Rigging the Native Watercraft Slayer Propel

Re-posted from AustinKayakFishing.com with permission, original content by Tim Nikels.

After dreaming and obsessing about it, I finally made my mind up to purchase a new Slayer Propel. Left work early stopped by ACK, no second guessing or wondering, just “Hi, I’ll take one of these, in lizard lick, is it in the warehouse and when can I have it?”

ACK got it in from their warehouse the next day and installed 4 flush mount rod holders behind the seat because I really liked that layout on my Manta Ray, and don’t really care for milk crates. Also had ACK install the anchor trolley (because their costs for installation are insanely cheap, so why not?). Since I didn’t want any issues with messing up the rudder, or having to worry about carrying a heavy boat, I opted for the C-Tug kayak cart, and it works great and the color compliments the boat.

Little LED light Soldering...
Little LED light Soldering…

I was able to pick it up the early following day with the installations completed. I was spending the weekend with my boys so didn’t spend much time on the boat, only rigging was installing the front hatch cover and rearranging the bungies in the rear well the way I like them. I debated my lighting options for a while and decided that I’d rather have green LEDs, mainly because my blue LEDs are on white strips, which would look like crap, even thought the lights might be brighter. I had 24″ strips on my Manta Ray and noticed that I was always trying to lean forward to see the lit up areas under the boat, because the lights were all up front. For the Slayer Propel, I decided to install 48″ light strips on each side, which brings the lights back almost to the cockpit.

The Fish Finder all rigged up.
The Fish Finder all rigged up.

For my fish finder, I bought a Humminbird with Down Imaging, as I’ve been told DI is a big help in tournament fishing. You can see the power cable and transducer cable coming out of the grommet to the right. After debating where my paddle was going to be stored and how I wanted things placed, I decided to do what most do and mount the FF on the right rail up front using a ram ball mounting system for the head unit.

The battery is located in the front hatch, instead of making a box or anything for it, I just used velcro to attach it to the wall of the well, easy in and out and it holds it securely in place (power cabling also run through a Hobie grommet into the hull). I need to do a little bit of tidying up of the wires in the hull, and work in a fusible link somewhere, but everything is currently functional and the way I want it. There’s still another circuit available on the switch, so I still may do some cockpit lights later (although they always just blinded me in the Manta Ray, maybe installed below the seat they won’t blind me).

I’ll be taking it on its maiden voyage soon so I can see how to manage grass with the Slayer Propel peddle drive.

The Rail Deal

No matter how many installs I do while working for ACK, it is always a bit nerve-racking to drill into someone’s boat. In the best-case scenario, the customer has been paddling for a while and knows exactly where he/she would like the item mounted. Even still, there is the process of finding which mount will work best for that specific location, for that specific piece of gear. It isn’t a huge leap in logic to see that a maneuverable mounting system can save loads of headaches.

There are three major things to think about when installing accessories on a Canoe or Kayak:

The YakAttack Gear Trac

Deck Space – Boat manufacturers have varying ideas about cockpit and deck layouts. There are some designs that designate spots for specific bases but lots of times we are improvising to make a mount fit where it is functional. Even with several companies to choose from, it is sometimes hard to find a base with just the right size or shape needed for an install. With limited deck space on streamlined models like Hobie’s Revolution or Necky’s Vector, a thin rail like Yak Attack’s GT90 Gear Trac makes otherwise impossible installs a reality.

Feel Free Uni-Trac Mount

Paddle Stroke – The biggest placement issue in a canoe or kayak is paddle clearance. You might not realize it, but accessories could get in the way of your paddling stroke, so plan ahead! The manufacturers that do factory-installed rod holders tend to leave at least 32’’ of clearance in front, and 6” behind the seat for a paddle stroke. When I can, though, I like to have the customer sit in a cockpit with a paddle to get a feel for where a mount would work the best for them. Even so, there is not always a space for one in the “sweet spot”, so having the ability to move an accessory closer to you when using it, and away from you when paddling, can be a huge boon.

Functionality – Besides paddle-ability, there are other factors that can determine the placement of accessories. Fish-ability is a key point for a lot of people, so whether a person is right or left-handed or if they mostly use a spincast/baitcast can factor into the placement. Also in the case of fish finders and other electronics, it is nice to have them within reach.

Groove track from Native Watercraft

Last but not least, is the question of weight distribution. A heavy surf or trolling rod can put a lot of stress on the plastic when installed on a smaller mount. A rail, however, would disperse the tension throughout a larger area.

The RAM Screwball

With all the benefits of these accessories, it is no wonder that most kayak companies are embracing them. Wilderness Systems, as in lots of areas, was ahead of the curve in this regard. They included the Slide Trax rail into all of their Sit-On-Top boats starting in 2010.  Native was not far behind with their Groove Track, and now  Feel Free is including the Uni-Track on the Moken 12 and 14. Furthermore, third party companies are introducing new ways to become part of the rail world. RAM’s Screwball and Scotty’s Gear Track Adaptor now make it possible to bypass the mounting plates and dashboards that used to be conventional wisdom, although sometimes they still make more sense.

With the ever-evolving systems, there are lots of things coming on line to help with the search for the “Holy Rail” – good luck! If you ever need assistance with mount placement or suggestions, please let us know, we are always happy to help.

Randy @ACK San Marcos

Turn Your Kayak Into a Fishing Machine in 3 Easy Steps

This article was recently published in our in-store newsletter, which you can now find at any one of our 3 store locations.

Kayak fishing has become one of the fastest growing segments of the paddling industry, and for good reason. Kayak Fishing gives you access to waters most have a hard time reaching in traditional fishing boats and it’s relatively inexpensive. Rather than get into the details of the history of kayak fishing, we are going to focus on what it takes to get you started with 3 inexpensive products. Sounds simple enough? That’s because it is! Now of course, we are assuming you already purchased your kayak, paddle, whistle and PFD.

Step 1.
You need something to keep your rods in place. Your boat can flip or your rod can get hung up on a tree. Last thing you want to do is lose your brand new rod and reel combo. Rod holders are typically made of plastic material and can be mounted with bolts or rivets.

Flush Rod Holder

Flush Mounted Rod Holder – A tube that is inserted into your kayak or sometimes molded into the boat. The end of the rod is simply inserted into the tube and can be secured with a rod leash. These are usually installed behind the seat on the top deck area.

Deck Mounted Rod Holder

Deck Mounted Rod Holder – Provides a more secure hold than a Flush Rod Holder by “grasping” your rod and reel. You’ll typically find these installed on the center of the deck between your lower legs.

Step 2.
Make sure you can stop your boat. Like fishing on a motor boat, you’ll want to stay put when you find that “honey hole”. Securing your kayak to a specific location is key when fishing and there is no better way to do it than with a small anchor and rope. Since you are limited on space and capacity, don’t get anything over 3lbs. and consider getting one with a mesh bag for easy storage.

Folding Anchor

Folding Anchors – Folding anchors tend to be the most popular design due to their ability to provide a good hold in most environments and their portability.

Claw or “Bruce” Style Anchor System

Claw Anchor – If you want an anchor that can hold you in place even in the softest bottoms this is the anchor you need. It may not be as portable as a folding anchor but you can rest assured you won’t be going anywhere.

Step 3.
Secure your paddle. We’ve all heard the term “up the creek without a paddle” — avoid it. By installing a simple device that secures your paddle to your boat, you’ll never have to worry about losing a paddle when you catch the “big one”.

Paddle Leash (Coil)

Paddle Leash – The easiest way to attach your paddle to your kayak. One end simply ties to a piece of hardware or installed accessory and the other to your paddle shaft. The leash is typically coiled or made of a “bungee” material.

There you have it! Your kayak has been magically transformed into a kayak fishing machine, but you are probably wondering, is that really it? Like with any recreational activity, hundreds of accessories that you may have never even considered are available to help make your kayak fishing experience a more enjoyable one. We invite you to visit any of our 3 ACK locations to look at our “rigged” display kayak. A store associate will be happy to walk you through the entire display to help you determine what you need. You can also visit our website to view hundreds of fishing accessories.

Note: We have several how-to articles available on our website. Several of these products are covered there. Click here to access our how-to library.