Last winter I picked up my brand new Jackson “Illuminati Cuda 14“. Between hockey practices and games, a Boondoggle, and building a new bed for my son I am finally, 5 months later, getting around to rigging for the coming fishing season. In 2012 I set my last Cuda up with a YakDaddy Slider which worked excellent for me and made it a very versatile kayak. This year I decided to see if I could rig it by drilling or cutting as few holes as possible in the kayak.
My Illuminati kayak glowing in my basement after bringing it home.
For the new season I decided to upgrade my sonar unit to a Humminbird “598ci HD SI Combo”. This is my first time installing and using a side imaging sonar and there are some unique installation requirements to consider when installing the transducer. It needs to be installed outside of the hull and have a clear view to each side. Additionally I want to be able to easily move this unit easily between my Cuda and Big Tuna. So to install it I decided to use a pair of RAM products; their Flexible Transducer Arm and their Humminbird Fishfinder Mount. I attached these to the front RAM Ready inserts installed at the factory on the Cuda. The battery was installed in a Rubbermaid container and set inside the front of the center hatch insert and secured with a bungee. To route the wires I just had to trim the front edge of the hatch.
The Hummnbird 598ci HD SI Combo unit
The Side Scan Transducer installed on the RAM Arm
The battery installed in the center hatch
Next I turned my attention to the rear of the kayak and set out to install my new YakAttack “BlackPak“, a “MightyMount” for a “VISI Carbon Pro” and Tackle Webs. The BlackPak was an easy install as the tank well bungee that comes on the Cuda is perfect for securing it. I did have to move the feet that I installed on the BlackPak to make it sit stable on my Big Tuna. The feet actually also help stabilize the BlackPak as they wedge themselves inside of the tackle box stagers that come molded into the Cuda. Next I installed the new Tackle Web that was custom made to mount onto the side of the BlackPak and a 16″x12″ Tackle Web on the back of the seat. The MightyMount was located by the rear hatch to hold the VISI Carbon Pro and was the only 4 holes that I drilled into the hull of the kayak.
The BlackPak with a the Tackle Web installed, insets show the feet mounted to the bottom of it
Tackle Webs mounted on the Hi/Low Seat and the BlackPak
Finally I turned my attention towards the center hatch. I like to mount a rod holder onto my center hatch; so on went another MightyMount so I can install a wide array of rod holder options. However, after spending the last year fishing in the Cuda with rod holders in this location I’ve come to realize that it is sometimes awkward to access the center hatch when there is a rod in it, so I looked for a solution. My fellow Jackson Fishing Team mate Melita Ganoe came up with an idea to put a hinge in the center hatch to allow easier access. So I set out to come up with my own version to allow access to the rear of the hatch without disturbing a rod in the rod holder. With some rivets, Marine Goop, and a piece of industrial hose I was able to create a hinge that should be fairly waterproof and durable.
Cuda center hatch with hinge
Cuda center hatch open
All of this was accomplished in just a few hours with only 4 holes drilled in the hull. All the rest of the modification involved just the hatch cover or screwed into factory installed inserts.