1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Livewell & Drybox combo

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Rob Appleby, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Rob Appleby

    Rob Appleby New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    For a couple of years now I’ve fancied having my own livewell on the kayak. I did have a half hearted attempt a year or so back with an old cool box, though that was deemed a failure in the very early stages.

    There’s another issue, just how often am I actually going to use the livewell?, perhaps a dozen times a year at best I reckon. The last thing that I wanted to construct was something that was just going sit on a shelf in the garage taking up valuable space. However, if I could produce a lightweight box that was suitable for general kayak use as well as the occasional use as a livewell that would be good news.

    Basically I wanted something:

    * Dual purpose
    * Strong & durable
    * Lightweight
    * Easily accessible
    * Watertight

    As much as I like my Yakmate 3, after a couple of years it’s starting to show a little wear, though it still has a lot of life remaining. The downside of the Yakmate is that it’s not dry. The base is full of drain holes so when the tankwell is awash with water the Yakmate is getting wet internally. If it rains the Yakmate will take water in along the upper fore and aft edges.

    Yes, I know, kayak fishing is a watersport, though having dry storage on the kayak is advantageous. I’ve never fancied a pure kayak crate modelled on a milk crate, I like to keep my gear dry when possible.

    I’ve spent considerable time surfing this forum as well as others, also videos on Utube. I’ve seen a handful of livewells that utilise a pet food container, this being watertight in its own right was a good starting point. It was also rigid as well as being lightweight. I decided to go down this route and purchased the model that seemed best suited to my needs.

    [​IMG]

    The lid has a coarse screw so it’s easy to remove and refit even with cold hands. Positioned with the lid uppermost and facing forward (not as shown above!) it provides an excellent view into the container when sitting side saddle on the kayak.

    As mentioned, I wanted this container to double up as an everyday tankwell unit (crate of sorts), as well as an occasional livewell.Obviously I’d require some rod holders for rods, gaff, net, etc, as well as a selection of stainless steel nuts & bolts, sealant, etc.

    [​IMG]

    As can be seen above the box has already been drilled to accommodate the rod holders. Also visible are overflow outlets (through hull connectors), aerator pump, carbine hooks, etc. Below is a photo showing the rod holders fitted as well for as for and aft securing points. The rod holders were warmed slightly towards the base with a heat gun to enable them to fit snugly within the tankwell. Also visible is a drain on the forward lower face.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There was a lot of head scratching when deciding how to secure this container to the kayak. It may well contain a considerable amount of water so strong attachment was deemed important. However, I was strongly against screwing/bolting additional fittings to the yak.

    The lid had to be secured with a lanyard to prevent inadvertent loss at sea. This was achieved using bungee buttons. One was attached to the the inside on the container to a rod holder bolt, the other to the inside centre of the lid. This allowed easy attachment of a cord lanyard.

    [​IMG]

    The two large holes visible above are the overflow holes. Through hull fitting were fitted later in the build. These are blanked externally with screw on caps with an o-ring seal to maintain watertight integrity.

    The smaller holes visible above are for fitment of a watertight dive box to the rear wall of the container to facilitate fitment of a battery to power the livewell. A kayak carrying handle was added to enable easy carriage of the container. Also visible below the the aerator pump inlet (the black one), again this is blanked for everyday use.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The internal aerator pump is visible in the above photo

    I used a Thule roof strap for the securing strap. Stainless carbine hooks were added to each end. The straps are two piece and joined with a heavy duty plastic buckle, similar to what you’ve find on a good quality backpack. This allows the container to be securely fitted to the kayak in seconds. The connection points are existing half round deck fittings located at either corner of the tankwell.

    The above photos were taken early in the build as brass blanking caps are visible. As mentioned earlier, these were later change to plastic models with O-ring seals.

    The container has a volume of approximately 35 litres. I’d imagine that when sealed it’s also an effective buoyancy aid should you be unfortunate enough to capsize. Should that happen with the lid open the access is so large as to allow very rapid training as the kayak is turned towards the upright.

    As it stands, the container pictured above is both lightweight and watertight. It fits very securely to the kayak and can be fitted and removed in seconds. To this point I was very happy in the build. There were several headaches and obstacles to overcome when converting it to a fully functional livewell.

    The were certain features that I wished to have with regards to the livewell, these were as follows:

    * Dual water level to cater to different sized bait
    * Internal aerator pump to minimise noise
    * Dual pump speed
    * Easy pump priming when afloat
    * On/off switch to be easily reachable
    * Quiet overboard draining
    * Alternative power source if required
    * External battery charging point
    * Ability to drain the tank when afloat

    That potentially seemed a tall order, some may argue that it’s over-complicated, though it covered my potential needs. Plus it’s what I wanted, I like a challenge. It was potentially going to be challenging, and as it turned out, at times it was just that… and more!.

    The basic design has already been covered, though here’s some additional photos that also show the later plastic blanking caps, on/off switch and external charging point.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On the lower front edge is a drain plug. This allows the livewell to be drained when afloat if required (roughly 2 litres of water will remain) or to be drained when ashore prior to lifting the livewell off the kayak.

    The on/off switch was originally going to be positioned on the top of the battery box, though after sitting on the yak I decided it was too much of a stretch. Having it on the forward edge seemed like a good idea, though I had visions of it being accidentally knocked on and off, plus it’d be potentially rather messy routing wiring towards the front. In the end I positioned in on upper rear edge, comfortably within reach.

    The switch itself is a three position ON/OFF/ON item, fitted with a waterproof rubber cover. The idea of this three position switch was to allow the unit to have two selectable speeds as well as an off position.

    The question was how best to achieve a useable two speed setup. Ideally I wanted full power 12 volt operation for filling the tank quickly, stirring the tank, or just whenever I felt the need. I also wanted a lower second speed for general use and to maximise battery life. The issue was more with the lower speed and what speed did I really need??.

    I decided to incorporate and speed regulator circuit, thus allowing me to have the choice on what my lower speed would be.

    [​IMG]

    As the speed regulator wasn’t a waterproof unit it had to located in the watertight battery box. Despite a few headaches this was eventually achieved. The main problem was with the circuit wiring, though it all came good in the end. It probably isn’t advisable to change this variable setting once afloat due to the location of the controller, though setting it mid-way will see the pump operating in the 6-8V region.

    The photo below shows the wiring loom taking shape.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The cut out allows fitment of a either a 12v/7Ah or 6v/12Ah SLA battery. The pump operation can be switched between 12v (Max) and a variable speed (Var) via the three position switch.

    [​IMG]

    I already have a 12V/12Ah fitted to the front of the kayak which powers my GPS, fish finder and stern light. As I expect the majority of the live baiting to take place during daylight hours it seems a shame not to use the existing battery, which would also minimise the all up weight.

    To this end I fitted a two pin marine connector to the side of the battery box. This has two main functions, it allows connection of the same charging adapter that I currently use for charging my main kayak battery. The allows me to charge the livewell battery in situ should i feel the need using my existing charging setup.

    The second function allows me to connect a jumper lead to the rear light socket which is powered from the main kayak battery. This allows me to operate the livewell without actually having to fit the livewell battery. I could even fit the livewell battery and the jumper lead which would prove a huge amount of battery life, though I cant ever imagine the need to do so.

    The photo below show the close proximity of the battery box connection point to the rear light socket. I’ve already proved the principle and I’m currently making a waterproof lead, sadly it’s not quite fully ready at this moment in time.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next I’ll cover the plumbing, now this did also cause some stressful moments!. My initial plan was to have a short length of hose from the pump directly to the tankwell scupper with a non-return valve located within the scupper hole. I knew the pump would require priming and I’d measured that the amount with the pipe work and the pump was approximately 100ml.

    I’d originally planned to use a large syringe with a short piece of flexible pipe on the end to inject water into the pump outlet thus backfilling the system. Let’s just say it didn’t work, basically it was badly airlocked due to the non-return valve and that plan was well and truly dead in the water!.

    This totally messed up my plans, though with the container already drilled and the pump position low down I was kind of stuck. I decided to use a hand primer, similar to what you’ll find on outboard engines. I rigged this up which ultimately resulted in a large u-bend as the pipe returned to the pump. The hand pump is design for 3/8†pipe yet i was using 3/4†pipe. The pump itself could not move enough water to effectively remove the airlocks within the pipes, basically I was screwed.

    Then at 2am (yes I was in the garage scratching my head at that stupid hour) I had a Eureka moment. The hand pump has an internal upper and lower non-return valve fitted internally. Being 3/8†they are also very restrictive on the water flow. I removed the valves and fitted a 3/4†non-return valve to the bottom the the hand pump. However, I positioned the upper (now 3/4â€) non-return valve not to the top of the hand pump, but 1/2 way along the pipe between the top of the hand pump and the aerator intake.

    In the photo below the hand primer and two non-return valves are visible.

    [​IMG]

    This basically changed everything and allowed the small hand pump to easily push the airlocks through the 3/4†pipe work. The non-return valves also prevent draining of the tank when the aerator pump is switched off. The large diameter of the non-return valves also allows full flow of water through the pipes.

    I also made two overflow pipes, one for the higher and one for the low level overflows. You can fit the pipe to suit the level you want and leave the other blanked. The other option is the fit both pipes and to use a 1†bung to block the outlet you don’t want from within the container. This allows you the option of changing the water level when afloat in seconds.

    The photo below shows the two overflow pipes and well as the pump feed pipe incorporating the hand primer.

    [​IMG]

    Here’s the pump pipe fitted. All pipes are fitted in seconds.

    [​IMG]

    The overflows were covered with plastic mesh on the outside face to prevent smaller bait such as sandeels escaping from the tank. The reason it was placed on the outer face was to enable the fitment of a rubber bung within the tank as previously mentioned.

    [​IMG]

    The inlet to the lower non-return valve in the pump feed pipe was also fitted with a mesh cover to prevent coarse debris being sucked into the valves and ultimately the pump. There is even mesh on the pump outlet to prevent small fish from entering the pump when it’s switched off.

    So, that’s basically the livewell aspects completed, here’s a few more photos to clarify the build and the installation.

    Fitted and configured as a Dry Box

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Fitted and Configured as a Livewell

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The hand primer and valve assembly retain water very well with no visible draining with the pump off. However, the hand primer was positioned such as to allow easy operation when seated side saddle. Six to eight pumps are required to prime the system.

    [​IMG]

    The pump intake pipe is effectively almost flush with the hull of the kayak, recessed by only a few millimetres.

    [​IMG]

    The upper overflow pipe drains into the opposite scupper hole, with the lower drain exiting directly onto the floor of the tankwell. The internal pump and direct scupper drains should hopefully all minimise the livewell noise when in operation.

    I’ve tried it next to the kitchen sink and it primes easily and works a dream. I’ll probably rig is tomorrow to see how long it will run on a medium setting of around 7 volts.

    With the plumbing removed a simple removable, slot together, wooden divider can be placed inside in seconds creating some well organised dry storage.

    [​IMG]

    Here it is in use as a drybox, something it'll spend most of its time doing to be honest. I've capsized with it attached and it stayed dry inside and righting the kayak was straightforward.

    [​IMG]

    So there we have it, was it cheap??.. nope. I reckon it cost me about $150, though for a dual purpose container that’s not only durable but should be long lived, I'm not complaining.
     
  2. n2bassfishing

    n2bassfishing New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Texas
    Rob,

    I've had my eye on this for awhile now. Great idea and planning. One of the best DIY projects I've seen.
     
  3. Kz4zzz

    Kz4zzz Guest

    Thank God for Goodwill !

    View attachment 11 View attachment 12 View attachment 13 just a start...
    View attachment 9 View attachment 10
    Dog Bisket Box $4 Goodwill, Paint $10 Walmart, Strap/bolts and air supply FLEA Market.. Yes I'm Cheap !
    Kayak already had built in rod holders.. air seen on back before painting... holds 8Gal can be used as live well...
    Stand it up or lay it down works both ways...camo paint last and went to black air supply... "setting upright" shown
    in kayak test view/setup.. camo to match boat and outriggers I made...remember I'm the old guy plus there are
    lots of big waves from the big boats in the intercoastal and I'm not always watching while hooked up to a biggin...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2012
  4. Rob Appleby

    Rob Appleby New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I've since seen virtually the identical setup for retail sale.... Hmmmmmmmm


    Kz4zzz, I love the artwork, nicely done :D
     
  5. Boogie-D

    Boogie-D New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North Shore, Oahu
    nice work

    glad your on the team Rob.. i like your design style... looking good.
     
  6. Mullet Miller

    Mullet Miller New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chesapeake City, Maryland
    That is a really clean set up! Thanks for sharing it...

    Question I have, is there any version of that container that is completely round or oval shaped? Would like to have one that I can keep live peanut bunker in, but the square corners are a death warrant for them.
     
  7. Rob Appleby

    Rob Appleby New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I'm personally not aware of a round version.
     
  8. BigYaker

    BigYaker Guest

    Awesome setup Rob! ;)

    I only use live bait for big cats but if I used live bait more often I would definitely go this route.
     
  9. Shaun

    Shaun Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Texas
    Nice job Rob.
     
  10. Hanover_Yakker

    Hanover_Yakker Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2012
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    2
    Love it Rob - might have to consider that in the future.

    Mullet Miller - one consideration you might try is to insert the smaller diameter pool noodles in the corners and affix them using a hook and latch velcro setup. That might provide a buffer to prevent the peanut bunker from a premature expiration......just a thought.
     
  11. Hammerhead

    Hammerhead New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Rindge, NH
    Always liked that one Rob!
     
  12. Fish Taco

    Fish Taco New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Port Washington, New York
    Rob, this is one hell of a well planned and executed project... well done! It doesn't get much cleaner than that! It doesn't surprise me that somebody else is already out there trying knock off your design and sell it to the public... after all "copying is the sincerest form of flattery" as they say. <grin>

    It would be nice to see this same design somehow in a round container, just from a "keeping your bait alive longer" perspective. Like you said, one could modify the interior (pool noodles or otherwise) to make it round, but then you're losing valuable cu. in. of space too. Still, all in all a great solution though, congrats! :)
     
  13. easyyaken

    easyyaken New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Livewell and Dry combo - where to buy

    I like the set-up and instead of making the bait tank. Where might be able to purchase one and perhaps at what price?
     
  14. Rob Appleby

    Rob Appleby New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I believe that you get purchase something similar from Hook1
     
  15. Lt.FireDog

    Lt.FireDog Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    Very Nice Rob!! [​IMG]
     
  16. NOMADMAD

    NOMADMAD New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, Va
    This looks like a very cool and fun build. Nice job.
     
  17. Agent VA

    Agent VA New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like everything about that setup! Well done. Off to the local pet supply store. :D
     
  18. MrWndrfl

    MrWndrfl Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very nice! This may go on the 2013 project list.
     

Share This Page