fishing kayaks

Fishing kayaks are designed primarily to fish from. Such kayaks are rigged (outfitted) for fishing, usually by the anglers that own them.
A fishing kayak is required to offer better stability than other kayaks do.
The overall performance of a kayak in fishing terms is often called ‘fishability’.
Comfort (ergonomics) is as important as stability, since anglers spend long hours in their kayak during their fishing trips.
Storage space is important as well, since typically, kayak anglers carry a lot of fishing gear on board.

Most fishing kayaks are too wide and heavy to offer easy paddling, and the stability they offer leaves much to be desired. Like most kayaks, they’ve become synonym to back pain and other problems, due to the poor level of ergonomics they offer, which is why most anglers would still refuse to fish out of a kayak. Storage wise, an average angler isn’t likely to appreciate such kayaks.

The cockpit area is the part of the fishing kayak that’s most important to its user, since this is where they sit, paddle, and fish from.
Sit-in kayaks (SIK) feature a semi-closed space in their middles section that can be described as a cockpit, while sit-on-top kayaks and ‘hybrid’ kayaks do not have a real cockpit, and their users sit in the middle section of the kayak’s ‘deck’, which is essentially the top side of its hull.
These configurations offer the angler little room and even less comfort in handling their gear. Anglers who fish out of such kayaks have to land fish practically in their lap, which is neither practical nor comfortable. Typically, the cockpit of such kayaks is cluttered with accessories and gear, and offers too little fishability to appeal to a serious angler.
In comparison, W kayaks have a full-featured cockpit offering ample room for the user and their gear, and all the range of motion they need. An angler who lands fish in their W kayak can easily let the fish they caught at the bottom of their kayak’s deep hulls, and then handle them in full comfort and and safety.
Anglers who fish out of Wavewalk fishing kayaks consider this type of kayak to be the only one that an average, reasonable person can fish out of. Some of them who have owned several types of small boats consider this kayak to be the world’s best personal fishing boat.

Thrust in Electric Trolling Motors for Fishing Kayaks

Thrust is a unit of measurement that manufacturers of electric trolling motors for fishing kayaks and other boats use to describe propulsion capability. Thrust is measured in units of weight. In the USA it’s usually pounds (lb.).

This can be confusing, since we often tend to think of propulsion in motion terms, or in horsepower (HP).

Before going further, we’d better clarify what weight and thrust have in common:

Thrust of an electric trolling motor for a fishing kayak

This (rather crude) illustration shows a small boat on the water.  The boat is equipped with an electric trolling motor and propeller unit whose measurable output is 36 lb.  The boat is attached by a line to a 36 lb weight that’s pulling it backward.  Since the motor unit can provide 36 lb of thrust it will keep the boat in place: It would be strong enough to counterweight the 36 lb weight, but not strong enough to get the boat to move forward.

Once the battery gets weaker and/or the propeller entangled in seaweed the thrust achieved will diminish and the 36 lb weight will drag the boat backwards.

Similarly, if we lifted the propeller out the water it would still thrust the boat forward, but much less so, since it would be pushing against air that’s hundreds of times less dense than the water this propeller was designed to work in… In this case the 36 lb weight would easily win this tug of war.

Note that this simple model describes thrust without using speed terms.

There is no simple formula that can help you convert thrust to horsepower or vice versa, although the terms are closely related to each other when motorized boats are concerned.

In our case Thrust is the directional force resulting from the rotation of a propeller at a certain speed. Different propellers rotating at the same speed will generate different thrust. The same propeller will usually generate more thrust at a higher rotation speed (RPM).

Horsepower is a unit of measurement for power (it’s quite obvious isn’t it?…), which is the ability to do work. Power is described by weight lifted over a distance during a certain time.

1 HP is equal to the power needed to lift the weight of 550 lb over a vertical distance of 1 ft – in 1 second.

Just by looking at these numbers we can sense that not every human is capable of producing 1 HP – not even for a short period of time.  Most of us can produce much less than 1 HP over long periods of time, such as when paddling, biking etc.  Estimates vary from 0.2 to 0.4 HP, but that doesn’t mean much for us as individuals.

So, going back to our illustration, if we had a 1 HP gas engine on top of the dam, and that engine was attached with a pulley to the line holding the 36 lb weight, we would be able to lift that weight up at a staggering speed of over 15 ft per second (550:36 = 15….).

Apples to apples: How can we compare the 1 HP gas engine to our 36 lb electric trolling motor?

We need comparable, that is mutually convertible units of measurement. In this case it’s HP and Watt.  To convert Watts (W) to a horsepower rating (HP) simply multiply the Watts by 0.00134

In other words, a 750 W electric motor (1:00134 = 746…) produces the equivalent of 1 HP.

In boating terms, Thrust would be the result of applying this power to move a boat through the water by connecting the engine to a suitable propeller and letting it move water… In order for such a comparison to make some practical sense we need to assume certain things about RPM, type and condition of propeller, boat size, boat speed etc… It’s really not that easy.

More specifically, when it comes to electric motors for kayaks you shouldn’t be tempted to get a strong motor that would consume your battery power too fast.  If such a thing happens you’ll have to paddle your kayak back with a heavy battery and motor on board…

Read more about motorizing fishing kayaks >>

A W Fishing Kayak Rigged With an Electric Trolling Motor

We’re getting reports about people sailing, rowing, surfing, paddling and driving their W kayaks… -When we get enough pictures we publish a ‘story’ page.  The latest story is from Vermont. It’s about Dan Carroll’s electric trolling motor system project for his 2007 W fishing kayak, a.k.a “The Mean Green Machine”.  We call it a ‘system’ because it includes not only the motor but a clever, user friendly steering device as well.

Fishing kayak rigged with electric trolling motor

Dan cruising in his electric W fishing kayak

Dan showing a fish he caught onboard his electric fishing kayak

And here’s the first fish Dan caught in his motorized W fishing kayak

NEW: read more about motorizing fishing kayaks >>

W Kayak Angler – View From Another Angle

Sometimes we tend to forget that kayak fishermen are people with additional interests in life besides fishing… Some have families, and they like to share their experience and even their boat with family members and friends.

Such is Dan, from Vermont (see Dan’s W Fishing Kayak Review).

Dan standing in his fishing kayak

Dan invited his daughter Emily and her friend Tunie to try his 2007 W fishing kayak, and like him they had no problem paddling standing:

Girl standing in fishing kayak and paddling

Girl paddling standing in fishing kayak


DIY W Fishing Kayak One Wheel Trolley

John Putnam is a kayak fisherman from eastern Massachusetts who likes to fish the beaches and small lakes in the southeastern part of the state, where few other fishermen venture.  The access to those places is sometimes very difficult, and therefore requires an all-terrain solution for portaging.

A kayak or canoe trolley would be expensive and bulky to carry on board, and might not be up to the task in particularly hard to access spots.

John’s DIY solution is simple and brilliant: Use the W kayak as a wheelbarrow, with a wide wheel attached in the space below the hull tips. The wheel is mounted on a lightweight, plastic tube frame, which itself can be attached to the boat with just one strap going between the hulls.

Says John: -“The W paddle is fantastic. I used it last night in the sea and it makes me wonder whether a trolling motor has that much advantage over it.”

Update from John -“I have moved to what I hope will be a better fishing area in Vermont and expect to show off the W to many of the locals very soon. ”

John’s ‘all terrain’ 2007 W Fishing Kayak:

Portaging solution for W fishing kayak

Trolley for W fishing kayak

Wheel for W fishing kayak