Maiden voyage for my W700 fly fishing kayak

By Jill Toler

North Carolina

Today was the day; the maiden voyage of Float-n-Fly. There was more float than fly since it was my very first water day in my W700 and only my second time ever in a kayak.

The sun was shining, the wind was blowing about 10-15 mph, and the mosquitoes threatened to hijack my voyage by sucking all of my life blood from me. Despite the wind and squadron of eastern North Carolina skeeters; also known as crop dusters, I pushed off the bank and into a most epic experience. I was immediately blown into a scraggly bunch of above water branches and then decided I better do something so that I could actually claim that I paddled my kayak. I tentatively placed a blade in the water when my Fishing Buddy called out to me and said that my paddle was backward and upside down. Go figure; I did mention that this was my first trip, right.

Lesson #1-It does matter how you hold your paddle.

I adjusted the paddle and started with a good stroke, then another, and then another. Perhaps this was going to work after all. I paddled around in a circle; not because I tried to, but because the wind was pushing me around and around. I finally got turned toward the bank and glided right through the shallows and up onto the grass. It was at this time that I realized I was still on the seat of the kayak and not swimming to shore. Major accomplishment made super easy by the stability of the W700. Fishing Buddy, who is an avid kayaker, gave me some pointers on creating good, productive strokes by turning at my waist and when to lift the paddle out of the water.

Lesson #2-I am not paddling for a world record and it’s not a battleship. Easy and steady will get me where I want to go.

I received some more pointers and great information from Fishing Buddy about turning around and pushed off from the bank one more time. I paddled all around about half the pond practicing the proper stroke so as not to wear myself out and headed to the shore to find out how awesome, or not, I was doing paddling and turning. I said, “How do I look Fishing Buddy?”. She said, “Really good Fishing Buddy.” (“Fishing Buddy” is the nickname we use for each other because she; Jan, has a twin sister named Jill, and my name is Jill.) If you are confused, it’s okay because even after 8 years the guys in our fly fishing club can’t get our names right either.
Anyway, after she proclaimed that I was doing a good job I asked her what else I needed to know. She said, and I quote, “get the hell out so I can try it”.
I knew I had chosen a winner.

I want to talk about the obvious virtues of the W700 that are specific for me.
The first thing is that I am a bona fide big girl who loves to fish and wanted a new adventure. Most kayaks are not made for big girls and most big girls aren’t going to try kayaking or kayak fishing because you are afraid to be embarrassed by not being able to get in or out of a kayak. The W700 solves this problem with the ease of getting in and out without squatting, waddling, rolling, or flopping. You step in and sit down. It’s just that easy.
Secondly, I never felt like I was going to roll over, fall out or flip over. I was plenty nervous at first but I got my butt adjusted and just sat there. Easy, peasy. I wore my brand new life jacket in case I went for a non voluntary swim, so I felt very safe. Next time I will try standing up; which my Fishing Buddy was able to do right away. She is way more awesome than I, but I will get there.

Overall, I am just amazed with the W700 and so happy that I got one of my own. I have attached some pictures to prove it.

 

first-time-paddling-for-this-fly-angler (2)

 

first-time-paddling-for-this-fly-angler

 

fishing-buddy-testing-the-W700-for-stand-up-paddling

Fishing Buddy paddling standing

 

heavy-angler-paddling-her-W700-fishing-kayak

 

Jill-sitting-in-her-fly-fishing-kayak

 

Jill's-sunshine-W700-fly-fishing-kayak

Float-n-Fly, my Sunshine colored Wavewalk 700

 

Jill-standing-by-her-new-Wavewalk-700-fishing-kayak

 

Jill's-W700-and-fly-fishing-poles-collection copy

A picture shot at SOBX Kayaks, Wavewalk’s dealership in Beaufort, NC

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8 Comments

  1. fish

    Thank you Jill, for this great, funny review 🙂
    And thank you Fishing Buddy, for encouraging Jill and keeping an eye on her.

    Now that the worst is behind you (the first 5 minutes are the worst…), you can look forward to just pure excitement and fun, if you could only find a way to get rid of those mosquitoes, of course…

    I look forward to your fly fishing reports,

    Yoav

    PS — And thank you Steve for getting Jill to test the W500, before the W700 came into being 🙂

  2. Steve Anderson

    Great W700 review Jill and thanks for posting it. Remember, when it is windy you can move forward or backward on the saddle to counteract the effect of the wind. Experiment with it and you’ll quickly learn this technique.

    Steve

  3. RoxCT

    Awesome review Jill.

    Congrats on the New W700, and welcome to the world of kayaking.

    You are going to have the time of your life in it.

    I can’t wait to see more from you using the W700 and fishing.

    Good Luck and enjoy every moment. 🙂

    Tight lines and MoPaddle Safe all.
    Rox

  4. Chris Henderson

    What a great review! Thumbs up for not being limited or giving up on adventure! Look forward to some great fish pictures in the future!

  5. fish

    Jill,

    On top of being fun to read (I love “Easy-Peasy”! 😀 ) I think your review will serve as inspiration to many people.

    Yoav

  6. Michael Chesloff

    Hello Jill-

    One of the funniest and most well written reviews I’ve seen here. Your candor and comedic style are truly engaging. Welcome to the land of happy kayak owners (i.e., Wavewalk owners).

    Looking forward to some great pics of you standing and casting with your fly rod.

    -Michael

  7. Jill Toler

    Thank you for the kind words and encouragement. I perused the Wavewalk website for at least 3 years just marveling at the reports posted by folks such as, Jeff, Gary, Michael, and Rox. During that time I was hoping that I would get to try one out someday.

    Through the website, I saw that there was a Wavewalk dealer right here in eastern North Carolina. I contacted Steve Anderson to inquire about looking at a Wavewalk kayak. Not only did he show me the kayak, he asked me if I wanted to try it out. I must admit that my initial thought was , “oh crap, how is this going to go”. Well, since I was there and Steve was more than accommodating I decided to summon my courage and “just do it”. It was a warm day and I can swim, so even if this little adventure turned into a disaster, at least I wouldn’t succumb to hypothermia.

    A bit of instruction and a little push off by Steve and away I went; straight into the dock piling. Steve didn’t even flinch, he told me to gently push off with the paddle and then he told me how to turn around. I paddled hard back and glided up onto the ramp, then stood up and stepped out. I wore sandals that day and never even got a toe wet. That was a triumphant day for me and I knew that I would more than likely be a future Wavewalk owner.

    The rest, as they say, is history and I am so excited to continue my adventure. The sun has come back out again here in my neck of the woods and it looks like we will have some great days ahead. I took a day off of work to continue my acquaintance with my kayak; I sure hope something wants to eat a fly.

  8. fish

    Jill,

    Three years isn’t that long for such a big ticket item, and all is well that ends well 😀

    Yoav

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