I fished yesterday with Dick Sherman, who designed a combination backrest / rod holder for his W. He needed a backrest and this seems to do the trick. We got a few small trout but had a pretty slow day. I included a picture of Bob Smaldone, another W owner, looking over our W’s. He’s from Maine but spends 6 months a year down here. We ran into him as we returned to the beach, and he came over once he saw the W’s coming in. Hopefully, we can hook up for an outing or two.
Bob (L) and Dick (C) looking and Dick and Gary's W500 fishing kayaks
Bob lives in a small coastal town in Maine that’s famous for its fishing, as well as for other reasons. It was easy for Bob to drive down the Massachusetts to test the W500, and it was easy for him to decide to order one on the spot.
Here is what Bob wrote us after a few weeks of using his new w500:
I have been out with my wavewalk 500 almost every day, ocean, lakes and rivers, having a blast and learning its operating characteristics. I’d like to recommend this kayak to those who express more than a passing interest. I have been wanting to send you pictures, but I find it a bit challenging catching fish on the fly, out in the ocean, and taking pictures at the same time! Guess I need to just get better at this! Yesterday I caught 1/2 dozen stripers, some up to 30″, all on the fly, and , of course, all standing up in the wavewalk. Doesn’t get any better! Will practice on my picture taking.
And here’s an email Bob wrote to the editor of his favorite fly fishing publication named the Angler’s Report, shortly after he bought his W500: “Just read your recent report on kayaks…thought you may want to check out Wavewalk kayaks. Just purchased one yesterday after researching and trying out both the [folding outriggers “stand-up” SOT kayak] and the[tunnel hull, ‘hybrid’ “stand-up” canoe-kayak] fishing kayaks. Their web site is entertaining, especially all the videos. In my mind, this is truly the only standup kayak out there. You actually walk onto to it, sit down and paddle away. I was standing and jumping within 2 minutes (trying to simulate one of the videos I saw) much to the concern of Yoav, the designer and owner of Wavewalk, as he watched from the shore. Later, we even went out tandem in the kayak. No other kayak has this kind of stability. A fly fisherman’s dream. Period.
Anyway, I am not trying to “sell” you the kayak… just thought you may find it worthwhile to check it out.
The editor of the Angler’s Report published Bob’s letter. Thanks Bob!
Some pictures of Bob fly fishing in Florida (Thanks to Gary Rankel) –
Bob getting ready to launch his fly fishing kayak, next to Gary Rankel’s “PackerYakker” W500 kayak
Bob (L) talking to Dick Sherman (C) while looking and Dick and Gary Rankel’s W500 fishing kayaks beached in Crystal River, Florida.
Dick Sherman, from Florida, got his yellow W500 fishing kayak a short time ago. He ordered it after testing his friend’s Gary Rankel green W500.
“First of all, I have to thank Gary for introducing me to the Wavewalk and guiding me through the maze of islands and passageways. Without him I probably would still be trying to find my way back.
The Wavewalk was great. It was easy to launch, paddle and fish out of. It is just amazing the places you can go to in the Kayak. We went out at low tide and were often scraping bottom. There would be no other way to get into this area to fish or to view the beautiful scenery. It was really great. No motor noise, beautiful birds and crystal clear water.
Unfortunately our recent cold weather had the fish huddled around a heater that we were unable to find, but I didn’t need to catch fish to have a great time.
And Gary adds:
-“Unfortunately, our recent cold snap seems to have chased the fish to deeper water, so I don’t have a picture of Dick hauling in a big one. He did, however, seem to be very happy with his new kayak, and is excited about learning a new way to fish.
We ran into Adrian Englert on the water, who reminded me that there will be a Paddlers Picnic and Customer Appreciation Day in Crystal River on Feb 20. Adrian plans on setting up a station to inform folks about the new kayak fishing club he is starting. I’ll bring my W500 for folks to look at, and may even see how I fare in the competition. Food will be served and gifts and prizes will be handed out. The day should provide an opportunity for folks to compare the W with other kayaks on the market. The event has been covered in our local newspaper so, hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we’ll have a nice turnout.
The first unofficial Wavewalk group fishing outing in Florida was held December 14, 2009 at Crystal River, Florida. Gary Rankel, Ed Wheeler and I participated, fishing out of the new 2009 W500 fishing kayaks. Ed and I were in our bright yellow boats and Gary was in his green “Packer Yaker” (the name of which I understood only after asking him about it–seems he is a life long Green Bay Packer fan with as much passion for the team as he has for fishing.)
We started the day at our usual breakfast place right on highway 19 in Crystal River the day with a hearty meal for the task ahead. We hit the road in heavy fog, heading over to the Ozello area for launch from the parking area of a local seafood restaurant. They have a great kayak and canoe launch directly off the lot and, as long as you park well away from the patron spaces, you are fine. Besides, nothing beats a fried grouper sandwich at the end of a day of fishing and, since you are already there, why not partake?
We launched into water that was as smooth as a sheet of glass in the fog. It was wonderful. The temperature was ideal and only a few of the flying teeth (sand gnats) were bothering us. We headed out on a falling tide using a large culvert to take us through to the other side of the bridge. That saved us at least a mile of extra paddling while heading to Gary’s favorite fishing spots that he was anxious to share. Our trip out was aided by the tidal flow, so each stroke was easy and effortless.
We began casting as soon as Gary indicated we had reached his spots. I started right off with a small sea trout and soon after, Gary landed a really nice one. I also managed to land a number of lizard fish on my lures. These fish are not considered a game fish and serve only to keep the fish I really wanted from getting to my baits.
Our rigging was standard inshore Florida style. We used both bait casting and spinning gear. Ed and Gary used superlines, while I relied on mono for my bait casters and reserved the superline for my spinning tackle. We used both fluorocarbon and mono leaders as the presentations dictated. For lures, top waters are always a good choice in the Crystal river area. Gary preferred the IMA Skimmer, a very thin pencil style top water from the Japanese bass fishing market, while Ed and I stayed with our proven Spook Jr’s and Mirrolures. The baits all managed to produce hits, but the actual hookup percentage was low that day. That’s why we call it fishing and not catching.
The entire day was memorable– both for the company and the adventure. We saw lots of new water in a different way and enjoyed the antics of both birds and dolphins. At one point, while we relaxed wading near a small island, two dolphins decided to share our fishing spot. They were in a deeper cut a few feet from us, just ripping into schools of mullet. Times like this show who the really talented anglers are– the ones that swim with the fish, to be exact. Sure they ran off our quarry, but watching them is always fun. Besides, who knows, maybe we can pick up a thing or two from the real experts in these waters?
We ended our day around 2PM and headed in back through the same culvert we used first thing in the morning. With a slightly stronger incoming tide, that short ride was fun with the W500 shooting right through the center, using the paddle only to keep from hitting the sides. A really remarkable thing that struck me about this whole day was the comfort we had fishing from these boats. None of us are young men –I am the youngest at 55, both Ed and Gary are the 70 year old range. Between us there have been back issues ranging from simple sciatic problems to major surgeries. To a man, the W500 is a boat we could use easily and comfortable. In any other fishing kayaks, our range would not have been as great and there would have been many more stops to get out for unkinking. This trip was only the start. There will be many more to come, fishing the waters off Florida’s west coast in the world’s most comfortable and fishable paddle craft.