All posts by Daryl

Choosing a kayak paddle

Choosing a kayak paddle

Paddle selection is a critical decision, just as choosing the right fishing kayak, your needs are important.  Performance, comfort, durability and safety are good measures to go by.  Most of the equipment you select should be evaluated by these four measures to ensure you get exactly what you are looking for. The paddle is no exception.

  • Performance
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Safety

A paddle needs to be matched to both the kayak and the paddler.

Paddles come in various blade shapes and shaft lengths usually 210 through 250 cm.  Say you have decided on a kayak that is 14 feet in length and 26-inch beam (width). You are 6 feet tall and your knuckles do not drag on the ground. A 220 or 240 should be just right.

Kayak width and your height are main 2 factors for Paddle Length.

The blades of the paddle should enter the water without you hitting your knuckles on the kayak or you reaching for clearance.  Does it feel comfortable?

Paddle Blade design

Most paddles on the market have blades that are of asymmetrical plane form or shape.  A narrower blade is generally used for long distance or touring. They put less strain on your shoulders and back on the long haul.  A wider blade is useful for more powerful paddling or shorter kayaks.  Every Kayak will track and glide differently based on a lot of factors, hull design, rudder vs. no rudder, cargo etc.  Tracking – Is how straight the kayak will travel without a correction, Glide is how fast the kayak feels..  A general rule a longer kayaks track and glide better.  What type of performance are looking for?

Paddle construction & durability

Most blades are made of a strong, lightweight plastic. Some are wood, fiberglass, or fiber glass-carbon lay up. The plastic is more forgiving should you strike an oyster bed and are less prone to cracks or breakage.

Paddle shafts are made of aluminum, fiberglass, graphite carbon or wood.  Aluminum is generally the more durable of the lot but can make for a heavier. Fiberglass and graphite are lighter and plenty strong but may crack over time. I have seen this happen with some Kayakers that I have known but have not had it happen to me yet. I think it is more due to neglect than a material flaw.

Paddle Technique

When you paddle, you place the blade into the water near your foot and with a slight twist of the torso pull the paddle back behind you while pushing with your other hand against the paddle shaft. The other blade comes over on the other side and is placed at your other foot where you begin the next stroke. When placing the blade in front of you at your foot to begin the stroke. You should not have to lean forward or into the stroke. If you are finding that you have to do this or the paddle or shaft strikes the kayak a lot, then a longer paddle may be the ticket.

A whole day of paddling with the wrong paddle will make the going not as good as it should be. So a general rule of thumb– a narrow kayak- shorter paddle, wider kayak- longer paddle but fine tune it to your body make up (long torso, arms, legs etc) If you have never paddled before then have a professional instructor show you the ropes  Go for a long paddle with the kayak and the paddle to make sure that it performs comfortably for you.

The knowledgeable staff at any good paddle shop will listen to what you need and set you up with the kayak and paddle. Just like a kayak you should test/demo a paddle as well.  Once you get all this together, speed, maneuverability, comfort, and endurance will be all you can expect from you paddling experience.

Two Piece Paddles

If you purchase a two-piece paddle be sure that after every trip you take it apart and rinse with fresh water otherwise you will soon have a one piece.  Do this even if you paddle fresh water.  Do not add grease or any other type of lube as they will attract sand and dirt, just the thing to ruin it in short order.

Leash it or Loose it

Last. Be sure to get (or make) a leash. There is nothing worse than being up the creek without a paddle (literally!!!) A leash can also be purchased from the place you bought your kayak/ paddle. Most of them are either a coiled plastic (like a phone cord) or shock cord affair and work very well. Or you can simply make one from some spare small diameter rope with a hangman’s or barrel knot tied into it to form an adjustable loop to go around and tighten against the paddle shaft. Works very well for me. (Cheap too!)

 

List of Paddle Manufactures

Checkout  Cabelas Kayak Paddle Selection 


Bending Branches Angler Kayak Paddle

This glass-shaft paddle features a measuring tape built right on the shaft so you can measure your catch right on your boat. Includes drip rings. … more info.


Bending Branches Bounce Kayak Paddle – Bright yellow

For a paddle that gives years of reliable use, the Bending Branches Bounce Kayak Paddle was designed for the long haul. Bright yellow grip area on … more info.


Bending Branches Infusion Kayak Paddle (230 CM)

Bending Branches revolutionized the paddle industry by introducing composite tip canoe paddles. They have been designing and building some of the … more info.


Bending Branches Sunrise Fiberglass Kayak Paddle – Green

Made with a lightweight, durable fiberglass shaft, Bending Branches Sunrise Fiberglass Kayak Paddle keeps your joints from feeling achy, even after a … more info.


Bending Branches Whisper Paddles

Bending Branches Whisper Paddles deliver entry-level ease into kayaking with user-friendly features. Nearly silent blade shape (18L x 6.8W) enters … more info.


Cabela’s Premium Resin Tip Beaver Tail Paddle

Our paddles are made from hand-selected hardwoods and have various resin configurations on the blades to protect them during use and transport. All … more info.


Carlisle Magic Mystic Aluminum Paddle

With slightly curved asymmetrical blades, Carlisles Magic Mystic Aluminum Paddle is an excellent introductory paddle for recreational kayaking. … more info.


Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle – Black Cherry

Designed for efficiency, the Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle sports asymmetrical, slightly curved blades that produce smooth and powerful strokes. … more info.


Caviness CavPro Carbon Kayak Paddle – Yellow

Propel your boat quietly across the water with this lightweight CavPro Carbon Kayak Paddle by Caviness. This paddle features an improved takedown … more info.


Caviness CavPro Fiberglass Kayak Paddle – White

Propel your boat quietly across the water with this lightweight Caviness CavPro Fiberglass Kayak Paddle. This paddle features an improved takedown … more info.


Caviness CavPro KPA Series Curved Blade Kayak Paddles – Black

CavPro KPA Kayak Paddle features new and improved take-down ferrule that can be positioned at 60 degrees left, right, or inline for better control. … more info.


Caviness SUP Paddle

Designed for use by paddlers of different heights, the Caviness SUP Paddle easily adjusts from 70 to 84. Whale-tail blade design easily propels you … more info.

Check out the Paddle-Fishing forum

Kayak Fishing Tube and Worm DIY, How to make the easiest Kayak Fishing Lure

Kayak Fishing Tube and Worm DIY

Tube and Worm DIY
Tube and Worm DIY
Tube and Worm DIY Hardware
Tube and Worm DIY Hardware

For those that don’t already know, the Tube and Worm is the most effective Kayak Fishing lures for Striped Bass in the NorthEast. Trolling is a highly effective method for Kayak Fishing and the Tube and Worm is specifically designed for trolling.

Basically,  you can’t catch a fish unless your line is in the water and more water you cover paddling the better.

And how do you do that?     Trolling

What do Big Striped Bass love to eat?      Eels

How do you attract fish?     Live Bait, Tip the hook with a sand worm.

And what lure can do all that???  You gotta know by now…

“TUBE AND WORM”

Not all Tube and Worm lures are equal, and here are the must-have features.

Being able to replace the hooks.  Would you buy a car you could change the tires on?

Through-wire that will hold a shape.  This is where the Tube and Worm gets its action, by putting a half spiral bend into the Tube body it spirals in the water. From any perspective, this looks like the wave-like swimming profile of and eel or sea worm

Blue Fish Ready. Striped Bass aren’t the only fish in the Sea.  I’ve even caught fluke on a Tube and Worm.  A toothy yellow-eyed Blue Fish is going to go right for the body, you will feel the bump but will miss the tail hook.  The Tube need to be thick and chewy.

Fluke on TnW

So if you want it done right, you might as well DIY.

 

So lets build some Tube and Worm lures.

Tube and Worm Material List

 

 

 

 

Tools

 

Tube and Worm DIY

      1. Rig up your wire 14 ” – 16 “.  Swivel at one end, Tactical Angler Clip on the Other. 2  Vise Grips works well here.

 

 

    • Cut You Tubing to length

 

 

    • Lace Wire in Tube

 

 

    • Wrap the Head in the pinch of the barrel swivel.  A Hog Ring would work great here. I just use the Lure Wire.

 

 

    • Cut a little breather Hole at the top, so the tube will flood and sink.

 

 

    • Clip on a Hook.

 

You will be the envy of all you Kayak Fisherman friends when you show up to the launch with a fistful or Tube and Worms.

Tube and Worm DIY Hardware
Tube and Worm DIY Hardware
Tube and Worm Head Wrap
Tube and Worm Head Wrap
Tube and Worm Tail Wrap
Tube and Worm Tail Wrap
Tube and Worm Tubing
Tube and Worm Tubing
Tube and Worm DIY
Tube and Worm DIY

 

How to Fish the Tube and Worm.

This Kayak fishing lure is going to get some action.   I like to fish mine with Monofilament line,  trolling is no place for braided fishing line.   When the fish hits your going to need the line stretch or your going to get a lot of break-offs. Ball Bearing Swivels, Trolling Rudder or Weighted Keel is a must. The Tube and Worm is designed to spin. Unless you use Ball Bearing Swivels and a keel, you are going get line twist.  Using a Weight keel is also nice, you can change the weights out to get down low.   I’m working on DIY keel weight now and will link to this article once its completed.

Ball Bearing Swivel

Buy Now

Large Trolling Ruder

Buy Now

Weighted Keel For Tube and Worm

Buy Now

    Low and Slow, that is where you want to be.

Once you feel it start tapping the bottom, give the fishing reel a crank to bring the lure just off the bottom, and you should be right in the zone. Good Luck with your custom Tube and Worm

Foggybass

 

If this is all too much to handle, you can always buy one.  

Monofilament Fly Tying Thread Substitute 2-6lb Mono.

Monofilament Fly Tying Thread Substitute 2-6lb mono.

If you are a Fly Tyer like me you see materials everywhere.  Craft stores make your head spin, every aisle creates a flurry of ideas in your head.  I can never have enough materials, I have a junk material bin that has little samples of material ripped and snipped off anything that made me think of “Ooh I could use that as a ________ , when Fly Tying”  Wings, Legs, Eye’s, Bodies, the list goes on.

Here’s a substitute for those tiny spools of Mono Fly Trying thread.

Looking at the line dia.

Waspi UTC comes in 3 dia.

.004″

.006″

.008″

UNI Products UNI-Mono Clear Monofilament comes in 2, Fine and Med.

.004″

.007″

 

2lb – 6lb Monofilament line falls right in that dia.

Monofilament
Monofilament Fly Tying Thread Substitute

I scored this 3000 yard spool on clearance for $5, when a local sporting good big box store was closing their fishing section.  I’ve been tying teaser and larger saltwater patterns for a long time without any problems.  I just re-use the empty spools.

Hitting the monofilament line with a Sharpie marker makes changing colors real easy.  Just a few wraps of red adds a nice touch for a gill plate.

Referencing a Tippet Charts show almost same values in dia. and lb. test

Tippet – Dia. – lbs test
Tippet Size Tippet Diameter test
 8x .003 1.75
 7x .004 2.5
 6x  .005  3.5
 5x  .006  4.75
 4x  .007  6

So keep and eye out for light tackle line, they could perform double duty on tying flies or home made leaders.


Kayak Fishing Bait Snag Rig

How to catch live bait from a Kayak? This is when you need a Snag Rig

Kayak Fishing Bunker Snag Rig for live bait
Kayak Fishing Bunker Snag Rig

Catching live bait from a kayak can be tough.  There a blitz of bunker inside of casting range, but you can’t get a bump.  Schools of bunker dorsal fins are breaking the surface, splitting and circling.  It must be pure mayhem under the surface.
Casting a $20 Popper into the school of bunker is fruitless and is going to cost you a fishing lure in short order, you may snag some bait but line abrasion from the hundreds of bunker rubbing you line is going to ruin your day.

How to Tie a Kayak Fishing Snag Rig

  1.  An inline  egg sinker tied between 2 barrel swivels on 4-6″ of mono leader.
  2.  12” – 16” length of mono leader and 2 good sized Mustad Treble hooks(#5 or bigger).  Snell the leader to the TOP Treble and Tie off the BOTTOM Treble with a Palomar knot.

Materials

Cast this into a thick school of bait and you will sure to get all the live bait you need for the day.

How to fish live bait from a Kayak?

With a Kayak Fishing Live Bait Rig Kit

Kayak Fishing Live Bait Rig Kit
Kayak Fishing Live Bait Rig Kit

 

To take it up a notch, and have versatile kayak fishing tackle, before attaching a Mustad treble hook to the Egg sinker section, add a Tactical Angler clip(I use 125lb size).  Now you can change hooks on the fly.  For live lining your recently snagged bait, switch it over to a circle hook keeping the Egg Sinker.

Tactical Angler Clip 125lb
Tactical Angler Clip 125lb

Hook your live bait and let em’ sink with the lead.  Be patient the Big Fish are circling under the school of bait.

Make a few with different oz. Egg sinkers, something you can cast easily with your rod and reel combo’s

 

How To Use A Kayak Fishing Snag Rig.

As a best practice don’t cast directly in a school of bunker, cast around the edge. This will save you rigs in the long run.
Cast your hand tied rocket fishing rig out and admired the long distances you so easily have achieved.  Now start to reel it in at moderate pace with your rod tip down.  DON’T start jerking it like a mad man like the other cowboys down the line.
As the line gets tight you will know when you are in the right spot, it will start to feel bumpy, as the line drops through the bunker school.

Now with a long sweeping motion, sweep your fishing rod to the side.  If you miss just crank the reel a few times bringing you fishing rod back to your center and repeat.

Once you snag your bait, set the hook just a little,  and slowly reel in your fresh bait.

 


Ditch Bag, All you need and everything don’t

Please don’t be confused the Zombie Fish Doomsday scenario  is NOT coming on the next high tide,  this is a different type of Ditch Bag.   That being said If things where to go wrong, it’s would be nice to take solace in a Nature Valley moment watching the Pelagic Dead beach themselves at your feet.

That “Oh Crap” moment

Forgot to pack a lunch, Leaky Boat, Unexpected Squall, Equipment Malfunction, Navigation Error, Unwanted house guest. There are any number of reasons you plan’s for the day may change.

Having a well equipped Ditch Bag will enable you handle the situation.

Rule of 3

If you day turns into the worst-case scenario.   Here are some things to consider from the “Rule of 3” on your odds of Survival and what to include in your Kayak Fishing Ditch Bag

  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours without shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

You may be thinking when would the 1st one happen?  How many of these have you seen?

That last one I hope shouldn’t be an issue.  You are a kayak fisherman, and hopefully not a hermit so somebody is going to come looking for you.

So Let’s Make a Ditch Bag

Yes you need a Bag.  The technical term is Dry Bag and not all are created equally.

Not to be confused with a Compression Sack, even if it says waterproof I highly suggest look for the term Dry Bag.  They come in all shapes sizes and colors.  I like the Clear Dry Bags just a look and know if it’s in there.


Raiding the Medicine Cabinet and Junk Draw looking for extra’s and half rolls of tape, may sound like a good time….yea no it doesn’t. Do it right and buy a kit, these Survival Kits are design by professionals, weight close to nothing, take up little space, and include some hard to find items.  These will give a great base to start with, and now you can fill out your Ditch Bag with some other items from around the house.

Extra Clothes

 

Forget the cotton and wool, keep the Fleece.

Before the old Fleece goes the way of the rag bin, add it to your Ditch Bag.  I’ve been underdressed for the weather a few times wishing I had another layer to wear, and if I knew was going to spend the night I would have packed some extra clothes anyway.

Where’s  that free hat you got that you wouldn’t dare be seen wearing in public.  Sound like Ditch Bag Material To Me

 

Some Extra’s

 

        • Cheap Sunglasses …. oooh yeeah  – ZZ Top singalong

 

 

        • Crazy Glue

 

 

        • Zip Ties … real ones Thomas and Betts

 

 

        • Mult Tool

 

 

        • Mosquito Head Net

 

 

        • Paracord

 

 

        • Sunblock

 

 

        • Bug repellant

 

      Travel Size containers are good enough here.  You don’t need a Ditch Duffel Bag to carry when kayak fishing    

Got Bug’s

Bugs are a real problem, anybody that has beached a kayak to answer the call of nature while Kayak Fishing can probably attest.  Mosquito, Black Fly’s, Horse Fly’s, Gnats they can make an environment inhospitable.  If your kayak fishing in an area where you may encounter biting Fly’s I highly suggest getting a Mosquito Head net or maybe something bigger. Nobody knows your backyard like you do.

Field Repairs

Some Paracord, Zip Ties, and Crazy glue will go a long way.  My Multi tool a Leatherman Surge combined with Bits and extender gets almost daily use.  Sometimes all need is the right tool and you can get back to on your way. A good mult. tool can be worth its weight in gold.

Food & Water

Remember that Nature Valley moment comment? Stale or Fresh who can tell the difference with Granola Bar, 3 or 4 prepacked pairs should hold you over. Water should be the 1st item you bring on any kayak fishing trip. If you don’t normally pack a lunch or always carry your fishing gear. Emergency food rations maybe a good idea for your ditch bag.

Scotty Fishing Gear, Kayak Rigging done right

Scotty Fishing Gear they have it all.

When trying to  choose a Kayak Fishing rod holder or any Kayak Fishing Hardware you need something designed to hold up to the saltwater and rough handling.  Constructed from Heavy Duty Plastic and Stainless steel hardware, with fully adjustable mounting adapters, Scotty has the solution to your kayak fishing problem. With a universal mount, you can change accessories for what ever the fishing situation calls for.

The Scotty Rocket Launcher is perfect for trolling while kayak fishing, fully adjustable two fishing rods can trolled at once, angled away from each other.  Both a spinning rod or casting rod can be used in this fishing rod holder.

Scotty Rod Holder set for Trolling
Scotty Rod Holder set for Trolling
Pair of Scotty Rocket Launchers
Pair of Scotty Rocket Launchers
Scotty Flush Mount Kayak Rigging
Scotty Flush Mount for Kayak Rigging
Scotty Fly & Baitcaster Rod Holder Kayak Rigging
Scotty Fly & Baitcaster Rod Holder Kayak Rigging
Scotty Fly Rod Holder
Scotty Fly Rod Holder

I used some of the competition only to frustrated by the bulkiness, parts slipping, and just not performing as designed.  Scotty I can honestly say has great products that gets the job done. Take look at this list of what kayak fishing accessories they offer.

Even a cup holder! and the list goes on….

Don’t Second-Guess Your Fishing Instincts

This probably sounds obvious, but it’s worth mentioning, especially since I’ve struggled with it lately…

lemmings-350x220

Follow your instincts and ignore what “everyone else” is doing!

Case in point: I recently fished our local kayak fishing club’s bass tournament and came in with a photo of a single, 4″ bass.  Out of the 30+ anglers, only 10 caught something.  The water temperature was around 85F degrees, so we could have picked a better week.

When we first got out there, my first thought was “They’ll be scattered, suspended deep.”  My fish finder was echoing that.  But as I looked around, most of the field spread out and headed straight towards the shallow weed lines.  Since I wasn’t from the area, my “they must know something I don’t” voices started yelling.  So, shallow I went and on went the Texas-rigged worm.  The fishing, not surprisingly, sucked.

The morning’s winner?  A kid, not old enough to drive, that most likely laughed at all the old dudes and did his own thing.  How’d he win?  Trolling deep-diving cranks right where I initially marked fish.

The obvious lesson I shouldn’t have to keep teaching myself?  Just like anything in life, trust your instincts, be willing to be different, and stop simply emulating the herd.  Odds are, they’re wrong.

The Importance of Regional Kayak Fishing Clubs

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of simplicity in kayak fishing.  “…fishing, enjoying the outdoors, relaxing, and camaraderie…guys/gals that simply wanted to enjoy the sport and each other’s company”.  Although I enjoy kayak fishing on the face of it, I’d argue that the latter point has been what I value the most.  And it does the most for the sport in general.

Local and regional kayak fishing clubs tend to be purely for that camaraderie and (typically) devoid of bull***t.  I have met an incredible, diverse group of folks that I keep in close contact with frequently, both on and off the water.    In the decade I fished from a boat, that never happened.  It’s hard to describe — the mentalities are so, so different.  Kayak anglers simply seem to be more friendly, more open, and more focused on the good stuff.  The groups I’m a part of organize random fishing trips for fun, openly mentor each other, share tips, and hold friendly tournaments (either for the hell of it or for a charity).  And that’s it.

If you’re just getting started fishing from a kayak or canoe, I can’t stress strongly enough how much benefit you’ll gain from a local group.  And there are a ton of them!  See our “Organizations” list for ideas.  Obviously, that’s not exhaustive by any means (let us know if we should add one), so hit Google for your specific area as well!

Kayak Fishing: Keep It Simple!

Take a look at this kayak that’s “fully rigged” for kayak fishing.  What’s your initial response?

hqdefault

Some might say “Awesome, everything you could possibly need.”  Fair enough.  But to me, this looks like utter chaos, stress, and an OCD nightmare.  This is called a “garbage barge”.  Not only is it anxiety-inducing, but what happens when you fall in and need to remount?  Good luck with that.

Personally, I first got into kayak fishing for the simplicity.  After owning a fishing boat for many years, constantly fretting over maintenance, and always having-to-have the latest gadgets and toys, the whole setup became extremely distracting.  It nearly ruined what should be the primary focuses: fishing, enjoying the outdoors, relaxing, and camaraderie.  And early on, the community was full of just that: guys/gals that simply wanted to enjoy the sport and each other’s company, ignoring the pull of commercialism and materialism that had long since invaded fishing.

Of course, that still exists to a certain degree.  Kayak and canoe fishing’s benefits remain, and its participants tend to be the polar opposites of our glitter-boat brethren.  However, I’d argue that the commercialism has started to take over some kayak anglers’ mindsets.  We’re bombarded with ICAST this and YakAngler-says-I-can’t-fish-without-it that.  Rigs start looking like the above photo, drowning the owner in gadgets.  Further, some anglers will only fish with their prostaff teammates or owners of the same brand of equipment.  Someone fishing from a simplistic kayak, bought from a big-box store, with a minimal amount of gear can be looked down upon as inferior.  Absurd.

In the end, I guess it doesn’t really affect each of us — personally, we can still enjoy the sport however we want.  However, I can’t help but feel somewhat disappointed and sad that others can’t simply enjoy the sport for what it is.

Any thoughts?  Comment below!

 

Choosing a Battery for Kayak Fishing

Awesome new kayak for fishing?  Check.  Sweet fish finder?  Check.  Figured out the correct battery type and size to power the new rig?  It’s not as straight-forward as it should be — picking a battery requires a small amount of basic electrical knowledge.  But no sweat.  It’s actually pretty simple.  Here goes:

Basic Electronics

To choose a battery, we need to start with the absolute basic electronic concepts.  Electrical power comes in two forms.  Direct current (DC) is power generated by a battery, always flowing in the same direction (positive -> negative).  This is the type of current needed by most fish finders, so we’ll be focusing purely on that.  However, for completeness’ sake: alternating current (AC) is what powers your home, generated by a power plant.  The current alternates directions 50-60 times a second and, without getting into too much detail, is easier to transmit over long distances.

When discussing electronics, there are four units to understand: voltage (volts), current (amperes), resistance (ohms), and power (watts).  The easiest way to grasp these is to think of them in terms of plumbing.  Voltage is like the water pressure, pushing water into the pipes.  Current is similar to the rate of flow within the pipes (gallons per min., etc.).  Resistance is like the size of the pipe itself.

Power (watts) is a little harder to grasp.  Think of it like water, coming out of a pipe, hitting a water wheel and causing it to spin.  If you want the wheel to spin faster, you have two options.  1.) Increase the pressure coming out of the hose, hitting the wheel harder.  Or, 2.) increase the quantity of water coming out of the house, spinning the wheel faster purely due to the extra water weight.  Similarly, power is the product of the voltage and current (power = current X voltage).

Head spinning yet?  To sum it all up, voltage = force, current = rate, resistance = transmitter size, and power = capability of the voltage and current.

There’s one final item to consider: battery capacity.  When discussing smaller contexts, such as fish finders, this is usually expressed in “amp/hours” (Ah).  Think of this as the cistern providing water to the hose.  If the water is flowing at a specific rate, how many hours would the supply last?  Similarly, if electrical current is being consumed, how long will the battery be able to supply power?  We need a big enough “bucket”.

Fish Finder Power

Most fish finders need DC battery power.  Typically, they require 12 volts (again, the amount of “pressure” exerted by the battery).  But, technically, many fish finders can safely use as low as 10 volts and as high as 20.  However, since 12 volt batteries are the most common, I’d recommend just sticking to them.

Most fish finder specifications will list the “current drain” in the manual or on the box.  For instance, my Lowrance ELITE-4X HDI lists a current drain of “Typical: .75A”.


In other words, “typically” it’ll pull .75 amps of current per hour.  Two things to note here: 1.) Some companies will list this in milli-amps (mA).  1000mA = 1A.  So in this example, it might be 750mA.  2.) Lowrance is listing the “typical” (average) pull, as opposed to the “peak”.  Traditionally, most companies will use the latter.  For instance, the greatest amount of consumption on the Lowrance might be closer to .8-1.0A.  If you have the average available, great.  If not, it’s best to assume the “peak” when calculating your needs.  Worst case scenario, you’ll end up with a few extra hours of fishing time… Ok, enough jibber jabber.  What exactly does that mean?  Well, it all comes down to how long you want the fish finder to last per outing.  Keep in mind that higher battery capacity always translates to more physical weight.  Personally, I try to trim down as much as possible when I’m out, even if the battery weight seems relatively minimal — every bit helps.  So for my purposes, assume 8 hours is enough.  That means I would need a 6 amp/hour (Ah) battery (.75A X 8hr = 6Ah).

Battery Types

Essentially, you have three choices here:

        • Lead acid: No different than you car battery — acid, sealed-in.  They’re inexpensive and easily recharged, but they’re also the heavier option.

 

 

      • Rechargeables (lithium, NiMH, etc.): Much lighter than lead acid, but also much more expensive.  They can also be more complicated to recharge, frequently requiring a special adapter.

 

 

      • Alkaline (AAA, AA, A, etc.): Technically, you can use multiple battery cells at once in order to get the power your fish finder needs.  However, I’d recommend skipping these.  For example, most alkaline cells only produce 1.5V, so you’d need 8 of them to get the required 12V.  Also, your amp/hours will take a huge hit — those 8 AAs will only give you about 2Ah.  Further, these can’t be recharged and end up in the trash.

 

      I almost always go with the lead acid.  Even though it’s heavier, its small cost and ease-of-use trump the alternatives.

Specific Batteries

Many stores (Bass Pro, Cabelas, Gander Mountain) have 12V lead acid batteries specifically marketed for fish finders or other outdoor applications.  But, unless you find them on sale, they’re overpriced. I currently use a simple 8Ah unit I found on sale at Frye’s Electronics for $20.  But you can find several on Amazon for even less.  Don’t get anything fancy — run-of-the-mill units will suit you perfectly.

7-8Ah


Battery Chargers

Keep ‘er simple.  A charger, like the following, works perfectly and is usually less than $10: However, I already had a larger battery charger that I use for automotive and marine batteries. If you only need it for the kayak, they’re probably overkill. But, they’re definitely handy to have around for other applications. Here are some options on Amazon. There are also inexpensive options at Menards, Lowes, and Home Depot.  Keep in mind that the amp rating on the charger describes how fast it’ll be able to charge your battery.  Large values are convenient for quickly charging a car battery, but small values are more than sufficient for the kayak. Some guys/gals will also permanently install a charger unit on their boat/kayak. The small unit gets mounted somewhere out of the way, and the wires are permanently attached to the battery leads (in addition to the fish finder wires). Here’s an example: