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Rigging Your Yak at Home

by Brent Torgeson

Most of you probably like to experiment and come up with your own adaptations, rigging, and repairs of your fishing kayak to your own specifications. Having the right tools, equipment and parts is very important. I’m not saying that having the right tools will allow you to install a fishfinder or put running lights on your yak but it will make the job a lot easier.

I put together a list of some "must haves". Even the minor adjustments and rigging can be done easily and efficiently as long as you have these items:


  • Roto zip or a dremel with cut out bit - allows you to make cut outs like flush mount rod holders without needing a starter hole. You have better control of the smaller circular cuts than a jig saw.
  • Jig Saw (preferably with 2 speeds) this would be used for the longer straight cuts, like a hatch install.
  • Cordless Drill – this will be used of course to drill the holes to apply rivets and to make smaller holes for wire seals with spade bits.
  • Solder Iron with an iron tip – makes mistakes easy to fix. Keep all your cut out material from previous jobs so you can use them to fix unwanted mistakes or cracks. You can use the solder iron to carve out a small dab of plastic and then melt that over the small holes or cracks. For larger holes or cracks it’s a great idea to take a template of the area and then trace it over the scrap plastic and cut it out. If you need a larger piece of scrap than you have, come by OEX we can usually accommodate. Put some tape over the area to hold the plastic in place and begin to solder the exposed area. Take the tape off and continue until all is done. You will find that it will be good as new once the plastic cools.
  • Shop-Vac with long pull out extension cord. This allows you to get inside the yak to get to those hard to reach places to pick up scraps and dust left behind during an install.


    • Rivet Gun – This is a must for rigging
    • Files – after the cuts they should be filed down to a smooth non-jagged opening. We have found metal files work well, both flat and rat-tail.
    • 3/16 drill bits (for rivets)
    • Set of spade bits (for smaller holes, wire seals, etc.
    • Flathead and Phillips screw drivers
    • Wire Stripper
    • Vice Grips (we use this to crimp the tag wire to all connectors)
    • Small Butane Torch – to heat up the shrink connectors and shrink tubing.
    • Large Butane Torch – to heat up and fix small cracks and cut outs
    • Scissors – Many uses


      • Marine Goop – This is the duct tape of the kayak world. It can fix anything and is a must have.
      • Dielectric Grease – Great to coat your electrical connectors after every 5 or so trips.
      • Zip Ties – Good way to keep your wires neat and together.
      • Electrical Tape – If money is no object, get the 3M 130C tape, it is stretchable and wraps very tight and uniform.
      • Electrical Connectors
      • Butt connectors – If money is still no object get the heat shrink butt connectors, otherwise you’ll need shrink tubing to use over the regular connectors.
      • Terminal connectors – These will be used to connect the wires to batteries.
      • Wire – 18-22 Gauge black and red wire.  Purchase Marine Grade wire as it will help to prevent corosion.

There are many more materials you could get but unless you are doing heavy duty rigging for multiple boats these are pretty much all you will need.

Something to take away: Take your time – measure twice and cut once. If you have any questions come by OEX, we are here to help. We do rigging and installs almost every day so if you don’t have the time or tools to do what you want we can do it for you.