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 »

“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.


Seal Launching: Sometime It’s a Necessity and It Can Be Fun

Seal launching can be a good solution if you don’t want to spend too much time looking for a better spot to start your paddling or fishing trip from. You can do it just for fun too.
This video shows an 8 year old seal launching his W kayak from a steep river bank. Obviously, if an adult launched from the same spot the splash would have been huge and some water would have gotten in through the open cockpit. Therefore, the kayaker or fisherman planning to venture into seal launching should cover the front part of the cockpit, at least for the launch.
We advise you to start learning to seal launch on a less steep slope, and slide over a shorter distance… You can seal launch from a dock or a deck too.

Also, leaving your cellphone, camera, GPS and fishing gear on shore the first time would be more prudent – stuff happens…


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


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.


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:

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.