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.

How to Attach the New Side Floatation Modules to Your W Kayak

The new 2008 W Kayak models feature a new type of side flotation modules. These are plastic foam ‘noodles’ outfitted with an internal bungee cord and a hook on each end. The hooks should be attached to the top-side Nylon eyelets that are closer to the cockpit, as shown in this picture:

Side flotation module attached to W kayak

You can attach such side flotation modules to older W Kayak models as well.

The advantage of this new configuration is that the flotation is positioned in a way that makes it more effective for recovery, and it will stay in place even in rough waters. It’s also easy to attach and detach, and you can outfit your W Kayak with one pair or two pairs of modules on each side of the cockpit.

Many W kayak fishermen like the old flotation that we applied over the cockpit rim of our older models: They put their paddles across the cockpit and it’s silent when they do it. You can outfit your 2008 with a similar solution too – Just get some or the big, hollow foam noodles in a department store, cut a groove along one side and push the cockpit rim in. You can secure them in place using plastic tie-straps.

Kayak and Canoe Floatation and Stabilizers – What’s The Difference?

Those who know the difference are likely to ask themselves why bring up such a comparison when flotation and stabilization have nothing to do with each other. Well, this is true but some people tend to be confused by the looks of side flotation in certain canoe models and in the W Kayak.

For the benefit of these people we need to explain that indeed flotation and stabilization are two different functions:

Canoes and kayak are outfitted with flotation in various forms – from inflatable bags to closed cell foam. The flotation element/s is lighter than water and impermeable, and its purpose is primarily to prevent more water from getting into the boat in case it is strongly leaning sideways or turned over. Flotation can be applied inside and/or around the boat, and it is basically intended to serve as means of recovery.

Stabilizers are floating devices on the boat’s sides, and they touch the water nearly all the time. Their purpose is to prevent the boat from leaning too much sideways, and they do it by offering extra lateral buoyancy. Stabilizers contribute both to the boat’s initial (primary) and secondary stability, meaning that they enhance both the feeling of lateral stability as well as the actual stability of the boat. Stabilizers are also called outriggers and sponsons, and they act as means of accident prevention as well as comfort enhancers. Large size outriggers can in some cases increase the canoe or kayak’s load capacity.

The side flotation modules on the W Kayak’s sides are not stabilizers, and they never touch the water in normal conditions. Their function is the help preventing the W Kayak from completely overturning in case it capsizes, and simply help it float above the surface if it did overturn and water got in. In such case the location of the side flotation modules helps turning the boat back.

If the W Kayaker or kayak fisherman bailed out quickly enough and the boat leans strongly on its side without him/her pulling it down the presence of a flotation module under its side can make the W right itself without help.

More information about outriggers for kayaks >

How to Secure Your W Kayak Against Theft

Sometime, on a fishing, paddling or camping trip you may have to leave your W Kayak outside overnight.  Naturally, you’d like to secure it against theft, as much as possible.
The easiest and most effective way to do it is by using a long chain and two padlocks:
You take the chain and make a tight, vertical loop around the cockpit – between the hulls. You close the loop with one padlock, and tie the remaining part of the chain in a loop around a tree, a fence or your car rack, then secure it with the second padlock.
Sometime you can secure both loops with a single padlock, or better – use both padlocks as double security for both loops.

Nothing can prevent determined thieves from cutting the chain or breaking the padlock, but this system would require some premeditated effort on their part.

It’s also recommended to detach all deck mounted rod holders and other removable gear, and keep it with you together with your paddle, fishing tackle and personal equipment.

W kayak secured with chain and padlock

What Color and Form For My Fishing Kayak?

The color question keeps coming back and probably would forever.
If you’re just paddling you probably want a bright yellow kayak that will be the most visible to fast motorboats drivers.
If you’re hunting or bird watching you’d better choose a dark green or camouflaged kayak, for obvious reasons.

The answer becomes more complicated when it comes to fishing – From an underwater perspective the color of a surface object is a minimal issue. Flash and shine are more likely to cause a reaction among fish, as well as sudden motion and noise. Having said that, you can try and improve the odds:

Regardless of what colors various fish species are capable of discerning, what we know and can test for ourselves is that when you’re in the water you usually perceive the bottom to be dark, and when looking upward you’re actually looking at a source of light – whether it is strong of feeble, depending on circumstances.
In fact, nearly all fish have their back darker than their bellies, so that they would blend in with the bottom when looked upon from above, and blend in with the sky when looked upon from below.

So far, the answer seems to be ‘choose a fishing kayak that has a light bottom’, doesn’t it? -Well, not necessarily, because color (or brightness, actually) is only part of what fish can see and react to.
The other thing (besides motion) is the basic form of your kayak: Like all animals who fear predators, fish can instantly discern a pattern that looks like a predator and react to its presence automatically by either swimming away or hiding. There is no thought whatsoever involved in such pattern recognition process – It’s just a basic physiological reflex.

Your kayak’s contour on the bright sky background can easily fit into a ‘Predator’ pattern because the form of a traditional monohull kayak is basically one of a fish. In fact, one of the two basic monohull forms is called ‘Fish’, and the other is called ‘Swede’ and it is identical to the Fish form except for the fact that the kayaker is facing the other way…
So, it would make sense to try and ‘break’ this fish-scaring pattern by camouflaging the bottom of your kayak to make it look like something else, such as floating branches or flotsam.

From this aspect, the bottom of a W kayak looks like two straight and parallel objects not alike a fish form. This is a somehow better start, and whether you choose a bright colored W Kayak to blend with the bright sky background or a dark W Kayak to make its contour resemble even less to a predator fish is up to you.

Tandem Kayak Fishing vs. Tandem Paddling

You can go paddling in tandem in your W Kayak, and by tandem we mean two adults, providing none of you is a big person (see Wavewalk website for details). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can go fishing in tandem, and again, by tandem we mean two adults onboard.
Although it may be possible we would hesitate to recommend it for the following reasons:

First, paddling requires less personal workspace than fishing does, especially if one paddler or both use single blade (canoe) paddles, which are shorter than double blade ones.

Second, paddling is a regular and repetitive action with little or no surprises. Even if you paddle in moving water (E.G. river, surf) you can assign strict roles to each of the paddlers, and by doing so increase your efficiency and minimize unpleasant surprises.
In comparison, kayak fishing can turn chaotic instantly if one of the crew needs to fight a big or strong fish. It’s important to remember that when two persons are onboard the W Kayak is less stable than when only one person is.

Third, fishing involves the use of hooks and other sharp objects. If both fishermen are experienced the risk is minimal, but if they are novices there is a risk that someone might be accidentally injured.

Fourth, fishing sometime requires a lot of additional gear, and with a second adult fisherman onboard the storage space in the W Kayak becomes considerably smaller.

As for fishing in a tandem composed of one adult and one child, it is a very rewarding experience that many W Kayak owners enjoy on a regular basis.