The kayak industry offers a wide variety of options for the consumer to choose from. You most likely have selected one of the most American brands in the bunch, Jackson Kayak. Jackson Kayak design teams spend countless hours in the developing of each and every model they bring to the consumer. So you wouldn’t think that there will be any needed accessories for any Jackson Kayak. But if you are like myself, you are always wanting to tinker with your kayak to make it exactly the way you want it. One day I had an idea for a customization to my kayak that would serve many purposes and not be all that difficult to perform. I am talking about replacing the polymer YakAttack tank well tracks with aluminum tracks. This modification can apply to multiple models of Jackson Kayak’s but for the purpose of this article we will focus on the Kraken 13.5.
On the Kraken 13.5 you will notice that behind the seat there is an aluminum gear track that is mounted from side to side in the kayak. You can use this bar to mount the Plano 1610 gear box to or a variety of other components. This same gear track is long enough that it could be mounted in place of the polymer tracks in the tank well area. I fish in Southern California and frequent both fresh and saltwater. I find the aluminum tracks offer me a more solid mount for the KKrate used as a tackle storage or as a bait tank, camera poles for less vibration and better video content and additional rod holders.
With this track already a part on the kayak, all that is needed is to order 2 of these gear tracks from Jackson and you can get started with this modification. Jackson Kayak uses threaded inserts for most of their mounting points and this is no exception. The tank well tracks are mounted with 4 button head Allen bolts on each side which thread into threaded inserts that are molded into the hull.
It is possible to use tracks that are sold over-the-counter. In order to do this you can use the YakAttack GT90 in the 16 inch length. These tracks won’t be long enough to cover where the existing tracks are mounted, they will be a little shorter and the holes will not line up. You will have to drill all of the holes out to match up to the inserts on the kayak.
First thing to do is remove the existing polymer tracks. Just need to remove 4 Allen head bolts on each track. To do this you will need an 1/8″ Allen wrench. You will need to keep these bolts and the washers.
Next, you’ll take one of the new tracks and start to line it up in the kayak. These tracks will fit in one direction and have one of the holes lineup that is pre-drilled. The same track positioned in the opposite direction will not line up the same. Figure this out before you make any measurements or cuts. Do this for both sides. Make sure you keep the measured track in the same position and on the same side of the tank well throughout the install.
Once this is done you can cut both tracks. File down the cut edges do your desired liking. Now you need to measure the right and left sides of the tank well where tracks will be installed to get the proper dimensions of the threaded inserts. These inserts can be at different dimensions from side to side. Make sure to keep the right side track on the right side after you measure where the inserts are located to drill the mounting holes. Try to mark and line up the holes to drill as centered as possible in the track. Drill the holes one at a time and check that they are lined up before moving to the next one. This will ensure that the track will mount straight on each side without any binding or interference.
After you have drilled all of the holes, place the track on the appropriate side of the kayak and install it reusing the 4 Allen Bolts you removed in the beginning. I did not reuse the washers in the aluminum track because the bolt heads cover about the same surface area. This will be up to you if you want to reuse them or not.
With the 4 bolts tightened in each track, the installation is complete. Now you will be able to use all of your equipment with a little more sense of security especially for the harsher conditions around saltwater, densely structure covered and tree lined bodies of water.