There is a whole other world out there on the Florida Bay Flats that few of us get to properly explore.
I took the W 500 down to Flamingo to paddle the flats and sight fish. I was hoping for a serene day of solitude and tight lines. That’s exactly what I was given.
I arrived pre dawn and quickly set up the W 500. The dreaded mosquitos, like the wind, were light and variable. That is until one got on the sea. Then it was Tora, Tora, Tora on the water.
Once afloat I could see nothing but nervous water. It was Mullet mayhem. School after school of Finger Mullet were throwing wakes and cavorting. This lasted all day.
The calm surface was thick with floating grass as I paddled out toward Snake Bight. Normally I try to avoid getting close to the mangroves at this time of day because of the mosquitos but I could see so many Snook and small Tarpon finning and rolling that I had to start casting.
I was rigged with T & A weedless jigs and Monster 3 X shrimp. The small Snookers were slamming my shrimp and I boated a few right off the bat. I also jumped a bunch of small Tarpon but couldn’t land one. I have a love hate relationship with this ancient species.
It seemed every time that I threw under the mangroves I got something small. With so many mullet running up and down the channel I figured a swim bait might get me something bigger. I switched one rig and “blammo”. My reel started screaming and I was being quickly pulled into the mangroves by a beautiful Snook.
I had no choice but to tighten down the drag and try to muscle the snook and myself out of the foliage. It worked and I boated this fat, 32 inch Snook. Wow! Serenity and chaos all mixed together. That’s why I love Flamingo.
When observing fishing kayak design developments in recent years, it’s impossible to miss two main trends that seem to have gone out of control: The first is an increase in size and weight, and the second is over accessorizing.
These days, the typical high-end SOT fishing kayak is a barge that weighs around 100 lbs, and requires a trailer for transportation, which is enough to defeat the purpose of kayak fishing even before you hit the water and find out that paddling such barges to a noticeable distance is either hard or impossible…
One company recently launched a tandem fishing kayak that weighs 185 lbs in the basic version, and 230 lbs when fully accessorized. And if you think this weight includes a powerful outboard motor, you’re wrong – We’re still talking about a human powered boat, (although not a paddle craft) that’s too wide for paddling… At such weight, a crew of two strong anglers couldn’t car top this kayak, and they’ll even have a hard time loading it on top of the trailer that’s offered with it.
The thing looks like it came out of a shipyard rather than a kayak factory… Good luck with moving that object out there, on the water!
The new SOT and hybrid fishing kayaks’ decks are so overcrowded and over accessorized that some of them severely limit the user’s range of motion in fishing, and they restrict even their legroom. Some of those fishing kayaks look bizarre, or comic, with such a plethora of useless objects (e.g. leaning bar), semi-useless objects (e.g. cup holder) and overly complex ‘systems’ (e.g. double-cover storage hatch) crowding their decks and getting in the way of their users’ arms and fishing lines.
And since this article is about innovation, we feel obliged to mention the new, award winning electric fishing kayak that features a motor installed in its middle. Its propeller shaft comes out of the water between the angler’s legs, with the propeller appearing at a couple inches distance from their crotch. Good luck with that too!
New products from Wavewalk
Wavewalk launched three new products in 2014: High-buoyancy Inflatable detachable flotation modules, a detachable, transparent Spray Shield, and a dual use Transom Motor Mount.
These accessories strengthen our advantage in high performance motorized kayak fishing, which is significantly different from traditional motorized kayak fishing involving outfitting SOT kayaks with weak and unreliable electric trolling motors for short distance, flat water trips. A W500 outfitted with proper flotation and a powerful outboard gas engine offers a solution to the problems of strong tidal currents, wind, and the need to travel long distances in moving water, including offshore.
1. Inflatable detachable flotation modules
This new accessory transforms the W kayak into a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), an increasingly popular high-performance class of watercraft used in a variety of motorized boating applications ranging from tendering bigger boats to high speed travel, diving, fishing, and rescue operations.
The new inflatable float provides twice as much buoyancy as the large size Polyethylene foam modules we offered so far. Thus, it improves the motorized W kayak’s performance in terms of both capsize prevention and recovery.
A W500 can be outfitted with either one or two pairs of such floats. In the two-pair configuration it isn’t suitable for fishing, and you need to stop somewhere and relocate the front pair – either by reattaching them at the rear, or just storing them in the kayak’s hull tips behind you.
Another great feature these floats have is that you don’t need a pump to inflate them.
2. Detachable transparent spray shield
This accessory works to prevent spray from getting into the cockpit of the W500 while motorizing at high speed in choppy water, or in waves.
The reason it’s detachable is that you may want to have it out of your way when you fish – Casting and landing fish from this kayak’s front is not only easy, but it also has some advantages, so you may want to quickly detach this spray shield and store it (flat) in one of the hull tips behind you. Reattaching it is easy, and takes less than a minute.
3. Dual use transom motor mount
Outboard gas motors and electric trolling motors come in two basic configurations – Long propeller shaft (20″ and above), and short propeller shaft (15″).
This can be a problem in case you have a long-shaft outboard motor and a short shaft electric motor, or vice versa, and you want to use them in different conditions. For example – travel fast to a distant fishing area using the powerful outboard, and once you get there troll slowly and quietly using the electric motor.
You may also want to use the outboard motor when you fish offshore, and the electric trolling motor when you fish inland, in smaller bodies of water, or in no-motor zones.
Either way, you’re fully covered now and in the future with the new TMM 20-15 Transom Motor Mount.
This new motor mount is not only more versatile – it also weighs less than the old mounts.
Click the images to enlarge -
Note that a W500 kayak outfitted with high-performance inflatable flotation and a powerful outboard motor still weighs less than some of the mammoth ‘barge’ fishing kayaks out there that feature no motor at all.
In sum, while Wavewalk keeps expanding the performance envelope of its already superior products and solutions, other fishing kayak manufacturers still have nothing interesting or sensible to offer, but they seem to put more effort into it in recent years.
I took my camera and fishing rods and headed to the Fox river, again.
I had some good action today. A couple of small pike where the Mukwonago River joins the Fox River.
It is a challenge to land Largemouth bass when using a frog. These fish know how to use the river current, weeds, and submerged branches to escape your hooks.
I lost so many nice fish today but it is still such an exciting way to fish.
Had the whole place to myself today. Peacefulness so close to an urban area. My own slice of heaven. Having a Wavewalk makes it so easy to enjoy. Less then five minutes of load time and you can hit the road and find your relaxing journey.