Google Hangout: Flush Mounted Rod Holder Install

Time: 6:30 PM

Date: Dec. 18th, 2012

How to View Broadcast:

Google+ Members: Click here to enter the Hangout

Non Google+ Members: View the broadcast below at the scheduled time

The Hangout will star ACK’s very own Chris Hackerd, co-owner and VP of store operations, who has offered to lend some of his time to demonstrate how to install a flush mounted rod holder on a kayak.

Google+ members can view this broadcast either in Google+ or within this blog. Only the first ten Google + members to log in through Google+ will have the option to participate in the Q&A. If you are not a Google+ member you can still view the presentation here.

Choosing the Right Kayak

Knowing which kayak is right for you is a question we are always trying to help answer. In fact, it’s a subject we’ve talked about quite a bit this year! Since our Texas customers will be getting all the expert advice they want at our 2012 Fall Demo Days, we thought this would be a good time to look back on some of advice we’ve put out on selecting the right kayak for you.

Start with the basics. This guide will walk you through the different types of kayaks we offer, ranging from the material they’re made of to the shape of their hull. Once you’ve done that, get a little more specific with our 2012 Roundups. See which of our favorites made the beginning of the year list and the summer list. While some of the boats mentioned have had recent upgrades, you’ll be able to click through to the most recent model. After you’ve looked over all that, follow-up with any questions you might have by commenting below, we’re here to help!


Quick and Easy DIY Mount for a Humminbird PiranhaMax 160 Fish Finder by Travis Abner (The Lost Hiker)

After recently purchasing and reviewing a new Ride 135 for kayak fishing, Travis Abner decided to add on a new PiranhaMax 160 Fishfinder from Hummingbird. He originally posted this DIY for installing the fish finder on his blog (The Lost Hiker) and shared it with us. Thanks Travis!

Once I got the initial setup on my boat with all of the rod holders and anchor trolleys, I contemplated adding a fish finder. A lot of people out there choose not to add a fish finder to their fishing kayak, mostly because they fish rivers and a fish finder is of little use and just gets in the way. Fish finders will work ok on larger rivers, but for many it’s just not worth the trouble. My goal was to make it as little trouble as possible. I fish a lot of smaller lakes and reservoirs, and it would be nice to at least see the depth and temperature of the water I’m fishing in. Finding actual fish is a nice perk as well…

I opted to go with the Humminbird PiranhaMax 160 that carries. It has a dual-band transducer for 20 and 60 degree angle readings, allowing a good wide view of what’s below you. It also has a very nice backlight and is waterproof. I’ll get around to posting an in-depth review soon of the PiranhaMax 160, but I was once again impressed by ACK’s prices, shipping, and customer service. They’re actually one of the few retailers I trust that carry the 160 (most others only carry either the 150 or the 170 for some odd reason). I considered the 160 a steal for $90 shipped, especially given the dual band transducer, backlight and weatherproofing. I didn’t want to go with something too expensive, mostly because I only really needed basic functionality for now. I may change my mind sometime in the future as I fish more lakes and really get to researching thermoclines, but the little 160 fits my needs perfectly for now.

I wanted to mount my recently purchased PiranhaMax 160 in a way that it was easily removable for when I do not want it or need it on river and creek trips. I researched a few ways to mount it by purchasing adapters for a rod holder base, but in the end I decided to make my own. The total cost? About 50 cents.

I was going to purchase a mount made specifically for the Piranhamax series by Scotty, which is very nice, but it didn’t have the option of routing the cables through the actual mount, which is ultimately what I wanted. I was then going to do the same as Paul from Palmetto Kayak Fishing and make a custom mount base like his, but it also wasn’t designed to have the cables routed through the mount.

Hole at the fish finder base fits PVC perfectly.

I decided to start with a Scotty Flush Mount Bracket, which has a nice low profile and a plug that you can remove from the bottom for, in my case, routing cables. I still wasn’t sure how I was going to interface the base of the fish finder to the flush mount bracket, until I got to peering at the bottom of the fish finder’s base. As it turns out, below the hole in the base of the fish finder, there is a 1/2-1/4″ long tube or shaft that extends down. The circumference of that little tube appeared to be the same as the outer circumference of 1/2″ PVC. I tried a 1/2″ PVC coupler and it fit perfect! Snug enough that it takes a pretty good grip to pull it back off, but one could probably secure it with a little GOOP or Lexel for added security. I then cut a small piece of 1/2″ pvc (maybe 2.5 to 3 inches long) to go in the other end of the coupler, long enough to fit in one end of the coupler and extend down into the bottom of the Scotty flush mount bracket.

Only visible PVC was painted.

As evident from the pictures, I painted it gloss black (the visible portion anyways) to give it a nice sleek look that matched the fish finder and flush mount. The 1/2″ pvc fits down into the flush mount base perfect. It has a little “play” at first, but once you work it past the notch that’s down in the flush mount bracket, it locks in pretty decent with enough resistance to keep it from moving around or falling out if you happen to flip your boat. As an added measure of security, I may eventually drill a small hole through both the pvc shaft and the shaft of the flush mount big enough to put a small lynch pin or PTO pin through. Keep in mind that if one does go with that method of securing their fish finder to the base, pull the cables before you drill the hole, then push them back through after drilling, and use a small enough pin that won’t pinch the cables when you push it through to lock it all in place.

The fish finder mounted from the back.

Once everything was secured, I routed my transducer and power cables up through the base and plugged them into the PiranhaMax 160. [Pro-Tip: Run the transducer cable up first, then the power cable] When I’m not using the fish finder, I simply pull the cables back down into the hull and secure them with a twist tie, then flip the rubber cap down on the flush mount to keep water out or stick a Scotty rod holder in there.

I’m currently working on creating a waterproof battery box, to power my fish finder and a few other accessories that I plan on adding on later. The box will be secured in the center of the hull between the two “towers” formed by the scupper holes (Ride 135 owners will know what I’m talking about. As for the transducer, I opted to “glass” it to the hull using a carved out foam block and some Lexel. I’m not sure how I’ll like the transducer mounted like that though. I’ve heard it has no signal loss, but it does throw the water temp reading off a bit. If it becomes a huge issue, I’ll opt for a flip down transducer mount. For now though, this setup should work ok for me, now I just need to get it on the water and try it out this weekend!

About the Author: Travis has been a part time whitewater guide on the Cumberland and Big South Fork river for 9 years, but his day job is in IT for Eastern Kentucky University.  He grew up fishing on Laurel Lake, Lake Cumberland, and Lake Cherokee. Recently, Travis started river and creek fishing, and enjoys hitting up the Elkhorn, Cumberland, and Rockcastle rivers for smallmouth in KY.

Werner Paddles Rep Taylor Robertson Shares SUP Expertise

We wanted to share some video footage from Werner Paddles representative Taylor Robertson from our 2012 Fall Demo Days. Taylor has been in the industry for over 14 years now and is very knowledgeable about stand up paddle boards and the paddles that go along with them. We’ve included two videos from a seminar he gave at our Demo Days event. In the first video he discusses proper launch and paddle stroke techniques. In the second, he identifies a number of the different paddles that Werner has available and discusses some key features of each. These are both great watches for those interested in learning more about stand up paddle boarding. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us Taylor!

How To: Standing and Kayak Fishing by Adam Hayes (YakAngler)

This article was originally published at by Adam Hayes (YakAngler Co. Founder):

I’ve wanted to write an article on the topic of standing and fishing while kayak fishing for some time now.  I talk to so many people that either struggle with this task or have just never tried.

Obviously I recommend trying this in a pool or in still water without your gear so that you can safely and easily do a re-entry.  I’m of the school of thought that you certainly do not need to stand and fish in your kayak; in fact some of our most regarded kayak anglers never stand.  I just feel like it’s more enjoyable and easier to cast and pitch from this position.

There are so many new kayak models on the market that are designed to allow you to stand and fish. There is the NuCanoe, Diablo, KC Kayak, and Native Ultimate, just to name a few.

Check out the video below for my demonstration on the mechanics of standing and fishing from your kayak.

About the Author: Adam Hayes is an avid kayak angler and the Co. Founder of He is addicted to fishing tackle and gear and is dedicated to growing the sport of kayak fishing. Adam considers himself a pretty poor writer and “crappy” photographer but still loves to share his stories and findings with the readers of YakAngler.

Converting a Hobie Mirage into a Paddle Kayak w/Rudder

Picture 1.

My 2007 Hobie Adventure Mirage recently died from a hull crack where the mirage drive plugs in. It leaked a lot of water as the pedal stress opened up the crack with every push. It was already out of warranty by a year but Hobie was kind enough to sell me a replacement hull at a nice discount. The old hull still looked good for paddling as the crack was easy to seal but I wanted to make the rudder useable with foot controls. (Note: All Hobie’s with Mirage Drives use a hand-controlled rudder.)

Picture 2.

An Internet search led to purchase of a pair of Smarttrack Toe Pilot Foot Controls sold by Austin Canoe and Kayak. I mounted them as shown in the Picture 1. Pretty straightforward, but the leg length adjusters need to be able to slide back so I mounted them at a slight downward angle towards the bow. The front mounted directly to the hull but for the rear I made a small bracket out of aluminum as shown in Picture 2.

Cabling the rudder was somewhat tricky. The foot controls come with a nice long stainless steel cable that will reach the rudder without any splices, but getting it back there required a few extra parts. I bought some cable housing to fit the 1/16” diameter cable (which is much larger than bicycle cable). Turns out the ultralight airplane community uses this stuff on their throttle systems, so I ordered the cable housing, ferrules, rubber boots, feed-throughs, and clamps from Green Sky Adventures in Hawthorne, FL for about $50.

Picture 3.

I used the cable housing to go from the foot controls to the feed-throughs, which were in different locations for the left and right sides. I picked places to enter the hull so the cables had a straight shot toward the back of the hull. I also put a rubber boot over the feed-through assembly as shown in Picture 3.

Rudder Assembly

Inside the hull, I removed the old rudder control, cut the cables, and pulled them out the back. I then lengthened the stock poly tubes that run from the rudder toward the bow. This is easy, just use some 3/8” tubing to splice on another foot or so of ¼” tubing. I then put some tape on the end of the cables and pushed them through the poly until they came out the back. Sounds weird pushing instead of pulling but it worked fine (I did it twice). You need to have all the cable-housing fittings in place before running the cable back to the rudder; otherwise you will end up doing it twice. Next, I attached the poly tubing with cable to a couple of choice places inside the hull just to keep them out of trouble. The stainless steel cables then attached to the rudder just like old ones.

I patched up all the holes and went down to the beach to try her out. The controls worked great! In fact, the Hobie rudder is more responsive than the one on my OK Prowler and only required minor adjustments with my toes to turn the boat. My only complaint is that the foot controls make the hull too narrow about halfway up your calf. I think I will mount some pressure pads on the aft end of the foot controls. On a wider-hulled boat, it might not be an issue.

If anyone wants more details, I can post the part #s for the cable housing supplies. Also, I have leftover cable housing for two or three more boats if anyone wants it — leave a comment. I’m curious how well this stuff holds up in the sun and salt water and will post an update after a few more outings.

ACK Customer:
Mark Parsons

Flush Mounted Rod Holder Install for the Offshore Angler

Offshore kayak fishing presents challenges that some kayak anglers may not be prepared for. One example is the integrity of a flush mounted rod holder when fishing for large pelagic fish. In some cases a typical install using rivets may not be sufficient enough. When a large fish strikes it can put great stress on the rod holder and  the rod holder can be ripped out causing you to loose the fish. In some cases can end up losing expensive equipment if it wasn’t secured with a leash and even worse, you can be left with a large open hole that water can flow into making your kayak unstable and unsafe. Andrew, the ACK Houston store manager, suggested that I try a different method of installation using nuts and bolts. The method illustrated below not only provides a more secure installation but also helps solve the issue of not being able to use nut and bolts because of limited interior access.

Steve Mullins
ACK-Houston Customer

Materials Needed:

(3) 10/32 stainless steel bolts, 2” long
(3) 10/32 nuts with nylon inserts
(6) – stainless steel washers
Needle Nose Pliers
Crescent Wrench
Vice Grips
Dremmel Tool w/metal cutting and sanding wheel

Instructions (click on each photo to zoom in):

Step 1: Remove the flush mounted rod holder that is currently installed. If installed with rivets, drill each one out with a drill bit. Using a ¼” drill bit, make the 3 holes on the kayak larger to accommodate the bolts. If you are installing a flush mounted rod holder for the first time, follow the recommended instructions provided by the manufacturer but use a ¼” drill bit to accommodate the 10/32 bolts when drilling the 3 holes.
Step 2: Insert a bolt and washer from the underside of the kayak into each hole. They should fit snug so that they don’t drop when the rod holder is inserted. If they keep dropping into back into the boat, apply a small amount of silicone around each bolt and let dry before you continue.
Step 3: Using the ¼ drill bit, make the 3 holes in the rod holder larger to accommodate the bolts. Add silicone to the bottom side and around each hole on the rod holder and carefully insert it back into the boat. You’ll need to be careful to not let the bolt slip back into the boat. If needed, make the 3 holes on the rod holder a bit larger for easy bolt entry by reinserting the ¼ drill bit into each hole several times. Reapply silicone as needed.
Step 4: Once the rod holder is in place. Insert a washer and nut on to each bolt; loosely tighten until you have about 1/8″ of the bolt exposed above the nut. It helps if you gently grasp each bolt with a pair of needle nose pliers (as shown) when doing this.
Step 5: Using your vice grips, clamp the top of each bolt and tighten the nuts. Wipe off the excess silicone for a clean finish once all the nuts are tightened.
Step 6: With the Dremmel tool, cut the remainder of the bolts off just above the nuts. Swap the metal cutter with sanding wheel and grind the top of each bolt for a smooth finish. This will keep you from getting injured by the rough edges left after cutting the bolts.
Time to go fishing!

Marine Pop Rivets

Marine Pop Rivet

One of the great things about kayaks is the fact that you can customize the heck out of them.  Pad eyes, bungee lashing hooks, bungee buttons, J-hooks, anchor cleats, cam cleats, jam cleats, handles, rod holders, if you can dream it up you can find a place to rig it on your kayak.

In most applications a pop rivet is the answer but there is an important distinction between a normal pop rivet and a marine pop rivet.  You want a rivet that will seal out water.  A marine grade pop rivet will have a small rubber seal on the underside of the rivet edge.  This seal compresses and keeps out the water.

One trick we use when installing marine pop rivets is make sure we don’t over tighten the rivet when clamping it down.  We take it to the point that it is good and tight and then we stop.  Then simply break the shaft off which insures that the center of the rivet stays in the rivet itself making it water tight.

If you have ‘oops’ and need to remove the rivet, here’s one of the ways we do it.  We use an awl (think ice pick) to push the shank out of the middle of the rivet.  You will hear it drop in the bottom of the kayak.  Then re-insert the awl about 1/4″ down into the rivet hole and gently pry.  When you start to pry it off, most often it breaks the rivet in two.  Now you can start over.

There you have it.  Marine pop rivets to install cool stuff on your kayak.

Clayton Clabaugh

Which Kayak is Right For Me?

The process of purchasing a kayak is the same as any other luxury item: discover your need, research the possibilities, and finally, experience the ride. Kayaks are manufactured by companies who emphasize different aspects of the kayaking experience; some rely on flotation stability and accessibility of features.  Other companies might build their kayaks specifically for use on open water or white water kayaking. With so many possibilities, walking a showroom can be exhaustive and a little overwhelming, the different styles all lined up for display—how do I know which kayak is right for me?

The process begins when you decide which style of paddling you expect to engage in. When you have the kayak, will you be kayaking recreationally? Or would you prefer to tour the local river systems and go sightseeing? Perhaps you intend on catching a prize speckled trout. Whatever you decide, this will slim down the long list of options on the showroom floor.

Okay, so after a few evenings of browsing the various blogs and the purchase reviews you’ve come to understand what style of kayak is your best fit.  Now the real research begins. Each brand has something distinctive about it. Your task is to find the nuances that differentiate the boats. You might ask yourself some of these questions: Is there enough maneuverable cockpit space? How much hull storage do I want? What’s the largest kayak that I can easily store? Can the kayak be easily repaired? Will I be able to load and unload the kayak myself? Asking yourself (and the store associate) questions like these will help you find which kayak is right for you.

Now, before you decide to purchase, find a rental version of that kayak (if it’s difficult to find one, you might take that as a hint?) Take it out and get a feel for it. Turning a theoretical kayak into a tangible experience before you buy is your best advantage. You’ll have the experience to back up your decision. And when it’s all said and done, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger; if you’ve found the kayak that works best, then don’t second guess yourself.

Get a head start, and enjoy the water!

Chris Steckel,
San Marcos Store Associate