Do-it-yourself fishing console for sit-inside kayaks…

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Here are the photos of my inexpensive, but very practical fishing console made from an $8 cutting board…

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The top kayak (solid yellow) is a sit on top Mad River Synergy 120. The bottom kayak is a sit inside 12′ Perception Sundance. I’ve put Berkley rod holders on both and made the custom console for the Perception to mount my fishfinder and two rod holders…

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The console slides into the channel around the inner lip of the cockpit. It is not latched into place, but wedges in there quite nicely to stay secure, but I can pull it out quickly when I need to. Another thing that is nice about it is that you can set the console up on a table or on the ground with the rods in them which makes it a nice platform for setting them up before going out. Plus, I can unlock the rod holders, flip the console over, and it still can be used as a cutting board for cleaning fish!

I’m really pleased with how it turned, you can’t beat the cost, and it took under an hour to make. Anybody should be able to make this console for any sit inside kayak with a suitable inner groove around the cockpit. Here’s how I made mine…

Parts and equipment needed:

-One 24″x24″ stiff piece of cardboard (for making a template)
-One 24″x18″ “cheapie” plastic cutting board
-Two Berkley rod holders and mounts (Scotty or most any other type could be custom fitted onto the console)
-Eight 1″ bolts with nuts and washers (I used brass and stainless would work as well)
-Pair of scissors to cut cardboard
-Sharpie marker or pencil
-Drill
-Jigsaw with wood cutting or multi-purpose blade
-Coarse sandpaper
-Safety googles

Procedure:

-Make a template out of cardboard. Place the sheet of cardboard square over the front of the cockpit of the kayak. I left a 3″-4″ gap between the very front edge of the cockpit and the cardboard as a pass-through for my fishfinder cables and reach-through access. Reach underneath the cardboard and with a marker or pencil, trace the rim of the cockpit onto the cardboard.
-Cut out the cardboard template. [i][b]Note that the finished console will need to be larger than what you have traced, so before you cut out the template from the tracing, you need to add about 1/2″ to around the edge.[/b][/i]. You will also need to trim and cut the template to the length that you desire (some cockpits are smaller than others)
-Using a marker or pencil, trace the cardboard template onto the cutting board.
-Using the jigsaw, cut out the the shape of the console on the cutting board. [i][b]Note that you should do this at a slow cutting speed. If the blade is moving too fast, it will melt the plastic and bind, so slower is better.[/b][/i]
-Sand the rough edges of the console before fitting it to your kayak. Some additional trimming with the jigsaw and sanding may be needed to get the console to fit just right.
-With the console in place, position the rod holder mounts in their desired locations and using a marker or pencil, mark the bolt holes onto the console. I suggest actually sitting in the kayak and putting a rod in a holder in the mount to do this for proper fitment…
-drill the holes for the rod holder mount(s)
-Bolt the rod holder mounts onto the console using the bolts with nuts and washers.
-If you have a way to bolt your fishfinder onto the console (I attach mine with a bungee cord), do so by marking and drilling in the same manner as the rod holder mounts. Do whatever works best for you and you can even add a cupholder if you wish like I have by tracing it out and drilling a starter hole for the jigsaw blade before cutting it out.

Actually, the cupholder hole has come in pretty handy for other purposes. For trolling when I want some of my longer handle rods pointing perpendicular from kayak, its obviously desirable (and much easier to paddle) when they are tilted up a bit. The handles will go right into the cupholder hole allowing me to put them into proper position.

That’s pretty much all that there is to it!

-Paul

About

I have been a dedicated freshwater kayak angler for the past nine years. I had fished off and on my whole life, but fishing from a kayak unleashed the beast. I earned my Ph.D. in Zoology from Oklahoma State University in 2002, and am an Associate Professor in Biological Sciences at a large private university in Western New York. I helped to co-founder the Western New York Kayak Association, regularly blog for www.fishgator.com and am a MEMBER OF TEAM MALIBU KAYAKS pro-staff. I reside in the Finger Lakes with my wife and two children.

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  1. Terry says:

    Paul: Thanks for sharing your great ideas. You have for the most part, give anyone that wants to customize his kayak a great platform for mounting devices and for personal expression. I will modify your console ideas to include a water tight container, because I need a place for my cell. Other than that, you have provided a great public service to others. Thanks.

  2. joanie says:

    Great idea, and so simple. I doubt I would ever have come up with. Thanks for sharing it. (And I bet many of my paddling companions will do the same.) I'm surprised kayak companies haven't marketed the same thing, and charged 49.95 for it!

  3. joanie says:

    Great idea, and so simple. I doubt I would ever have come up with. Thanks for sharing it. (And I bet many of my paddling companions will do the same.) I'm surprised kayak companies haven't marketed the same thing, and charged 49.95 for it!

  4. Ajustice says:

    Great job! Just getting in o the sport and trying to find low cost ways to do it all. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Jesse says:

    good work mate!
    just wondering were did you get your sounder from ?
    cheers,
    jesse

  6. Themarvinholiday says:

    How does it stay snug? Is your design engineered so that the plastic console will not slide back toward you and drop out of place?

    • BlueDaksi says:

      It actually fits very snugly into the slot. It hasn’t come out yet. I’ve done some light trolling with it, but if I were going for bigger fish, I’d put pins to lock it in on both sides – would be simple to do.

  7. dave ekelman says:

    Paul,Thank you for the great idea.I live in tulsa and love to kayak.

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