Stand up Kayak Fishing- When Is It Possible, And Why Is It Important?
This article examines what makes stand up fishing so important, and why
an increasing number of kayak fishermen are disappointed by kayak designs that
fail to deliver adequate stability, comfort and safety. These anglers end up standing and
fishing in a W Kayak, often despite potentially problematic factors such as their body size, old age,
and even certain disabilities.
People all around the world have been fishing from small boats for
millenia. Interestingly, many native fishermen like to stand up in
their boats when they propel them and fish from them. After all,
what could be more natural? If possible, standing is both a
powerful and comfortable position for a person making a continuous
physical effort. It is good for our blood circulation, less strenuous on our back and it enables
us to make a good use of our legs, which happen to have the most
powerful set of muscles in our body.
It is worth noting that wade fishermen, people who fish from shore and people
who fish from bigger boats also like to fish standing, if not all the
time at least for a great part of the time. Standing makes is
easy to cast a line or throw a net, and certainly makes it easier to
scout for fish and better stops to fish in.
When the native people of the arctic circle developed their kayaks the
L position was natural to them and they were not particularly concerned
with comfort but rather with stealth, as their kayaks were designed
mainly as hunting boats enabling the hunter to get close to its prey
without getting noticed. However, when these people went
fishing or whaling they usually preferred to use Umiaks - a type of
big, wide and stable multi-passenger seaworthy canoe that offered them
the possibility to stand up.
What about stand up fishing from sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks?
Stand up kayak fishing sounds like an oxymoron since most people find it
difficult enough to sit it inside or on top of a kayak, especially when
it involves fishing.
Some fishing kayak manufactures advertise that their most stable models
may enable a person to stand in or on top and cast but there is no real
proof to support such claims. At best, those very wide SOT kayaks
may enable a child or a very small and lightweight adult to stand on
but certainly not with enough confidence to enable casting and landing
fish. No traditional SIK or SOT kayak manufacturer ever claimed
they offer a kayak that may enable a person to paddle standing…
The reality with regards to traditional SIK and more recent SOT kayaks
is that these small and lightweight crafts offer good mobility at a low
price and for a low cost of maintenance, but at a price of diminished
comfort and the inability to do anything standing up.
Why is standing in your fishing kayak important?
Besides the fact that standing up improves your chances of catching
fish there's a more important fact related to it: Your ability to stand up
goes directly to your comfort and well being, and to your overall
fishing experience. After all, catching fish is fun but not as
much when it comes at a price of unnecessary fatigue, serious physical discomfort and even
pain resulting from being limited to a single, uncomfortable sitting
position, without being able to do anything to change positions and
relieve pressure on your lower back.
When fishing comfort is key to both success and fun, and neither leg
numbness nor back pain may contribute to either although you're most
likely to experience at least one of them after sitting for a while in
the traditional kayaking position. And don't let yourself develop
hopes in 'improved kayak seats'…- Adding some cushioning and changing
the shape of the seat can't change the basic physiological facts:
You're stuck in a sitting position to which you're not used, and your
legs are pushing you backwards and creating a pressure point in your
Even today, most fishing boats are big and stable enough to enable
their passengers to stand up while fishing. So why shouldn't you
stand up in your small, inexpensive and portable fishing kayak?
The new, patented W Fishing Kayak offers you to do that, as well as many other
things without giving up any of the regular fishing kayak
advantages. In fact, when it comes to the known advantages of
fishing kayaks over bigger fishing boats the W Kayak offers you some
real, additional advantages such as better protection against wind,
spray and waves, better mobility when it comes to ease of launching and
take-out, better handling of the surf, better tracking, more dry
storage space, and overall a much higher level of seaworthiness.
Kayak fishing may be a sport, but since you're doing it for fun you may
as well have fun doing it. Kayak fishing is a good idea if indeed
it's done properly, that is without reducing your fishing
experience. The W Kayak can unleash the full potential of kayak fishing and upgrade it to what it's really meant to
be: a challenging, full sport activity that you can practice without
constantly thinking of the comfort that bigger fishing boats have to offer.
The W-kayak is
the only kayak that was developed for high
performance stand up paddling and stand up fishing in moving water, and
only kayak that fits both these extreme applications in terms of safety
Here are the facts we recommend you know about stand up padding and
fishing from kayaks and other small crafts:
Are other kayaks safe enough for stand
Since many things can and will cause you to lose balance
if you choose to stand up in or on top of a kayak, you must be able to
react effectively and regain balance even in adverse conditions, and
our W-kayak enables you that while no other kayak does.
Our patented W-kayak is the only kayak that offers each of your legs to
stand in a hull of its own, and it is the only kayak created
especially for stand up paddling and stand up fishing.
Sooner or later you will lose balance (stuff happens - you can be sure
about that!), and for such cases you need to have a 'Plan B', which
would be to fall down on
something that's high enough to stop your fall as well as support you.
You don't want to fall all the way down on your kayak's deck
since it will cause you to fall overboard. You definitely don't want to
slip either, and therefore your feet must be secure where you stand.
Our W-kayak is the only kayak featuring a 14"
saddle that you can fall down on at will, swiftly, and when you
choose. The W-saddle has a hull on each side, and you ride it with each
of your legs supported by its own hull, and your feet planted at
the bottom, several inches below waterline. Being positioned that low
is what makes your feet really effective for stabilization and control.
For these reasons you'll never be truly confident
or comfortable standing on top of any sit-on-top (SOT) kayak,
even if staged pictures and movies may show you people standing on
their SOT kayaks and fishing.
You must remember that neither sit-in nor SOT kayaks were
invented for stand up paddling or fishing in the first place.
Some people are capable of pedaling a unicycle while juggling oranges,
and others can hop between wooden logs floating on a river. Does it mean
you can do it? Would you even like to try?
-What's the point in taking the risk of falling overboard anytime you
go fishing? -Would you feel confident standing up on an unstable
very wide SOT
SOT kayaks with very wide hulls track poorly and are hard to paddle,
and they may be stabler than narrow ones, but definitely not stable
enough when it comes to paddling and fishing in confidence. This is because
most of a SOT kayak's buoyancy (that's what actually supports your weight) is distributed
along its hull's centerline, where it is useless for effective
stabilization. If you want a kayak that's stable you need to design it
with all its buoyancy on its sides - exactly as it is in the W-kayak.
In fact, the W-kayak has no buoyancy wasted along its centerline since
100% of its buoyancy is located on its two sides - as far as possible
from the centerline.
about SOT kayaks with outriggers? (stabilizers)
The use of outriggers, whether as add-ons or integrated into the hull
can improve your kayak's stability, but not enough for stand up
paddling and fishing in full confidence, which is what you really need.
This is because kayak outriggers are located in the back part of your
kayak's hull, and therefore may
support extra weight and pressure only if you apply them towards the
Such outriggers are nothing more than a gimmick if you're applying your
weight forward and sideways, and you can be certain that when you're
standing up you'll have to do that often.
Remember: stuff happens in real life, and water is always wet, and
sometimes it can be cold, and deep.
Between attached and integrated outriggers the latter offer reduced
stability because of the fact that their center of buoyancy isn't
located as far away from the kayak's centerline, where it would offer
more support. It's simply a bad idea when stability is concerned, and
traditional outriggers offer a better support.
Furthermore, integrated outriggers coming out of the main hull form a Y
shaped hull which is probably the most ineffective form ever
created when it comes to paddling, or any other form of propulsion. In
other words don't count on such design for paddling.
stand up paddling and stand up fishing
Both need to be extremely stable, but there
differences in requirements.
A stand up paddling kayak is required to be narrow as possible, since
it makes it easier to move the paddle efficiently and ergonomically, as
it is in regular (seated) paddling. A kayak that's too wide would under
perform in stand up paddling, as it would in seated paddling.
A stand up fishing kayak needs to be even more stable than a stand up
paddling one because the paddle may help you balance yourself, while a
fishing rod would be ineffective for this purpose. This is where the
of the kayak's buoyancy becomes critical, as does the location of your
legs and feet.
The W-kayak is only 25" wide, that is as narrow as a high performance
sea kayak. Yet, due to its revolutionary design that was granted a US
utility patent, it enables both stand up paddling and stand up fishing
in full confidence even in adverse conditions.
This means that once you've learned to properly operate the W-kayak, you'll benefit
from its unique features, while other kayaks simply don't have such a broad performance
envelope to begin with, and would never offer you anything that even
Again, we recommend the you watch our demo
for a start, and judge for yourself.
What happens when you catch a fish standing up in a kayak?
After casting for some time you'll probably hook up a fish. If that
fish doesn't manage to make you lose your balance and fall overboard
you'd need to land it in or on top of your kayak... and then what? If
getting up from the seated position and going back down to it is hard
to begin with, how does it feel when you have sit down while holding a
fishing rod in one hand or both hands, and there's a good size fish
dangling at the end of your line?
Obviously, this doesn't make much sense, and it's another example that
shows how important it is to have something to fall back on easily and
intuitively (a 'Plan B'), which in this case means (again) safely and
This is where the W-saddle comes into action: It's 14" high, and it's
waiting for you to sit down and drop the fish in one of the hulls,
where it has nowhere to go, and won't cause you any problem.
In comparison, other fishing kayaks feature a seat that's as low as
possible - practically at deck level, and nowhere to park the
struggling fish except in your lap...
If you're interested in learning more about kayak design for better
stability, we recommend the following article.
Never judge a
kayak by stand up pictures or movies shot under regular conditions - It
may look nice and cool but it's meaningless for you since it doesn't
show performance in 'what if' conditions.
Many things can and will destabilize you, including fish, wind, eddies,
waves, wind and your own, inevitable moments of inattention.
What you need to be able to judge is the 'what if' performance, and our
movies will prove to you that nothing compares to our W-kayak.
This article would be incomplete without providing more information about what people who fish
standing in their W kayak have to say about their real-life experience
with it. Our website offers over 150 W Fishing Kayak reviews contributed by such people, including full name and state, and in most cases pictures too.
A good demo video is worth more than a thousand words:
More stand up fishing kayak demo movies showing what kind of
stability is required to allow you to practice stand up fishing and paddling in the real world:
Stand up fishing kayak pictures, and what they mean to you
Pictures of young, lightweight and athletic
fishermen standing in their kayak look nice, but they don't necessarily
mean you can do it and feel confident and safe while you fish.
More about the stability in fishing kayaks »
Bob Smaldone - Standing carefree in full stability and confidence, even if you're over 70 year old
Jeff McGoveren - Stand up with no balancing act even if you're 6'3" tall, 245 lbs heavy, and middle aged