Crate Storage

By: Dan Carns

The original Sit on Top (SOT) kayak developed by Ocean Kayak was intended to be used to get past the Pacific coast surf and allow divers to carry air tanks out to the kelp beds. It turns out that this is still the primary shape for almost all fishing kayaks but instead of carrying air tanks, we carry fishing gear in the tank well area. When I see anglers without any kind of crate behind their seat, I wonder if it’s the cost of the crate or they haven’t discovered the benefits of a crate.

There is an almost endless amount of gear many of us carry and it all needs a place to call home. By far the cheapest and simplest is the milk crate and one of my favorites. My current kayak is the Elite Pro Angler from Vanhunks, and has a remarkable six, flush mount, rod holders but I use those primarily for trolling or while actively fishing. My preferred storage is in the milk crate set up. These are super easy to build. Pick up external mount plastic rod holders in either double or triple sets and simply zip tie them to the sides. Remember to use outside, UV resistant zip ties as interior use ties will fail after a season outside. You can customize these with rod holders on one side, just the back or as I prefer, two sides and the back. I carry seven rods with me whether I’m in fresh or salt water. I have doubles on each side and a triple on the back. What goes inside depends on the trip and whether or not I am using bait. I mention bait because the cheapest live bait well you can get comes from a sheetrock bucket and a Bubble Box Aerator. The sheetrock bucket fits perfectly in a milk crate with the bubbler box tucked in the corner keeping it in place and out of the way. Make sure to bungee down the crate as it can tip over if not secured. If you’re not carrying bait, then the milk crate becomes great secured storage for almost anything. While it is not waterproof, I keep all kinds of gear in mine like water jugs, extra tackle bags, grappling anchor for emergencies or rain gear.

Of course, there are a number of actual storage crates and the one we carry at Vanhunks is perhaps the best, the redesigned BlackPak Pro from Yakattack. This crate has six rod holders with integrated rod leashes with hooks and has multiple attachment points. The water shedding lid also has a sticky hinge setting so that is stops in any position making it easy to reach and close. There are a number of available accessories to help you customize the design.

There are do it yourself tutorials online including current reviews of existing crates. Consider adding a crate to the tank well and up your storage options!