In a previous post I began describing the construction of my new shark fishing platform for my truck. This is a continuation of that post describing the construction and first trial run of the new rig. The previous post left off with the basic platform framework and rails constructed along with brackets to hold the rails firmly in place when in use. The rails fold down for transport and the kayak goes on top.

Not too long ago I was given a beach umbrella. I thought it would probably be useless to me, but it was going to be thrown out anyway so I took it. As I was building the platform it occurred to me that it might be good to go up top and shade the “hot seat” as I have taken to calling it. I unfurled it and it was as good as new and a perfect rectangular shape to fit in between the rod holders. I welded a tube on the back rail and now it is easily mounted to provide a bit more protection from the sun. At that point I was happy how things were coming along, but got busy with work and had to take a break from construction.

When I had time to work on it again we had a trip coming up and I was under the gun to get things rolling again. I had a lot to do and not enough time. I got to working on the rear support for the platform and pulled my headache rack off my truck for a bit of reinforcement.

Rear platform support

 I still needed to cut and paint the plywood decking and sand and paint everything. We couldn’t go to the beach without a good layer of paint, that was for sure. The weekend before our trip came and I still had a lot to do. Fortunately my dad and my friend Nathan came to the rescue. We dedicated a Saturday to prepping and painting. We also set up the rack on the truck and made sure everything fit before finishing.

The rig partially assembled on the truck for the first time

 After drilling the necessary holes and welding on some anchor points for tie-down straps it was ready for finishing.

We also tested out the new 10×13′ sun shade that I got on eBay. I created a slide out rail in the beach side of the rig to be a support for the shade. The plan was that it would anchor from the top rail of the rig and be supported by 2 PVC poles on the other end. I went with the sun shade because it is designed to be stretched from four corners and not have the middle part flapping in the breeze like a tarp would. We unfurled it and tied it on to get an idea of how things were going to work. It looked good.

Unfurling the sun shade

I spent a good part of the next two days cutting the floor, painting, painting, painting and painting again it seemed. Everything had at least two layers and in some cases three. It was not all the way dry when we left, but it was good enough. I also cut out a section of an old aluminum ladder to serve as a ladder to get up to the platform. I figured it would work well for that purpose.

Well, we had it mostly together and ready to test out. We were heading down to PINS (Padre Island National Seashore) in south Texas to do a little trip in anticipation of Sharkathon (www.sharkathon.com). We would see how it actually worked on the beach and if we could utilize it to catch some sharks.

Everything packed and mobile

The morning we set it up it exceeded expectations. In the past setting up was always a bit of improvisation and confusion. In this case it was fairly easy. We knew where everything would go and how to set it up.

I was a bit worried about how the sun shade would work and if the PVC poles would want to sway from side to side. I made them a couple of feet longer to bury them in the sand and it worked perfectly. We didn’t have high winds, but in the breeze they stayed firm and the shade did not flap in the breeze at all. Part of my idea in the design was to have the shade at an angle to have more air pressure on one side than the other figuring that would minimize flapping. It worked flawlessly for this trip. Hopefully it will do as well in high winds (Hopefully I won’t be able to test this out in high winds for a long time).

shark fishing platform

Everything set up for the first time

Shark Fishing Platform

The Complete Set Up"

The platform part was great! I had designed it for the fishing aspect, but it was also a great place to hang out and enjoy the view. Seeing the sea from a higher vantage point makes a big difference. I sat there for quite a while with my binoculars checking out offshore gas rigs, birds, the surf and the beach. It was quite enjoyable and the umbrella kept me out of the hot sun. It also worked great for holding the rods up high and out of the way. We didn’t even get in a whole day of fishing (see my Watch the Weather post for details on the trip), but it was great while it lasted. We didn’t land any sharks with it this time, but I am looking forward to trying again in the future. We can probably even locate the fish on the way in with the binoculars. It will add a whole other dimension to future trips.

The "Hot Seat"

All in all, the platform was a success. I still have a number of kinks to work out and I am still thinking of the best way to work a fresh water storage system into the rig. I will cover those upgrades in future posts. I am sure I will be tweaking the system more and more with each trip to the beach.

Until next time —- Tight lines!

Jason

www.bigsharktackle.com

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