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Whether you love to fish from your kayak or simply enjoy paddling in the open ocean, having a more stable vessel could always be useful. But can a kayak outrigger really help you?
Outriggers could potentially help to add stability to your kayak, providing you with more opportunities to stand up. This could be of use when you’re standing to fish, or even if you just want to stand up to stretch legs.
Even for recreational yaks, it could be of benefit, helping to stabilize your vessel when you’re climbing back on after a swim.
In this guide we’ll help you discover what exactly kayak outriggers are and whether or not you could benefit from them.
What Is A Kayak Outrigger?
Outriggers act as a support system for your kayak. Just like stabilizers or training wheels on a child’s bike, an outrigger can help to balance your yak and prevent it from tipping over.
Why Do I Need An Outrigger?
Because an outrigger can boost the stability of your vessel, it can allow you to do things that you may not otherwise be able to do, such as standing up. This can be helpful when you’re fishing, as it can be easier to cast your line and allow you to have better visibility.
However, it’s not just fishing that an outrigger can be useful for. If you plan to fish in rough conditions or the open ocean, having an outrigger system on your yak can help to prevent you from tipping over.
With the additional flotation system set out on either side of your yak, it can mimic the stability of a wider yak.
Extra stability can also be helpful if you’re new to paddling, as it can give you the reassurance that you’re not going to flip out.
How Do Outriggers Work?
Outriggers are essentially floats – often cylindrical in shape – that are usually attached to poles, which are then attached to either side of your yak.
With a fishing yak, they are often mounted towards the rear of the vessel, not in the center, to avoid getting in the way of your paddle or fishing line.
Because the outriggers are giving your yak an almost catamaran style hull, this is what can help to prevent it from tipping. They act as an extension to the width of your vessel, and the further out from the yak they are, they more stable your vessel should be.
Are Outriggers Really That Stable For Stand Up Kayak Fishing?
By adding outriggers to your fishing yak, you are increasing the buoyancy of the yak and creating an extension to its width. This means that even if you have a craft that’s built initially for speed over stability, you can still gain additional stability by using outriggers.
Video: Scotty Kayak Stabilizers
Outriggers could help you transform a narrower yak into one that could be stable enough for you to stand up in.
Because outriggers can mean less speed because of the extra contact with the water, many of the outriggers can be raised when not in use.
This means you can still benefit from the speed of a narrower yak and lower the outriggers to gain the stability you need when fishing.
Kayak Outriggers DIY: How To Do It Yourself
Step 1: Attach Your Pipes
One method for homemade outriggers is by using 1 inch PVC pipes, at 90 degrees and 45 degrees. So you should have two of each – one for either side. If you have double the amount of rod holders, you could potentially make outriggers to fit each of the four holes. You will also need two 1 inch couplings for each side and possibly a rubber mallet.
Video: Homemade Kayak Outriggers Video
You’ll be attaching the pipes to your fishing rod holders (because you can’t un-drill holes if you mess up). So firstly attach your coupling to the bottom of your 90 degree pipe, with another coupling on just above that. Slot it into your rod holder so that the second coupling is just at the top of your flush mount rod holder. The pipe should be snug inside the fishing rod holders.
Step 2: Second Pipe
By adding the 45 degree pipe to the end of the 90 degree one, you can create a more adjustable outrigger that can easily be moved for better stability.
At the end of this pipe, attach a PVC T joint connector (with three holes). To this you will then glue a 1 inch to ¾ inch adaptor to allow you to attach a ¾ inch PVC pipe.
Step 3: Attach Your Floats
Now that you have your ¾ inch pipe with T joints, you should be able to slot on your floats (or empty water bottles) to the main shafts, as these will mostly come with ¾ inch holes in them. It can be best to find two level spots for this.
Video: DIY Kayak Outriggers Without Drilling Into Kayak
Then simply repeat for the other side and you should have yourself a DIY outrigger. You can spray paint it too.
There are several other ways you can make your own outriggers, with many of them using PVC pipes. You can also choose outrigger systems that can be attached to your mounting points, although these can cost more than homemade outriggers.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to kayak outriggers and maybe now you’ll want to try making your own (with or without an outriggers kit) after our tutorial. Outriggers can be good devices to help boost the stability of your yak, especially if you’re in choppy conditions or when you simply want to create a more stable vessel for standing on.
Let us know how you get on if you choose homemade outriggers. If you have any suggestions for us, we’d love to hear them. Similarly, if you want to share your opinions of outriggers, or kayaking in general, just leave us a comment.