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The W Kayak Combat Position For Fighting a Big Fish

A big and powerful fish may be smaller and altogether weaker than you, but being in its natural element while you’re not gives it an advantage that may compromise your kayak’s stability, get you somewhere that you don’t necessarily want to go to in long a ‘sleigh ride’, or make you lose the fish because you’re too busy controlling your kayak.

This is a maneuver that Jeff McGovern and myself developed together as a ‘think tank’ and ‘R&D team’. It’s called the ‘Combat Position’, and it’s possible to execute only in a W Kayak:

Upon realizing that you have a business with a big fish you need to swiftly reposition yourself along the saddle in the riding position (‘Mounted’) and as forward in the cockpit as possible, with your knees tucked into the front hull tip openings – see ‘1’ in the illustration below.
As a result of this change in weight distribution your W kayak’s bow will dip in the water (see ‘2’) while the stern will come out of the water (see ‘3’).

In this position your W kayak will be ‘planted’ in the water and offer maximum resistance to unwanted change, whether such change is tilting sideways or going forward.
Being in this position will free you from the need to balance your kayak while you’re fighting the fish, and let you focus on your fish whose capability to outmaneuver you was reduced to almost zero.

All the fish could do now is swim forward or sideways, and since your W kayak will generate a lot of drag in this position the fish will soon get tired and become less of a problem to reel in.

Combat position for catching a big fish in a W kayak

Storing Your Fishing Gear Onboard Your Kayak

It isn’t necessarily a simple problem.

First of all, your fishing gear and tackle need to be secure at all times, which means that come what may they won’t get lost. Rods, tackle box, fish tank, bait tank and cooler come if various sizes, and you need to reach and use them whenever you want.
Hatches may be relatively safe for storage but they are not very practical when it comes to accessing what you stored in them.

Sit on top (SOT) kayaks don’t have a real cockpit to speak of. They feature a shallow depression in the deck, and any object on it (including yourself) may fall overboard or get washed away in case you’re paddling through the surf.
You can secure your fishing equipment with bungees and ropes, but that may not always make them handy, and dipping your reels in saltwater could harm them.

Sit-in kayaks (SIK) feature either a close or open cockpit, but it’s usually rather small, and being low above the water it exposes your gear to spray.

Canoes offer limitless storage space – practically the whole boat, but this comes at a high price of being harder to paddle than kayaks, especially under wind and in the surf.

In contrast, the cockpit of the W fishing kayak is bigger and deeper than any kayak cockpit, yet the boat itself is small and easy to paddle in adverse conditions. In fact, you have ten cubic feet of internal, dry and accessible storage space in the cockpit itself and inside the boat’s four hull tips that you can always access from inside the cockpit.
There are numerous places you can attach gear to, and you can easily add more. On top of this you can use the top of the hulls outside the cockpit for attaching extra bulky equipment.

I chose this picture to show how much storage this kayak has to offer simply because nearly every cubic inch in it is available for storage:

Storage space for fishing gear and tackle

A Picture Tells

This picture of Jane Taylor is not recent but I chose to write about it on this blog because it’s significant to me.

It says “I did it!” and “I can do it!” and “Life is great!” or all of the above – and I really like it.

I think it’s Jane’s husband Charles (Chuck) who shot this picture on their trip to Florida. They went there by motor home and paddled together.

Yoav

Jane T on the Ichetucknee river, Florida

W Kayak ‘Dinghy’ – Tender For a Big Boat

Imagine you have a big boat, one that’s too big to beach. Well, you may actually own such a boat, and in such case you should be really interested in reading this post…
Obviously, you’d need to tender this big boat with some kind of small boat, usually a dinghy.
Why a dinghy? Because you need the thing to be really stable, protect you well, and enable you to carry provisions on board. For these reasons a traditional SOT or sit-in kayak might prove to be a bit problematic.

You may also want to use the little auxiliary boat just for fun and relaxation – maybe for paddling, or to go fishing in shallow waters. In this case the classic dinghy might be a bit awkward because rowing is OK for a short time if you really have to do it, but most people consider paddling to be more fun.

So, what’s the solution?

Read Cap’n Ron’s story about the beautiful ‘Ninja’ – his 42′ sailing boat, and the little green W Kayak that tenders it.

W kayak on big boat

Northern Kayak Fishing – The New Frontier

Oregon kayak fisherman Photo: Scott Floyd

Kayaking magazines are filled with pictures of kayakers touring glacier lakes and other inhospitably cold locations, as if such images reflected the common reality of paddling, or even what most kayakers aspire to do.

But when it comes to kayak fishing, magazines and websites seldom feature reports from cold places, and this is because kayak fishing is first and foremost a sunshine belt phenomenon. It doesn’t mean that you won’t find kayak fishermen in places like New Jersey, Puget Sound or Cape Cod, but the big numbers aren’t there, and the activity is restricted to the hottest months of the year, roughly between June and September – even if the water is navigable and fishable.

This is because a traditional kayak is basically a boat stripped down to its minimum, and one may argue that a SOT kayak is not even a vessel but more of a styled paddleboard (well, historically that would be correct).

That is to say that fishing from such a platform is not as easy and comfortable as fishing from a bigger boat is, and the little stability offered in combination with the extreme proximity of the cold water and the total exposure to wind and rain make the whole idea of kayak fishing considerably less appealing to the northern fisherman.

It was a Jeff McGovern who had first explained to me that the W kayak would be the perfect solution for northern kayak fishing. Although he’s a Floridian Jeff grew up in the Midwest and goes fishing in Canada every year.

And he was right: Looking back at 2007 we could see that although Florida and Texas were still the biggest states as far as W kayak fishing is concerned, northern states became as important in this aspect – coast to coast.

For those of you who want to read more, here are some northern W kayak fishermen’s stories:

Oregon, Wisconsin (fly fisherman), Massachusetts (Cape Cod), Connecticut, , Minnesota (hunter & fisherman),