Installing a Transducer in Your Yak
Recently, with thanks to the crew at Dream Kayaks, I had the opportunity to upgrade my offshore kayak to the feature-packed Anglers Dream 3 Pro 4m Fishing Kayak. Along with the upgrade comes the chance for me to customize and fit out the yak to suit my preferences and fishing styles. Along the way I intend to write a few blog articles showing the modifications to the Anglers Dream 3 and explaining why and how I did them. The first step for me when I get a new yak is to take it out and do a couple of shake-down paddles. This is an important step before you get into the fit-out. It helps in a few ways. Firstly, it allows you to give the yak a good once-over to make sure everything is ship shape. Secondly, it helps you get a feeling for how the yak paddles, and how much room you have to play with when it comes to the mods.
Dream Kayaks. Dream Hard – Play Hard.
So after the shake-down runs the first modification I tend to do for an offshore yak is the sounder/GPS combo. I feel a good combo unit is an essential part of offshore work. Once you’re out there you need to be able to find the patches of reef and to find where the fish are congregating. I chose to install a Lowrance Chirp 5 Combo in my kayak as I’ve previously had both Lowrance and Hummingbird models and I really do prefer the ease of use and the clarity of the Lowrance units (click here to see more). So now you’ve got your yak and your combo unit, the first step of the install is the transducer, this can be a daunting step for someone that hasn’t installed one, but fear not, for I am about to run you through how to do an in-hull transducer install.
First up is to decide on where in the hull to install the transducer. The spot should preferably be easily-accessible through a hatch, it should have a flat or near flat area for the transducer to sit on, and be out of the way from anything that could knock the transducer out of its mount. I chose to install mine through the rear hatch of the Anglers Dream 3, right behind the seat. Now you need to get together everything you need for the install because once you start you don’t really want to be running around trying to find that critical missing item. The following is a list of the items needed for the install:
So once you have all the gear together, it’s time to get started!
Firstly drop the All Clear into the hot tap water, making sure it is fully submerged. This will heat the All Clear slightly which makes it easier to work with. While the All Clear is in the hot water you want to take the sandpaper and rough-up the area in the yak where you will be mounting the transducer and then also rough-up the bottom of the transducer as seen in the pictures, this is paramount to getting the best possible bond strength between the transducer and the hull of the kayak. Once the transducer and hull are roughed-up take a rag and, using the mineral turpentine, thoroughly clean both the transducer and the hull of the kayak, again these areas need to be cleaned well for the best bond strength.
Now you have both the transducer and hull prepared it’s time to get gluing. Grab the All Clear out of the hot water and squeeze out a blob about the size of half a tennis ball onto the area you are mounting the transducer. Now it is very important that as you squeeze out the blob you keep the tip of the All Clear inside of the blob at all times, this is to make sure no air bubbles get into the All Clear. If air gets in the All Clear and gets trapped under the transducer it can affect the readings of the sounder and at worst it means the sounder cannot read through the hull at all. Now that you have squeezed out the blob and made sure you haven’t got any air trapped in it you want to quickly install the transducer before the All Clear starts to skin.
To install the transducer you want to hold it at about a 45 degree angle, with the back of the transducer lower than the front, then carefully push the rear of the transducer into the All Clear towards the rear of the blob and then roll the front of the transducer down and into the blob. By doing this it will push any excess All Clear out from under the transducer, leaving just enough to bond and allow the transducer to read through the hull. Once the transducer is pushed down slightly, wiggle it from side to side before making sure it is in the right spot and aligned along the hull.
|The Transducer!||The Transducer on the Blob!|
The final thing is to place the kayak somewhere out of the way and make sure it is level, then place the bricks or weights on top of the transducer to hold it down and in place. Now, as hard as it is, resist the urge to take the yak out for a few days, I usually leave mine for at least a week to ensure the All Clear has sufficiently cured.
So there you have it, how to install a transducer into any kayak. Very simple once you understand the critical points and anyone can do it. Next time I’ll do a write-up on installing the actual unit and battery into the kayak, then there’s plenty more modifications to come, so stay tuned!