Kayak rear loading bar – Suction mounted

Leading on from my last article on the roller roof bars, I mentioned that I’d constructed a rear loading bar to prevent damage to my vehicle. This isn’t an original idea, in fact I first saw this general design posted on the Texas Kayak Fisherman forum. The design posted on there utilised a double suction cup mount with a V-shaped loading attachment. This was ideally suited to a vehicle using J-bars, however, it wasn’t suited to the way I position my kayak upside down on the roof bars.

The original design was perfectly sound, though it required modifying to allow me to mount the yak upside down onto the roller bars. It also had to support the weight of the Prowler Big Game kayak.

I decided to use four suction cups and a long horizontal loading bar, just slightly wider that the kayak itself. A quad suction mount was purchased off Ebay and within a couple of days it had arrived.


Unfortunately I failed photograph every step of the manufacture, though the final pictures show the basic design which is very easy to replicate. Initially the quad suction mount was cut in half. 32mm waste pipe plus a selection of 32mm joints from the local DIY store were utilised to construct the mounting bar as shown below.


If your roof has a curved profile, assemble the loader bar onto the roof and lock it down with the suction cups. Mark the position the the suction cup against the waste pipe T-pieces. This position will be different for most car roofs.

Once all measured and cut to size the joins were thoroughly glued with Araldite and allowed to set for 48 hours. Position the suction cups carefully to allow them to glue into the position previously marked. It’s no big deal if it glues solid and the cups don't sit flush to the roof (as mine did). The centre bar can be CAREFULLY warmed with a blow torch/heat gun and slightly bent to suit the roof profile of your vehicle.


I decided to cover the loading bar in lagging and gaffer tape as per my roller bars from my previous blog entry. It’ll add durability to the bars. In a perfect world a roller bar would have been incorporated, though after some though I decided this unnecessarily complicated.



The photos below show the finished article. Again, the tape ends were edge sealed to prevent them peeling loose over time.



The proof of the pudding, so to speak, was to actually put the bars to the ultimate test. I should have really videoed this, though you’ll have to settle for a couple of photos instead.

Here’s the kayak lying up against the rear of the car, something not possible without the loading bar, unless you were to use a blankets, etc. Unless they’re fixed it’s bound to come loose resulting in damage to the vehicle, hence the manufacture of the loading bar.


Once placed up against the loading bar it’s simply a case of picking up the end of the kayak that’s on the ground.

loader17 loader19

Once horizontal the kayak is sitting on the rear roller bar, clear of the detachable loading bar. The kayak can be rolled forward in this position and secured ready for the road.


Unloading the kayak is as straight forward, almost the opposite in fact. The kayak is rolled towards the rear and lowered onto the ground, the weight being taken by the loading bar. From here it can be lifted clear of the vehicle.


The biggest issue with mounting the kayak upside down is the possibility of damage to the roof from the rudder. What I’ve done to overcome this is to cut a slot in a section of rigid 40mm plumbing and to cover it in pipe lagging and gaffer tape.


This is used to cover the rudder (secured with a bungee) to prevent any damage to the car roof when loading or unloading the kayak. So there you have it, a simple detachable rear loading bar which ending up costing around £15. A rather cheap solution to a common problem.

Kayak roller roof bars

When I first purchased my kayak I modified my existing roof bars into ‘roller bars’ which makes loading much easier. The difference in the required physical loading effort between roller bars and fixed bars can be quite dramatic.

What I do is simple and cheap, clearly something that will appeal to most folk out there. Parts are straight forward, your local DIY store will supply all parts required.

Parts required are as follows:

  • Rigid plumbing/drainage pipe (size to suit)
  • Pipe lagging
  • Ty-wraps
  • Masking/Gaffer tape

The size of your roof bars will dictate the diameter of the drainage pipe that you will require, for me it was 40mm pipe. This will just fit over the roof bars whilst still rotating easily. The pipe is cut to length, slightly shorter that the gap between your side roof bar mounts to ensure that it will rotate and not get jammed. Cut a piece of lagging to the same length of the pipe.


Now the chances are that the lagging will not go around the pipe. This will require a further section cutting from a complete section of lagging. The initial result can be seen below.



Once the filler section has been cut to suit the two pieces can be ty-wrapped together as shown below.



The ty-wrap end are then trimmed off flush and the end result should look something like those shown below.



Now they can be left and used like this, though the lagging will soon get torn to shreds. A lot depends of how you load your yak as well as what bits you have bolted to it. I found that by wrapping the lagging in gaffer tape, preferably in a double layer, that the bars become very durable. My first set are going into there third season with only minimum damage to the masking tape. The cut edges of the gaffer tape were sealed with edge sealer to prevent them peeling loose in time.




So that it, the finished product. The job takes an hour or two depending on what tools you have to hand. Cost is around £10 for the two roof bars which represents excellent value for money.

These work great on my Land Rover Discovery, however it’s a totally different story on my Mondeo estate. I load my kayak by leaning it up against the rear bar. I then pick up the end of the kayak and the slide it onto the bars towards the front of the vehicle. This works great on the Land Rover as the rear loading bar is right at the rear of the vehicle.

However, on the Mondeo the bar bar is about 18” forward of the rear of the roof which cause me major problems loading the kayak. For starter I cannot prop the kayak up against the rear loading bar. Second time I used that vehicle I scratched the roof very badly resulting in a partial re-spray. I’ve since overcome this problem by manufacturing a detachable rear loading bar. I’ll cover the manufacture of this in my next article.

It can only get better..

It’s depressing.. the weather is going from bad to worse. The weather forecast just isn’t worth reading past the forthcoming 24 hours. This weekend was looking fishable, now it’s forecast a blowout. Fear not, early next week is looking good, well that was yesterday, today it’s all change.

The original plan was to fish the Manacles this weekend with a friend, though that’s now a write off so I’ll no doubt be driving back to Hampshire again this weekend. I really can’t put into words how terribly frustrating this whole experience is. I’m still hoping that the last week will allow a fishing window or two, day or night, I’m not at all fussy.

A couple of hours ago I wandered down to Poldhu Cover, then over to Mullion Harbour before stopping by Church Cove. I do enjoy watching a stormy sea which cheered me up in a bizarre sort of a way. The waves were between 6-8’, going over for a few hundred yards, a cauldron of boiling water as far as the eye could see.. sobering stuff. Certainly not something you’d want to find yourself paddling in !

Poldhu Cove

Below is Mullion Harbour, the photo doesn’t do the swell justice. Though if you look to the other side of the wall you can make out the inner water level.


Lastly was Church Cove, the light was fading fast hence the poor photo quality.


I have strong doubts as to whether conditions will improve during the next week or so, but as ever I’m living in hope !

Fishless in Cornwall

What can I say.. the weather is absolutely awful!. The weather forecasters should be lined up against a wall and shot. It’s incredibly frustrating to look at the forecast for the following 72 hours to see potential fishing windows. Looking again a mere 12 hours later and the perfect storm is apparently due to hit the Cornish coastline, imminently!

Instead of spending a pleasant weekend fishing, yet again I found myself making a the four hour journey back to Hampshire to spend some time with the family. The only other choice was to sit in Cornwall and listen to the wind whistling past the windows or to watch the waves crashing onto the beach.

Eventually, the briefest of weather windows presented itself. The timing of the tides wasn’t great, so for the second time I found myself launching into the Fal Estuary. The target was Bass and the method was to be spinning. I took two rods with me, one armed with an ABU Toby lure, the other with a Chug Bug surface popper.

Fal Estuary

I drifted with the tide fishing 20-100m yards from the shoreline. Despite high hopes I didn’t have so much as a knock. A few days earlier I saw a dog with a bass of about 3lb between his teeth, so it did appear that the bass were starting to show. The water temperature was struggling to get above six degrees, no doubt due to the cold winter. Was this having an effect on the fishing?. I’m thinking it had a lot to do with it, even as the sun set, the expected surface activity failed to materialise.

Evening fishing

Again, it was quite an enjoyable session, though once the sun had gone down the temperature plummeted below zero which saw me paddling back towards my car and the promise of a hot bath.

Difficult times in Cornwall

When I knew I was going to be spending a month in Cornwall all I could think of was clocking up as many hours as possible on the water. I lived near Helston for several years, though sadly kayak fishing was an unknown at that time, certainly to me.

The fishing in the South West can be excellent at times, and despite it being March I was still hopeful of a little action. The first day I arrived the weather was good and fishing would have been a real possibility. However, I was recovering from the worst 24 hour bug that I’ve experienced in my life. I spent the best part of those 24 hours talking to God down the ‘big white telephone’ and my voice and general well being suffered for several days as a result.

Poldhu Cove

Poldhu Cove         I sat at the top of Poldhu Cove for a couple of hours, sipping on some juice and nibbling at a piece of bread feeling rather sorry for myself. If that wasn’t bad enough the weather was to deteriorate very rapidly resulting in the following week being a complete right off, with winds of 20-30mph being the norm.

After chatting to a couple of the locals I was told you can catch conger, bass and bullhuss up the Fal estuary, by the end of the month there'll be Gilthead Bream as well. Trying to find a launch spot where I wanted to launch wasn't easy, in fact the best I could manage was three miles downstream on my intended venue. Ah well, it was cold, but it was as also sunny, so I rigged up and had paddled off by mid-afternoon.

Fal Estuary

Fal Estuary

Lovely spot for a paddle, and despite being 5-6 miles from the estuary mouth there was still 18-20m of water in the main channel!. Lots of wildlife, seals, herons, etc, etc. I parked up next to this chap working on a mussel farm, interesting stuff. He was steadily lifting the colonies and bagging them up as the afternoon progressed.

Mussel Farm

At the end of the day he loaded his boat and headed up river. He was also an angler and confirmed reports about the fishing, but he also reckoned the water was too cold at the moment. The fish finder was showing less than seven degrees.

I eventually wet a line for an hour, no action whatsover, though to be honest I wasn't in the mood, I was more interested in looking up and down the various inlets and features along the estuary.

The tide was running hard in the main channels, at least 6oz was needed to hold bottom. If you dropped anchor from the rear you swung downstream. The top two metres of water was always running downstream, below it's howling upstream on the flood. Tricky as you cant get your anchor to bite and it just bumps its merry way upstream with the tide.

As the sun dropped towards the horizon I turned and headed back towards my launch point. Despite the lack of time spent fishing the scenery and great weather compensated completely, no complaints.

Fal Estuary

I paddled about 3.5 miles upstream before I decided to turn back, what with zig-zagging from one inlet and another I probably clocked up 8-9 miles. Hopefully the weather will soon improve and I can get out to sea. Estuary fishing doesn't really do it for me, it just doesn't feel right. I guess I just like being out at sea, each to his own.