Monday, February 24, 2014

The Yak Attack CellBlok...

For the past few months i've been toying around with the idea of using a fishfinder on my kayak. Fishing this brutally cold winter for speckled trout magnified the advantages I would have by using one. Having absolutely no idea what I was looking at made me take to the forums and internet to gather some intel on what I was getting into. I was tired of pouring over the Louisiana water data sites to try and find current conditions and such. It was time to invest in another piece of gear that would accompany me in open water.

Having no previous experience with fishfinders, I took in all the advice from the guys in the club and plugged them into my brain. I reached the conclusion that I did NOT want a GPS or chart-plotter. Not having this would extend battery life and simplicity. The Lowrance Elite 4x DSI was the middle ground on price, quality and it didn't hurt when I found it on closeout/open boxed item at Academy. So the fishfinder was a go but now I had the problem that almost every kayak fishermen struggles with. Fishfinder mounting....

My biggest beef with mounting was I could not find a simple, clean, and easy way to mount the fishfinder to go between the Slayer Propel and my Revo13. If you have only one boat you are going to use you can rig a transducer in a few different ways including a shoot through, or a scupper mount transducer. The cost of buying all the accessories twice and having permanent hardware and wires was not happening. An over the side mount seemed like the right way to go but there was still the cost of double ram balls, rails, battery boxes, wiring, blah blah blah. I could not think of a way that I could do it cleanly and easily. Then as if Luther Cifers received a transmission from my brain, I stumbled onto the beta testing of a new product from Yak Attack called the Cellblok.

Ok so he didn't really pick up a transmission from my brain. I'd just been wrestling with the same thing other people have struggled with long before I'd considered buying a fishfinder. The difference is Yak Attack went to the drawing board and came up with a solution to the problem. The product that came out of it is the Cellblok. A rail mounted box that holds everything you need to mount your fishfinder unit.
Some assembly is required as the block ships flat to keep shipping charges down much like the BlackPak. The parts are machined and fits together tightly and cleanly. A few screws hold the box together and a small notch or hole is required to run the battery wires through the side wall. There are holes recessed into the backside of the top plate that will fit a bevy or ram balls. You have to drill out the ones you want to use. I used two 1" diamond plate balls to mount my unit and transducer arm. These are things I would rather do myself because everybody's mounting situation is going to be different. Finally the thumb screws mount on pre drilled holes on either end of the box to go to the rails. The extra transducer wire is wrapped around the horns on the side of the box and secured with some zip ties. I also used a Ram Transducer Arm to go over the side of the boat to the transducer head. Contrary to popular belief, I was able to fish my cable through the black housing that covers the aluminum bar. It wasn't easy to do but it is possible. Running the cable through the sheathing defenitely helps keep the look of the unit clean.
The battery compartment is subject to a little bit of water, either through the wiring notch or from the sliding front door. The floor of the compartment is notched to let water drain out and the door track has two small holes in the middle to drain any water out. I padded my battery with a little bit of extra foam from an old pelican box to keep it from bouncing around.
With the addition of a 16" GearTrac and backing plate, the Cellblok fit nicely on the gunnel of my Hobie. I'm able to move the unit from boat to boat in a matter of seconds. I'm also able to remove it completely if I don't want it for the day leaving no mounting hardware or wires subject to damage or weather/trailering when not in use. This can also come in handy if you have a kayak fishing vacation planned, or are taking a boat out for a test ride. Secondly you can remove the unit and bring it indoors to recharge the battery. Not having to mess with taking your battery wiring off. I disconnect the plug that goes to the head unit and put my battery on the maintainer. Simple and easy.
Most of the newer kayak fishing specific boats are coming stock with rails all over the boat. The cellblok can be mounted in different places given the conditions you will be facing for the day. I also like the over the side mounting and how easily you can flip the transducer arm up out of the water when you have a fish boatside.

Mr. Luther, another nod for a fantastic mounting solution and one less headache for your fellow kayak fishermen!

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