The upgraded Trident RodPod hatch cover

Overall I have been really pleased with the Ocean Kayak Trident 13 but there has always been one small bug bear and that was the RodPod cover. The original cover, whilst functional, is a bit on the flimsy side and I can’t help but feel only a limited amount of thought went into it’s design at the time. Thankfully, Ocean Kayak has now brought out a new RodPod cover which was definitely needed in my opinion and on the basis it can surely only be an improvement on the original I have recently invested in one.

The cost was circa. £50 which on the face of it seems expensive for a piece moulded plastic but I thought it was worth the punt nonetheless…… only time will tell but my first impressions are that it has a lot more going for it than the one shipped with my yak a couple of years ago.

I should say first off that I believe the new upgraded RodPod cover will fit all older models of the Trident kayaks so there shouldn’t be any compatibility issues. If in any doubt check on the Ocean Kayak website to be sure! The new kit includes the new hatch cover itself, straps and fasteners, the trim lock to keep the hatch waterproof and installation instructions.

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In brief, the cover is infinitely more rigid than the original and has a plethora of pre-drilled holes and mouldings for attaching things such as Scotty rod holders, GPS mounts, and such like. There are also a couple of inserts for small bits of tackle, lures, etc. with a metric and imperial ruler either side of the cover. The underside of the hatch shows the injection mouldings.

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The first job was to remove the old hatch which was a two second job. I didn’t remove the existing straps and buckles – there was no need – they are in good order and exactly the same as those you get in the kit anyway. This way I have spares too!

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Next job was to drill a small hole on the inside rim to thread the existing cord through that attaches the hatch to the yak. Once that’s done the next step was to add the trim lock to the cover – it clips on tightly to the hatch and provides the water tight seal between the RodPod and the cover – you do need to trim it down to the right size though.

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The cover is then ready to fit over the RodPod hatch. The fit is a lot tighter than the original hatch was which I don’t think is a bad thing at all.

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Here it is with the straps in place…..

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Just to prove the pre-drilled mouldings work I attached my GPS mount to give an idea of how things can be fixed to the cover.

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I need to have a think now about how best to use the mouldings but I think a bait board will be added for one and maybe a drink holder of some description.

All-in-all it seems a vast improvement on the original cover but as I say the proof will be when I get out there and use it ………. which hopefully will be in the very near future now.

Until next time…..

This time last year…..

It was this time last year that  I was just thinking about my first yak trip of 2010 – a time to blow away a few cobwebs and get some paddling, and more importantly fishing, under my belt. I really had hoped to get out over this winter and try for some winter species but it has been impossible with my current workload and family commitments. C’est la vie!

Anyhow, looking back at that first trip last year I thought I’d share with you a few pictures of that first session. My mate Nobby and I had managed to snatch a day to get ourselves on the water and although the fishing was slow it was a cracking day out. We decided we were going to head to Dorset and see what was about and in particular somewhere along the Purbeck coast. After stop offs at Kimmeridge Bay and Lulworth Cove we eventually ended up at a new venue for us a bit further along the coast at Ringstead Bay. It was a cracking early Spring day and a smashing venue with a small inshore reef.

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Here are the yaks on their way down to the waters edge…

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We were fishing on the drift and as I’ve already said the fishing was mighty slow but the coastline around here is very scenic so it was pleasant watching it pass us by. We drifted to the east as far as Osmington Mills and then back west as far as the headland you can see in the first photo. The ground here is a mixed bag – rocky in places and then clear ground as you head out a bit further.

Here’s Nobby doing his stuff…

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After a fruitless time using live worms I had switched to fishing with a soft plastic one and unbelievably it paid dividends if with a slightly surprising result. Here is my first yak caught plaice and a definite first catching one on a soft plastic worm – it turned out to be the only fish we managed between us all day!

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Despite our best efforts that was it and mid-afternoon we decided to call it a day and headed back to shore for a brew before heading home.

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It was a great early Spring paddle and nice to look back at this as I’m itching to get out again now! Hopefully, I will have a window the weekend after next as long as the weather plays ball – even if it is just a local session to get me back in the swing of things!

Until next time……

A spring clean…..

Well, it’s been a while now since I’ve posted anything and that’s basically because there’s been nothing to report! I had good intentions of getting on the water before Christmas but what with one thing or another it just didn’t happen.The yak has been well and truly gathering dust over the past four months underneath the tarpaulin locked up at the side of the house. So, with a couple of hours to spare today I thought it was at least time to get the yak out, give it a clean off and give it the once over in anticipation of better weather, more daylight and better fishing reports in this neck of the woods.

My biggest concern was that  the electric wiring for the light, fishfinder and GPS were all still working and after the initial hose down of the yak I checked these out. With the connections greased and everything hooked up I flicked the switch so to speak. Happily they were all in the same state as when I last used them which was good news (a testament to Rob’s workmanship) – the GPS wiring needs a once over as the power was intermittent but that’s no change to before and I can live with that for now.

Next I checked out my bungee cord, straps and fixings to the yak and all seemed good so I think I’ll be in reasonable shape to get out on the water in the not too distant future when the fishing round here picks up a bit. Just need to check the actual fishing kit out now to make sure it’s all in order and hopefully I’ll be ready to roll.

This year I’m hoping to get a bit more time out on the water than I did last so with a bit of luck there will be a few more reports from different venues and a lot more decent catch reports!

Watch this space and tight lines for now.

Until next time………

… And the fishing drought goes on!

Well, this past month or so has been truly awful for getting out on the kayak aside from a quick paddle at the beginning of August. The weather has not been kind at all. Windows to get out have been few and far between and the yak has literally been wrapped up gathering dust. In fact, all my fishing kit has been redundant which has been very infuriating… even the charter trip I was meant to be going on at the end of August was cancelled. Since then have been off to Scotland for a wedding so there’s just not been the chance of wetting a line…… Mighty, mighty frustrating with no let up in sight for me I’m afraid as I’m off to San Francisco on Friday for two weeks to see family.

Still, at least I’ll have a chance to visit a fishing outlet or two when I’m there and they are mighty impressive to say the least with the likes of the Bass Pro shops to peruse… I will  be like a kid in a sweet shop!

Anyhow, bear with me, I will be back and fishing on my return with my attentions beginning to turn to the winter fishing scene and in particular my pursuit of a first yak caught cod.

Until next time……

Little paddlers….

It’s been a hectic week for me since I got back from Wales, work has been full on … one of those weeks where you’re burning candles at both ends of the day, plus we picked up our new border terrier pup ‘Woody’ who has required some attention. We already have one border ‘Lizzie’… so there’s been fun and games this last week as I’m sure you can imagine. I don’t mind admitting I’m pretty shattered and all this has added up to absolutely no chance of fishing and not even time to update this blog…… until now!

That said, I did get chance last Saturday on my return from the Welsh coastline to take my son Billy for his first outing on his own kayak. I’ve had the yak for him for sometime now but was keen that he do a day course first just to find his feet which he did early August.

The weather was actually a bit blowy so we decided to head off to Keyhaven near Hurst Castle at the western end of The Solent and more specifically the backwaters behind the shingle bank. To make it a bit more interesting we took along ‘Lizzie’, adorned in her very own dog life jacket, to see if she would take to this kayaking lark. As we set off the signs were she was a little hesitant……

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But there was no such hesitancy from Billy, who was soon in the swing of things……

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It’s a great little backwater and we were going with the current plus had the wind behind us making for a nice easy paddle for Billy… my concern was coming back it was wind over tide which would make things interesting! Still, I had the foresight to pack a tow line just in case and a good decision it turned out to be in the end.

We ploughed on up the backwater and despite falling in once and jumping in once Lizzie was enjoying herself at the bow of the yak on apparent look out duties……

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After about a mile’s paddle Billy’s arms were feeling it so we paddled in to the shore and the tow line was deployed for the paddle back which gave me a good workout pulling him along against the elements!

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I don’t mind admitting I was a little apprehensive about taking Billy out, as most parents would be, but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how well he paddled and manoeuvred the kayak in the water. The Ocean Kayak ‘Frenzy’ he has is more of a surf yak and not the most stream line of yaks making it harder work to paddle, especially for  a nine year old boy.

After a bit of graft against the wind and current we were safely back at the launch point, ready to de-rig and have a well earned rest……

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We weren’t out there particularly long, maybe an hour and a half at the most, but they’re magic moments these when you see how excited your offspring, and pets come to that, are on the water. I’ve already heard “when we going kayaking next Dad?” several times this last week and after Lizzie’s successful launch I’m sure it won’t be long before the new pup Woody will be having a trip out! Once again, happy days…

Bringing this whole post back to fishing, these backwaters were teeming with small bass and we saw a couple of bigger one’s launch out of the water as well – would be a good spot to troll a lure behind the yak I reckon. There were also some big mullet cruising around which would be worth a crack at. Hoping to have a bit of fishing on the kayak soon but no definite plan at the minute in this respect. I will hopefully be fishing next Saturday though – weather willing…… have signed up for a boat charter with a bunch of mates, including one over from New Zealand, hopefully after some bass off The Needles.

Until next time…

Something a bit different

Just got back from a couple of days camping in Pembrokeshire, Wales with my nine year old son, Billy. It’s somewhere I’ve never been before and whilst we were there to primarily enjoy the joys of camping we also planned to do some rock fishing and of course I wanted to check out possible kayaking launch venues in the process!.

The campsite I chose was just outside of St. David’s as you head west in a hamlet called Porth Clais. We found a cracking pitch, wonderful view and the weather was superb when we arrived…

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The piece of water in the picture is St. Bride’s Bay with the island of Skomer just visible in the distance. First evening we tried a little float fishing from the rocks near the Porth Clais harbour inlet – the water is crystal clear and we were getting lots of bites from the tiniest of wrasse which were just clinging to the bait rather than the hook! Here’s some more pictures of the coast line and harbour at Porth Clais…

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Porth Clais Harbour

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As the light faded we switched to lures to see if there were any bass around but it was almost too calm with nothing to get excited about. Still, it was a lovely evening and it was good practise for Billy who is just getting into his fishing. His casting has come on leaps and bounds but his patience needs some work! Here he is on the rocks…

Billy Porth Clais Rock Fishing

We spent a pleasant night under the canvass and woke up nicely refreshed – a quick bacon sandwich and cup of tea for breakfast and we were on the road. The plan was to head up the North Pembrokeshire coast and see what and where we could find. The weather was cloudy and actually quite cool for August with a fresh and increasingly strong wind.

The first stop was the fishing village of Porthgain where we took a wander to the old quarry along the coastal path to the left of the harbour as you look to the sea. There looked a couple of good rock fishing spots but the sea state had worsened and it was fairly exposed so we decided against this spot. The harbour itself would be a good spot to launch the yak from though and the local pub nearby – The Sloop Inn – would be an excellent after fishing  watering hole!

We headed up the coast calling in at beauty spots along the way such as Abermawr, Abercastle, and Strumble Head all the way up to Fishguard where we picked up some bait and a spot of lunch. We decided to head back to Abercastle where we had noted calmer water and safer looking rock marks for Billy to fish from. It was another lovely looking spot to launch a kayak from…

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We walked to a rock mark to the left of the harbour and fished there for a couple of hours but it was slow and the only fish to show between us for our efforts was this plump little rockling I landed on a whole sandeel…

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I was really hoping for Billy to land something but despite his best efforts the bites didn’t come and it wasn’t to be. There will be other days for him I’m sure when his luck will be in!

We headed back to the campsite shortly after that with the weather closing in all the time. Just about managed to get a barbeque in before the first spots of rain were felt – it turned out to be a wet and windy night but the Vango Hurricane 200 tent stood up to the conditions with ease – an excellent piece of kit in my opinion…

The Hurricane 200 Tent

The next morning things hadn’t let up so we begrudgingly decided to call it quits and head home. It rained pretty much all the way home so a decent decision in the end.

A smashing couple of days nonetheless and a little bit of groundwork put in on fishing spots and possible kayak launch venues – really would like to get the yak to some of these spots in the not too distant future and do some more exploring of this stretch of coast. It’s a truly beautiful part of the UK and somewhere I can thoroughly recommend.

Happy days.

Until next time……

A ray of hope…..

Have been off work this week primarily for a camping trip to Wales later today with my son but yesterday morning did present me with a fishing opportunity. The weather looked favourable according to the forecasts so I loaded the car up Monday night ready for an early start on Tuesday at the local haunt at Lee-on-Solent.

The yak was rigged and ready to go by about 5:15am but when I got to the launch point there was a fair old lump to the sea and a bit of a blow coming from the west – certainly not as flat as previous outings but it was do-able.

Got out to my favoured spot and set up with a good sized crab bait on one rod and a lash of mackerel on the other trying to avoid the pin bream that can strip the baits if you’re not careful here. This is a picture of the sea state which probably doesn’t do justice to how bumpy the conditions were.

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In addition to my rods I was hand lining for mackerel and almost instantly I was into a couple of them which were despatched to the cool bag.

It didn’t take long either for the first knock on the crab either and I connected…… you can tell pretty much straight away if it’s a smoothie and that’s exactly what surfaced. This one being of the starry flavour and as with all smuts he wasn’t too pleased to be aboard the yak! They really do go berserk when they’re out of the water but eventually he calmed down to have his picture taken before being returned…

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A good start I thought but then, save for intermittent mackies on the hand line, things went decidedly quiet with no more sniffs on the crab bait and not a squeak out of the mackerel strips I was putting down. Still, the wind had swung round to a north westerly and the sea flattened off a bit which was nice – nothing worse than trying to have a coffee in a lumpy sea! Here’s a picture of the sun on it’s way up……

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After a good hour or so I finally managed another bite on the crab again and was really pleased to see this bass come up – not a keeper but a bass is a bass all the same… they are such beautiful fish.

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By now it was 9:30am, the first of the Cowes week yachts were beginning to gather and The Solent was beginning to get busy so I was contemplating calling it a day when I had my one and only bite on the mackerel bait. It was a strange bite and when I struck into it all I could feel was a dead weight but when it got to near the surface I saw why… it was a thornback ray – not big but my first from the yak so pleasing. A couple of pictures and he was put back to fight another day.

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Stuck at it for another hour or so but it had gone quiet again which probably wasn’t helped by the hive of activity on the water with yacht after yacht skimming through. It’s an impressive sight even if puts an end to the fishing!

I paddled in and gutted a few of the mackerel ready for the smoker and the rest that were left I kept for bait – probably had a dozen or so in total, not bad for fishing anchored up using a hand line just underneath the yak…

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So, another nice little session but I really must try a different venue next time!

As I say, leaving the wife and dog at home and off to Wales later today with my son camping for a few days, and hopefully, there will be a bit of fishing to be had from a couple of rock marks I’ve been told about… we’ll see.

Until next time……

Sharks in The Solent!?

After about ten days of not getting the opportunity there was finally the chance to get out on the yak … if only for a short session. Recently there has been an annoying spell of stiffer south westerly winds which coupled with other commitments have curtailed my fishing opportunities so Saturday morning it was nice to wet a line in lovely calm conditions.

My pal Nobby was going to join me but let’s just say he may have been on the sauce a little longer than intended on Friday night and missed the starters gun completely!

Still, unperturbed, I was up with the larks again down to my now local haunt at Lee-on-Solent. I was set-up and ready to launch at around 4:30am with the first signs of light showing on the horizon – more predominately was one of the large ocean going liners destined for Southampton.

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I got to my spot and cracked on with the fishing  – a crab bait down on one rod, a bream rig on the other and a cheeky hand line loaded with feathers for the mackies just under the surface. Again, similar to last time, it was quite quiet to start with but then the old saying of “no buses for ages then two come at once” kicked in and let’s just say I had one of those ‘calamity moments’……

First of all the hand line which I had tucked under my leg, not leashed down I hasten to add, starts to go berserk so bringing that up I could see two mackies on, at this point the rod with the crab bait starts going for it so I grab that and the hand line gently slips from under my leg, mackerel and all attached, into the water …… I just managed to grab it whilst holding on to the other rod. Decision time…..I decide to get the hand line in as the mackies were just under the surface and I safely get them aboard the yak and despatch them into the cool bag. At this point the hand line is now on my lap, still unattached, and I attend to the other rod that is still going for it with what I suspect to be a smoothie pup …… and so it is. I get the feisty pup on the yak, nothing big, and it does what a smoothie does best – beats the hell out of everything on board and yes, you guessed it, it knocks the bloody hand line into the water! This time I can’t get to it – all I can do is look on as it unravels, floating away in the current. You really do need to leash everything down! Anyway, here’s the innocent looking culprit……

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Still, I managed a chuckle and carried on but that was the one and only smoothie which was a shame. After all that excitement the bream then started to come on the feed – nailed 4 or 5 in total all on squid strips……

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It was only a short session as I say so for the last hour I switched the bream rig for feathers and managed three more mackies, two of which I experimented with live baiting for bass but to no avail. I was nearing the end of my session and decided to chuck down a whole squid while I de-rigged the feathers and just as I’d finished doing that I had a cracking bite which I connected with and what felt like a smoothie snatch and grab but I was wrong…….

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…… a small Solent tope! Not exactly Jaws at around the 3lb – 4lb mark but a first for me so I was well chuffed. Then to top my morning off, as the tide had turned, what came floating right towards me – yep the hand line – fully intact! Picked it out of the water and paddled in after that as I had to be back by 11 a.m. When I got to the shore I got chatting with a chap who I’d seen out there in his boat and he’d also had a tope in the same weight bracket so the smaller ones must be about at this time of the year.

A pleasant session again and a few mackerel smoked for tea – delicious!

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Happy days… until next time……

Dawn raid lands bream

Some people enjoy their fishing in the evenings as the sun is heading down but for me the best time to fish is at the opposite end of the day watching the light change before the sun appears above the horizon. This is the sunrise I experienced on the water this Friday just gone – a real corker of a dawn with mist just lifting from the coast:

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I had a welcome few hours to try and stock up on some mackerel which I know were now showing and, buoyed by my last trip down to Lee-on-Solent, to try for some black bream… on one count I was successful but on the other strangely disappointed… and it’s not necessarily the way round you would think. As usual I was fishing two rods, one was set up initially with feathers and the other with a baited hokkai rig. Despite near perfect conditions and being on the water by 4:30 a.m. it was strangely quiet out there and it wasn’t for a good hour before the welcome rat-a-tat-tat bite of a bream was felt on the hokkai rig and even that I missed! Eventually I managed to hook into one though, nothing big but I had broken my duck for the day:

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After a couple more bream came aboard I up anchored and deployed the recently purchased drogue for a slow drift in the current but there was still no sign of mackerel which was strange so I reverted to anchoring up again and switched the feathers on rod two for a Pennell rig a with a whole squid on to see if there was anything a bit more decent down there that could be tempted. Within minutes I had a nice knock and connected with something a bit better which turned out to be a feisty smoothie pup that had greedily gobbled up the whole squid.

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Meanwhile, on the other rod the bream were beginning to hit the baited hokkais again at a regular rate of knots, so quick in fact were their bites that I was probably only connecting with one in three – next time I’ll try with an even smaller hooked hokkai rig I think! Still, I did manage one keeper of about 1.5lb in the end out of the ten that came aboard the yak.

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The wind got up around 10 a.m. and chopped the water up so I decided to have another few drifts with the feathers before heading in and bingo………at last I broke my mackerel duck for the day with a  solitary fish which was destined for the smoker when I got home (sorry no picture!).

My final picture on this report is of the recently acquired fishing drogue in action, and it’s something I will definitely be making good use of – really did help slow down the drift in the current – great bit of kit that I need to play with a bit more yet to get the best out of it.

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Another pleasant few hours on the water in smashing early morning conditions and good sport on light gear with the bream. The lone mackerel aside the other surprise was the lack of dogfish which made a pleasant change if I’m honest – I’ve certainly had my quota of these in the last couple of months so I can’t say I missed them on this trip.  I later learned where all the mackerel were when I got a call from my pal Nobby on his way to work who kindly informed me there were birds working huge shoals of them in close to the shore – typical eh?! Oh well…….

Might have to have a local evening session for the mackies after work this week (weather permitting) and hopefully a trip to a different venue could be on the cards in the next week or so.

Until next time……

More riggin’

Well, I had hoped to get out on Saturday afternoon for a spot of local mackerel fishing but it wasn’t to be…… a combination of domestic duties and more so the increasing strength of the wind put pay to any chance of getting out on the kayak. A shame as I had the kayak and kit all ready to go but there you have it … these things happen. Nevertheless, whilst all the kit was out I thought I’d take the opportunity to take a few more pictures for the blog of my kayak rigged up (in the garden assisted by my son Billy and less so by the dog who you’ll see if you look carefully enough!).

A recent addition you’ll see to the rigging is the dry box in my rear tank well. This is an adaptation of a cracking idea by Rob Appleby ( The Salterwateryakfisherman) where he uses the same water tight container to create a dry box which can be  converted to a live bait tank. I have unashamedly used Rob’s idea to create my dry box but without going as far as the live bait tank. Maybe something for the future but certainly thanks to Rob for sharing his idea for all to see. The big plus with the dry box is anything in their shouldn’t suffer from the affects of salt water and means less kit cleaning on your return…… that’s the thought process anyway!

As for fishing, it looks like next weekend if the weather permits.

Anyhow, here are some of the pictures of the rigging on my Trident as promised:

Firstly, here’s the new dry box in the main tankwell – it has a screw in lid which is attached to the inside of the box to avoid any potential mishap which might see it going overboard:

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Moving forward here’s the Trident’s RodPod. I’ve installed a further hatch to it for easy access for when you just want to grab a small item from inside the yak without un-strapping the whole of the RodPod hatch – I’ve found this very handy. Also you’ll see the GPS unit mounted at the front of the Pod attached to power lead running to a 12v battery situated inside the yak:

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In front of the GPS unit you can see the fishfinder with the Trident’s sonar shield – you may think the position of the GPS obscures your view of the fishfinder but it’s not an issue at all given your line of vision from your seated position:

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At the front of the kayak is the cross-lock hatch where I have the battery housed and is also where I stow away the C-Tug trolley when on the water:

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Here is the battery housing inside the front hatch of the kayak securely fastened inside a watertight container, inserted into a foam housing and held in place with heavy duty Velcro:

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Here is one of the adjustable rod holders I use – there is another mounted in a similar position on the opposite side of the kayak:

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The rudder is invaluable on the water and makes such a difference when the paddling gets a bit tougher:

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For night fishing the navigation light is there for safety and fishing purposes alike – again it’s wired into the 12v battery at the front of the kayak:

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And, finally here are a few of snaps of the kayak rigged out in all it’s glory:

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So, there you have it…… I just hope next time the yak is rigged up it’ll be to get on the water with her.

Until next time….