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Using and Installing Depth Finders on Fishing Kayaks

by Chad Hoover

This alternate depth finder or other types of electronics is not a new concept to Kayak Anglers, however, most Kayak Anglers out for the most inexpensive unit that they can find because they think all I need to do is find the bottom. That's not necessarily true - the more information you have at your disposal the better.

I'm a big fan of having a combination unit GPS and sonar in one system so that it shows me where I'm at and what I'm fishing simultaneously. The cool thing about this setup and the slide track system installed on the Wilderness Systems kayaks is that I can use a Ram Mount. So when I'm sitting in the seat...have easy access to my depth finder. And if I want to move it out of the way, to paddle and cover a lot of water, I can simply rotate it back and lock it into position. It doesn't interfere with my paddle stroke. Additionally, when I want to hop up to the captain's seat, I can loosen this up..loosen the mount slide it further back rotate my depth founder back and I can reach it even when I'm in the upper seating position. Additionally, I like to stand and when I want to stand and fish, I don't want to have to give up using my depth finder.

A lot of bass boats are equipped with a big sonar unit by the cockpit and a smaller unit up in the front near the trolling motor. In a Kayak we don't have that luxury, so you need to find a unit that you can get a lot of bang for your buck. And with this little ranch unit, and a ram system and the wilderness systems slide tracks combination you can simply fold the unit over, rotate it flat, tighten it back up, and when you're standing you've got a perfect view of your depth finder, your GPS and you stay on top of your presentation.

Okay. Obviously, to use a depth finder in your Kayak, you have to get power to it and Kayak can be a wet sport especially sit on tops. So what I've developed is a simple battery box, where your battery is connected, drill a hole in place at the grommet. Slide the battery inside, wedge a couple pieces of foam in there to keep it from rattling around, lock it down, and then tuck it underneath. And it's out of the way.

The next thing I want to talk about a setting up your transducer. For years I went with the internal mount, either using some Goop, Flex Seal, or other types of sealant to mount the transducer inside. More recently water temperature is becoming an important part of the way I fish, and the internal mounts are just not as accurate as they need to be. I'll be honest, and tell you that when these external transducer mounts came out I was a little bit skeptical. I fish in heavy cover, a lot of thickets, and a lot of places where I thought this thing was going to become a hindrance. I've been using it now for quite a while and it's not as big of a problem as I thought. What I did though, is make a couple of modifications that make this a lot cleaner for fishing in those hard-to-reach places.

First I covered my transducer cable with some industrial sized heat shrink. The next thing I did is I cut the bar, to allow it to be rotated and used a simple throb screw, so that when I needed to get it all the way I can rotate it up and bring it around and store it so that's out of the way when I'm in shallow water or around thick cover.

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