How to: Bow Mounted Crab/Shrimp Pot Holder

Ahh spring, where a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of….watersports. And bikes. And maybe finally posting a TR from the Oregon Splitfest. But whatever, it’s sunny out and while I know I should be stoked on hitting highway 20 and some local spring splitboard objectives, but I can’t lie, I’m not*. I’m solar powered and no amount of vitamin D supplementation matches to the feeling of the sun’s warmth on your face and the sounds/smells/sensory overload that comes with springtime.

With the springer run hitting full bore in the Willamette, and lings, shrimp and halibut opening in Washington I’ve been putting some thought into there wheres and hows of what kayak mods I decided last fall I’d get to this spring. Nothing crazy – a quick release anchor, a modified way to hold crab/shrimp pots in front of me and a milk crate/safety flag setup. Below is the first of the DIYs I’ll throw up, which is stupid easy to do and likely only requires a single photo, but as I know when you get a new yak that it takes a bit of a leap of faith in drilling into it figured I’d make it a bit more step-by-step.

Basically, I needed a better way to carry crab or shrimp pots. I typically use the Danielson fold up crab pots, and for shrimp use the non-folding McKay pots. With the rope, buoys and bait cans in the rear tankwell the pots never really sat well across the stern and most of the time I found myself putting them in front of the cockpit and using my monkey toes to grab onto the pots. I didn’t want to get too crazy and build an unnecessarily complex, deck cluttering PVC pipe monstrosity as I feel that part of the fun of kayak fishing is the fact that it’s simple. This solution achieves my needs, is simple and lets me use the tankwell for carrying bait, buoys and rope and have the pots where I can see them and more easily reach them. Caveat for those that have trouble grasping the obvious: this setup is DEFINITELY better for the size/weight of the fold up crab pots, but it should hold at least one shrimp pot – though you may want to keep the buoy and rope on it juuuuust in case.

Needed:
-A single lashing hook. Washington based Sealect Designs seem to be available everywhere AND you’re supporting PNW local
-Stainless hardware (machine screw, nylock nut, fender washer). Like with anything that requires drilling through the hull a backing plate of starboard or cheap plastic cutting board is smart, but in this case I just used a big ol’ washer
-Two short lengths (under 10″) of bungee for guide loops. You could also use some Niteline or similar, but I went with bungee for it’s shock absorbing properties (and the fact that I needed the 16′ of line I had for something else….)
-Drill and appropriately sized drill bit
-Marine Goop

The below pic is what you’re creating. Pretty easy and needs no explanation, right?

The end goal

Lashing hook. Placement will be determined by personal preference and kayak layout. For me I verified that I could load the pots on either the long way or short way before drilling, as well as put it in a spot where the hook faces slightly downward for additional confidence in it’s holding ability.

Obvious statement is obvious, but when drilling through your hull you’ll want to make sure the bit you use is slightly smaller than your mounting screw so that it gets some purchase into the plastic. As you just made a hole in your boat, and boats work better when they don’t have holes in them, a generous application of Marine Goop is a good idea. It’s highly unlikely that this hole would ever allow in any significant amount of water, but why chance it Also, save the plastic shavings that result from the drilling as you can use them to fill in holes.

Lashing hook. Caution: living live can and will result in death

Instead of pad eyes I used loops of bungee to run my primary cord through. I figured the shock absorbing property can’t hurt, but as the paddle loops are already bungee it’s likely overkill. Regardless, it’s a non-permanent mount that can be easily changed.

Used bungees instead of pad eyes

Easy as pie.

Come at me bro

*Sometime in mid-August I’ll think back to this post and be pissed at myself for not taking advantage of the snow

UPDATE: Somebody emailed me and asked if you can hold pots that are assembled with this setup. Pic below shows that yup, you can. If you want to stack more than one you can just add another loop to your bungee to extend it, though you may want to consider running some pad eyes or additional lashing hooks on the sides so that there is some support on the sides of the pot.