Keeping it clear!
Bringing your new fishing kayak home is always an exciting time. Many new owners purchase accessories to add to their kayak immediately. So why paddle prior to rigging your new fishing kayak? Fishing from a small platform it is very important to place everything you will use in reach but not to interfere with other things. The main function of the kayak is the paddling stroke for propulsion. There is an area of the kayak that you will stroke and sweep. Any obstructions within the path pf the paddle will limit your paddle stroke and hence limit your speed and range of motion. Understanding the range of your stroke and sweep is very important for rod holder, camera mount, and fish finder mounting locations.
Learn how to properly paddle:
There are many resources online that can teach you a solid paddling technique. Along with the paddle strokes necessary for propelling your fishing kayak. Youtube is a great place to start. Everything is on there. A great website for learning how to paddle is www.paddling.com. Its in the website address! Although geared towards touring and sea kayaking there is plenty education us kayak anglers can benefit from there. Also if you have the time please do take an ACA accredited paddling course.
Fallen and cant get back on:
Remember kayaking is a dangerous sport. Being afloat on a very small narrow boat there is always a risk of capsizing. This is a great time to feel out your new fishing kayak. Lean on it feel where it may capsize. Then once you find that point practice a self rescue. Its great to do this with no rigging and gear for the first time. Practice is always good and can also give you an idea of where you may not want to mount an accessory due to it being in the way when trying to climb back onto your kayak. Also remember its smart to always wear your Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
Reaching can be dangerous:
Equally important as obstructions is learning and knowing your reach limitations. The hardest location to reach to is behind you. In most cases reaching behind you can make you become unstable due to the natural tendency to lean. A ground rule to remember is where your head goes the kayak follows. Its good to know your reach for control of the fish finder and the ability to grab rods from the rod holders quickly. Also many anglers use a milk crate system behind them for tackle storage as this is the original way of stowing gear it is not needed anymore due to the development of fishing style kayaks and their ample storage. Reach behind you and try different configurations.
Learning The Seat:
Some later fishing kayak models enable the ability to adjust the seat forward and aft. Remember, if you are going to be trimming out the kayak it will adjust the location of your paddle stroke and sweep. It is good not to install accessory’s that may impede this area. Gear Track mounting comes into play here as the accessory is now able to be re-positioned easily. Keep in mind that if your kayak has a high/low position seat this will change your paddle stroke. Its good to paddle from every position possible.
Track mounting has basically become an essential need for mounting accessories to your kayak. Enabling the ability to mount many different accessories for different locations, fishing types, and even kayak uses. Think if a track light. Gear tracks work the same way with the accessory having a T bolt on the end can be tightened down on any portion of the track.
An anchor trolley system operates like a clothes line. Utilizing 2 pulleys and a ring the system allows you to move your anchoring point from the seating position. The anchor can now be positioned to the bow or stern of the kayak. Paddling and fishing from your new kayak is important prior to installing an anchor trolley. Dince most likely you will be drilling and thru-bolting its a great to get an idea which side you would like to anchor from. Personally my anchor trolleys are installed on the right side of the boat. Being right handed and fishing conventional gear mostly I tend to retrieve my rod pointing towards my left side.
Many leading fishing kayak manufacturers are now designing boats with integrated recessed track systems. This creates the ability to trade out accessories and relocate them on the fly. However if you own a kayak or want to purchase one that does not have factory tracks you can always add them aftermarket. YakAttack a leading industry kayak fishing accessory company has a few different track system options available. They also offer a wide range of accessories that mount to the track system.
Molded inserts have become standard. Jackson Kayak started molding in brass threaded inserts in 2014 in accordance for mounting a GoPro mount and a Ram Mounts screw ball. These set points are great locations for just about any accessory you can think of. Also the locations being well thought out typically will not interfere with your paddle stroke.
Please remember first paddle before installing accessories or you may find everything you just bolted drilled screwed and mounted to your kayak is out of reach or in the way.