Neil Taylor, Strike Three Kayak Fishing
You caught a fish. How long is it? Well, I used to have my ways of getting a length on the water where I had to get out the tape measure at home. Later: In a kayak it became evident that I could easily get those numbers on the spot. I have had them all. I’ve never had an expensive one. Really there aren’t extremely expensive ones.
The do-it-yourself guys are good at this one. The material choices are good. “Blinds” or a “piece of rain gutter” are the way I would suggest you go. The blind lays flat. The beauty of the rain gutter is it has those curves and it holds the fish. Customized, aluminum is a great material to make a measuring board. Durability in contact with water and weight, it is a great option.
You can just throw it in your boat or you can be more sophisticated. Most kayaks that are under five years old have tracks for attaching accessories. It wouldn’t be hard to make your measuring board where it attaches to the accessory rail.
For tournaments or just to know the length of your fish, put some thought into the measuring devices you will have with your or affix to your vessel. Make it work easily so you aren’t struggling when you are trying to get your photo.
Another one I used in the past: The decal on the side of a kayak, for measuring fish in the water, never lifting a snook out of the water at all you can know the length. Weight? Look it up on a chart. Don’t beat up a fish to get a weight. The charts are accurate. The side decal at the water line is great for getting a quick measurement on a fish while wade fishing without removing the fish from the water. Ten years ago, I had high end decals on the side of every boat. It was good for getting an exact length on big fish, particularly when out of the kayak and in the water. For the power boat guys, a decal could work better than anything. A flat surface that will hold a decal and that will work forever.
Host of a photo-release fishing tournament I can tell you that the act of taking the pictures is a learning process. Practice first. How to hold the camera. How to position the fish. A little work at it and you will get the right pictures.
I do not recommend, bungees to pin fish down. I’ve seen guys do this and I believe it is too hard on the fish.
Figure it out: Get a measuring device you like and learn how to use it best.