Brand Ambassador Juan Vallejo – Paddling a 2013 Jackson Cuda 14 for Inshore Kayak Fishing

Rigging a new kayak can be an intense experience. Look no further than the world of social media, where the trending phrase #kayakfishingproblems routinely points out that rigging looks so much easier on an internet post than it is in real life.

Kayak Rigging with the Experts is a brief – 10 generic question – interview with Yak Gear Brand Ambassadors and other advanced kayak anglers to highlight and share some essential strategies involved in the rigging process to ease the intensity of it all.

1. What is the first accessory you installed on this boat?

I installed the Yak Gear Basic Anchor Trollies on each side, prior to my first fishing trip.  What happens when the wind changes directions? What happens when the current pushes you to the opposite side of your anchor? An anchor trolley provides an easy way to make quick adjustments while out on the water.

 2. How do you attach your paddle to the boat?

I use the existing bungee attachments on my Jackson Cuda 14 to secure my paddle on the left or right sides.  This is similar to a bungee paddle keeper kit.
3. Where do you keep your primary and secondary rods?
When I begin my day fishing I normally have them in the Build A Crate Rod Holders attached to my crate.  I also keep one or two of them in my Railblaza Rod Holder II‘s attached to my center hatch once I am anchored.
4. How do you typically anchor?
I normally anchor with my 8′ anchor pole. I use an anchor pole leash with an anchor float leash, attaching it to my Yak Gear Basic Anchor Trollies. Having a float attached has made it easier to find my D-ring attachment when I disconnect, instead of hauling it in if I want to come right back to that spot. One thing to remember when anchoring is which way the wind is blowing and the direction the current is flowing so that you don’t set up next to a river bank or other obstruction that may get in your way when casting.
5. Do you use a light? If so where…why?
Yes, I use a 360 light on a telescopic pole that has 360-degree visibility when fishing in the dark, so that I am visible to other boaters. According to the Navigational Rules of the Road it is required! Check out the Rules of the Road here.  I’m also working on installing my fishing and bug lights from Yak Gear.  These are powered off of a 12V battery in my hatch.  Pictures to come later…
6. How do you store pliers, tackle boxes, fish grips, bogas…etc?
I use leashes for all of these items because it is cheaper to attach them to your kayak with a leash than it is to replace them!
7. Where and how do you mount your camera(s)?
I utilize a few of the Railblaza products to mount my Go Pro camera. First I mounted the StarPort Base mount to my center hatch, then attached the TracPort Dash 350 to the mount, and finally installed the Railblaza platform boom 150 into the middle attachment on the TracPort Dash 350. I also keep a spare waterproof camera in my center hatch storage compartment.
8. When using live bait, where do you store it while paddling?
I either use a live bait bucket attached to a leash or I keep a small bucket with a bubbler in it when using live bait. These items are normally stored behind me in my crate or behind it in the back deck storage area when paddling.
9. What other extra accessories do you mount? Where?
I have two additional Railblaza Rod Holder II’s, that I have mounted to the left and right sides just behind my seat. I use these rod holders when I am anchored with my right or left side of the kayak against the bank/shoreline.
10. If forced to choose ONLY ONE- What is the one accessory that you would add to a completely empty kayak before taking kayak fishing?
Due to my extensive boating experience with the U.S. Coast Guard (18 years), it is always important to make sure that you do some research and planning; such as the water depth, known safety hazards, and always check the weather before heading out!  Don’t forget to leave a float plan in your vehicle, and with a friend or family member before departing your home that day. It always makes things easier for us when trying to find a missing boater/kayaker, so please be safe out there!  I always hear from others to take the basic necessities with you, but due to my training and experience I always bring extra gear and safety equipment.  You never know what may happen. Our motto in the U.S. Coast Guard is SEMPER PARATUS, which means ALWAYS READY!

We want to know what you think about YakGear Brand Ambassador Juan V’s set up! How is Juan’s rigging style similar to yours? Tell us what you think! Comment below, reach out to us at, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the #YakGear hashtag!