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November 08, 2012

How to Rig Your Cockpit

Keep these elements in mind when choosing your next boat.

Chair vs. Rocket Launcher

Where you fish and how have major bearing on cockpit layout. If your normal waters are the mid-Atlantic coast or Bermuda, where giant bluefin tuna or grander marlin are likely targets, a fighting chair is almost a necessity. If you prefer stand-up tackle, then a rocket-launcher setup allows more maneuvering room. A combination chair/rocket launcher is a popular compromise.

“Fighting chairs adjust to fit different-size anglers,” explains Sam Peters, owner of Release Marine. “For the average man, the chair footrest extends 36 to 38 inches, with 2 inches between notches. So to allow enough room, the chair center should be mounted 48 to 50 inches away from the inside edge of the transom covering boards. If the boat’s beam is less than 15 feet, a straight pedestal will work. But if it’s 15 feet, 2 inches or wider, an offset pedestal becomes necessary. That way, if someone’s using a 7-foot-6-inch rod, the tip extends beyond the covering boards so the line never touches. That also allows clearance in front for the wire man and room behind for the mate to pivot the chair without tripping over the mezzanine deck.”

Bait-and-Catch Systems

Even if you troll only lures or dead baits, installing at least one good-size livewell isn’t a bad decision. For live-bait fanatics, multiple wells of different sizes are a must. And a healthy flow of water through all the wells is absolutely essential. Keeping baits frisky was one of Capt. Steve Lassley’s primary objectives when planning Bad Company’s cockpit.

“Our strength is live-baiting, and I helped design all the bait systems and tanks for this model,” he explains. “Everything is balanced. The tanks hold 100 gallons each and will keep tunas alive for up to 50 hours. We have tubes of different sizes that are all interchangeable. Each well is plumbed with two separate 2-horsepower pumps with a manifold system. Hopefully we figure out what the fish are feeding on beforehand, but whatever they’re biting — skipjacks, yellowfin tuna, frigate mackerel — we can carry it and be ready.”

SeaVee likes to offer multiple livewell options for separating different kinds of bait and convenient access, Torres explains. Davis recommends transom or above-deck wells to avoid having to get on your knees when netting those last remaining baits. Well interiors should always be curved so the baits can swim without bumping into corners. A light-blue finish also keeps the baits calmer. Pressurized systems prevent the water from sloshing while under way, and plexiglass lids or windows in the tank allow quick monitoring. 

The mezzanine option typically includes insulated or refrigerated compartments to hold rigged baits for quick access. Different-size compartments accommodate bulky rigs like dredges or teasers. Fields prefers insulated instead of refrigerated compartments to minimize maintenance but suggests the ice-maker outflow be located in the cockpit.