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Kayak Design From a Fisherman’s Standpoint

Jeff McGovern is a master kayak fisherman and W kayak fishing trailblazer from Palatka, Florida.

Here is what Jeff recently wrote me:

“In the W kayak I find myself poking the boat into grassy areas since the grass coming up between the hulls will hold it in place. With the slightly additional height the angler is at casting over the grass is easy. Also you don’t catch grass on the back cast as you would in a lower boat.
I’ve fished the same areas out of a SOT and the W the last few months, and there are distinct advantages to both designs at certain times. At a higher tide the W can creep into the grass areas where the SOT would be surrounded by grass making a cast impossible.
Also with moving forward in on the saddle the W becomes a pivot point so a larger fish has a tough time of getting on the wrong side of your efforts. In most other kayaks that concern is addressed with a longer rod to clear both ends of the boat but that is still harder.
As you look toward newer W models I’m wondering if raising the saddle a bit would be nicer for big guys like me.
Those little trashcans I use pushed in the hulls are pretty handy.
One other thing about the W that comes up is the ease of dragging it on the ground. For short beach launches or for areas like the fish camp where I normally launch the W proves almost effortless. Other kayakers have mentioned how simple the W is to handle – I really only have to pick it up once at home to load it and then once more when I get back to put it away. At virtually all my launching spots all I do is pull it off the back of the Ranger and onto the ground. Once I place the rods in the rack I can drag the whole thing to the water and be off. Other kayak fishermen who use SOTs are either waiting for assistance or making multiple trips to the water. Jeff”

BTW, Jeff writes articles on fishing in general and kayak fishing in particular:

Jeff holding a fish near his W kayak

Electric Trolling Motor For Your W Kayak

Sometime you feel like trolling – just dragging your fishing lines in the water along a known or new course, and you don’t feel like doing it paddling.
In such case it’s really easy to outfit your W kayak with an electric trolling motor. If you choose a basic model it could cost less than $100, with the deep cycle marine battery and charger you could reach $250.

A weaker motor would drain your battery more slowly. Make sure the battery you’re planning to buy fits at the bottom of the hull, where it would not destabilize your W kayak.

Attaching the motor to your W kayak is quite easy:
You can make a transom style preparation for a mount from a simple wooden board and four bolts, as shown in this illustration. Just drill, attach the board and fix the motor to it using the standard transom mount that comes with your motor.

trolling motor preparation

NEW: read more about motorizing fishing kayaks >>

Kayak Fishing and Paddling Standing

There’s something really enjoyable about being to paddle your W kayak standing – It adds another dimension to your experience, and makes you view the world around a little differently.
Just imagine going down a snowy slope on a snowboard or skis for the first time after all your life you’ve been used just to sledding.
Except there’s a little bit more to paddling standing because you’re doing something that’s been not only impossible but forbidden as well…
As for jumping in your W kayak, that’s something that I can find no parallel to.

I feel a little sorry for some kayak fishermen who claim they can fish standing on top of their SOT kayaks:
-Can they do it when the water gets choppy? (No)
-Can they do it if there’s a strong wind blowing? (No)
-Can they do it in full confidence (No)
-What happens if they lose balance (They inevitably go overboard)
-Why would anyone want to try standing on a SOT when it requires so much attention just to keep your balance? (Beats me)


This little video might take a few seconds to appear:

W kayak stability

“Tough Day on the Water” – Fishing Report From Florida

“Hi Yoav, Finally managed to shake off the northern chill and hit the water today for a few hours. Fighting a pinched nerve that’s a sciatic from that long drive to Chicago made it interesting. Thank heavens you can stand in the W, that feature alone put it light years ahead at times like this. Once I got the kinks out the time went along fine.
Weather wise it was cold and blowing. Even with a long sleeved T shirt, fleece top and Frog Toggs jacket it was still chilly. Between a heavy tide current and the wind the W held up fine today. My unfeathered W paddle made going into the wind a little harder. But I made good progress and figured why knock myself out to go only a tad faster.
After coming in I have far more respect for you northern folks. I was chilly and wet from the mist. I can only imagine doing this with the temps at like 20 or below. The whole time I was out it was maybe 48 on the water. By the way the W is the best kayak out there to launch down stairs. The new owners of the fish camp where I launch have added steps to the water. With the W I just drag it to them and off I go. Jeff”

Jeff W fishing kayakJeff's kayak

Looks like it’s been a bit chilly lately down in that subtropical paradise 🙂

I liked the part about respect for us Northern folks since the Charles River around here (West of Boston, MA) has been pretty much covered with ice since early December.


How Fast Is a W Kayak?

In a nutshell, the speed of this 25″ wide, 124″ long W kayak is comparable to that of 12′-13′ monohull kayaks, depending on their design: Fishing kayaks are normally much wider than other kayaks, and therefore slower.
This figure is the result of many tests we ran over the years, and many paddlers including amateurs, professionals and customers have confirmed it independently.

It’s important to remember that when comparing the speed of two boats you need to be proficient in paddling both of them. For example, it would be plain stupid to ask a canoeist who has never paddled a kayak before to evaluate the speed of a 20′ long racing kayak… Similarly, you don’t expect a sea kayaker to be able to appreciate the speed of a fast canoe if he or she has no canoing experience at all.
Therefore, before you try to check how fast your W kayak can go you have to spend the time necessary to become a proficient W paddler, and that can’t happen in a day since W canoing is somehow different from regular canoing, and W kayaking is very different from regular kayaking.
Expect the expectable: There’s a learning curve in this process, as there is one for any new activity you’re undertaking.

Note that the smaller the boat the harder it’s penalized for extra weight – Don’t overload your W kayak.

In case you want to join a group of experienced sea kayakers on a trip you should know that fast touring kayaks are narrow and usually over 16′ long, which means they are likely to go faster than your 10′ W.

This is a link to a long technical article on this subject: