Aside from catching fish and competing in tournaments I have learned that one of the coolest aspects of kayak fishing is rigging your ride in the off season. As fun as that is, there is only so much you can learn about a sonar while running in Simulation mode and it’s time to bring on the warmer weather so I can get out there and really learn the ins and the outs of the Raymarine Dragonfly4. If you had a chance to read Part 1 of this blog you know that I had an incredible experience with the customer service department at Raymarine. Once I received the correct transducer the next stage was installation. Given that this was my second attempt at a scupper install I was aware of some of the pitfalls with cutting holes in that precious plastic hull. Something for you to know is that being cautious with the 1″ drill bit it not in your best interest as it will create an uneven jagged cut. Through trial and error i discovered that powering the drill to full speed and committing to the cut is the best way to approach it.
After careful consideration for the placement of the access and exit points I made my first cut. Even with my planning the cut was less than perfect but better than my jagged result of the Cuda 14. My second cut worked out much better and i remembered to save the left over plastic for any future fixes. I had originally planned on purchasing the Jackson Transducer Installation kit, but challenges with the order, the weak Canadian dollar, and shipping and duty drove the costs up way past reasonable. So I was posed with a problem, the holes were cut, and I was without appropriate plugs. Having DIY on the Cuda with a combination of wiring and plumbing fittings I had resolved to spend the extra money and aim for a cleaner look on my deck. The difficulty was finding the parts. I got lucky at the Fishing and Boat show when speaking to the Hobie guys, and dare I say that my Jackson now bares two discreet Hobie logos where the holes once were. I would like to thank the folks at Fogh Marine for their specialized support and shopping there certainly proved fruitful as I found other nifty toys to add to my rigging projects.
The wire plug by first glance appears simple in it’s design. Hobie includes two threaded plugs with backing ring as well as a spectrum of different designed rubber grommets. The grommets fit easily into the plug housing and once you figure out the sequence of stringing the wires through the you end up with a clean, professional looking water tight seal. I have no trouble in saying that Hobie certainly has designed a number of very handy kayak fishing attachments, and if you are having a hard time finding what you are looking for to finish that rigging project I suggest taking a peak in the Hobie catalog.
When I got the Big Rig, I made a decision to aim towards doing things right, take my time and to take on rigging projects that that protected my investments into my equipment. I liked the Jackson battery tray given that it would allow me to transport my battery while in the hull without worry of it bouncing around while in transport. The order for the part never materialized and I was left with a hold over project from my Cuda. I am no electrician by any stretch, and much of what I know is self taught and through trial and error. One thing I do know is I do not like equipment bouncing around in the hull, so I decided to build a simple battery box. While I was at Fogh I happened across a water proof wire connector, and given the my previous effort to MacGiver a plug hook up this component fit the bill perfectly.
In order for this project to feel like it was complete, I needed to figure out a way to fit the battery box in the hull where it would balance the load of the battery, and could remain in place while being loaded and unloaded from the roof rack. I happened upon this placement quite accidentally as I considered what options were available to me. I am happy with this placement for the time being and will assess its success after my first trip.
So now that I was feeling good about my power situation the next step was to finish the install and place the display in a position that best suited me and my fishing and paddling style. The Raymarine comes out of the box primed for a marriage to a RAM mount set up. I admit that when I started into the sport I was drawn to Scotty mounts, and found RAM mounts to be confusing, and expensive. They remain on the pricey side, but in my opinion the versatility that their ball and socket design makes for a very attractive and functional set up on any of your mounts across the yak. Paired with a Yak Attack RAM ball and a small RAM Dogbone and this display is ready for mounting on my choice of gear track. I took the kayak out and messed around with placement before marrying to the idea of placing it on my right hand side with in reach of my dominant hand. The proximity to my reach makes for easy scrolling and marking of way points and its placement does not impede my paddle stroke in any way.
The wire harness is simple installation into the display, my one complaint in the switch to the Big Rig specific transducer is a bulky rectangular shaped amp converter that really just becomes a bit of a optic eye sore. The mount that I ended up poaching the dogbone from was the X Mount intended for mounting your cell phone. I purchased the mount with high expectations, but with paddle spray hitting the face of my phone with every stroke I re purposed the component rather than dropping more coin on a different mount.
The Dragonfly face is simple with a clear 5 button layout including 4 directional toggles. On power up you quickly see the vibrancy of the rich colour palate. and the 16:9 HD layout makes for wide viewing of your under water imaging. I admit I did not realize the depth of the features while I was on the water, making a complete on the water review difficult but I did quickly fall in love with the downscan imaging. The traditional sonar seems very accurate and easy to distinguish the arcs as you locate fish. With my Humminbird I set fish icons on, and having played a bit with the features I quickly appreciated the benefits or reading the arcs rather then using the less specific fish icon feature. I was a bit confused with the downscan while on the water as it was reading arcs as well, but I suspect i just need to tinker with the on the water settings and adjust my thinking in order to interpret the information on the screen.
Each mode has its own option screen that can be accessed by holding the OK button, and that’s where you realize the deep customization features of the unit. Colours can be chosen that will pop in different lighting conditions, and there are a slew of presets as well as complete user control set ups.
My favorite features by far are the awesome options that the included Navioncs + card provides the unit. The unit is Wifi compatible allowing multiple device sets ups. The Sonar Charts Live allow for a real time mapping of the water you are fishing, changing the mapping as you fish it. The feature allows you to view the changes on your mobile device, and as I later discovered, the unit’s display. The user can then upload your mapping onto the Navionics website creating a real time catalog of your mapped lakes. The other benefit is you can map uncharted waters and add to the community edits for others to benefit from.
Having completed this set up I’m inclined to admit that I am pretty satisfied with my rigging of the Big Rig. Technology is a critical aspect in today’s fishing, and for guys like me that fish a lot of unknown waters having an effective sonar unit is a must in my opinion. Time will be the judge of whether or not the Raymarine Dragonfly is all it’s touted to be, and I hope to have some wins under my belt this summer to back my choice in sonar. At the moment I am waiting for the arrival of my Yak Attack BlackPac and I hope to write an unboxing and review blog in the coming weeks. Thanks for reading and tight lines.