Does putting holes directly into a plastic boat that you plan on sitting on in the middle of a lake, especially a great lake, terrify anyone else? It terrifies me and is one of the reasons I don’t do very many modifications to my kayaks. However, sometimes it is necessary to get the perfect, clean, sharp look out of an install. Not being the most handy person around, I did come up with a fairly simple no-drill transducer installation for my Coosa FD.
The first problem is the transducer itself. Where and how do I mount this thing? On the Coosa FD, there are scupper mounts on either sides of the drive. I chose to utilize these mounts to decrease the amount of equipment needed to attach it to my kayak. Transducer arms are great, but it just wasn’t something I wanted to spend my money on. There are a couple of options out there for putting the transducer in the scupper, but I went with a simple, easy to remove mount that has worked like a charm for me.
Fortunately for me, I had a retired kayak to use for raw materials. First, I cut out a small disc from the bottom of the old/retired/used kayak. A plastic cutting board would be suggested if you don’t have a retired kayak laying around. If you look at the scupper holes on the FD, the opening is wider at first and then slims down to a smaller diameter before creating the cylinder to the bottom of the kayak. We need this disc to fit inside of the outer circumference but sit on top if the inner one. The disc should have a diameter under 2.5 inches to fit snugly. The easy way to do this would be to use a hole saw, but not owning many tools, I used a sharpie to mark the circumference on the kayak. I would then drill a hole on the edge of the sharpie line. I repeated this around the whole circle until I had a cut out with about 25 u shaped edges around the disc. Now I had to smooth the edge of the disc out to fit into the scupper hole, and again not owning many tools, I strategically ground the edge of the disc on my driveway until it was smooth and the perfect size.
The next step is attaching the transducer to this disc. First, I drilled two holes, symmetrical to each other, near the center of the disc. I made the holes just big enough to pass a bungee cord through. I drilled a third cut out from the edge of the disc to allow the transducer cable to pass by the disc. I chose to use a bungee cord as the mechanism to attach the transducer to the disc–one of the main reasons I chose the bungee cords was because I also had extra ones from the retired kayak just lying around. This was the hardest part of the install.
The next part is to install the transducer to the kayak. Run the bungee cord, or maybe a longer zip tie, through the mounting hole on the transducer. Then, run the bungee cords from the bottom through the scupper hole and to the deck of the kayak. Run each side of the bungee cord through the two cords on the disc and slide the disc into the scupper. All you have to do then is tighten the bungee cords until the transducer is sitting in the desired position in the scupper. You can tie off the bungee to hold it in place, but I found it easier to use toggle springs, like from a jacket, to hold the bungee taught, and then I tied off the extra to secure the mount.
If all of that sounds like too much work and you have an extra $20, just go to Jackson’s store and take a look at this product. http://store.jacksonkayak.com/transducer-kit-coosa-hd-fd/
Now, the hard part is over, and you are left with all this transducer wire on your deck. This is where I did not want to drill. Many people are fans of drilling into the side to hide these wires as soon as possible. I simply ran the wire up the side of the flex drive unit, under the mounting bar where you tighten the drive to the kayak. Then I ran it up in the space between the bar and the hatch area. There is a draining groove directly in front of the hatch that I set the wires in to run to the corner of the hatch. Now I simply just open the hatch, put the remaining wire into the hatch, and shut in in the corner. With the hatch being closed, all the wires are secured into place. As for my battery, I use Nocqua battery packs, so I attach my battery in the hatch and leave everything inside the kayak.
Ok, once we have the transducer installed, now where does the unit go? I utilize a Raymarine Dragon Fly 7 pro. This unit has a decent size screen, but it is still compact. I chose to mount the unit with a ram ball and ram double socket arm. With the proper size hex key, you can remove the bolt on the outside of the gear track that is used to attach the flex drive. I lifted it off just enough to slide a ram ball on and then replaced the bolt. Now I can set my unit on the ram ball, close to my wire connections and in perfect view at all times. You can also slightly angle the ram double socket to ensure your foot won’t touch the unit while pedaling.
I have used this installation all year and haven’t had an issue. I am still a newbie when it comes to utilizing a fish finder, but I have to admit there were fish I caught this season that I wouldn’t have found without its help. They can be amazing tools, and they don’t necessarily need a drill to install!
– Ken Morris