RIG RUNDOWN: Old Town Sportsman/Topwater PDL Fleet Build for North Sho
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RIG RUNDOWN: Old Town Sportsman/Topwater PDL Fleet Build for North Shore

RIG RUNDOWN: Old Town Sportsman/Topwater PDL Fleet Build for North Shore

I had an awesome opportunity recently for a massive build and I’m happy to say, it came out great! 3 Anglers came all the way down to Black Hall Outfitters, Old Lyme CT from Newburyport MA to have their 3 Old Town Sportsman Kayaks fully decked out. From premium track upgrades with full lighting kits, to fully integrated trolling motors linked to fish finders and custom transducer mounts. All three builds were basically identical, but for the DIY kayak rigging crew out there, lets break them all down.

A SIMRAD Go7, MotorGuide Xi5 Salt, and a Full Lighting Install - Old Town Sportsman PDL 120

This boat was fairly straight forward. The Sportsman PDL120 is made with just enough room for the massive transducer that comes with the SIMRAD Go7, and the Hydra Concepts Universal Transducer Mount did a great job of supporting such a heavy transducer and positioned it just right. I routed the power cable back to the center hatch where I set up an accessory 20ah Lithium battery. The center hatch would become the hub of the entire build allowing us to keep a lot of the weight in the center of the kayak to offset the weight of the bow mounted trolling motor. Eventually when the angler is in his kayak, his gear and catch in the tankwell will completely level the boat in the water. Since these customers are primarily targeting large saltwater gamefish, we decided to upgrade the stock plastic gear tracks near the cockpit to the Premium Aluminum tracks from Hydra Concepts which will offer much more security and strength to rod holders and accessories over the stock plastic. Next was running all the lights. Personally, I like to start at the bow of the kayak and work my way back channel by channel, or zone, (I.E. bow, deck, stern etc.). For this build I used a yak lights 4 channel wireless receiver, 7 inch bow mounted red and green navigation lights, two 7 inch amber strips just under the seat tracks to Illuminate the deck without blinding the user, a 7 inch UV light placed all the way back under the seat so the user can charge glow baits at night, and 20 inch white led strips on the stern of the kayak to offer some extreme visibility in poor conditions or high traffic areas. For the trolling motor, the customer chose the MotorGuide Xi5 Salt with a 55 inch shaft. Since they are almost exclusively fishing deep salt water, they opted for the longer shaft which actually allows them to adjust the depth of the motor over a much greater range. Despite the massive size of this motor, it looks awesome on the bow of the Sportsman PDL 120 and doesn’t get in the way of the user. We attached the motor to the bow with a One Objective mounting plate and a MotorGuide Quick Connect. For deployment, I drilled a small hole in the pedal of the trolling motor and attached a cable which I ran through a guide tube I installed running from just in front of the pedal to the storage pocket under the track on the left side. The Kevlar line has a T handle attached and I ran a second one outside the hull to the shaft of the motor. Simply pull the deploy line and use the external line to guide the motor down in to the water to avoid it slamming down and jostling the whole kayak. I installed a wiring harness of 8 gauge battery cable and Marinco 3 prong plugs. I used the three prongs simply because I like the connection better, but it makes little difference otherwise. I installed one plug just to the side of the bow hatch and the other directly centered behind the seat in the tankwell. Using Old Town Autopilot Battery Boxes definitely made life a lot easier as they come from Old Town wired with a breaker and battery cables. All I had to do was switch the plug to the same Marinco and wire up an led battery meter on the lid of the box so the user can monitor their power consumption. Now the user has the ability to motor out to there spot and control their boats with either their Bluetooth remote, or from their SIMRAD Go7 fish finder. They can monitor their battery consumption and use their pedal drives to conserve power, and they’ve got enough light to illuminate the Atlantic!

SIMRAD Go7 with custom transducer deployment, MotorGuide Xi5 Salt and a Full Lighting Install - Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 and an Old Town Topwater PDL 106

Most of this build was the same as the 120 as far as the lights and trolling motor installs. The real tricky part was the fish finder install, specifically the transducer of the SIMRADGo7. Its MASSIVE! Initially I was very hesitant to install on these kayaks because there’s really no way of installing where its free of interference and tucked up in the hull where its safe enough from being damaged, while still allowing a full read. There was a lot going on and a lot of trouble shooting to be done. I tried mounting in the spot allocated by Old Town, but the transducer was so long that it actually got in the way of the pedal drive. Once installed you simply wouldn’t be able to deploy the drive at all without breaking the transducer mount. I considered using a scupper plug mount and still couldn’t find a place to mount it without risking damage to the transducer so I decided to get a little more creative. I ended up using half in PVC pipe which I center mounted to the top of the transducer with hose clamps, just like you would do if you were mounting directly to the motor. I then ran that up through a scupper hole in the tankwell and through a 1 inch PVC sleeve that I friction fit into the scupper hole. I drilled one hole in the sleeve and 2 holes in that shaft allowing the user to deploy the transducer deep below the hull when out on the water, and then pull it up and pin it in place so the transducer is flush to the bottom of the boat protecting it in shallow water or while transporting. I ran the cable through the scupper hole closer to the seat, just in front of the one used to mount it, which allowed me quick access to a spot for a thru-hull right next to the trolling motor plug I installed. The angle of cable also ensures the transducer sits nice and level when fully deployed via tension. I initially wanted to install this in the factory designated spot, but the PVC pipe was too long and interfered with the pedal drive system. Unfortunately I couldn’t cut it any short and have it still function the way I wanted it to, but I’m really happy with the result!

Since 1999, Black Hall Outfitters has been southern New England’s premier kayak fishing and paddle sports destination. From kayak accessories, lighting, and transport, to bait, tackle, and marine gear, BHO has everything you need to make the most of your on-water adventures. For more information, stop by either of our two locations in Westbrook or Old Lyme, Connecticut or visit us online at blackhalloutfitters.com


R.B. Borders - December 5, 2022

Great builds!! Love them Old Towns. Post more pics and vids once they go underway.

R.B. Borders - December 5, 2022

Great builds!! Love them Old Towns. Post more pics and vids once they go underway.

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