Gary Rankel’s New, Rigged W500 Fishing Kayak, Florida

Back in 2006, Gary Rankel was one of the first to write a review of his rigged W fishing kayak.

Now Gary upgraded to a 2009 W500 GF4 model:

2006 and 2009 fishing kayaks on pickup truckbed

Gary plans to keep his 2006 W kayak for guests.

-“Had a few hours without rain this a.m. so snapped a few more pictures which pretty much cover my rigging and techniques, and show how simple and economical it can be to rig the W500:”

foam noodles around fishing kayak cockpit

“Noodles along the W rim serve (1) as extra flotation, (2) as head, arm and foot rests, (3) as a fish ruler, and (4) as soundproof cushions for my radio, as well as for rods and paddle which are repeatedly picked up and laid down.  Regular noodles don’t fit the W500 rim very well so I use the “monster” model (4-inch diameter with a 1 1/4 – inch hole, and a smooth, not rippled, outer surface).”

protective surface for dragging fishing kayak on rocks

“A steel reinforced outdoor mat with bungee cords serves as a cheap and easy way to minimize scratching the hulls when moving the W from Point A to Point B.”

large size collapsibe cooler for fishing kayak

“Large collapsible fish cooler bag packed with flexible ice packets tucks neatly into the hull.”

collapsibe cooler inside fishing kayak hull

“Anchor set-up with rope attached to a large clip which, in turn, clips onto the anchor or heavy duty plastic grabber (for clamping onto mangroves, oyster bars, etc.).  It can also clip onto the rope that comes with the “anchor pin” or “stick-it pin” (not shown, but a 6-foot rod pushed into a soft bottom to hold the W in place).”

Fishing kayak anchor and clamp

And this is a nice redfish that Gary caught in August:

Redfish caught in stand up fishing kayak

Read more about Gary’s kayak fishing trip

More kayak fishing with Gary >

Read more fishing kayak reviews that our clients have contributed >

22 thoughts on “Gary Rankel’s New, Rigged W500 Fishing Kayak, Florida”

  1. Hey Gary, Good to see the old boat has a new buddy now. Those W500 models are suppose to be super performers. Be sure let us know as soon as you get the new one properly slimed.

  2. Will do, Jeff. Hope to slime it up this weekend now that our T-storms seem to be subsiding. Thanks for responding to my many emails, and let me know how you like the 500 versus your current W.

  3. Great rigging job! Where do you get these wide noodles, and how are they called?

  4. Hi Avaz_Bob…….Both KMart and WalMart sell these noodles, but sometimes don’t have them in stock. They’re made my Planetfoam which doesn’t sell them directly over the Inet. Similar noodles made by other companies may also be available – check out pool supply stores or large sporting goods stores.

  5. Good luck this weekend Gary. The weather is suppose to cooperate in the morning. I’ll be wade fishing tomorrow with some of the guys from Jax Kayak. The rigging job you’ve done so far looks very nice. Since rigging my stick pin for the W I’ve not had to use the anchor at all. Those soft coolers work great until you forget you have a flounder in one and leave it in the truck box. Darn Florida sun heats things up way too quick.

  6. Gary, nice job on the anchor and drag mat! Just a quick note of caution on attaching the ratchet straps to the eyelets, which are made of some kind of plastic, so may not hold up while driving..please be careful!

    Best regards,


  7. I agree with Noel. Those Nylon eyelets are strong, but they can break if enough power is applied on them.

  8. Hey Gary, what did you use to attach the foam noodles, are they just glued on? If so, what kind of glue is best on HDPE that the WW is made of? Maybe Yoav can shed some light as well.. thanks.
    – Noel

  9. Yeh, Jeff……..the stick pins work great except on oyster bars. The clamp also works nicely on mangroves. I take the anchor along, but seldom use it anymore. I ended up going on a snorkeling trip off Crystal River with Friends of Chassawitzka and almost was able to hitch a ride on a large turtle until he got smart and took. Will probably take the 500 on its maiden voyage Monday. Hope you remembered to check the cooler today.

  10. Thanks, Noel……I got the same warning from Yoav, regarding transporting the kayaks in my pickup also using the eyelets. I’ll explore options.

  11. Hi again, Noel……No glueing is necessary, even if glue worked. I simply made lengthwise slits in each noodle and popped them over the top. They fit snugly yet can easily be slid back and forth, removed, or replaced.

  12. Great job on the rigging, I love that cooler bag packed with flexible ice packets . 🙂
    What’s the make and size of it??

    As far as strapping with ratchet straps, don’t use them by attaching to the eyelets.

    I use a hand tightening strap.
    I’ll get a picture up, of the straps and how I load my W’s.

    I put the strap, between the hulls and attach it to the truck bed only.
    And if I’m not using the truck with a cap, I run a strap across the top off
    the W’s in the back, and again strp it to the truck bed.

    Good luck breaking in your W500.
    Can’t wait for the next post.

    Tight Lines all

  13. Hi Rox……The cooler bag is 18″X24″ and folds compactly to slide totally out of site within the hull. Yoav actually found it on the web for me and I ordered it. Not cheap – $47.55 inc shipping, but it’s the only soft cooler I’ve found that’s longer than 21″. It’s called the Large Insulated Tote Bag, and can be ordered at: It has a removable plastic liner (velcro-attached) which makes cleaning a snap.

    Info on the techni-ice can be found at This stuff beats any other ice or gel product I’ve used, and it’s flexibility allows for it to be shaped however desired.

    I’ve only used hand-tightening straps to haul my Wkayak and have done so without problem for 3 years. As Yoav says, however, stuff happens, so I’ll try to figure something else out. Don’t think I’ll find a simpler and easier technique, however. I wonder if all-metal eyelets are available.

    Thanks for your suggestions, Rox.

  14. It looks like you have small truck similar to my Ranger. I use two compression straps hand tight one around each hull then around the bumper notches which means the strap circles the lowered tailgate. In the front I’ve got two bungee cords hooked to load ropes that are attached to my front inside box tie down points. There should be a video on the site that shows how I do that. I’ve carried as many as four kayaks in my Ranger that way with the W in the center and then one on each side with one more above. The other option on a similar cooler bag is Sam’s Club. They had a really nice one that looked quite similar you could buy for hauling home frozen food. I use one in my W when I plan on keeping fish. For ice we use frozen refilled water bottles. I think the last time I bought one it was around 6 dollars. Metal eyelets are available from any marine store but you really should back them if they are going to handle a load. That way you are not depending on just hull penetration support in such a small area. They can be had in marine bronze or brass since even stainless will rust in saltwater.

  15. Thanks, Jeff: Yeh, I have a really small 1985 Toyota. I simply got a longer strap, wrap it around each hull, and then hook each end into the notches I have mounted above the bed – really easy. With that setup, I won’t need metal eyelets.

    I had the 500 out on its maiden voyage this a.m. and it’s great – much faster, roomier and more stable. Its higher draft lets me float over oyster bars that I’d hit with my 06 model, which will minimize scratching. The water is like a bathtub and fishing was slow, so I stretched out in the cockpit and took a nap using the monster noodle for a head rest.

    I couldn’t empty the water out of the inside after washing out and turning upside down because of the much wider 500 cockpit lip. Yoav suggested drilling a few 3/8″ holes in the lip which has solved that problem. He also suggested considering using these holes to attach my anchor rope, which I’ll probably do.

    I’d like to find a wax or sealer that I could apply to the hulls to minimize scratching when dragging over cement or rocks, but Yoav is not aware of such a product which adheres to the polyethylene. I’ll continue asking around, but am not optimistic. Let me know if you come across anything.

    When will you get your 500? I bet your 300 will be kept for guests once you try it.

  16. Gary,
    If you want to drag your W kayak over asphalt and concrete perhaps you need to consider a ‘consumable’ solution that would last a season or two, until it wears out:
    I think you could try attaching to the bottom of the W hulls the lid of one of those 18 gallon plastic boxes (containers) you can find in any department store. The lid is 24″ wide, which should fit the bottom of the W500 hull tips, where the hulls get narrow. It’s also lightweight and flexible, and would fit perfectly in one of the hull tips.
    It will cost you about $8, plus you’ll get the box for free 🙂

  17. Hey Gary, Glad that strap solution worked for you. I don’t know of anything to coat the hull with either unless you consider the bottom paint they use on Triumph boats since they are rotomolded poly too. Some of the folks will bottom paint those since they are in the water for months at a time. But even then you’ll be removing it each time you drag over hard rough materials. Yoav’s idea is clean and simple. The bottom of my W hulls are pretty roughed up mainly from finding oyster beds using the hear them first method. Not much you can do about that and I don’t know of any hull material they won’t tear up. Even my old Grumman has scratches from finding a few.

  18. Thanks Yoav, Jeff for your comments regarding hull protection. The plastic lid idea may be a better option than my steel-reinforced doormat slide. You never know – with all the high-tech, space-age technology, something may hit the market – – until then I guess we’ll just have to live with some scratches.

  19. Hi nieghbor! I’ve been looking for a kayak and found the W today on the internet. What an awsome yak! I’ll be using it around Honeymoon and Caladesi for sure!

  20. Great pages and W. Especially I’m interested in info to help me plan a trip to fish in June when I come down from Md to visit the inlaws.

  21. Philip,
    Gary will be happy to take you fishing in the Ozello maze. He’s been there countless times, and never got lost, so far 🙂

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