An anchor trolley is essentially a loop of cord that runs from bow to stern. The loop incorporates a carabiner or ring that the anchor line can pass through and be shuttled to either end of the kayak. Full length anchor trolleys seem to be most common although some people opt for half trolleys that run from midship to bow or midship to stern. A midship to bow trolley works well for using a drogue.
I have always used a full length anchor trolley on the starboard side of the kayak. I am right handed and find that having the anchor trolley on my strongest side seems most natural in use.
Here is how i installed an anchor trolley on the Rytmo...
- 10m of 4mm Black Braid-on-Braid
- 12in of 5mm Black Shockcord
- 3 x 60mm Stainless Steel Carabiner
- 2 x 30mm Stainless Steel Ring
- 2 x 1/4" Stainless Steel Pulleys
- 2 x Black Nylon Pad Eyes
- 3 x Black Parrel Beads
- 1 x Zig Zag Cleat
- 6 x Trifold Rivets
- Drill with 4 or 5mm drill bit
- Pop Rivet Gun
- Marine Grade Sealant/Adhesive - see recommended Sealants and Adhesives here
- Marker Pen
Use a marker pen to mark where the holes need to be drilled to fit the pad eye. I use a 5mm drill bit, or a 4mm with a bit of wiggling. Apply some sealant to the holes and rivets - i recommend Marine Goop as this is both an adhesive and sealant but clear silicon will also work as just a sealant - see recommended Sealants and Adhesives here. Pop the rivets using a pop rivet gun - if the shaft snaps short of the rivet head you may need to use a hacksaw to cut down the shaft.
One of the black parrel beads is used to make an elastic toggle loop approx. 4 inches long. Use a lighter to melt the ends of the elastic to stop them fraying. The bungee loop then passes through the pad eye and is stopped by the bead as shown below. The pulley then clips to the bungee via a 60mm stainless steel carabiner.
The use of the rings comes from Mark Crame who uses this set up as a towline as well as an anchor trolley. Simply unclip the carabiner from one of the rings and you have either a bow or stern tow line to clip onto another kayak! Im sure that will come in handy at some point.
I have positioned the zig zag cleat beside the Rytmo graphics, just below the flush mount rod holder. In this position it does not interfere with paddling (no catching your knuckles!) and it is still within easy reach as it is right beside the seat.
A zig zag cleat is a load bearing fitting and i recommend installing using either bolts/washers/nuts if you can access the rear of the area where you are fitting, if not then trifold rivets work well and have never failed me. I do not recommend the use of well nuts having seen several fail on load bearing fittings, such as cleats and rod holders.
Seeing as i cannot access the rear of the area i want to install the cleat i will be using trifold rivets. Many pop rivet guns do not have a nozzle small enough to fit between the sections of the cleat to sit flush against the rivet head, which is needed to pop them. All is not lost as there are a couple of ways to get around this. If the rivet nozzle is close to fitting in the gap, then apply some force (often quite a lot!) to wedge the nozzle into the cleat until the nozzle head touches the rivet head - then you can start popping! Alternatively, use some small washers to place over the alloy rivet rod and against the rivet head and build up to a height where the rivet gun nozzle can rest against the washers - you will then be able to pop the rivet!
In shallow (less than 10m) water and calm conditions with little tide or current you can get away with letting hardly any extra line out. In rougher conditions you will need to let more out. In deeper water (over 10m) i can let anywhere between half the depth of water worth of extra line out and 2 or 3 times the depth of water worth of line out. It depends on how much tide, swell, chop and wind you are anchored in. The harsher the conditions, the more line you need to let out. There are no hard and fast rules so experiment and find out what works for you and your kayak.
The Anchor trolley can also be used to position a Drogue/Drift Chute off the bow to help slow a drift in windy conditions.
The Rytmo is now rigged for anchoring, which will allow me to fish for many bottom species, such as Ray, Conger and Wrasse, that i would not be able to target as effectively on the drift. The anchor can also be an important safety device should you need to stop your kayak drifting if you have gotten into difficulty and need to wait for help.
Fish Finder and GPS Chart Plotter - Raymarine Dragonfly 5 Pro
A fish finder is great for locating bait fish in the water column and finding structures such as reefs and sandbanks to fish over. These structures can easily be found using nautical charts and high definition sonar charts, such as those available on chart plotters running a Navionics card, but often these charts will not reveal small-scale fish holding structures such as specific pinnacles on a reef or a newly formed sandbank or recently revealed boulder field. I find a fish finder particularly useful when vertical jigging over reefs - you can keep an eye on the bottom contours and drop the lure over drop offs and into holes, of lift the lure over pinnacles and rises to prevent snagging. A fish finder really does open your eyes as to the world beneath your kayak and allows you to make informed choices as to where to cast your lure or place your bait.
GPS Chart Plotters can either come integrated within a fish finder unit or as a separate handheld or fixed device. A chart plotter is effectively sophisticated sat nav for boats! You can see your geopgrahical location (lat/long), your speed and your heading. Location information can be important for safety reasons, in case you need to relay you position and heading to other water users or the coastguard. The heading vector is useful to track and calculate the direction of a drift. The speed information is useful to see how much headway your making against the conditions or how fast you are drifting when not paddling. Your position is shown on a basemap so that you can visually see your position and heading relative to the coastline - this is particularly useful if you get stuck out in low visibility conditions and need to navigate back to shore.
Chart plotters allow you to mark waypoints onto a base map so that you can return to these positions at a later time or date. These could be fishy looking marks, a place where you caught a big fish, a previously unmarked wreck or reef etc. etc. For this a chart plotter is invaluable and being able to navigate yourself back to a desired mark is fantastic and time saving! Decent chart plotters will also allow you to mark tracks so that you can see exactly where you have paddled or drifted. This is great for tracking drifts so that you are not covering the same ground if the fish aren't biting, or for drifting the same ground if the fish are biting! Most chart plotters can be upgraded to display high definition nautical and sonar charts, such as Navionics+. This effectively gives you a really detailed map of the sea bed. You will be able to see exactly where reefs and drop offs are located so that you can paddle straight to them saving you time on the water. You can then use your fish finder to check out the fine scale structure of these areas.
I have been using a Raymarine Dragonfly 5Pro, a fish finder/chart plotter combo, on my Abaco and then Tempo over the last year or so. It was now time to install it on the Rytmo!
- Raymarine Dragonfly 5Pro
- Ram Mount for Dragonfly Series - RAM-B-202-379-M616
- Hobie Thru Hull 3 Way Plug Kit
- 12v 7Ah Sealed Lead Acid Battery
- Battery Box - see here on how to make one
- 5 x M5 Stainless Steel Bolts
- 4 x Stainless Steel Washers
- 4 x Stainless Steel Nylon Bolts
- 1 x Footmans Loop for 1inch Webbing
- 2 x Cable Ties
- 50cm of Bungee Cord
- Drill with 5mm drill bit
- 35mm Hole Saw
- Marine Grade Sealant/Adhesive - see recommended Sealants and Adhesives here
- Fine Tooth Saw or Hacksaw
- Screw Drivers
There are 3 main methods to install a transducer on a kayak:
- Scupper Mounted - where the transducer is fixed underneath the kayak either against the scupper hole or more commonly inside a purpose moulded transducer scupper with the transducer wire coming up to the head unit through the scupper hole.
- Arm Mounted - where the transducer is mounted on the end of an arm which goes over the side of the kayak. Ram Mounts make a flexible transducer arm that can be attached to the kayak via a ram ball that is fixed to the kayak or on a ram ball that is attached to the kayaks slide rails, if present. The arm can easily be moved in and out of the water to prevent damage when paddling over shallow rocks or when launching/landing. Railblaza and Scotty also make a similar arm.
- In-hull Mounted - where the transducer is either glued inside the kayak against the hull as a 'dry-mount' or placed within a small well against the hull that is filled with water as a 'wet-mount'. The dry-mount in-hull option appears to be the most common form of transducer installation, if scupper mounting is not an option, with Marine Goop or Sikaflex used as the adhesive to bond the transducer to the hull.
To keep things tidy on the deck i opted to put the battery and excess cabling inside the hull. In order to do this the transducer cable would need to pass into the hull and then both the transducer cable and power cable connected to the same connector need to pass back out of the hull so that it can connect to the head unit. To ensure waterproof cable routing a deck seal is needed. On both the Abaco and Tempo i used a Scanstrut deck seal, but after fitting a Garmin unit to a 2016 Hobie Outback i was very impressed with the Hobie deck seals that come as standard on the Hobie Kayaks that are 'Lowrance Fish Finder Ready'. The deck seals are called a Hobie Thru Hull 3 Way Plug Kit. They are low profile and could allow for up to 6 cables to pass through it with connectors up to 35mm in diameter. They come supplied with lots of pre-drilled rubber inserts for various diameter cables, with inserts that take one or two cables. Blank inserts are also supplied to blank off sections not needed on the deck seal. It really is a neat bit of kit. They can be purchased at Cornwall Canoes.
The rear tank well is shaped in a way to take a rectangular storage crate. Crates are a popular feature on fishing kayaks and they make a great place to store larger items of gear and tackles boxes. With a little modification, rod holders and gear retainers can easily be added.
I managed to find a 20L storage crate at a local hardware store (Trago Mills). I used some sections of waste pipe to make some upright rod holders and some larger waste pipe to make an anchor holder. These were attached to the crate by drilling some small holes and using cable ties to pass through these and fix the pipe in place.
I now have a storage crate that will hold all my large items of gear such as my anchoring kit, chopping board, tackle boxes, spools of line and more!
Go Pro / Camera Pole
The 1.5" Ram Ball Base was fitted to the Rytmo just behind the seat, beside the flush mount rod holder. As the area is inaccessible from behind i used Trifold Rivets to fix this in place, along with a good dollop of Marine Goop to seal the fitting.
The Finished Product
Time to go fishing!