Is Rigging Your W Fishing Kayak With a Milk Crate Necessary?

It seems most kayak fishermen have gotten used to rigging their fishing kayaks with a milk crate attached behind the cockpit.
If you happen you own a SOT fishing kayak, rigging it with a milk crate would make sense, since SOT kayaks are basically hyped paddle boards that offer too little storage space and no real cockpit. Sit-in fishing kayaks offer a little more in this aspect, but not enough to drop the idea of adding a milk crate.

However, if you own a W fishing kayak, you may want to reconsider the pros and cons of adding a milk crate –

The only obvious pro that we can think of is that rigging your yak is fun, and attaching a milk crate to the top of a W kayak is an easy project that delivers immediate visual results…

And here are the arguments against rigging your W fishing kayak with a milk crate:

1. When launching, a milk crate would block your natural way into the cockpit from the back side of the boat. This means you might have to get in from the side, and possibly step in water.  Keeping your feet dry is one of those little pleasures you can afford with a W kayak, so why give it up if you don’t have to?
2. A milk crate catches wind, which can become a problem if there’s lots of it blowing around and you happen to be tired, and have a long way to paddle – A milk crate on top of a kayak demands more efforts from the paddler. Windage is essentially a tracking problem, and since W kayaks track better than SOT and sit-in kayaks they are less prone to windage issues, but nevertheless – it’s something to keep in mind.
3. Why store anything behind you, on top of the W kayak hulls, when there’s so much space available inside the W kayak cockpit and in its hull tips – within arm’s reach? It’s like attaching your luggage to your car’s rear bumper instead of just putting it in the trunk, or in the passengers compartment. The W500 offers 14 cubic ft or internal storage space, which is more than any kayak ever would, and probably more than you could ever use … -so why not use it?
4. SOT and sit-in kayaks have a very low deck – close to the water. Kayak fishermen who fish in salt water prefer to keep their reels as high as possible, away from the salt water, and they attach tube rod holders to their yak’s milk crate. This adds almost a foot of distance, and saves them some problems. However, the W kayak hull tips are normally higher, and you can protect your fishing rods by storing them inside the cockpit when launching, so there isn’t that much of a necessity for you to use a milk crate. Besides, you can rig the W kayak stern with deck mounted rod holders that pivot to any direction you want, and will position your fishing rods higher above water surface.
5. The milk crate adds weight to your fishing kayak. It’s not really important for paddling, but it could be for carrying it. It’s not that much, unless you’re tired and have to carry the kayak a long distance. The same is true when you have to cartop your kayak.

13 Comments

  1. Fish Wiz

    True, but I guess I just got used to it…
    FW

  2. fishtuna

    interesting points,
    I need to know there’s a milk crate behind me, but maybe the new generations of w kayak fishermen and women who didn’t fish in sots and siks before wouldn’t have this need?

  3. Marco

    This is a good article that raises some valid questions, and makes good observations. As for myself, getting into my W without ever stepping in water is such a pleasure that I wouldn’t do anything that could force me to get inside from the side, and step in water.
    Marco

  4. Pete

    Marco, you can have your cake and eat it too:
    The W500 is so stable that you can launch it with its bow serving as a stern just for the launching act, so you can get in without stepping in water, and then you can easily turn around in the cockpit and face the bow.
    This way the stern can have a milk crate attached on top of it, except when you use it as a bow.
    Just a thought… 😉
    Pete

  5. April Leder

    When I see a milk crate attached on top of any kayak I can’t help thinking that it could make it harder for the passengers to climb back in, or on board in case they’ve capsized.
    (My two cents)
    April

  6. Roxanne

    Yoav, if you noticed, in the beginning I used milk crates on
    My W300.

    Though they added more storage, they did get in my way getting in and out of the yak, And they were a problem when the winds kicked up.

    I’ve removed them, never to attach them again.

    I added a side rod holder for extra rods, (I’m still working on the best design for that.)

    I also use a easy on and off rod holder, made by Tite-Lok, which I can move and positioned in any angle when needed.
    Plus, I attached my transducer to my rod holder, which I can use
    on Both models. 🙂 Big Bonus!

    Remember, The W300 and W500 are a whole new yak when it comes
    to the traditional rigging.

    Think out of the box people, just like Yoav did when he designed these
    wonderful pleasure, fishing, touring, camping, WaveWalk models!!

    Tight lines
    Rox

  7. Jeff McGovern

    Well, first of all the demise of the milk crate would bring much happiness to the owners of countless grocery stores around the country. So many kayaks out there have crates with the name of all sorts of grocery chains and in fine print the horrible sanctions folks face for stealing them. Use of a crate really depends on the type of fishing you might be doing. Here in Florida our kayak fishing is a shallow water exercise in most cases. Launching is always wet since you must get to water deep enought to float the kayak in the first place. I’m very used to wading out to proper depth and then getting in. When I first paddled with Yoav he almost had heart failure when I waded off a perfectly dry ramp to enter the boat, pure habit on my part. The crate rigging I use keeps rods directly behind my shoulders straight up. It’s out of the way and allows me to fight powerful saltwater inshore fish not having to worry about a rod catching anything. Mind you even smaller saltwater fish will take you for a ride. Another place it helps, the crate that is, is when wading with the W. No matter what sometimes the most silent way to fish is on foot. We can actually see big reds in the grass tailing or snook waiting to ambush on a shoreline. Standing next to the boat the crate puts the rods right at hand for quick changes. For example at a miss with a topwater I can put up one rod and switch to a subsurface bait in moments for the next cast. For those of you who have seen shots of my rigged W’s notice as well nothing in front of me sticking up or out. That’s all battle space and at times it gets very busy. My crate rig now hold three rods rigged and ready available with one quick over the shoulder grab like an arrow from a quiver. There are of course many other “out of the crate” options with the new W500 over the original W. As I get one rigged and play with it those will be shared. Now there are times I do remove the crate. If I’m playing in creeks and backwaters through under growth tunnels the crate is too high. With that type of fishing it’s sort of hand to hand combat at close range. What makes it more exciting are the gators competing for the same fish. You just have to remember to leave an area if little cute baby gators are around. Mama loses all fear of anything if those babies even squeak. Trust me at that point you can’t paddle fast enough and if you carry a gun it’s too little. My out of the box thinking for the new boat really should include torpedos. The W boats offer loads of new and inovation ways to fish. We are only scratching the surface right now. Those of us that have fished these for some time will need to continue to be creative in our rigging and set up. These boats are a whole new ball game representing a new a better way to fish from small craft. Yoav deserves so much credit from the anglers of the world for coming up with the W kayaks.

  8. Pez D. Spencer

    A milk crate at the stern of your kayak works like a rudder, except that instead of you controlling the rudder it’s the wind that does. This air rudder makes your yak want to turn in the direction where the wind is coming from. It can make things harder for you, especially if you have a lot of stuff sticking out from the milk crate, and you’re paddling on an open stretch of water, where the wind has more power.
    Pez

  9. jk

    It all seems to boil down to one thing, which is that regular sot and sik kayaks offer no choice but to use a milk crate, with all the problems associated, and w kayaks offer a choice between using a milk crate and not using it.
    JK

  10. Moshiko

    No kayak rack
    No back rest
    No rudder
    No hatches
    No milk crate

    No BS? …

    Do I see a pattern here?

    Is the real fishing kayak finally emerging out of the unnecessary, over-accessorized, inefficient, uncomfortable, sad and ridiculous current state of things, and into something new, good and real?
    Looks like it does!

  11. Norm

    Different strokes for different folks. If ya need it ya got it. I like the kayak catch bags if I need more stowage for camping, and you can always stand on top and walk off. Let’s face it there isn’t anything out there like the wavewalk, so the sky is the limit or the water is, ya know what I mean.

  12. Gary J

    The best idea is that one position pad eyes on the “stern” (still trying to figure out which end that is 🙂 that let you put a crate on easily IF the day and the type of fishing dictate one and leave it off on days that don’t. BTW, some people mount their anchor light a visibility flag to a piece of PVC attached inside the crate. I put sections of 4 inch PVC pipe (the cheap light stuff) inside the crate to hold things that constantly get tangled like anchor ropes. The rope goes down in the tube, then the 18 inches of chain on top of the rope and then the anchor. All quickly and neatly packaged ready for use next time. The same with the rope and drift sock/drift anchor. All neatly packaged in one easily accessible place – with the ropes not hopelessly tangled. The crate also holds stuff like throwable markers that mark where I have gotten a bite. I’ve got 6 of those. If I am drifting I will throw one when I get a bite and drift a bit further and throw another, etc. All of a sudden I can tell where I have a school of fish. These markers can’t be stored up under the hull tips where I can’t quickly get a hold of one. Remember, when I have a bite I hopefully am engaged in landing a fish as well as marking the spot. As Jeff says, saltwater fish can pull you around. I have some friends who recently took their kayaks offshore to the closest oil platform off of the North Padre Island, TX coastline. One hooked a 45 inch Cobia. An hour later he landed the fish and he was over 2 miles away from where he originally hooked the fish. One problem in fishing from a light boat is that your leverage on a fish is not quite what it is when fishing out of a 20′ center console. All of my experience talked about above is from fishing out of my 12 1/2′ FoldCat 375. It has all the inherent advantages/problems as the W500, but with much less storage.

  13. W kayak

    Gary,

    Since sooner or later you’re bound to hook a big fish from your W500, you’d better have a look at this article about what to do when this happens: http://wavewalk.com/blog/2008/01/22/the-w-kayak-combat-position-for-fighting-a-big-fish/

    This is not a theoretical thing, but a proven trick that’s going to save you time and energy.

    Yoav

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