Systems range of kayaks use a track system called ‘Geartrax’ by ‘Yakattack’. The majority of the accessories that I use can be mounted to these tracks and can be removed at the end of the day for transport or storage. Once attached the accessories are always secure and within reach. They are a fantastic alternative for those that do not want to drill.
RAM Mounts and Scotty Mounts make excellent mounting kits for additional accessories that the kayaker may like to bring out. These mounting systems will require holes to be drilled when installing, as will most other types of mounting hardware and rigging projects. There are a few things to remember when carrying out a rigging project whether it is a large job like adding an echo sounder or a small job like a pad eye for a leash. With any project, the most important thing to do is to always use marine grade parts. Inferior bolts or rivets will soon succumb to the salt and will let you down, probably sooner rather than later.
It is also vitally important that any holes that you drill are positioned above the water line. Even still, it pays to make sure that any hole you have created is sealed when rigging is complete. Marine grade sealant between the boat’s plastic and the item to be attached is a good idea to create a watertight finish. Leaking rigging projects are very much undesirable so make sure to use a good quality sealant and ensure a snug fit.
Drilling for pad eyes and J-hooks requires small holes, for something like a flush mount rod holder you will require a much larger hole. Measure up your intended job a couple of times and then measure it a third time just to be sure. When larger holes need to be made, start small and work your way outwards, constantly checking to see if you have the right size yet. It is very easy to remove plastic, it is impossible to put it back once removed which is why I encourage you to be meticulous about your measurements. Nobody wants to ruin a brand new kayak!
They key to any carrying out any rigging projects is to first be absolutely sure of what it is you want to do. This may take a few trips out on the water to realise what it is you need and where you need it. Make sure that the intended project is needed and where it would be best positioned to suit you. When you are certain about what you want make sure to plan and measure meticulously and only use marine grade hardware for the installation. Be careful, take your time and if you would be more comfortable getting somebody else to do the install then ask!
Kayak rigging is limited only by your imagination. Let’s see what weird and wonderful creations you come up with.
Article seen in Sea Angler