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With the larger tank well of the Ride 135 it was clear I needed a new crate or tackle storage method.   I decided to try a standard Wal Mart file crate.  They are slightly larger than a regular milk crate.  As it turns out a file crate fits perfectly in the tank well with some room left over both in front and in back of it.

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Due to the angle of the sides the crate buts against them before it is flush with front of the tank well.  This eaves some clearance there which will be good if I go forward with some ideas on adding rod holders and tracks.

As it turns out, the file crate will hold 12 of the 3600 size boxes.  I usually don’t like to load all 12, as I like to have some room in the crate for other items such as fish grips, a bump board, pliers, etc.

I am still figuring things out, and have only had the kayak out a few times.  As I get more familiar with it I will be doing more rigging.

Ideas I am kicking around are rod holders on the crate, a different crate, a cooler, gear tracks across the kayak behind the seat, flush mount rod holders on the rear sides, an harmony or homemade mounting plates for the tracks instead of gearheads.

 

We’ll see what develops this year.

Back in May I got to do an 8 hour float on Tunkhannock creek with a guy I know from a kayak fishing forum.  Unfortunately with all of the overtime since May 2014 (leaving no time for exercise and compelling me to snack on the road to stay awake) I have put on about 85 pounds.  That put me about 10 pounds over the weight limit for the Pelican Ultimate 100 SE.  I probably carry another 10 or 15 pounds of gear.  It wasn’t really a problem on flat water, but it turned out to be an issue on moving water.

 

I was riding way to low, and got pulled into every rock and boulder.  I flipped once.  Then I kept getting swamped, and would have to flip to get out.  My friend finally figured out the second part of the issue;  my flush mount rod holders.  They are open at the bottom, something I had never paid any attention to.  So when riding low I would get water in the tank well when moving, maneuvering, or hitting obstacles.  Once it got over the edge of the tank well, which is lower than than the edge of the cockpit, it started going in the rod holders.  They acted like giant funnels.  The pelican would just fill up and sort of sink from the rear.  Here is a shot of the Pelican before launching at Tunkhannock creek.

Click on the pics to see the complete pictures.

TunkhannockCreekLaunch05132015

I clearly needed a sit on top. (SOT)  They are self bailing.  Water that comes in will run out through the scupper holes.  I had been planning for a long time to buy one next year, when we are out of a lot of debt.  Then I could afford to get a good quality name brand fishing sit on top.   However the Tunkhannock creek trip made me realize that I either needed to lose weight, or get a SOT sooner or I would not be able to do any rivers, creeks, or streams until such time as I could get one (or lose weight).  Even a lake on a windy day or one that allowed motor boats might not be doable.

We’re still trying to pay off old debts, mostly medical, so there was no way I could afford a new name brand kayak.  My options were a cheap SOT from a big box store, or a used name brand from craigslist or the classified on a kayak forum.  I knew that if I bought a cheap SOT from a big box store I would end up wanting to get a better one next year anyway.  But a used premium kayak would be satisfying for a lot longer.

A couple of guys I know had gotten good deals on older name brand kayaks on craigslist.  So I started searching it regularly.  I saw some great deals go by, and an even larger number of terrible deals.  I missed some good ones too.  It seemed like if you didn’t respond immediately there was always someone faster who got it.  There were a lot I just couldn’t afford too.

June 17th I was checking craigslist at work before getting started, and ran across this ad.

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It seemed too good to be true, and by the time I saw it I was sure someone else had already gotten it.  Ride 135’s go for over $1000 new.  I looked at it off and on throughout the night.  It was really more than I could afford.  But it looked like it had the new for 2012 seat.  So that meant it could use the seats through 2015 at least (high seat, and max seat).  It had slidetrax for adding accessories.  It was all the way at the bototm of Delaware, a 3 hour drive each way.  I wouldn’t have time to get down there until August at least.  It was at a pawnshop, an actual business.  Maybe they would take a deposit to hold it until I could get there.  Finally at 2:15 AM I emailed them about it.  These are the pics from the add, big enough to see.

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By the time I got off in the morning I couldn’t wait, so I started trying to call them immediately.  They weren’t open yet, so I tried every hour until at 9 AM they answered.  I told the guy who answered that I had emailed about the kayak they had listed on craigslist, and he gave me to a guy who was replying to my email when I called.  He told me it was a 2012, and answered a few other basic questions.  When I asked about a deposit to hold it until August he said they had layaway.  So I put it on layaway over the summer.

Meanwhile a guy on kayak-anglers.com forum put up a high seat for sale for $80.  That’s about half of the retail price.  I contacted him and asked about him holding it until July.  He was closer so it didn’t take me as long to get there.  I picked up the high seat  on 7/28/15.  When he heard I use Scotty accessories on the Pelican he generously threw in a Scotty rod holder set up for use in the Slidetrax.  He uses all Ram now, and doesn’t need the Scotty.
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Finally on 8/21 I had a day off and didn’t have a night shift the night before.  We drove down to Del Mar, Delaware, 3 hours down and more than 3 hours back since my wife wanted to take the opportunity to stop at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  At 82 pounds the Ride 135 is a bear to car top, but I got it done.
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It came with an Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Hybrid paddle, which retails for about $150 when new, making the deal even sweeter.  It’s far lighter than my cheap aluminum and plastic box store paddle.  A lot faster and less fatiguing.
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Unfortunately it is too long to fit in our apartment.  Our door is immediately to the left of the door at the bottom of the stairs.  The Ride 135 is 13.5 feet long and won’t make the turn.  For now it is staying on top of the Trailblazer, but we will be renting a storage unit.
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We took it to Memorial Lake for the shakedown cruise.  Coming from a cheap box store kayak the change was amazing.  The Ride is fast, easy to paddle, tracks amazingly well, and is incredibly stable.  There is a ton of room in the cockpit and in the hull.
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The first day I left it stock.  I used the low seat that it came with, and didn’t add any accessories.  I wanted to get used to it, and figure out the best placement for everything.  The low seat is amazingly comfortable.  After 4 hours I had no discomfort at all.
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On the second day I put on the rod holder.  I also put on the Ram transducer mount and the Lowrance Elite 4 DSI.  I had gotten them in the spring and installed them on the pelican but had not had a chance to use them yet.  Since the Ride has the Slidetrax all it took to transfer them from the pelican was a couple of Scotty gear head track adapters.
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I also put in the high seat.  The increased height really made a difference.  My line of sight was far better, and it was very comfortable for my legs.  In fact I continued to use the high seat the next couple of times I’ve been able to get out.
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Here you can see the difference in the length and width of the Ride and the old Pelicans.
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My wife likes Memorial Lake, but I like to explore new places.  So when she didn’t come along I took the Ride to the mouth of Swatara Creek, where it enters the Susquehanna.
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By this time I had gotten a crate, some more gear head track adapters, and another rod holder, plus I used the one from the pelican for 3 total.  A standard file crate fits perfectly in the tank well, with plenty of room left over.
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With the ram transducer arm you can tilt it up when launching or landing, and when in shallow areas where the transducer would drag bottom.
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3 Mile Island as seen from the mouth of Swatara Creek.
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After last Christmas I picked up a Lowrance Elite 4 DSI from Cabelas on sale.  I got the standard Cabelas 12 volt battery with charger.  My wife had gotten me a Scotty Bait Board, camera mount, and fish finder mount.  I started installing it all in May, but I didn’t complete it until July.

LowranceandBaitBoardInstall05122015

 

It took me that long to figure out how I wanted to mount the transducer, and then to get the RAM arm for it.  I had decided it would be best to do a removable install, as I intended to get a better kayak at some point and it would be good if everything could transfer from one kayak to the other and back.

 

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I mounted the head unit on the left of the cockpit, the bait board on the right, with the camera mount on it, and I put a flush mount Scotty base in front of the cockpit for the RAM arm.  The RAM transducer arm is available with a variety of mounting options and since everything I had was Scotty I decided to stick with it.
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Since everything is mounted in standard Scotty mounts it is all interchangeable.  I can move any of the accessories to any of the mounts as needed.  The battery goes in the front storage compartment.
07272015PelicanModsYou can see how the transducer is hung over the side of the kayak.  I have not had a chance to use this set up yet.  I really haven’t had much time to get out this year, and most of that was before I had this all set up.

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Everything is easily removable, and can be transferred to any other kayaks I may get in the future.  Since all of the premium kayaks come with some version of track system now I would just need some Scotty gearhead track adapters.

I’m planning to get out a lot more in 2016 and to spend a lot of time next year fishing.  So I’ll post a report once I have a chance to thoroughly put it through it’s paces.

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