Help me deck out my new YAK!


Just call me Jon
Did a lot of reading on this forum and others, and recently pulled the trigger on an Old Town Vapor 10XT for all around use in both the Sound, as well as some river action (no wild water though). I'm excited to deck it out! They had an angler version for a lot more money, but it seemed better suited to gear fishing, and didn't seem worth $200 extra when I could DIY the necessities and make it custom for ME, probably for cheaper.

So, how have you guys decked out your yaks? Do you prefer the flush mount rod holders, or a surface mounted fly rod holder? Anchor trolley preference? Custom bungee systems? So far I've only got the stock covered storage, and a drain hole. :)



Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Hi jon, You might want to check out for tons of good info and discussion on how to rig your yak, plus nearly everything else related to kayak angling. There've been a few posts in this forum, too.

I don't ever use a rod holder for my flyrods. Only use those for my gear rods. If I'm trolling a streamer, I just have my rod pointed out over the stern, over one of my thighs, with the reel/handle in front of me, resting inside the hoop of my rubber mesh boat net, which is propped up on a soft cooler between my calves. Drag set at where I will want it to fight the fish.
I'm right handed, and I've found that having my anchor-trolley mounted on the right side of my yaks works best for me. I made my own anchor system.

Soft coolers or tackle bags are better than anything hard. I custom load/pack for every trip.
Because my U-12 is a low-profile canoe and takes on a little water, I put my fishing pack (when i take it along, usually when I plan to park the yak and hike further upstream) in a plastic milk crate located behind my seat. This keeps my pack up and out of the bilge. I also made some vertical pole/net holders out of PVC that I have lashed to the front side of the crate.

I keep immediately needed essentials, like tippet, flybox, forceps, knife, nippers, hook sharpener, whistle, etc in or on my pfd.

I stash a small handheld marine radio, flares, space blanket, first aide kit, spare dry thermal top, etc. in a small drybag stuffed way up in the bow, and so far have never had to reach for it. Other than this, I try to never take anything along that I don't think I'll actually use or need for the day's excursion. It really helps to keep things as simple as possible when yak/canoe fly angling.
Have fun.
Keep it simple but functional as Jim says... too much gear of any type is just tooo much clutter. focus on the safety aspect, again as Jim says...minimal gear and gear bags, immediate needs stuff close at hand or in your pfd pockets.

a word on the anchor trolley, well ok, two... rig the actual anchor "Columbia river style" so you can retrieve it easily. when rigging the trolley, leave a weak link in one end or the other of the trolley lines. i do it by using a cheap piece of bungee to attach one of the pulleys to either bow or stern. you can replace the line and trolley, and the boat... you, not so easily.

again, if you go to that other site, on the front page is a great tutorial on how to set up a line winder to compliment the anchor system you just built.

and, don't forget, you can also use that trolley to deploy a drift sock instead of the anchor... just remember to add a float on the line somewheres close to the snap link that is on the end of the drift sock runners.... that keeps the sock up a bit to avoid snags.

Congratulations on the new YAK!

Here’s some of the minor tinkering I have done with my yak – it might give you another idea or two that you can use. I have one flush mount and two upright Scotty rod holders. I use the flush mount for my net (if I’m keeping a few that day) and I use one upright to hold my rod when I troll and travel. The last two pinks that I have taken at DP came when I was slow trolling. I put the second Scotty on for a “back-up” rod, although I’ve never used it. I cut the handle short on my net (aluminum) so it sits closer to the boat and doesn’t interfere with my hail Mary casting. My anchor is on a trolley system, which works great when I need to re-angle the boat to cast better. I found this to be important in the sound, but not really a factor in the lakes. I removed the small anchor chock that came with the kayak because it interfered with my self-rescue re-entry; which I do exclusively on the left side of my kayak.

I have fun swamping my kayak here at our lake and practice self-rescue whenever I get a chance. My kayak is very stable and of course my goal when I float and fish is to stay upright, but in the unlikely case I don’t, I’m confident my boat will float high and I can get my sorry ass back in it! I added floatation in the bow: junk styrofoam, and along the sides: the long float noodles that the kids play with – sorry, don’t know what they are called. I tether my valuables – especially my paddles (military parachute cord) and my prized fly rod (50# fly line backing). My tethers are minimal and do not interfere with my fishing. I always wear a dive knife, which is always super sharp and ready to cut rope.

On the rare occasions I want to keep fish and keep trolling, I’ve been known to tow a boogie board (wahoo - more flotation!) with an ice filled plastic container. It beats beaching the kayak and walking back to the jeep. Good luck to you brother - and be safe!
ummm something i forgot earlier that maybe you want to consider is floatation bags. one in bow, one in stern. totally your call but since you're using a Vapor, they could keep you from losing the boat if it swamps.

and i'm not picking on you for choice of boat. My 15 ft SOT has them too. well , four actually. had to use the large size Rec Boat bags, total PITA getting the ones in the back installed. even though its self draining, and seldom have water inside, i'd rather be safe than sorry.

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