Having spent a little more time on bigger lakes last year, I decided it was time to add a GPS/Fishfinder to my LiquidLogic Manta Ray. If you're not familiar with that model of fishing kayak, it's a sit on top, and mine runs 12 feet in length.
EAGLE CUDA 350 S/Map Sonar/GPS Fishfinder
There's a few schools of thought on where and how to mount all of the necessary components. After doing some research, both online and in asking my local kayak anglers how they had mounted theirs, I determined both the location of the unit, and the method of mounting the transducer.
Mounting the FishFinder in the Kayak
I decided that I would mount the electronics on my center console. Of course, this does seem like the obvious and logical choice, but you must remember I do quite a bit of fly fishing, so adding additional items to the immediate cockpit area could cause problems with snagging fly line, etc. Nonetheless, I wanted to able to read it easily, so I added it there.
You'll note there a Scotty Rod Holder mount right in front of the Eagle CUDA 350 fishfinder.
Fortunately, the mounting of the electronic unit only required 3 small screws, so if I get frustrated while fly fishing, moving it in the future won't be impossible (we also left additional wire length, etc). We'll see how this placement works out long term.
Mounting the Transducer in the Kayak
This was another interesting choice. For a sit on top kayak, there are essentially 2 tried and true methods of mounting a transducer. The first is simply to find a spot inside the hull, and use Marine Goop to mount the transducer directly to the hull, so that it's as flat as you can make it. That's important for acquiring accurate depth readings.
However, I decided to go with the "water bath" method. For this, I purchased a 4 inch PVC clean out, and the cap. The cap should have a nipple on top so you can get a pair of channel lock pliers on it if need be.
My first step was to mount the transducer itself. In my case, I drilled a hole through the top of the cap for the wiring, then I physically mounted the transducer using the manufacturer's brace/mount to the screw cap itself. First, a word of warning about this. Make sure your transducer will fit properly like this. They are all different, but I can tell you that the Eagle CUDA 350 transducer mounts perfectly in this fashion.
From this bottom view (below), it doesn't look like it will fit. But trust me, it does.
Positioning, mounting, and shaping the clean out itself is a little more work.
First step is to find a spot inside your kayak that is relatively flat, and will be touching the water most of the time. You might be tempted to head up to the nose of the boat, but if you're bouncing waves a lot, you'll end up with bad readings.
I chose a spot just far enough in front of the foot wells that I could slide the battery behind in it, and actually hide the battery in between the foot wells.
In the photo above, you can see the foot wells.
We needed to shape the bottom of the PVC clean out with a grinder in order to have it sit almost perfectly on the floor of the kayak. Using a black sharpie, we were able to sketch out rough lines, and then we utilized a little trial and error.
For the adhesive, I used White 3M Marine 5200 Adhesive. I used the variety that takes 7 days to cure, but I believe a faster version is available. Home Depot only had the 7 day version. Once cured, it certainly felt like I could have lifted the whole boat by the clean out.
Then, when I get to the water, I simply use water from where I'm fishing to fill the clean out, and I screw down the transducer. I transport my kayak upside down, so I'll have to do this every trip. Oddly, there always seem to be plenty of water where I go fishing. I make sure my transducer IS NOT plugged in to the electronics unit when I'm screwing down the cap, to prevent wire twisting.
Mounting the Battery in my Kayak
Mount is a relative term in this case. Essentially, since I wanted the battery to be stable yet easy to remove for kayak transport and re-charging, I simply velcrod closed cell foam onto both sides so that it snugly fits in between the foot wells. I also added a block of foam at the back of the foot wells, against the bottom of the center console to protect the screws from the fishfinder mount. I added a small plastic tray (top of a sealable food container) as well, to keep the battery from resting in the water that might collect inside the boat.
I used velcro so I could easily replace the foam when it becomes worn out.
I also decided to make a quick connect for the wiring. I bought a trailer hitch connector, cut the wiring in half, and shrunk wrapped the yellow and green wires to the wiring going from the battery to the fishfinder. BE SURE TO LEAVE THE FUSE INTACT. You always want to have the fuse intact.
So, to remove the battery, I simply disconnect the quick connect, and pull the battery out. This affords me the ability to make the connections at the battery itself as permanent as possible, to avoid them popping off on the water.
Kevin Webster is a web analyst and internet marketer by trade, but spends as much time as humanly possible in his KC Kayak K12, kayak fishing.
He is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Sensorcon, an American manufacturer of sensors and sensor technology.