Slayers with Assistance

    While fielding questions at both the Madison Musky School and Canoecopia, I noticed that a lot of paddlers wanted to know more about my stand up assist bar.  Most of the questions started with how the kayak they had bought didn't come with one, then quickly turned into asking where they could get one and have it installed?  I could relate to this since neither of my boats had one when I picked them up.  I first saw a stand up assist bar on a Hobie kayak at the Madison Fishing Expo, then I saw one on a Jackson, and a Wilderness kayak at Canoecopia.  Long story short I decided that I wanted, no needed an assist bar on my Native Watercraft Slayer Propel.  I headed down to Rutabaga Paddlesports to ask the all knowing Scott Hamstra about his thoughts on the use of a stand up assist bar.
     Arriving at Rutabagas I quickly found Scott and mentioned wanting a stand up assist bar, a big smile filled his face.  You see Scott is like me in that he likes to outfit and tinker with boats.  He quickly explained the advantages of having one installed on my boat.  He explained that besides the obvious advantage of having the "assist" when standing, you can also use it as a place to mount things, secure your rod or paddle, and it can help with stability when encountering a rouge wave or boat wake out on the water.  Soon he had a couple of different options in my hands (he's good at his job) and before I knew it, I was headed out the door with my wallet a little lighter and the Casting Brace by Jackson Kayaks under my arm.
     Once I had it at home I started the general placement and fitting process.  Basically I got a notepad and a cup of coffee, headed to the basement, and setup the bar unmounted.  I just kind of stared at the kayak and soon a couple of things came to the front of mind .  First, was that the bar needed to clear the Propel Pedal Drive when it's in the up position.  Second, I needed to decide whether or not to attach the Casting Brace to the integrated track system on the front of the kayak.  I decided that since I am constantly moving my GoPro camera mounts, the assist bar would need to be hard mounted to the kayak.  It was at this point that I discovered that even though the assist bar comes with all the necessary mounting hardware for its intended brand, I was gonna need a couple extra pieces to mount it on my kayak.
The bracket sits to low to be able to mount with the included factory hardware.
     As you can see in the picture above, the track on the Native Slayer sits in a channel about a half inch below the top of the kayak.  Since the assist bar uses removable push pins to raise and lower the bar, the bracket needs to be raised level with the track to allow it to lay down correctly.  I remedied this issue with some 1/2 inch delrin spacers and four 1 3/4 inch stainless steel bolts.
Delrin plastic and stainless steel, we wouldn't want it to rust.
     As far as the actual mounting goes it couldn't have been easier.  Using the brackets as a guide, mark your holes with a center punch and then drill them out with a 3/16 inch drill bit.  You can attach the nuts and washers easily on the Slayer by removing the square cover to access the interior of the kayak.  The whole thing probably took all of 20 minutes to do.  Would have been even quicker if I hadn't dropped one of the nuts inside the kayak causing a good 5-6 minutes of excessive swearing while I struggled to retrieve it.
     The final product looks great and so far it has worked really well.  It looks like it was made for the kayak.  It follows the lines of the Native Watercraft Slayer Propel very well and has proven easy to setup and take down while on the water.  I did have to make one change from my original setup however.  My kayak makes a lot trips through doorways as a by product of my seminars.  The stand up assist bar kept unfolding every time I turned the boat on its side.  To remedy this problem I attached a small plastic rigging hook with a well nut to the kayak so that I could use the front deck bungees to strap the bar to the kayak when transporting.  This should also help cut down on excessive noise from the bar slapping the kayak hull in rougher waters.
     As you can see the mounting of a stand up assist bar is pretty simple.  Most anglers could greatly benefit from the use of one.  The ability to stand comfortably in your kayak will help ease back pain, improve your sight casting game, and can act as a nice support point when moving around on your little plastic boat.  With many available aftermarket options their is sure to be one that will fit your brand of kayak.  If you have any questions or comments leave them below and I will do my best to answer them.  Or, you can go right to the experts over at Rutabaga Paddlesports.  They'll answer your questions, show you the products, and help get them installed correctly on your kayak.
     Tight Lines.

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