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A Little Honesty About Kayak Fishing

A couple of days ago I visited the website of a rather known figure in the world of kayak fishing. The man who resides in Florida published a book on kayak fishing and produced instructional kayak fishing videos as well.

This is what he wrote on his website:

No matter who you are — or what physical condition you are in—-eventually, if you sit in your kayak long enough— you will eventually begin to experience back pain. It will creep up on you at first, but eventually, it will be noticeable enough to erode your enjoyment of the outing even if you are catching fish.”

Why was I surprised to read such an honest statement from a kayak fishing professional? Because kayak fishing pros are in many cases so passionate about this sport and are so keen to promote it that they tend to close an eye to the difficulties that most kayak fishermen face in practicing it.

In many cases kayak fishing pros would brush aside issues such as back pains, leg pain, leg numbness, wetness and other symptoms of discomfort resulting from poor ergonomic design because let’s face it: their livelihood depends on kayak fishing, and telling the full and sometime not so pleasant truth about this sport would be against their interest – whether they sell kayaks, rent them or offer outfitting, instruction or guide services.

In some cases kayak fishing pros would advise you to cushion your seat with some foam or other soft material such as a gel bag, or add foam under your knees – as if such means could provide more than a temporary and partial relief. Some of them are unaware of the real causes for kayaking and kayak fishing back pain, but it seems others simply chose to ignore these issues.

And why do we keep talking about the ergonomics of kayak fishing, back pain and other such painful issues? Simply because we think they are real and widespread problems, and kayak fishermen deserve to hear the whole truth about them, and we also happen to offer a better solution.

Jeff’s Kayak Fishing Report and Reflexions on Back Pain Improvement

This weekend Jeff McGovern wrote from Florida:

-“Aside from the fishing today the W was a great relief. A four hour flight from LA to Atlanta yesterday, then a short hop to Jacksonville was uncomfortable to say the least – That sciatic nerve issue has been pain.
However a few hours in the W today was almost a cure. It must be the upright position combined with the paddling that does it.
According to everything I’ve been reading from trainers and alike exercise is the key. I Don’t know why but I feel so much better after time in the W boat – the W is really something.

Got a few hours on the water today and it was beautiful. The weather was just a bit chilly starting out but warmed to T shirt temps around 9:30AM.
The W performed like a champ. Fishing wise it was a busy time. Nothing huge but loads of blue fish and smaller trout. Ended up for every trout I would get four or five blue fish.
This was one of those days being able to quickly stand helped quite a bit.
At one point I kept hearing splashing and thrashing in the water on the other side of an oyster bar.
I was able to peek over by standing and saw a pod of three dolphin tearing into schools of bait fish.
Seeing their path I was able to avoid them and still be able to catch a few more fish before heading home.
I’ve attached a few pictures.
The strange looking little rod in the shot with a blue fish on the seat is an Emmrod.
The little thing handles very well from a W thanks to the upright casting position the boat allows. For close in casting at short ranges the rod is lots of fun, especially with fish that pull as hard as those little blues.
I’ll have to review the rod itself for use in the W since it’s a nice combination.


Jeff caught a fish in his W kayak

Trout in Jeff's fishing kayak

fish caught by Jeff in his W kayak

Canoeing and Canoe Fishing Options

The W is a great boat for kayaking and kayak fishing, but it’s also easy to paddle with single-blade (canoe) paddles – both in solo and tandem modes.

The 9 ft long, two-pieces, dual blade Mohawk paddle we offer can be turned into two canoe paddles using the T-grip kit: Each of the two canoe paddles is good for canoeing in the lower positions (Riding, Sitting and Kneeling) and long enough for paddling standing up, as shown in this picture:

Standup paddling - canoe paddle

Paddling with a canoe paddle is fun, and it can be easier than kayaking when there are two paddlers in the cockpit.

The W tracks better than canoes, and it is stabler than canoes its size, which makes it easy to use in canoeing applications – even for small children:

Small children W canoeing in tandem

When it comes to fishing, a short, single blade paddle offers the advantage that you can simply drop it in the cockpit as soon as you need to grab a fishing rod that’s showing signs of action… -You don’t even have to find paddle holders.

Another advantage that a canoe paddle offers is when you need to paddle through areas with many low hanging branches that could make handling a kayak paddle more difficult.

Overcoming Windage Issues – Paddling and Tracking in Strong Wind

Once you get used to your W Kayak you’ll find that you’re likely to be out paddling it and fishing from it on windy days, when other kayakers and kayak fishermen prefer to stay at home or simply can’t use they kayaks because of ‘windage’ problems.

Thanks to its exceptional, ‘catamaran’ tracking capabilities the W kayak has less windage issues than traditional SIK and SOT kayaks, including sea kayaks. In addition, your ability to move fore and aft along the saddle as well as lean sideways give you effective means to counter affect the wind.

  • Side Wind

You’ll be able to track well while a strong side wind is blowing once you’ve mastered the following things:
1. Position yourself in the middle of the cockpit (not in the back for this matter). In case of exceptionally strong side wind you can even position yourself a notch forward and by that let the stern ‘trail’ behind the bow. Generally speaking, you will find that your location along the saddle can help you in more than one way.
2. Lean into the wind, similarly to leaning into the turn – You can use the difference in the hulls’ height to act as a powerful ‘rudder’ that would help your W kayak track.
3. Apply the appropriate paddle stroke on each side of the kayak, that is use a weaker and regular style stroke on the side from which the wind is blowing, and a stronger, longer stroke on the lee side. By doing so you will compensate for the wind’s tendency to deviate your boat from its intended course.

  • Head Wind

Interestingly, much of the headwind passes between the W hulls, and eddies have a lesser effect on it than they have on monohull kayaks that have broader hulls.

You can paddle against a strong head wind in the Riding position (recommended) or one of the Kneeling positions.
The more you lean forward the more power you’ll be able to apply in your paddling.

The paddle itself might become a mini ‘sail’ when a strong wind is blowing, therefore it is advised to keep the paddle at a low angle above the boat, regardless of the direction from which the wind is blowing.

The W Kayak at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS)

It’s been a year since the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS) exhibited a W Kayak in its Engineer It! exhibit.

The DMNS chose to exhibit the W Kayak to represent technical innovation in boat design.

W kayak exhibited at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS)

You can pan through an online interactive view of the exhibit by clicking and dragging your mouse cursor on the frame (requires Apple QuickTime viewer)

The organizers of this exhibit reported that the visitors loved the boat.

I thought that event worth remembering since it was the first time the W concept was officially recognized.