Just thought I’d send you a couple of photos of what I had done with the Styrofoam on my kayak. Since then, I have mounted/bolted foam on the sides, about 6 inches up and about 7 inches wide.
First – the front mounted motor:
At first I had front mounted motor, so I mounted the foam in the “front” of my kayak, because I was a little uncomfortable with how deep the nose would go as I was launching. Sometimes I felt as if the water was going to rise over the bow and come into inner part, (but it never did). I used 1/4 inch plywood and two, 2×2 inch strips with 3/8 inch bolts thru and fastened thru holes on the top of my pontoons.
I then drilled two more holes thru the center part of the plywood, between the pontoons, and bolted a length of foam to it. I shaped the foam, and it too is about 6 inches from the bottom of the surrounding pontoon bottoms.
Next, I screwed a small section of 2×4 to the rear strip of 2×2, and made a mount for my trolling motor.
From there, I took apart/removed the shaft and control unit from my trolling motor, and positioned the trolling motor mounting bracket on the 2×4 and fastened it in place.
After ensuring it was centered, I drilled a hole thru the plywood that was big enough for the shaft to fit thru. I then pushed the shaft thru the hole from the bottom, and cut/gouged out a hole in the bottom of the foam that would allow me to put the motor/propeller into its recess.
Once I had enough room for the motor/rudder to fit into the recess above the bottom of the pontoons, I soldered the wires back together, and reversed the handle on the control.
I attached a fairly large battery to the back portion of the saddle, and connected everything.
My first outing was out to the Chesapeake Bay! I launched from this place called the Mattapeake Fishing Pier. It is the first exit to the right, after you go across the Bay Bridge. There is a fairly calm/flat/shallow inner portion of water on the shore side of the pier, and I spent about 30 minutes getting comfortable with my new motor. It was at this time that I saw/met a new fellow kayaker. Anyway, fearless and confident, I launched out to the deeper, faster moving current of the bay, and continued out about 200-250 yards out from the pier. My buddy, with the “el cheapo” kayak went out with me for a while.
I threw my line out, and almost immediately caught two fair sized croakers! I was in heaven! Even though it was rather windy, and the waves were getting a little high/rough, I was dry. My kayak seemed to have a harder time going left, than it did going right, but the long shaft on the trolling motor allowed my to position it deeper, and it was quite manageable. No speed records broken, but a steady “pull” (like front wheel drive in new snow), and I got to where I needed to go.
I then noticed my new buddy had gone back in to the shallow portion, so I motored over to see why he went in. I went back in, and he said he was getting a little wet, and feared that he would get “swamped”. It was actually hard for me to believe such nonsense, since the only water I had in my kayak, was from when I reeled my fish in!
Long story short – I convinced him to come with me about a mile or two, to the Bay Bridge, where we could get some BIG ONES!!! Reluctantly, he agreed, and I pulled him behind me with a nylon rope. About half-way there, he got swamped, and even though the W500 was still pulling his kayak behind me, (now in the direction of the shore), my new, strong swimming, PFD clad buddy, started panicking, and tried to climb into the back of my kayak. I was concentrating on moving towards the shore, and was at the front end of the saddle, before I knew what was happening, it happened – a ton of water rushed over my transom end, and my back half, and all of my stuff (rods, reels, net, bait, lures, tools, etc.) either floated on the surface (or mostly) sank like the Titanic! My front end, with the trolling motor still running, stayed about 2 1/2 to three feet out of the water. That foam was worth every penny!
Now, while I tied my wrist around a rope I had fastened to the front my W500, to pull it out of water with, my new “buddy” decides to let my boat go, and swim towards shore to get some help! I had my PFD on, I can swim fairly good for a 58 year old (thanks USN), and I never thought that I was going to drown, but every 2 or 3 minutes, a great big wave would crash over my head. I never knew the bay water was so salty!
I had retrieved my tackle box, and was holding it in my left hand, and holding the rope attached to my kayak with my right hand.
Every now and then I would put out a blast with my signaling whistle, but no one seemed to hear.
After about 30 or 40 minutes, I saw a 30 footer heading in my direction, so after thanking God again, I sort of relaxed, and waited until they got near. As they reached down to pull me in, I handed them my beloved tackle box. It by now had become quite water laden, but I was happy I could put it into some safe and dry hands.
As I handed it to my rescuers, and they grabbed the handle, it broke, and the bottom part of my box went to the bottom of the bay…. Ok. I’m safe. I got pulled in safely, they lassoed a rope around the shaft of my trolling motor, and off we went back to the launching area.
Once back at home, I immediately started sketching another model of a mount and foam section for the REAR of my kayak. Its purpose was to be twofold – I wanted it to make my “transom” unable to sink, and I wanted to make a mount that would be able to carry a heavy gasoline powered motor on the rear. I made both and had them installed about 8 days later. The place that my motor will sit is about 6 inches from the rear of the pontoons.
Two weeks later, I spent a few days at our campsite, and my trolling motor’s controls had evidently become corroded from the earlier salt water dunking, so it quit on me about a half mile from where I had launched from. Once I paddled back in, I took it apart, and confirmed it had indeed become corroded and brittle, so I removed it and the battery completely, and paddled the last couple of days.
I ordered some more foam when I got home, and after roughly shaping it to go alongside about 70% of the W, I bolted/attached it to the sides of the hulls. Two weeks later, I rigged my motor up so that it was all ON (full power), or OFF. I put the motor in the rear, and mounted the battery in the front, and with just a cheap on and off toggle switch I bought from a parts store, off I went to this place that is known for being the burial ground/water for many rusted and long abandoned Navy ships.
A lot of folks catch big stripers and snakeheads in this area, but I was not so lucky. Everything seemed to work fairly well, so after church, the next day, off I went to Solomons Island, Md. I caught about 12 decent sized croakers, spots, and white perch for a while, but then all I started catching was some ugly toadfish! After about 6 hours out, I decided to come in, and I haven’t been back in yet. The wires weren’t the right gauges on my jerry-rigged trolling motor, so the switch burnt out, and the lighter gauged wires melted. I have picked up the right size/gauge wiring, and a new heavy duty switch, but I haven’t decided if I am going to mess with it again, or get another trolling motor.
The trolling motor and battery, got me to where I wanted to go, so I figure that I will mount the new one up front with the battery this time, to balance my outboard out in the rear.
The kayak did NOT go down more than an inch (if that much), with me and the motor sitting in the rear, so I’m going to push the envelope and try to use a 5 or 6 hp, 58-60 pound outboard motor (with an alternator on it), with a hydrofoil attached for good measure.
If all goes (as I expect it), remote steering with lights will be next… I’ll keep you informed, and thanks again for creating such an incredible platform for me to work my dreams upon.
Kenny “One-Shot” Tracy, Maryland
Click images to enlarge
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