…..on my new Kenai Pro Thermal Stealth shanty!
My original thought was sound in my mind, at least in my mind 🙂 There are times when having a hitch on the back of your shanty could possibly come in handy. First off, you and a buddy head out on one machine, snowmobile or quad. Second thing that comes to mind is that you have a machine break down on you, and you have to double up in order to get on the ice. Either way, having a way to hook up a second shanty or even a sled can come in handy. Enter the Hitch Receiver Kit from Clam Outdoors.
The kit comes the front plate, which has the lynch pin hardwired for both security and convenience. A solid back plate for locking it into the inside wall of your shanty or sled, which also gives the whole kit more structural support. And of course, the brass mounting hardware; bolts, washers and locking nuts. This receiver can be used with either of the two models of hitches available from Clam Outdoors; the Pro Hitch or Universal Hitch.
I believe that the KPTS (Kenai Pro Thermal Stealth) will emerge, if not this year, after next season, as Clam’s best selling one-man shanty. First reason, its easy to fish out of with the poles not needing to be extended, just flip and fish. Secondly it’s a thermal, but its new fused tech means its a totally blacked out shack. This is HUGE for using a sight fishing approach to catching more fish. For the average angler, this means you keep warm, and you can see everything below, and still be able to fish traditionally with your Vexilar. For the tournament angler, naturally you get your sight fishing angle, but when its BRUTAL out there, it gives you a hut in the storm and they can keep on fishing without going numb. The third thing, and fourth and possibly the fifth, you will need to wait until after the total build is complete, because I am digressing and getting away from talking about the hitch receiver kit. I will explain everything before the end of the week when the build is complete.
Here was the only concern I had when it came to mounting the receiver kit to the base or sled section of the shanty. Notice the ribs in the back area of the base? I did too, right away in fact. The ribs give the shanty structural strength, or to put it bluntly, they stiffen the sled walls. An engineering good thing, but they left me with two options, one bad, and the other brilliant if I must say myself, for installing the back plate. The solid back support plate stuck out too far to used the bolts that came with the kit, and all the stress would be put on that one rib. If I were to use those bolts, it would require me cutting the back plate into two sections to fit in between the ribs. It was doable, I had the right tool to cut through the metal like butter, but then I would have lost some of its supporting strength.
My solution, was to make some spacers out of wood. Luckily, I had a scrap 1 x 2 piece out in the shop, and I used the back plate for a stencil for marking my holes, and after a little trimming on the ban saw, they fit perfectly. The only bad thing is that I had to use longer carriage bolts that I had instead of the bolts provided in the kit. The good thing, they were the perfect fit for the washers and nylon locking nuts provided in the kit. If you were doing this at home, just take the nuts into a local hardware to match up with the longer bolts you will need.
As I mentioned, it was a perfect fit. The back plate was flush with the wood and the single rib in the middle. Which means, when regarding structural integrity of the original hitch and matching up to the base…nothing lost. Everything works as it was originally meant to, and it just required four extra bolts, a drill press and a ban saw to make it work perfectly. Of course if you don’t have a drill press, any electric drill with the right bit will work for making holes in the wood. As far as the ban saw, it was just the right tool for the job, but you can easily accomplish the same result with a hand saw.
Now this project is just meant for any of the Kenai Pro models and FT Sleds available from Clam Outdoors. If I were mounting this kit to my Voyager or Yukon big water shacks, there wouldn’t be a need to customize the process. Once completed I can get the Lake Erie Express back out on the ice and train as many shacks and sleds as I wanted too.
All over the Ice Belt, anglers are out there with their Fish Traps and they are putting their own hallmark on their shanties with a modification here and a there to make them better suited to their style of fishing. Installing the Hitch Receiver Kit from Clam to the Kenai Pro’s is no different, ice anglers are the best when it comes to fabricating to make their whole ice fishing experience better. That said, use your own locomotive, and build your own train set to run the ice!