Gettin’ rigged…..

Well, it’s been a while since my last blog and true to form it has been largely down to one of the ‘W’s mentioned in my last post…. Work. Saying that though although the weather has been dry it has been windy down here on the South Coast so probably limited opportunities to get out on the kayak anyway.

Anyhow, I digress…. This article is all about getting rigged for fishing on the kayak. As I mentioned in a previous article getting the kayak is not even half the story when it comes to kitting out. I haven’t totalled up what I’ve spent on kitting the yak out but I wouldn’t mind betting it’s over doubled the initial outlay for the kayak and the paddle.

For starters there’s safety kit…. I’m not going to give a huge list of what you should and could have – there are other forums and sites on the internet with a wealth of information far more extensive than I can list or am experienced enough to talk about. I reckon with a bit of common sense and talking to experienced yakkers most people will be able to get the basics right. So, what have I gone for? Well, a ‘lifejacket’ or in the yakking world a personal flotation device (PFD) for starters is a must. If you want to stay dry then a dry bag/suit is needed – I went for a two-piece number in the form of a bib and braces with a cag over the top which has served me well to date. However, in retrospect I do see the advantage of an all-in-one suit to reduce the risk of water getting in. In addition I’ve managed to accumulate wet suit boots, gloves, hats, flares, VHF radio, leashes, a towline, dive knife, leashes, a safety light, and a whistle …. all in the name of safety on the water!

Here’s Nobby and my good self in our kit ready to go……

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In terms of rigging the yak itself again I’m no expert and again would suggest you hunt out other sites on the internet where you will see no end of ideas on how to rig your yak and believe me there are infinite possibilities. Both Nobby and myself have been extremely fortunate in the early days of out kayak fishing to stumble upon an experienced yak fisherman, Rob Appleby, who has helped us get rigged up and provided much sound advise. Without wishing to embarrass him it really is worth taking a look at Rob’s blog for some cracking and sensible ideas for rigging out your kayak as well as reading through his experiences – it comes highly recommend. As for my trusty Trident I’ve added to it a couple of access hatches, one at the stern and one on the RodPod, an anchor trolley, and two rod tubes as permanent fixtures. In addition to this there is a removable 12v battery that powers a fishfinder, GPS unit and for night fishing a stern light. Other removable items include a seat, a dry box in the small tankwell behind the seat and then either a yak bag or a crate for the main tankwell. I’ve also got an anchor setup which attaches to the anchor trolley and a trolley to wheel the yak around.

Here’s some of my rigging bits…

The fishfinder

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Dry box in rear small tankwell

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The stern access hatch

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All this and I haven’t even mentioned the fishing kit for which you’ll need more leashes to keep it all on the yak! I’ll save that for another blog…. after I’ve got some fishing in.

Decisions, decisions….

As I hinted in a previous post, once the seed was sewn on the idea of getting a kayak the thought process gained momentum pretty quickly and both Nobby and I began to explore the options. The obvious starting place was the internet to get some sort of idea of what was available on the market. There was quite a range of options out there for us wannabee yakkers but we decided at an early stage that it was the sit-on-top variety that we felt ticked the right boxes.

We looked at what some of the main manufacturers such as Wilderness, Ocean Kayak and Malibu had to offer and all had their merits but we kept coming back to the offerings from Ocean Kayak and in particular the Prowler range. We were looking for stability, manoeuvrability, hatch space and features and they seemed to tick the right boxes with good reviews on internet forums. Ultimately, there were three choices within our budgets that we whittled it down to:

  • The Prowler 13 Angler
  • The Prowler Trident 13 Angler
  • The Big Game Prowler

Nobby was keen on the Prowler 13 Angler while I was more in favour of either the Trident 13 or The Big Game. Both the Prowler and the Trident looked more streamline than the Big Game which seemed bulkier although more stable.

In the end, after a trip to The Family Adventure Store in Trowbridge we opted for the Trident which seemed to be in the middle of the Prowler 13 and The Big Game but with the advantage of features such as the RodPod and the Sonar Shield.

Within a week of our visit the orders were placed and we patiently waited then for 6 weeks until we got the call to say they had arrived. When we picked up the yaks it was just like Christmas as kids all over again! We even had the added bonus that they’d shipped them with rudders already fitted by mistake which was a real result.

Here they are all wrapped up and ready to go…

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… and here was my yellow piece of heaven unwrapped on the hall floor when I got it home!

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Now we had the yaks…  but that wasn’t half the story, we now needed kit to wear, safety kit, different fishing kit and not to mention modifications we’d undoubtedly want to make! It was now that the real fun and expense began! I warn any of you out there thinking of buying a kayak it is a huge addiction what with the tinkering and the accessorising!

Eighteen months on I am generally pleased with the decision to get the Trident but in retrospect I can see big benefits in the Big Game Prowler namely the stability it offers and I am not wholly convinced that the RodPod design on the Trident is as good as it could be. Maybe I’m being picky here though really as overall the Trident is a good kayak in my opinion.