Kayak Fishing With Jeff McGovern
Note: This is a review of the W300 kayak series that was discontinued in 2010.Visit Jeff's Kayak Fishing Blog
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Sep. 2009: Jeff's W500
About The Wavewalk Fishing Kayak
My nickname in the pest control industry is
"Gadget" since I am always looking for the latest, greatest thing or
making improvements to what is already out there. My favorite
part of the job is speaking to large audiences across the country and I
always bring lots of "Show and Tell." I am no different when it
comes to my passion-fishing.
Photo: Jim Green
We looked at sit inside, sit on top, rudder, no rudder, big, small, skinny, HEAVY. My wife, Kate, is small and wanted something small and light. I am not small. I am 6'3", 245 lbs. and have size 15 feet. We started with two small sit insides. I enjoyed fishing from them-even won a fully loaded 13' sit on top kayak catching a winning flounder during my club's tournament-but I missed being able to fish standing up. My quest for a stand up kayak began. Then one day, surfing the web, I found a video clip of a guy jumping up and down in a kayak. I knew that I had found my dreamboat-The W.
"I am not small. I am 6'3", 245 lbs. and have size 15 feet."
W has ruined me for other kayaks. My wife will tell you that
the fleet (did I mention we now have 5 kayaks?) stays on the porch and
the W goes fishing every Saturday morning. I do need to mention
that there is a learning curve similar to learning to ride a bike when
it comes to handling and fishing the W. I was discouraged the
first couple of outings-but then I got the feel of it. Now I use
it exclusively, even in tournaments.
W allows me to fish virtually all the time. When other
yakkers stay home because of high winds, I'm out paddling around.
In the W, your lower half is protected from the wind and the spray
shield keeps water off you as well. A set of Frog Togs
ensures that you stay dry and comfortable all day. I've spent as
much as 5 solid hours in the W in cool weather and lots of wind.
Padding is easier and requires less effort than in a regular
kayak. I use a long stroke at a slower pace and have no trouble
keeping up with longer kayaks that are using double the amount of short
strokes. The W's height allows that and helps me. Also, I
"push" the stroke rather than "pull" it. The high hand and arm
push the paddle through the water with the lower hand only pulling
enough for guidance. This allows you to paddle longer because
it's less tiring.
I would venture to say the W offers improved casting with any gear. From the riding position, I get more power with my casting and spinning because I can put my whole body into the cast and use my legs. The solid feel of the boat gives you a great sense of security. Netting fish is also easier because you can bring the net handle up and across the noodles and just hold in until you net the fish alongside. This allows you to compose yourself and arrange things to remove the hook without tangling your gear or hurting the fish. WARNING: It is very important to fill the handle of your net with spray foam. This is so that when manatees and sundry aquatic creatures borrow your net, you can get it back. I know from personal experience these critters are very inconsiderate and will leave it on the bottom where you can't find it.
"I would venture to say the W offers improved casting with any gear."
"It's a great exploration kayak and there's a great sense of adventure for the user."
My favorite scouting position in the W is standing up. I can spot fish and then move in stealth mode with a push pole or paddle blade. There is a serious advantage to being able to stand and see over grass or oyster beds. Being able to peak over cover is a big deal. Sometimes, like when I was working my way along the Ocklawaha River, I was moving through snag (and gator) infested waters with logs, bed pads and deep, dark places you might not want to get into. The W handled that type of paddling better than our other craft. You could stand quick to see ahead, duck and move around things. It's a great exploration kayak and there's a great sense of adventure for the user. No craft is perfect for all things, but sometimes I have so much fun with the boat, I forget to fish.
Copyright (C) Jeff McGovern, 2007-10
Read Jeff's reports and comments, and watch his online movies on Wavewalk Kayaks' Blog
Jeff is a leading pest management consultant, and a member of the Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Club
More articles by Jeff McGovern:
Saltwater Gear Maintenance
What to Carry on Board
About The W Kayak
Knots: Surgeons Knot and Canoeman's Knot
An All Around Spinning Outfit
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