Outfitting kayaks is making them more suitable for a particular application, or use. For example, rigging (outfitting) a kayak for fishing typically involves adding rod holders, paddle holders and fishing electronics to it. Outfitting a kayak can be a one-time project, or an ongoing process that evolves as the kayak owner’s learns more and discovers new and better ways to improve they kayak’s performance, as well as better suit their personal needs and liking. Kayaks an be outfitted with special seats, motors, outriggers (stabilizers), fish finders, downriggers, anchor trolleys, sails, and more…
Jeff McGovern elucidates this complex and sometime confusing issue in a new article entitled Choosing a Bait Caster.
In his article Jeff methodically explains and advises the new kayak angler about different rods, reels and lines, and helps see more clearly into the huge product offering available today in the field of fishing tackle.
The article includes pictures.
By the way, Jeff serves as adviser to tackle manufacturers, and last time he counted he had three hundred fishing rods in his collection…
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.
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.
Most W Kayak models come equipped with one, two, and even three pairs of detachable flotation modules. A flotation module is a 5 ft long plastic foam ‘noodle’ with a bungee cord going through its core. The bungee hooks at its ends enable attaching the module to Nylon eyelets around the cockpit.
The flotation modules are essentially recovery accessories: In case you capsized your W kayak, flotation modules attached to its side (see figure below) can help preventing it from overturning, and if your kayak is overturned they help keeping it afloat, and by that make it easier for you to turn it back.
In some cases, when your W kayak is laying on its side, the presence of a single flotation module or better – a pair of such modules under the top side of the lower hull can lead to the boat righting itself, and this is how it works:
The top part of the lower hull is prevented from sinking by the presence of the side flotation module ‘A’.
The flotation module helps keeping water from from getting in by pushing the cockpit rim above the surface.
If water gets into the lower hull through the cockpit opening it will flow to area ‘B’ and make this part of the boat heavier. By making it increasingly heavy it would make it tilt and regain its normal position – that is with the cockpit opening facing upward.
If your W Kayak doesn’t right itself in such a situation it’s easy to right it by unbalancing it.
It’s clear to see why in any case outfitting your W kayak with two pairs of such flotation modules is more effective than outfitting it with one pair.
In sum, if you’re taking your W kayak on a paddling, camping or fishing trip, it makes sense to take preventive measures that can minimize the severeness of a capsize accident by outfitting it with side flotation modules.
Whether you’re taking with you on board fishing tackle, camping gear or other stuff – it’s always a good idea to secure this equipment by attaching it to the boat. You will find there are plenty of spots inside the cockpit that you can use to attach bungees, carabiners, hooks and rope to secure your gear.
A prospecting customer recently asked me if we offer oarlocks for the W.
We offer neither oarlocks nor oars because there’s very little demand for rowing solutions, as most people nowadays prefer paddling.
Rowing used to be a popular recreational and sporting activity in the 19th century, and many fishermen still use a wide variety of small rowing boats and watercrafts for fishing. Practically speaking, paddling has too many advantages over rowing for anyone to consider switching from paddling back to rowing for applications such as touring or fishing, especially in the ocean or fast rivers.
However, rowing offers a type of physical exercise that paddling doesn’t, and it shouldn’t be completely ruled out as an option, especially on flat water.
It’s possible to install oarlocks in the W kayak and turn it into a nice rowing boat: Not as fast as one of those long rowing shells, of course, but very stable and comfortable. You’ll be able to launch, row and beach it where rowing shells are not an option, and you’ll be able to row standing as well – I tried it and it’s fun!
You’re planning to take your W kayak on a fishing or paddling trip in the ocean, and you may be asking yourself what’s going to happen if you have to launch it in big surf, and in such case how to protect yourself from getting wet. Indeed, if you’re launching in big surf some spray might get the inside of your W kayak wet, and even splash you. This is why all 2008 W Kayak models come outfitted with a preparation for a cockpit cover: You can use any waterproof fabric or plastic sheet to cover the front part of your W kayak cockpit and thus prevent spray from getting in. Once you’re past the breakers you can easily remove the cover, fold or roll it, and store it in the cockpit or on top of the hulls
This picture shows the cover protecting almost the entire cockpit, leaving some place for you to sit in the back, which is where you want to be when launching in big surf:
This picture shows the cockpit cover protecting just the front part of the cockpit. This is a preferable when you’re positioned in the middle of the cockpit:
Normally, even without a cockpit cover spray shouldn’t be a problem at all since if some spray gets in the water will be drained from the saddle to the bottom of the hulls, and you won’t have to sit on a wet surface.
If you’ve had some bad encounters with big breakers while not using a cockpit cover and there’s too much water in the bottom of the hulls for you to feel comfortable with you can easily drain it using a small bucket or a kayak bilge pump. Then you can dry the hulls completely with a sponge.
Unlike SOT kayaks, the structure of the W kayak enables you to clearly see the bottom of the hulls, and therefore water can’t be there without you perceiving it.
Similarly, when you’re going paddling in fast streams and you want to keep dry you may find the cockpit cover to be useful – without it getting you entrapped in your boat like a traditional kayak spray skirt might.
The W kayak cockpit cover is also useful in case the weather changes suddenly and you get caught in heavy rain, and it offers protection against cold wind.