Wavewalk outfitted for crabbing, fishing and hunting

By Scott Harbinson

Virginia

I bought my Wavewalk from someone who sold his in Upstate NY. I certainly appreciated how easy it was to car top on the 320 mile trip back home.

The previous owner fabricated a sturdy aluminum motor mount for a long shaft motor. I have a 4 hp two stroke short shaft motor from a duck boat I own, and am wondering if it’ll work. It’s 49 lbs and I realize it’s a bit overpowered and probably a couple of inches too short for this mount.

This is going to be a hunting rig and I need a modular platform for my dog so I can have him in front when I’m under way and behind me (so I don’t shoot him) when I’m using it as a blind.

I mad a modular U-shaped gripping post like I have on my Go Devil duck hunting boat that will also serve as a mount for my GPS, floodlight and bilge pump switch.

I also made a front deck out of aluminum tubing and expanded metal screen (to keep weight down) which will be used to haul decoys.

I’m going to do the rigging here and sea trials in the Spring in a non-hunting environment. I don’t want my maiden voyage to be in pitch black darkness in freezing cold water. I realize there’s a learning curve and want to do it right. I can fish/crab this summer and put it into service next hunting season.

Modular grab bar and dog platform

The grab bar is mounted on a saddle bracket cut to the height of the top of the cockpit. It sits on that and the edges of the cockpit. It’s held in place by blocking attached underneath.
When I motor out the dog will sit in the position shown.
When I use it for a blind I can put it at the opposite end after removing the grab bar and inserting another saddle bracket cut to cockpit height.
I also installed 1/4″ by 3/4 diamond galvanized metal sheeting to serve as decking to carry a bag of decoys.
All-in-all it’s been a lot of fun rigging this out.

The grab bar is attached by the saddle bracket by four split rings, two per leg. There’s a 3/8’s bolt that attaches through the bracket. It should provide a bit more security for a standing operator. It doesn’t have the same tolerances as Wavewalk’s CNC fabricated bracket. If it did it’d provide a higher degree of stability.

As much as stability I was looking for a place to mount my GPS and Spotlight since I head into the marsh before it is light.

4hp-outboard-and-aluminum-motor-mount-on-fishing-kayak

The motor mount was fabricated by the previous owner and is too high. The anti-cavitation plate rides 2″ above the bottom plane of the boat instead of being flush. It has a plate on the underside.
I may play around with it and see how it works and either buy a Wavewalk mount or a Honda 2.3.

wire-mesh-deck-and-fuel-tank

The expanded metal sheeting was dirt simple. Unfortunately, my Home Depot only had 24×18″ pieces so I had to use two. I later found an eBay seller offering 24×36 sheets for $25. The one change I’d make is to cut it 1/2 inch inside of outline of the hull. I cut it flush and left edges that snag.
I used 1/4″ x 1″ bolts with fender washers and Nylok nuts. Very easy and very strong…. and lightweight as well.

fishing-and-hunting-kayak-with-grab-bar-and-dog-platform

The platform was easy and the blocking holds it very tight. You could easily mount it to a bracket with a hinge to secure it on all four sides. My grab bar locks it in but for those not using a grab bar the hinge mount to a bracket would allow for easy folding and storage.
The grab bar certainly won’t do much by itself to keep you from losing your balance. However, it will provide something of an additional balance point (as opposed to thin air) with the tiller extension being the primary point. The principal purpose is to mount the spotlight and GPS. It’d never be stable enough to serve as a primary balance point I suspect.
I have a grab bar on my Riverhawk that I use with a 9 hp Go Devil. It’s mounted to the bait well and is rock solid. Though in all the years of use, it has never had to serve as more than an additional balance point and mount for my accessories. The nice thing about the bracket mount is its modularity. I can take it off and stow it in seconds, something I can’t do with my Riverhawk.

detail-grab-bar

Back to the grating: Next time around, I’d find a source for aluminum grating- preferably powder coated. Much lighter weight and resistant to corrosion.

Also added a Rotopak gas can which works perfectly. It is simply AWESOME for this application. The mounting bracket holes align perfectly to the 3/4″ diamond mesh, it looks cool as hell and solves a real problem of safely transporting fuel while keeping it well away from potential ignition sources (the motor).

That additional storage up front would also serve to counter the weight of the engine. The mesh provides tons of points to attach bungee cords to secure decoys, camping and fishing gear, your picnic basket or whatever.

For crabbings, I’d rig this boat with a mesh deck, bushel basket, crab line, cooler and bait.
For fishing, rod holders, fish finder and bait buckets.
For clamming I’d take buckets and rakes and a cooler.
I’d keep the mesh deck and the grab bar with a GPS at all times.

Scott

10 thoughts on “Wavewalk outfitted for crabbing, fishing and hunting”

  1. Thanks Scott,

    Very interesting boat, with plenty of innovations! I especially like to wire mesh deck 🙂
    I hope that grab bar would be sturdy enough in case it has to provide some serious support.
    The platform certainly looks very strong. If you’re concerned about the boat’s weight, you could use a thinner and lighter plywood for it.

    Yoav

  2. Yeah, I could have gone with thinner plywood for the platform but decided on 1/2 inch in case I wanted to use it as a poling platform. As stated, the grab bar’s primary function will be to serve as a mounting point for my GPS and spotlight. It won’t do much as a primary balance point but will provide a bit of additional stability for standing operation. By the way, it is fabricated with 3/4″ conduit (bent in-store using the conduit benders conveniently displayed next to the conduit rack) Then I used pipe insulation from the plumbing department and wrapped it with duct tape. Galvanized split-ring pipe clamps (plumbing dept) attach it to the saddle bracket. The whole thing cost about $20. I look forward to sea trials in the Spring. The water’s a bit too cold now for me to take it out on her maiden voyage.

  3. Have you taken it out on the water yet?

    I like what you are doing with the W500, but you may want to take
    her on the water and really get the feel of it before adding things you may not need.

    The 4hp should be doable, but the Honda option with internal tank may be the way to go.
    Less space needed and weight, I keep a small gas storage container in under the hulls for mine, it fits just fine.

    The deck you added, 1/2″ plywood will be nice and sturdy, I fitted and placed a small
    piece of 2×4 underneath the deck and sits on the saddle, so I can step on it and not
    flex the sides of the W500 outside walls, I did this after they had flexed a few times.
    Now I could stand on it if I wanted to with no flex in the sides, nice and solid.

    How big is your dog??
    I take my German Shepherd in mine sometimes, she is small for a GS, 52 lbs, but she sure can scare the crap out of me at times when she moves.

    Keep us up to date on the W500 first voyage.

    W500, Nothing Like it, and Nothing better. 🙂

    Tight lines and MoPaddle Safe All.
    Rox

  4. There are different approaches to outfitting –
    Some people like to order a ‘Turnkey Project’, and they let Wavewalk or its local dealer do all the outfitting for them.
    Others like to outfit their boat to the max. Sometimes, after they use it, they find out that their idea wasn’t exactly what they actually needed, and they realize they should have done things differently, or not at all.
    Others take their time to learn to paddle their W kayak, fish from it, etc., and then, after some time, they start looking for solutions to specific needs they’ve identified.

    I always recommend the third approach because it’s the most effective, but I reckon that outfitting your W kayak is a lot of fun, and it’s no big deal if you find out that eventually you won’t be using some of the wonderful things that you created in a moment of inspiration 🙂

    Yoav

  5. Rox,

    No sea trials yet, its a bit cold for that. My Golden Retriever is about 56 lbs. He’s still a puppy so I want to acclimate him in warmer temps as well. The jury is out on the 4 hp motor. It came with a sculling duck boat I just bought for hunting as well. It’s heavier than the Honda, and as you noted uses a remote tank which is a pain. But hopefully it’ll work for a season or two so I don’t have to shell out another $1000 for the Honda right away. Thanks for the tip about the support between the saddle and platform. If I do end up poling it, that will be a useful mod. My dog won’t flex the sides, but I certainly will.

    Yoav, I agree with your recommended approach to mods. However, I’m probably a bit different than most owners as I’ve taken a modular approach. The only permanent fixture is the mesh deck- which I think will be useful in any application. The grab bar slides out in a second. Same with the platform. I’m in the process of mounting a battery box (and motorcycle size battery) and I will probably mount the spotlight on the deck using a ball mount instead of handlebar mounting. This will power spot light, nav lights and perhaps bilge pumps. Again, the battery comes out of the box and the spotlight and nav lights pop off in seconds. I look at this process a bit like developing the Swiss Army knife. A variety of available tools to address the various situations I anticipate I’ll need to deal with.

  6. Hi Scott,
    I do similar kinds of mods to my Wavewalks, and it is just plain fun.

    As Yoav has commented…..I have found some of my ideas to be not as useful as I thought they might be, but one idea leads to another and so the experimenting goes on. Simplicity seems to be the best approach however.

    I like the wire mesh that you used, but in my case I would need it to be rust proof. It would definitely make it easy to enter the kayak when the end is up on the bank of the river/bay/bayou……providing traction for muddy shoes/boots. As I get older I am much more careful about falling. I added some stick on rubber things designed for boat trailers when you want to walk on the trailer while loading a boat. They work fine and are available at most wal-mart stores. But I really like the mesh idea for multiple tie down points. That’s one of the obstacles in most kayaks, the need for lashing down points.
    Have fun, and don’t freeze.
    Tom

  7. Hi Tom,

    There is 1/4″ thick 3/4″ diamond aluminum sheeting available that would meet your requirements. I have no idea how much stress the fasteners would put on the hulls so if I was using it as a walkway, I’d use several fasteners and walk close to the hulls rather than down the middle. Next time around I’d use finish washers instead of fender washers. Everything I’ve done so far is something I’ve done on other boats, albeit a bit more simplified and on a smaller scale.

    Scott

  8. Hi Scott,

    Fellow duck hunter here.

    Some interesting modifications. I don’t know how many deeks you use, but you can store an awful lot of them in the hulls themselves. The benefit of this transportation method is that it puts the weight of the deeks below the water line actually making the boat more stable. When you start adding up your mods, motor, deeks, shotgun, dog, etc. unless you work as a jockey you are going to be pushing the weight limits. The problem with that is not that the boat will sink but that your dog will move and you will go over in cold water.

    The additional flotation modules might really be a benefit for what you are doing with the boat. Something to think of.

    Good forward to seeing how it all turns out.

    Chris

  9. Good information Chris, thank you. I’d hate to rely on my dog’s “down-stay” as the sole measure for keeping me from swimming in 35 degree water. I will do extensive tests during the spring and summer to make sure he is acclimated to the boat and capacity and balance issues are thoroughly vetted.

    I’ll use the Wavewalk as my short haul boat when it’s just me and my dog going a few hundred yards from the launch to the blind. It is a short enough run that if needed- I can motor out with the gear, then return for the dog. I have a 2 man TDB sculling boat for more ambitious outings.

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