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 Avoid and Repair Scratches in Your Kayak

Going with your kayak over oyster beds, shells, sharp rocks, broken glass, metal debris and even concrete ramps can get its hull scratched. In most cases such scratches are negligible, and you need not pay attention to them. However, if you want to avoid getting your kayak scratched you’d better watch out for signs of such potential hazards in the water – especially if you’re fishing or paddling in shallow water. Needless to mention is the fact that fishing and paddling from a higher position than ordinary kayaks offer you can help a lot in detecting potential problems in the water ahead of time, that is before hitting them. This is yet another advantage the W Kayak offers you, and W Kayak paddlers and fishermen indeed stand up in their boats from time to time to look at the water around them.

When it comes to repairing scratches in polyethylene kayaks the methods are similar and depend on how deep the scratch is.

For superficial scratches we don’t recommend any treatment, but if you insist on doing something you can just flame the scratch using a hand-held, propane blow torch. You should apply the flame over the scratch slowly and cautiously until it disappears or diminishes considerably, while being careful not to overheat the area so as not to cause a local deformation. In any case, flaming alters the color of the polyethylene to a darker hue.

hand torch and metal spoon for repairing scratches in kayaks

For deep scratches or ‘grooves’ it’s better to heat the end of a metal spoon and apply the hot tip gently and cautiously along the scratch, thus ‘welding’ the surface. Here too, you need to be careful not to overheat the area you’re working on since this would cause the polyethylene to deform. You’d need to protect your hand that’s holding the spoon with a thick glove since metal conducts heat and you might get your fingers burnt.

Keep the work area free of any flammable materials and make sure you’re not accidentally directing the flame at yourself or at other people. Don’t allow children or pets nearby.

If you’re not experienced in working with a propane blow torch you may want to reconsider such a project because it can be dangerous.

As for cracks in a polyethylene kayak, those are rare, and they must be properly fixed. Just flaming or welding won’t be enough to fix a crack, and you’d need to patch it – preferably with an internal patch that you’ll weld over the entire area. This is necessary since even if welded the hull in the cracked area will be weaker than in other places, and it could reopen while you’re paddling your kayak or fishing from it – with dire consequences. If the crack appears above waterline you can reinforce the patch with rivets, but we recommend not to use rivets when making repairs below waterline because we think that drilling holes in the hull below waterline is simple too risky in the long run.

Outrigger for W Fishing Kayak

In a previous post on this blog we discussed different outrigger configurations for the W kayak.

This figure shows our general recommendations for a simple and easy to build DIY outrigger.

Note that the outrigger is voluminous, and placed far enough from the boat itself to enable paddling. Also note that the transversal bars are sturdy, and they are attached to the top of both hulls for more structural strength. This is important especially if you’re planning to place an outboard motor on the transversal bar, but it’s also important for sailing, tandem etc.

Outrigger for W fishing kayak

The bottom of the outrigger float should be on a higher plane than the bottom of the kayak’s hulls. This is because you need to take into consideration the fact that its own buoyancy will push the float upward once it’s in the water, especially when the boat is heavily loaded and therefore strongly pushing the float downward. This could cause the transversal bars to bend and possibly even break under the stress.

The third hull (float) should be long and voluminous, but preferably shorter than the kayak’s hulls, so as not to cause steering problems.

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