TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

By Meanbeagle
I see all these great kayaks with the crates full of gear, how do you get to that? If I can't leave the boat how does someone get to what is behind them?

Maybe I'm missing something, Thanks guys.

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By kickingback
If you are talking about a standard milk crate to hold all the kayakers gear like tackle boxes, pliers, etc. then it is used to move all the gear at one time from your transport to the kayak and back on recovery. You can make one of your own that is not so tall if it is difficult to turn around and pull the gear out. I use a "half" height collapsible crate to move my gear around. I even cut a hole in the bottom over a scupper so that I can insert my stake out pole set up.
The problem with most kayaks for older people is that it is hard to turn around and maintain balance or just too old to turn all the way to get your stuff. You will need to experiment on what works best and watch A LOT OF YOUTUBE videos. You will learn many things.
I have a Hobie and can stand up so turning around is simply getting up and kneeling in my seat to get to the "deeper" stuff or if I am moving stuff around to keep level.
The less gear you carry the better off you are. The lighter the load on the kayak to paddle/peddle. If you have your gear in one box and keep it up front with you then turning around would only be to access a cooler of ice cold water!
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By TexasJim
My biggest difficulty was getting my foul weather jacket out of the front hatch when rain hits. My forward-mounted rod holder was SO in the way. It also hung everything up from my paddle leash, fishing line, anchor line and everything else. I got rid of the Scotty forward mount. My Pescador doesn't have forward tracks, so I bought two flush-mount rod holders and mounted them through each gunwale, angled forward and out and far enough forward that my paddle doesn't hit my rods. Great improvement! Now I can ooch forward and get into my forward hatch, I don't have things hanging up my paddle leash and other lines. I could have put tracks on the gunwales and put a Scotty on each side, but it's really nice not having things sticking up forward and interfering. I have four aft rod holders, two flush, and two in my seat, so, if I'm out fishing, I can stow my three rods and my landing net aft and paddle away. I don't use a fish finder, so nothing's in my way.

I don't use a milk crate, but my fish bag is in the aft well, and I can usually reach back and get my water bottle out without having to go side-saddle to reach it. It's all in getting used to your set-up. TexasJim
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By Ron Mc
Better views of my T160
My lure boxes, nav light are in the milk crate, along with charts and chart compass.
If I have a fly rod rigged, a fanny pack with my fly gear is in the milk crate (if fly rod is stowed, the fanny pack will be in the bow hold. The foul weather gear is in the dry bag at the far sternwell, but if foul weather is a possibility, it's in the milk crate, too. Stringer.
The stake-out pole is in rings on scotty bases on the starboard side by the ice chest and milk crate. There's a rod holder on the port side of the sternwell. I may be using different rod holders for different rods, and the bases have wingnuts to slide in the trax.
Ice chest, Navigator binoculars (built in compass reading) are right behind the seat back. Pliers and fish grips in the rubber net pockets right below my thighs. Also a sponge - never had to use for bailing, but it's always there - and you can clean the mud out of your cockpit.
Water bottle straight in front of me, and right behind it is a deck vee-bungee for keeping one or two lure boxes handy. Paddle of course is on a leash attached to the deck vee-bungee.
Drift sock is in the small cockpit hatch, and I can easy deploy it on the trolley to the stern. (Have an anchor I can substitute, but don't use it much, and never bring it to the coast.) Also in the small cockpit hatch are dry boxes with phone, cigars, etc. Z-cleat for lines on the port gunwhale, and I've since added another scotty base in the port track.
(in the process of adding a stringer cleat at the back of the starboard cockpit track)
Deck compass so I can follow the heading I read on the binoculars/chart.
Reel bag, stowed takedown rods, spare paddle in the bow hatch.
The bowline on the foredeck is in the trolley ring in the first photo, so I can deploy it to use for towing another boat, but going out fishing, it will be tied off on the front handle and staged in the foredeck bungee.
Sometimes there's a gel-ice lunch bag under the foredeck bungee, or maybe in the sternwell, or maybe in somebody else's boat, with a small cold watermelon.
Sometimes we do beach boats to rearrange from the bow hatch or dry bag, even stow our life vests when when we get to skinny water.
I guess if you spend 8 years with a boat, you get your rigging tuned how you like it, though you probably never stop tuning it.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:02 am, edited 3 times in total.
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By Ron Mc
stopped in ACK yesterday for the first time in a long time - it was so my buddy could pick up his warranty replacement Mirage drive, and buy some small rigging to replace busted fittings on his daughter's boat.
I was amazed how kayaks don't look like kayaks anymore - they look like bass boats, so wide and, especially so damn tall - how do you guys paddle these things distance in coast wind? They make my buddy's old X-factor barge look svelte.
For that matter, how do you lift them - they look like they weigh twice what a kayak weighs.

So any cool gear access ideas or photos?
By TG05
Go minimalist. I made a crate, used it once, and never used it again. I usually carry just 2 rods and a single lure tray and a small tackle box, you can see the lure tray velcroed in front of the seat. Anchor and sunscreen go behind the seat. A small cooler goes up front. I don't even use the rod holders shown in the photo. Very little muss or fuss with minimal gear.
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By Ron Mc
don't take this the wrong way, but your whole boat is an open crate - you can stash and lash anything anywhere.
Not quite the same as a low sleek boat with limited hatches and wells.

If you're trying to get from Marker 60 to marker 26, especially by the shortest route, you won't make it without navigation aids - even if you use GPS, you need to identify and see your course far head, and be able to stay on it - and of course be able to chart where you are.
It's a day-long exercise, and you need to be prepared for the full day. And no offense again, you won't make this paddle in your boat. Apples and oranges.
you fish when you get there, of course cast to any fish sign along the way, and fish much of the way home.
Sometimes from the boat, sometimes staking out the boat to wade, but mixing up sight fishing, skinny water, fishing slopes, drift fishing.
For successful fishing, you plan this paddle to reach the far cut and beach at max tide flow.
Here my buddy Whit got rid of his crate along the way (similar plan, B&R to Harbor Island shore and drift fish home), but milk crates sure are a handy place to jam something, especially something wet, when you're done with it.
The only reason this crate looks jammed with gear is it's temporarily holding the bag with all the rod holders for 2 boats.
That big red bag wouldn't be there on a paddle. Otherwise, it has everything it needs for a day of paddling and fishing, and everything is neat and accessible.
Crates are really handy for loading everything you're taking with you on your trip into the back of the truck - fillet knives, cam straps - things you don't take out on the water.
You take those things out of the crate when you're staging at the launch, and if your box is packed right to begin with, all that comes off the top and what's underneath is what you're taking out.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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By Cityfisher
I agree that minimum is best. I paddle a FeelFree Lure so it's easy to kneel on the seat and get to the crate if I need to. But honestly, I hardly have anything in the crate I need to get to. Normally it ends up being a "catch all" for any trash while on the water that day. I zip tied a retractable cloths line spool to it to manage my anchor line, zip tied my filet knife case to the same side and zip tied another rod holder to the left side. I carry 2 rods on the left side, net in the right hand rod holder and carry a small soft tackle bag up front in front of the foot peg. Very rarely I might bring 3 rods, then I use the right rod holder and stick the net in the crate. I can tuck my anchor up under the seat when paddling and the cloths line retracts any extra line out of the way. That's it. It takes a bit of practice coordinating and managing things when fishing and kayaking so the least amount of clutter and the more organized you are the better you will enjoy.
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By Ron Mc
with my setup, the only time I have clutter is when I've rushed in my drift sock and thrown it with the lines in front of me -
y'all probably like this better than a watermelon, but if you were out on the bay on afternoon like today, might choose the watermelon.
fact is, no one has showed any clutter or disorganization - only the OP has implied it, without anything to support it.
Nor has anyone shown a boat with more than two rods rigged.
I have a 3-pc baitccaster, and 3-pc fly rod that each fit easily in the bow hold. There are times you may want to stake the boat in skinny water, get out, and rig a better sight-fishing rod without taking down something else you've already rigged.
A lot of things can happen when you cover a few miles over a day.
I've already got a plan for October 6th based on structure, predicted tides and prevailing wind. it includes fishing from the boat all morning, beaching and wading a cut during a strong outgoing tide, then drift fishing home. Of course it could all change when I get there, and there may be events along the paddle that invite us out to wade fish.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:55 pm, edited 5 times in total.
By mwatson71
I agree that less is better. At launch I usually have two rods - one in a rod holder behind me and one between my feet, a soft tackle bag in the well behind me with various plastics and other swim baits, fish grips in the soft mesh holder near the seat, a net, a stringer, my paddle on a leash, wearing a PFD with a few lures in the pockets, a bottle of water, and sometimes an anchor. That's about it.
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By Ron Mc
you're welcome - if I'm not paddling, my feet are in the water - part of the reason we choose kayak fishing is to be close to the water.
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By YakRunabout
It seems like a simple question - How to I access the gear that is in my crate, which is behind me?

Then look at the discussion that follows!! Wow - Great discussion guys - lots of rigging ideas and ideas on how to do an outing.

A few years ago I went out with someone who was fairly new to the sport. I was also fairly new. One thing that he said struck me at the time - he puts everything in front of him cause he can't turn around very easily. I didn't have any issue with getting to the stuff behind me.

Back home I looked up the stats on his kayak - it was 28" wide. There was the explanation - I was in a PA 12 at 36" wide and could turn around easily. He in one at 28" had issues. I understood.

I now also have a paddle kayak at 30" wide. It is stable enough and I do not feel tippy in it and so I just turn and access the crate. It is a similar move as I do in the PA 12, but now my feet are in the water, in the PA 12 my feet aren't even over the edge of the kayak!
Another aspect is that I am more comfortable on the water now, since I have been on a kayak for a few years, so any tippiness has diminished.
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By shoffer
Here are some pictures of my crate. I actually love crates so much I zip-tied two together! I zip-tied my PVC rod holders in there and stained the PVC to make it look a little nicer.

2018-09-01 06.06.39.jpg

My PVC Riser Ziptied to the bottom:
2018-09-01 06.07.10.jpg

2018-09-01 06.07.20.jpg

2018-09-01 06.07.33.jpg

How I turn around is - I don't. My rods are held up high enough with my seat configuration that I can reach back and grab them. The Crate is high enough off the deck that I can move my arm back there and get what I need. The stuff I use frequently is bungeed to the sides, so I can feel around and get what I need. Having a 33 inch wide Hobie Outback helps with the stability as well, and sitting side saddle helps. Or you can just beach the yak on a reef or shoreline to really get back there.

When constructing it, don't PVC glue anything together. Just measure it for how you think it should be, zip tie it to the crate, and then test on the water and customize until the height is perfect.

I know the benefits of minimalization, but I really like having the stuff I have, but I don't take stuff I don't need or use. In my crate is my cooler, tackle box, sunscreen, bug spray, baby wipes in case you need to drop a deuce on a reef or in the marsh while out fishing, pliers, a hand towel for wiping the fish slime off my hands after a catch and a bag of snacks, and then I use the PVC Risers to hold rods and my 360 light. During a trip, I throw trash back there (like bottles or cans). At the end of a trip, I throw my radio, fish finder head unit, fish grips and whatever else is laying in my boat, stick my net in another rod holder, and carry the whole thing to the car -- rods and all.

I love my crate and find it to be essential for my enjoyment on the water, but to each his own.
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By Ron Mc
Nice rigging.

My brain is always trying to replicate personal historic bay boat trips with a kayak when possible. Much of my adult life fishing time was guiding my dad in his bay boat. On a strong falling tide, anything can happen at the cuts along Lydia Ann channel. Outside beach at Estes is a favorite target, and getting there and back fishes really well.
Of course the San Jose Island lakes, but a power boat is going to have to shuttle you across Aransas Bay for that.
The 27" spec above came from the slope of Marker 203 Flounder Hole, and that's Green Island behind. Last Nov, planned a trip with my buddies to Arroyo Colorado (and a grand time). We actually never made the paddle back to Green Island, because a front was going to beat us there, and we would have probably ended up on SPID. We did fish Rattlesnake Bay the day before, as planned, and took advantage of the front to launch at SP Convention Center and fish up the island.

I plan kayak trips as expeditions, try to work up front how to put me and my buddies on fish. But I'm always thinking distance and wind (tides and moon). I still love my Tarpon for expedition, really like my buddy's 16' Revo, but my dream boat is only 24" wide - Kazkazi Marlin.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By Ron Mc
I've become tired of all-black rigging lines in kayaks.
changing colors/patterns on lines in your cockpit, in a quick glance with black paddle leash, possibly a quickly laid drift sock and lines to get it away from the redfish that's coming, I know what I'm looking at.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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By Ron Mc
adding this heads up post from another thread, because it fits
Ron Mc wrote:here's another idea.
I went looking for the johnny dashboard bar I have on my daughter's redfish, and found this great closeout price.
https://www.backcountry.com/harmony-fis ... johnny-bar
you could mount this in front of your cockpit, then attach anything you need to the johnny bar - rod holder, cleat, tool keepers, paddle leash, paddle clip, compass, etc.
The legs move to any slot, and you can easily saw the bar to a narrower length to fit the width of your boat.
Mounting it would require drilling to mount 4 deck eyes to your boat.
Here's hers, 2" cut off the bar, and strapped through holes in the foot peg rack. Most of my fittings have wingnuts, so I can move them if I choose.
Note I have bungees running along front and back of the dashboard for quick grab of anything -
- the two bungees will keep handy a single plano box, binoculars, etc.
or that emergency weather shell
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By DennisB
Two things I to keep handy on a neck lanyard are a hook sharpener and clippers (for knot tying). I also keep a fillet knife clipped to a belt loop.


I suppose that the emergency whistle would be nice on a lanyard too, but it's in a life jacket pocket. Don't want to overload too much on my person, 'cuz I'm old and crochety and when I turtle I don't want to get tangled up--
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