Necessity is the mother of invention, so is a wet rear end. Thats what led to this months column.
Im a fan of small non-motorized watercraft. Come by my house and youll see four kayaks and a canoe sitting outside, loaded on a trailer and ready to go. There is nothing better than tossing the plastic armada into the lake and fishing in places that bass boats cant get to. Even as much fun as it is to fish from these small vessels, they do have an issue (well the kayaks do anyway). They have scupper holes.
If youre not familiar with scuppers, they are holes in the cockpit of sit-on-top kayaks that are designed to let water out when it comes over the bow. They also let water in. This isnt an issue in August when a little bit of water actually feels nice and refreshing. In December, well, I should not have to say this, but its a huge problem. Kayak manufacturers understand that there are idiots out there like me that want to use their boats in the winter and make plugs for the scuppers so that you can keep the water out, but buying scupper plugs isnt fun now is it? Plus, I couldnt find any locally that fit my boat so I took it upon myself to make my own. Now I have a dry bottom and saved a few bucks. Heres how I made mine.
The list of supplies for this project is very small. All you need is a piece of cardboard, a pool noodle (preferably the kind that is solid, not one with a hole in the middle), some small diameter rope, and a few washers.
If you are lucky, your scupper holes are round which makes building your own plugs much easier (more on this in a minute). If youre me, then your scuppers holes are not round but more like rectangles with rounded corners, which means that finding something that will fit in isnt easy. So to start the plug building process I made a small template of the holes out of the piece of cardboard.
The next step is to take the pool noodle and cut about a four-inch section off the end. Using the cardboard template as the form, and a fillet knife as your cutting tool, trim the piece of pool noodle to the shape of the scupper hole. It is a good idea to trim it a little larger than the scupper hole. The noodle will compress when you push it into the scupper making a tight seal. Plus if you trim it too small, youll have to start over.
After the plug is formed to your liking, poke a hole in the middle of it. Thats right, we just poked a hole in the plug you spent all that time building. Take the rope from the supply list (I used paracord since I had some sitting around, but an old shoelace will work too) and push it through the hole in the plug. After running it through the plug then pass it through the center of one of the washers and tie a knot in it so it cannot slip back through. Leave about six inches of the rope hanging out of the top of the plug. Tie another knot in this end of the rope. The rope is used to pull the plug out anytime you want to use the scupper holes for their intended purpose.
If your kayak has round scupper holes then youre in luck. You dont have to do any cutting to make plugs, just go to the golf section of your local sporting goods store and buy some of the foam practice golf balls. Take one of these balls and poke a hole in the middle of it, run the rope through the hole, and attach the washer with a knot just like the previous example. Now all you have to do to use these is push the foam golf ball down into the round scupper holes. This is probably one of the best uses for a foam golf ball (just my opinion).
Kayak fishing is becoming more and more popular as more anglers become interested in the sport of chasing fish from paddle-powered watercraft. With a few quick homemade plugs, they can enjoy their kayak year round and not put it in the garage when the temperature drops and sitting in a pool of water all day could lead to frostbite in odd places.