Skimmer electric motor on my Wavewalk fishing kayak, by Bob Smaldone

I thought that I would share with you my recent wavewalk motorization. For more than a year, I have been thinking about, researching and reading all I can find on kayak motorization. The wavewalk blog and website were certainly most helpful.

A short time ago, Gary Rankel wrote to a online kayak magazine around his experience with his Wavewalk and included a couple pictures of him and I fishing. When he copied me with the link to the story, I also looked briefly at the magazine and noticed an advertisement for the skimmer trolling motor. It looked interesting enough to follow up…..and led to my getting one late last week. So, here is the rest of the story.

I received the newer, larger skimmer motor, 24lb thrust. It came nicely packaged and took little time to initially install. The main features of this motor is that it is lightweight (under 10lb.), has a control mechanism for steering that attaches to the shaft and then extends up to where ever you are seating and operates by simply moving it forward or backward to turn right or left.
In addition, there is a tilting mechanism that is again attached to the shaft and operates by pulling on it to allow for the motor to be raised for times when paddling is desired. Finally, it is turned on via a on/off switch which is on a wiring harness so that is more than long enough for most any situation.

I initially installed the skimmer on a Wavewalk 20″ motor mount which I placed about 4″ from the rear of the cockpit allowing room for my two fishing rod holders. Unfortunately, I found that the motor was not quite low enough for my liking, and that the tilting mechanism did not interface properly with the Wavewalk. So I made by own motor mount (see picture) which lowered the skimmer by 4-5″, much like the Wavewalk motor mount for 15″ shaft motors. This worked great.

I then attached a small cross piece of Trex decking to the rear of the Wavewalk, placed a small clamp/clip on it, moved the attachment clamp on the shaft of the skimmer from the top to closer to the bottom, and then ran the bungee type chord back up to where one would be sitting. This also worked great.

Finally I hooked it up to a 35amp AGM marine battery which weighs under 25 lbs, and off I went.
As the skimmer is but one speed, I estimated that in calm water my speed was at least 4mph, and when I encountered a stiff wind plus strong tidal current, you know the kind that you really do not enjoy paddling in, the skimmer still made respectable headway, maybe around 2mph. I found the steering mechanism acceptable, but may wish to add a support for it beyond what was supplied to better interface it with the “W” kayak.

I temporarily placed the battery behind me on the seat, and then tried moving it around to the front of the cockpit. I found that my “W” felt a bit tippy with the battery on the seat, not like I was really going to tip, but not like its usual feeling of total stability. So, more experimentation is in order for battery placement.

I do think that overall the skimmer is a good alternative for “W” kayak motorization. It is lightweight, easy to install, and with some “w” specific simple modifications, it works great. I do wish that the motor was variable speed or at least multi-speed, but I always want everything!

Hope you find this useful.

My best,

Bob Smaldone
Florida

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Windshield style spray deflector for motorized fishing kayak

This can be a fun, inexpensive DIY project for a fisher who owns a W kayak outfitted with a gas outboard motor who’s looking to prevent spray from getting into the cockpit while driving through waves at high speed, or when a strong frontal wind blows spray in.
It’s a cool alternative to using a tarp as a cockpit cover, but it can also be used in combination with a tarp that would cover it.
Attaching and detaching it takes a few seconds, and it can be done from within the kayak’s cockpit, while the fisher is on the water.
Storing this windshield on board is easy too. It’s just a 4ft long and 1ft high, lightweight plastic board that fits in one of the W kayak’s hull tips.

The crystal clear transparent material used for it is 0.096″ thick Acrylite.
A 48″ x 12″ board of this lightweight material costs around $12. It’s a bit hard to cut without breaking it, but working with a box cutter eventually creates a groove deep enough for breaking the board along the line.

This windshield style spray deflector is then outfitted with lashing hooks that allow for attaching it to the top front part of the cockpit by using the bungee cord and hooks that are already in place as part as the preparation for cockpit cover (tarp). You may need to tighten the bungee (shock cord) in order to make it hold the windshield better.

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More about outfitting your W fishing kayak >

 

It’s even more fun when you’re the only one catching fish, by Bill Davenport

Well, they’re not striped bass, but it sure is good to get out in the “W”. The fresh water guys were all agog at the Wavewalk. “Is it tippy?” is the most common question. No, no, no is the answer. It’s even more fun when you’re the only one catching fish.

Bill

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More kayak fly fishing and hunting with Bill >

Orange – a new color for Wavewalk fishing kayaks

Well, it’s not exactly new since some W kayak fishers and paddlers have already gotten an orange W kayak before, as a special order, but now it’s available as a standard color in a limited edition, and if our clients like it, we’ll keep it as a standard color.

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The advantage of this color for fishers, paddlers and motor boaters is quite obvious – It is highly visible to drivers of fast motorboats, and this attribute adds safety in the ocean and on other large bodies of water where such motorboats could be hazardous for kayakers.

Attaching foam floatation modules inside a W kayak, by Michael Chesloff

Michael Chesloff found a new way to attach standard (2.5″ wide) floatation modules inside his Wavewalk fishing kayak -

“It is important to remember that the purpose of the floatation is to aid in recovery of a swamped boat and not to increase its stability or load-capacity. As a result, where floatation modules are attached is a matter of personal preference, as long as they are secured to the hull.” says Michael, and he adds -”Polyethylene foam noodles have proven themselves to be a very good solution for kayaks. They are very buoyant, virtually rot-proof, and highly durable.”

About his novel method of attaching the floatation internally: -”As you can see in the pictures, this new approach is very simple. Each foam noodle is positioned inside the W kayak, under the gunnel. These noodles are barely wider than the flared edge of the gunnel… For each noodle you simply make 2 small holes along the gunnel, to accommodate the zip-ties.”

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And Michael concludes:
“I believe this approach offers a number of benefits: The noodles are almost invisible from the outside, any water that may reach them will quickly drip away, wind resistance while car-topping is reduced because they are inside the kayak, and they can be installed with almost no impact on internal storage. I was concerned that they might interfere with draining the W500 but when it’s overturned, but it is not an issue – When the boat is flipped over to empty any water that may have gotten in (rain has been the only time for me) the noodles leave the gunnel channels unobstructed so the water can flow to the 3 drainage holes at each end of the kayak.”

More from the cockpit of Michael’s fishing kayak >

More about kayak floatation >