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Rigging the Diablo Chupacabra

February 14th, 2012 · No Comments


I’ve been crazy busy for the last week. We’re prepping the house for guests arriving this week. It was the excuse needed to do some much needed re-arranging around the house. Been busy moving around shelving units, desks, and more up from the basement, some stuff back down to the basement, just craziness.

At the same time, I’ve been rushing through my Diablo Chupacabra rigging. This Saturday I’m giving a kayak fly fishing clinic, and I wanted to bring the rigged-out Chup to the clinic for display. That meant breaking out all the toys – Drills, Dremel, jig saw, torch, and multiple visits to Parkrose Hardware, West Marine and Fishermans Marine.

First and foremost this kayak needed a good drift anchor system for fishing small streams and rivers. I started out by cutting a 6″ hole in the back of the Chupacabra. This afforded me access to the spacious rear end of the kayak where I mounted a pair of YakAttack Mighty Mounts. The big hole I drilled allowed my arm to get inside the yak so I could install backing plates I made out of a HDPE cutting board. YakAttack does have a Mighty Mount backing plate called the FullBack and a cool tool called the RiggingBullet that would have made that giant hole unnecessary, but, alas, the FullBack and RiggingBullet are not yet on the market.

Once the Mighty Mounts were secure, it was time to plug up the giant hole I had with a 6″ deck plate I had laying around after picking it up at Alder Creek Kayak a year or so ago. I had to clean up the edges just a bit on big hole to get the deck plate to seat nicely (meaning snug force fit), sealed the underside well with silicone, and screwed it down. Perfect. It also gives me access to a good area on the kayak to store non-essentials

I then cut out a new skeg mounting plate out of a sheet of aluminum. This was easy and straight forward. Trace out the standard plastic plate onto the aluminum, cut it out with the jig saw, then use the original piece again to mark out and drill holes for the actual skeg and carry handle, and bolt everything back into place.

At this point, I needed to do something different. I still hadn’t finished planning out the build in the back of the boat in my head, and had one detail to finish up, so I moved forward. I also had a pair of YakAttack GearTracs to install on the kayak, and knew just where I wanted to put them. It was easy to do seeing as all I needed was my cordless drill and a phillips drive bit. The YakAttack GearTracks include the drill bit I was going to need to put the holes in the kayak, so it was super easy to install. The GearTracs make it easy for me to adjust my rigging as I need depending on where and how I’m fishing. It’s a super-slick product, and I’m installing GearTracs on all my hard-shell kayaks.

See how easy that was? I whipped up a video just to show you.

With the final plans firmed up in my head, I moved back to the stern of the kayak to continue the work. I had one piece of bar stock that was going to be the cross brace to help spread the load, another to become the stem, and a third that would to become a brace that would go into the skeg mount. I drilled out each end of the brace so that it could be bolted down to the Mighty Mounts. Then I placed the the stem in-line with the skeg mount and marked a hole that would use an eye bolt to attach both pieces. They eye bolt not only holds the brace and stem together, but it also serves as a guide.

With all of that together, it was time to see how much of an angle I needed on the stem. It needs to be angled upwards so that it will pull an anchor completely out of the water. The last thing you need is something dangling into the water and causing problems. So, just eyeballing things, I heated up the bar stock with the touch, whacked it with a hammer a few times, and got just the right bend.

Then I ran into a problem. Long ago I lost the chuck for my power drill. It now only accepts hex bits, and they don’t make a 1/2″ hex bit. My cordless drill just wasn’t up to the task of drilling a 1/2″ hole into what would become the stem bracket. That’s not to say I didn’t try though. I needed to get the bracket into the skeg mount so that I could mark the angle, cut it to fit, and then weld to the stem. With a 1/4″ hole, I slipped a bolt into place and called it good enough for now. I marked the angle, cut the bracket, and then took it to my buddy’s shop for the welding. He also hit the hole I needed with the plasma cutter and all was done. I took the pieces back home, shot them with some Rustolium paint, and called the job done.

From there, things were easy. I installed a fairlead that, after several visits to West Marine for pulleys that wouldn’t fit, found at Fisherman’s Marine for less than $10. I will have to remove the cam-lock on the fairlead, though, as it isn’t very functional with this setup (perhaps the 1/4″ rope is too small for a good grab) and will likely cause problems in the future. I also need to pick-up a proper drift anchor. The 15# hunk of steel in the photos works well enough for testing, but isn’t what I would recommend using on the water.

Up front, and not pictured, is another pulley near the grab handles, and a zigzag cleat to hold the rope in place. The pulley up front helps pull the anchor up from a seated position. It takes very little effort to pull up an anchor in this fashion.

In all, this added only 4 or 5 pounds to the Chupacabra, not including, of course, the weight of the anchor, which will be about 10 pounds.

Tags: Kayak modification

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