fishing

Fishing from a kayak.
Anglers fish out of kayaks in saltwater and freshwater, but this outdoor activity is more popular in warmer regions than in cold ones, due to the fact that typically, kayaks offer the angler less comfort and protection from the elements than motorboats do, and this factor is more of a problem in cold weather and water.
Most anglers still view kayak fishing as too hard and uncomfortable for them to practice, and they prefer to fish out of larger motorboats that are stabler and more comfortable than fishing kayaks typically are. Such fishing boats also offer a much longer range of travel than kayaks do.

The patented twin-hull W kayaks revolutionized kayak fishing in more than one way –
It eliminated the back pain and leg numbness associated with fishing out of mono-hull kayaks that force the angler to fish while seated in the uncomfortable L position. This opened kayak fishing to middle aged and elderly anglers, as well as to people who suffer from back pain and back sensitivities, and other disabilities.
The W kayak’s increased stability offers practically anyone the option to fish standing in full confidence, in real-world conditions, even if they’re not small, young, or physically fit.
In addition, fishing out of a W kayak is more comfortable in the sense that the angler is better protected from the elements (wind, waves, spray, etc.) than they would be if they fished out of other types of kayaks.
In ‘fishability’ terms, the new W kayak also outperforms other types of kayaks when storage is concerned, since it offers several times more storage space for the angler’s fishing tackle and other gear.

In sum, the W kayak offers to transform kayak fishing from an extreme sport or outdoor activity, to a pleasant and comfortable one – for everyone, and not just for the young and athletic angler.

More articles on kayak fishing and related subjects »

Outriggers for W300 Kayaks

Some activities like sailing and fast motorized boating require extra stability.
Products called ‘kayak sail’ are of little practical use because you can’t use them to go upwind, which is your main reason for using a sail in the first place.
Therefore, if you’re thinking about W kayak sailing you’d need a canoe or dinghy sailing rig that can take you upwind and is powerful enough to make sailing fun. Because it’s powerful, such rig requires a stable boat, and that’s where the outrigger/s solution can be applied.

Similarly, you can outfit your W kayak with a small electric motor, in which case it would not necessarily require extra stability.
However, if you’re planning to motorize your W kayak with a powerful gas engine (1.5 horsepower and up) you’d need to consider increasing your boat’s stability because when going at high speed it would become unstable.

Generally speaking, adding a pair of outriggers provides more stability, but a single outrigger can offer sufficient stability while being more practical in other ways.
The first problem with having an outrigger on each side of the boat is that in certain cases it limits the passengers’ access to and from the cockpit, for example when docking.
The second problem is that if you’re fishing an outrigger can come in the way of your fishing lines, and in case you have outriggers on both sides your freedom to cast all around the boat will be limited.
For these reasons we recommend using a single, large size outrigger rather than two small ones.
Such outrigger should be as long as possible so as to add minimal drag. It should also be voluminous enough to provide the buoyancy your W kayak needs to be stable even in extreme cases. Being heavy enough and placed away from the main hull/s will make it useful when the boat leans to the other side. The outrigger’s hull should not be as high as the hull in order to prevent the boat from leaning on its side.
The distance between the outrigger and the boat should allow you to paddle comfortably – we recommend at least 4 feet (120 cm).
This illustration represents a good single outrigger solution:

W kayak with single outrigger

Yoav

Paddling and Kayak Fishing in Cold Water and Weather

‘Cold’ is relative of course, and what I mean by it in this case is temperatures below freezing or close to that.

Sometimes you can find open water on a frozen river or lake, and since it’s possible to launch your W kayak from ice as well as to beach it on ice the question is ‘why not go paddling or fishing?’

The simple answer is ‘because it’s very dangerous’.
In other words, the combination of ice and cold can turn out to be deadly.

Some of the factors that contribute to making such activities more dangerous are:

Air temperature: When it’s below freezing your paddle can get covered with a layer of ice and become heavy. The water dripping from it on your kayak can freeze and form a heavy layer that might destabilize it. If the water freezes inside the cockpit you might slip on it, lose your balance and fall overboard.

Alcohol: Absolutely not. Drinking while you’re paddling or fishing in cold water or weather is taking the first active step towards an accident. There is a strong correlation between drinking and paddle fishing accidents. If you need to boost your energy while you’re kayaking or kayak fishing do it with hot coffee from a thermos bottle, chocolate or energy bars.

Cellphones are an absolute necessity in order to call 911. BTW, a wet cellphone is useless…

Children. Too dangerous: being smaller children have a bigger surface area by relatively to their volume, which means that if they fall in the water their body temperature will drop faster than that of an adult in the same condition. Children also have a tendency to be careless (at least those that I know…) and panic easily – two potential hazards that you don’t want to have to face.

Clothing: Boots, heavy shoes, waders and heavy clothing are an absolute no. A good wetsuit or dry suit and booties are a must.

Distance from shore: Don’t paddle or fish where people on shore can’t see you. Preferably, they should also be able to hear you. Carry a whistle with you.

Number of people with you: Paddling or fishing in cold water all by yourself is really careless. If you feel you must do it you should go with a group, preferably with people who know what they’re doing and could advise you on what to do and not to do, as well as help you in case something happens. It’s also a good idea to have a bigger boat, preferably a motorboat as part of your expedition – stuff happens.

Saltwater. Ocean water with typical salinity freezes at about 28.9°F (-1.8°C), which is a colder than the freezing temperature for fresh water. This means that sea water that’s partly covered with ice is likely to be colder than fresh water in a similar condition. This means it would be even more dangerous if you fell overboard.

Time of day: Winter days are shorter, which means that you might find yourself trying to paddle your way back in the dark, which is dangerous both because it increases the risk of an accident as well as reduces the chances of you succeeding in rescuing yourself or getting rescued by others.

Type of boat: Reducing your degree of exposure to the elements is a good idea when kayaking or fishing in cold water and weather.
The worst are sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks that put you close to the water without any protection. Sit-in kayaks (SIK) can be a little better since they offer you the opportunity to protect yourself with a spray skirt, but using such an accessory is hazardous if you don’t have a fool proof Eskimo Roll (very few people do), and it’s highly inconvenient for fishing. Canoes offer good protection from spray but paddling them can become too difficult because of windage problems. Finally, W kayaks offer you the best protection from both spray and wind, and they also perform better than the other boats under wind.

Water depth: Getting out of deep water is far more difficult than it is from shallow water. Falling in deep water can cause hypothermia faster than it would take you to rescue yourself, which means that your chances of survival might be slim.

Wind: The combination of wind and sub freezing temperatures can lead to the formation of surface ice where you had open water before. This means that on your way back to shore you might find yourself tired and shivering in your boat without being able to paddle through the newly formed ice.

Your physical condition: Some people are in great shape and can resist cold, but are you one of them? Remember – water is about 700 times denser than air, which means that it can cool your body instantly and lead to heart failure even before hypothermia settles in.

So, if you still feel you must get out on a cold winter day it’s better if you kept your kayak at home and found something as rewarding as paddling or fishing to do, yet not as dangerous.

Yoav


Canoe and Kayak Market Trends in Recent Years

The (U.S.) National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is offering to download a preview of the abstract of its 2006 statistical report for download free of charge on this page: http://nmma.org/facts/boatingstats/2006/files/orderform.asp

According to this report the 2006 US market for canoes was a little over 100,000 units sold, at an average price of nearly $550 per unit.
The market for kayaks was over 350,000 units sold at an average price lower than $500.
The total 2006 market for canoes and kayaks was $233,000,000.

If I understand this report correctly the data take into account neither inflatable nor used canoes and kayaks, and they reflect a relatively stable market both in price and number of units sold in recent years.
A rigid entry level kayak costs between $300 and $500 while a touring, whitewater or fishing kayak can cost over $1,000.
It becomes clear from this report that entry level (a.k.a. ‘recreational’) kayaks constitute the bulk of the market in terms of units sold, since the average kayak price is within the price range of this category.

What else is it possible to deduct from this report?
Obviously, entry level kayaks differ from traditional designs mainly by their length to width ratio (L/W, or L/B). They are shorter and wider than traditional kayaks, namely slower and stabler.
This means that the overwhelming majority of U.S. paddlers are willing to sacrifice speed for stability, and that paddlers who practice the Eskimo Roll and put their trust in it as the main means of recovery are a rarity (by that I mean even less than a minority).
Entry level is in fact the norm, and contrarily to what touring manufacturers used to believe paddlers stay at that level and don’t ‘progress’ to the traditional, narrow designs. Progress is therefore represented by the stable designs, while tradition is represented by the (you’ve probably guessed it already) traditional designs…

And last but not least, it doesn’t take statistical reports to see that kayak fishing is the most active and fastest growing market in paddle sports and activities. Most kayak manufacturers have noticed this trend and offer a wide variety of extra wide kayaks (up to 42″, that’s over one meter), because fishing requires more stability than any other kayak related application.
In the same spirit, traditional paddling magazines and websites are increasingly preoccupied with kayak fishing and feature more advertisements for fishing kayaks than ever.

Yoav

2008 W Kayak Models

(Added May 08, 2008) –

One of the typical things that happen with a good design is that after people actually begin using it they discover new advantages it offers, and new things it enables.

The 2008 model has already exceeded our initial expectations by offering two new positions:

Side-saddle , and Riding-over

————————————————————————–

Original post:

I guess many have asked themselves what made Wavewalk modify our kayak design in the 2008 models.
The answer is a bit long:
First, we wanted to do counter affect the rising cost of shipping, and cutting two inches from the spray deflector’s top resulted in a 10% reduction in the overall nominal volume of the standard package we ship to the customer.
Second, we’ve noticed that some people preferred a more rigid cockpit rim, so we made it broader, thicker and more robust. Now they got what they wanted.
Third, we wanted to help small children (5-6 year old) paddle without having to stand up, and lowering the spray deflector offers just that.
Fourth, we wanted to make it even easier to step into the cockpit and out of it, and that’s really where one can say ‘the best gets better’.
Fifth, we thought that a deep and narrow hull was a perfect place to drag a powerful and energetic fish into while it’s fighting to get free. Lowering the cockpit rim enables the W kayak fisherman to swiftly ‘drag and drop’ the fish out of the water and into a hull with minimal effort, and let the fish calm down a bit before being taken care of – without causing a mess on the deck or worse – in the fisherman’s lap.
Sixth, we realized that although capsize and deep water re-entries are quite rare we’d better offer the paddler a more comfortable way back in, and again – a lower cockpit rim was the solution.
Seventh, a lower spray deflector enables W paddlers to move the paddle faster from side to side whether they’re canoing or kayaking their W.
Eighth, well, we felt we needed to show something new…

To compensate for the 2″ of protection lost we equipped all 2008 models with a preparation for a cockpit cover.
This means that W paddlers can paddle the 2008 models in the surf or in fast rivers as well as in bad weather while being better protected than they were before.

Yoav

kayak cockpit closeup

About the Wavewalk fishing kayak

Note: This is the first review that Jeff had published on his Wavewalk 300, a series that was produced between 2004 and 2010. Read more recent fishing kayak reviews »

By Jeff McGovern

My nickname in the pest control industry is “Gadget” since I am always looking for the latest, greatest thing or making improvements to what is already out there.  My favorite part of the job is speaking to large audiences across the country and I always bring lots of “Show and Tell.”  I am no different when it comes to my passion-fishing.

Long before kayaks hit the fishing world here in Florida, canoes ruled the shallows in many areas.  When I started canoe fishing here in the 80’s, there were a number of folks doing it, but it wasn’t well publicized.  Then we discovered outriggers for canoes and things started to change.  I could stand up in my canoe and see the fish I was stalking.  Plus, I could go into water that was too shallow for a motor or into zones that were designated “no motor zones” like the ones near Kennedy Space Center.  I love my canoe, but I wanted something I could just toss in the back of the truck and go.  So we started shopping for kayaks.

Jeff casting standing in his W fishing kayak

Photo: Jim Green

We looked at sit inside, sit on top, rudder, no rudder, big, small, skinny, HEAVY.  My wife, Kate, is small and wanted something small and light.  I am not small.  I am 6’3″, 245 lbs. and have size 15 feet.  We started with two small sit insides.  I enjoyed fishing from them-even won a fully loaded 13′ sit on top kayak catching a winning flounder during my club’s tournament-but I missed being able to fish standing up.  My quest for a stand up kayak began.  Then one day, surfing the web, I found a video clip of a guy jumping up and down in a kayak.  I knew that I had found my dreamboat-The W.

I am not small. I am 6’3″, 245 lbs. and have size 15 feet.

The W has ruined me for other kayaks.  My wife will tell you that the fleet (did I mention we now have 5 kayaks?) stays on the porch and the W goes fishing every Saturday morning.  I do need to mention that there is a learning curve similar to learning to ride a bike when it comes to handling and fishing the W.  I was discouraged the first couple of outings-but then I got the feel of it.  Now I use it exclusively, even in tournaments.

When other yakkers stay home because of high winds, I’m out paddling around.

Jeff standing up in his fishing kayak

The W allows me to fish virtually all the time.  When other yakkers stay home because of high winds, I’m out paddling around.
In the W, your lower half is protected from the wind and the spray shield keeps water off you as well.   A set of Frog Togs ensures that you stay dry and comfortable all day.  I’ve spent as much as 5 solid hours in the W in cool weather and lots of wind.
Padding is easier and requires less effort than in a regular kayak.  I use a long stroke at a slower pace and have no trouble keeping up with longer kayaks that are using double the amount of short strokes.  The W’s height allows that and helps me.  Also, I “push” the stroke rather than “pull” it.  The high hand and arm push the paddle through the water with the lower hand only pulling enough for guidance.  This allows you to paddle longer because it’s less tiring.

The W also handles waves much better and far drier than other small boats and kayaks.  We have a number of large yachts on the Intercoastal that kick up huge waves.  Other kayaks and small skiffs get spun around or tossed badly.  The W rides it like my CraigCat-up and down without a problem.  Last week I found it also slips up and down over the backs of very large and too curious manatees.  The boat tipped to one side, but remained upright and we both went home with a story of the one that got away.

Fishing is a sport of tactical knowledge and a feel for the area you are fishing.  I own hundreds of rods and reels and have designed a few kayak/canoe rods. I also test new rods and reels for a number of companies before they go onto the general market.  The more you fish, the more specialized your gear gets.  The most important thing is to understand the area you are trying to fish.  I envision the travel patterns the fish use to get from place to place.  I think about where they can ambush a meal with the least effort or how the tidal patterns affect where they rest and feed.  I have to understand how the light hits the water and how I might be exposed or hidden by it.  The W allows me to move into their house and position myself to the best advantage.  I wish I could come up with a way to describe the feel of the W.  Sitting down, it’s like riding.  Standing up-well, until I figure some way to put floats on my size 15 feet and walk on water,
standing up in the W is the next best thing.

I would venture to say the W offers improved casting with any gear. From the riding position, I get more power with my casting and spinning because I can put my whole body into the cast and use my legs.
The solid feel of the boat gives you a great sense of security.
Netting fish is also easier because you can bring the net handle up and across the noodles and just hold in until you net the fish alongside.
This allows you to compose yourself and arrange things to remove the hook without tangling your gear or hurting the fish.  WARNING:  It is very important to fill the handle of your net with spray foam.  This is
so that when manatees and sundry aquatic creatures borrow your net, you can get it back.  I know from personal experience these critters are very inconsiderate and will leave it on the bottom where you can’t find it.
I would venture to say the W offers improved casting with any gear.
It’s a great exploration kayak and there’s a great sense of adventure for the user.

My favorite scouting position in the W is standing up.  I can spot fish and then move in stealth mode with a push pole or paddle blade.
There is a serious advantage to being able to stand and see over grass or oyster beds.  Being able to peak over cover is a big deal.
Sometimes, like when I was working my way along the Ocklawaha River, I was moving through snag (and gator) infested waters with logs, bed pads and deep, dark places you might not want to get into.  The W handled that
type of paddling better than our other craft.  You could stand quick to see ahead, duck and move around things.  It’s a great exploration kayak and there’s a great sense of adventure for the user.  No craft is perfect for all things, but sometimes I have so much fun with the boat, I forget to fish.

 

Copyright © Jeff McGovern, 2007-10

 

Read more about Jeff’s kayak fishing trips and observations »