Tag Archive: accessories

Accessories for fishing kayaks

More is less in your fishing kayak’s cockpit – Too much stuff and too little fishability

Kayak manufacturers seem to be locked in an arms race intended to make their fishing kayaks relevant to the average angler out there. This epic struggle for market survival produces kayak designs that are increasingly dysfunctional, or lack ‘fishability‘ if we use the term that anglers commonly use.
The most obvious manifestation of this trend is the proliferation of those enormous, extra-wide, cumbersome, hard to paddle, heavy and practically impossible to carry or car top kayaks known as ‘barges’.
But it’s not just the size of those beastly yaks that makes one wonder whether they defeat the purpose of kayak fishing, nor the fact that their manufacturers tout them as being suitable for fishing standing (they’re not, unless you’re an aspiring acrobat) – It’s the fact that they’ve become overly accessorized, to a point where it’s increasingly hard for their users to fish from them.

What’s an overly accessorized fishing kayak?

An overly accessorized fishing kayak is a kayak that makes it hard for you to fish from it –
We’ve already talked about kayak rudders, and the fact that they slow down the kayak and impose on the paddler yet another activity (I.E. steering) they’d rather do without.
But one may argue that tracking in one of those heavy and extra-wide kayaks is impossible without a rudder, especially in the presence of wind and/or current, so let’s focus on the cockpit area, sometimes called the ‘deck’ in SOT and hybrid kayak models –
The kayak’s cockpit, or deck, should provide the angler with maximum range of motion and comfort, and in this sense any additional item attached in or on it is potentially counterproductive.
Furthermore, the negative effect of any additional object in such a restricted space is amplified due to the fact that it encroaches on an already diminished space.
This is yet another example of how the fundamental economics law of diminishing returns works: At some point more is less.

The foot brace – don’t put your foot in it

To begin with, the big ‘barge’ kayak’s cockpit features sophisticated foot braces that take too much room away from the user’s feet and legs. Let’s face it – being seated for a long period of time is not a pleasant thing, especially when you’re wet or partially wet and you’re stuck in the notorious L kayaking posture that causes discomfort, leg numbness and back pain. Therefor, being able to move your legs is important, and restricting the space available for your feet and legs to move works to aggravate the problem – Think traveling coach in an airliner, and the magnitude and severity of this ergonomic problem would become clearer to you, especially if you’re neither a small, skinny or young and physically fit person.

The seat of the problem

The kayak’s foot braces are paired with its seat. In the past decade, kayak manufacturers became somehow aware of the huge back pain problem that users experience when paddling and fishing while being seated in the L position, so they stuffed their kayaks’ seats with more foam and more gel, without achieving any noteworthy results: These kayaks kept being uncomfortable for normal people to use, and they kept inducing back pain and leg numbness.
Then came the new trend of higher kayak seats, and seats offering adjustable height. These larger seats are typically made from woven material stretched over a light metal frame, and their shape is reminding of some beach seats or stadium seats.
The basic idea behind this kayak seat design is to allow the user to sit a few inches higher, and by doing so alleviate some of the pressure exerted on their lower back, also known as lumbar spine.
Does this work? -Not really, and the reason has to do with the faulty ergonomic reasoning behind it: The fact that the angler sits higher yet they keep their basic position with their legs stretched in front of them makes more of a challenge for them to balance their kayak, as the boat’s center of gravity goes higher although its user isn’t given better means to stabilize it with their body.
The only thing you can do is try to stretch your legs a little more and increase muscle tension in them. This means you have to make a bigger physical effort, continuously, and therefor exert more horizontal pressure on your back, thus increasing discomfort, fatigue, and eventually pain. Problem unsolved.
The seat’s higher and wider backrest is in the way of the kayaker’s shoulders and upper arms when they paddle and cast lines. It further restricts the little range of motion they have, and further limits their ability to change positions and give their back and neck some respite.
Simply put, the L kayaking position imposed by the unstable mono-hull kayak design is not a problem, it’s a given. This is to say that it does not have a real solution – only false ones. The way to get rid of discomfort and pain when you paddle a kayak or fish from it is to ride the saddle of a stable W kayak.

More stuff that means less room and less fun for you

Another way in which kayak manufacturers manage to restrict their clients’ range of motion and ability to fish comfortably and in a way that makes sense is by sticking a variety of accessories between their legs. These items range from storage hatches to fishfinder consoles, cup holders, bottle holders, elevated rod holders, and so on.
The result is a critical absence of free space for you to handle your tackle, take care of your lines and lures, and catch fish – if and when they happen to land one in the space between your legs, right on top of the fishfinder, rod holder, or cup holder…
This attempt to simulate the design of a jet fighter’s cockpit in which everything is within the pilot’s arm’s reach is dysfunctional to the point of being pathetic, but amazingly, the problem doesn’t end here –

A standing problem

Kayak manufacturers are engaged in a verbal competition, and one of the hottest fronts in this battle is over the notion of kayak fishing standing. Kayak manufacturers have come to realize that in order to get anglers interested in their kayaks they need show that their kayaks are stable.  The best way to do is to show someone fishing standing in the kayak’s cockpit. Whether this scenario is practical for the average middle aged or elderly angler out there, or for anglers who happen to be somehow overweight, or tall, or suffer from balancing issues is a whole different story. The same problem applies to those kayaks’ stability in real-world conditions, such as when the stand-up angler loses balances for some reason, and they’re required to sit down swiftly in order to regain it…
Furthermore, who wants to stand up and fish while constantly having to pay attention to their balance and allocating considerable physical and mental resources to such task?
If you stand in a boat and fish from it, you need to be able to focus on fishing and on nothing else, and you want to enjoy fishing without a little red light blinking in the back of your head warning you to watch out and maintain your precarious balance or you’d go swimming with your tackle…
How is this related to superfluous accessories? – Well, kayak manufacturers devised yet another way to clutter the decks of their fishing kayak models, and they do it all the way by outfitting their top of the line models with lean bars –

Lean at your own risk – the lean bar

What’s a lean bar, or lean frame? It’s a large size, folding metal frame that the angler can erect in the front part of their kayak’s deck. The idea behind this device is that when the angler stands up in their mono-hull (sit-in, SOT or hybrid) kayak they feel unstable (duh!), and they would like to lean on something in order to feel less unstable.
It’s a purely psychological notion, since such bar cannot increase the actual (physical, I.E. real-world) stability that the kayak offers, because what determines that kayak’s stability are its form and size, in other words – its design.
This is to say that a lean bar may offer the angler some (potentially hazardous) illusion of stability in a best case scenario, while significantly reducing the kayak’s fishability by  adding to the already severe clutter in its cockpit.
In fact, such a large-size metal frame stuck in front of the angler is a perfect recipe for a perfect storm when one considers things that constantly move in that space, such as fishing poles, fishing lines, fishhooks, lures and bait, as well as fish – from time to time…

But wait, there’s more!

Yes, unbelievably so, kayak manufacturers found ways to stick even more stuff in front and around anglers who attempt to fish out of such barge kayaks: Among these unproductive objects are live bait tanks and live fish tanks… and even the pedals of a pedal drive that you, the angler can push or rotate with your feet, while attempting to stabilize yourself with one hand and manipulating the rudder with the other. Go figure why these tedious and simultaneous activities are being promoted as ‘hands-free fishing’…

And if you thought that’s where the ridicule stops, a closer look at ads for those humongous and rather dysfunctional fishing kayaks would reveal to you a plethora of additional objects and large-size systems offered to populate your kayak’s already crammed cockpit.
Among these things are sailing rigs that you can try to manipulate while pushing the pedals of the drive offering illusory ‘hands-free’ fishing, and wheel carts to help you drag these super-heavy barges from your vehicle to the water and back, since there is no way this could be done without such a cart.
Some over creative manufacturers offer special horizontal holders to protect your fishing rod tips from low-lying tree limbs…

Keep it simple

Observing the cockpit of one of those barge fishing kayaks can be a stupefying experience. The intense clutter in such a restricted place demands that you, the angler, possess an unlimited amount of good will coupled with impressive acrobatic skills.
But what if you have neither?
The solution is simple: Get a fishing kayak that features a real cockpit offering enough room for you to paddle and fish in full comfort and confidence, as well as enough room for you to store and handle whatever gear you want to have on board, without it becoming a nightmare.
This simple solution is exactly what the W kayak offers you. Simple is good.

How I set up my kayak for the 2013 season, by John Fabina

This video covers the following subjects:

Fish locator, GPS, fish gripper, preparation for cockpit cover, above deck rod holder, fish basket, hook, paddle holder, basket for storage, mounted transducer, storage, soft cooler, rod holders, storage, soft tackle box, dry box, below-deck rod holders, anchor system, saddle bracket,.

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More kayak fishing stories from John >

About fishing kayak design, innovation, upgrades, accessories, etc.

This article is based on questions emailed to us by Dan from Southern Australia, and on our response to his questions.

Dan wrote us: -“Hi guys at Wavewalk. Congratulations on a great product. I am a recent convert to this kayak fishing scene and am still in the process of deciding what yak will suit me and my fishing. After trolling the net for weeks I found video of your craft and was very excited – OK it’s not the sexiest rig around but seemed to be the smartest design… So my problem is you guys have built this thing and stopped!… Where’s the upgrades, where’s the factory accessories, what’s the deal with the foam noodles everyone?…”

And this was our answer to Dan’s questions:

Thanks Dan,

Indeed, the kayak business is extremely competitive.
We’ve started selling our kayaks back in 2004, and since then we’ve seen most of our competitors either disappear or change owners –
This includes small, medium size and big kayak companies.

Our competitors offer products that are essentially the same, namely variations on sit-in and sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks.
If you look at the designs (forms) themselves, you’ll find no noteworthy change in the past 40 years since such kayaks were first roto-molded.
None of our competitors has any technological advantage over the others, so they are forced to compete by offering many accessories, whether that makes sense or not, plenty of unnecessary detail in their designs, intensive promotion (hype), and price.

Wavewalk has a proprietary technology that puts us in a different category.
Following a few, tested principles has helped us thrive in this highly competitive environment –
These principles are:

1. You can’t argue with success

We keep expanding, and we’re very attentive to what our clients say. Our clients spend long hours on the water, and they demand a system that’s robust, comfortable, and works perfectly in all circumstances, so this is what we offer them.

2. Simplicity rules

Nothing beats simplicity in design, and since our kayaks beat any other kayak in terms of functionality, there is no real demand from us to add accessories and detail to what we offer.

3. What’s best for the client is best for us

We used to offer anchors, stake-out poles, paddle clips, a variety of deck mounted rod holders, and even more paddles, until we reached the conclusion that our clients are best served when they buy such accessories in fishing and boating stores after they got the kayak from us, and know exactly which accessories they actually need. We may be losing a few dollars on each sale, but at least we know that our clients face a better choice than what we could have possibly offered them, and they’re not pushed to buy products they might not necessarily need, or may not be the best choice for them.

4. Focus on what you do best

Our clients consider the W kayak to be the world’s best fishing kayak (see customer reviews > ). Clients who’ve fished out of other craft including motorboats consider the W to be the world’s best personal fishing craft. Our recently introduced motorized W kayak successfully competes against small motorboats (see: http://microskiff.us ). This is to say that we keep leading in true, substantial and meaningful innovation, because that’s what we focus on.

New Price List For 2011 – Kayaks, Paddles and Accessories

We raised prices by 2% to 3% on most of our products, including kayaks, paddles and accessories. This it the result of the raising costs of manufacturing that we’ve experienced in the past year.

We did not raise shipping prices, although the carriers we work with are asking us to pay more than last year. We’ll try subsidizing shipping by a little more, knowing how much our clients hate paying for shipping.


How to Save Money When Buying a Fishing Kayak

Fishing kayaks can be expensive, and when you start adding the cost of all accessories you’ll find they actually cost much more.
However, by buying a Wavewalk fishing kayak you can save a lot of money (up to $1,350) just on accessories:

  • Rudder: Our kayaks track better than any other kayak, and require no rudder. You save $220 – $300
  • Kayak Seat: Our W Kayaks are yak-back free, and require no special seat added. You save $80 – $200
  • Kayak Rack: Our kayaks are easy to cartop and fit any car rack – No need for a special kayak rack. You save $50 – $500.
  • Outriggers: Our W500 kayaks are stabler and safer than other kayaks that are equipped with outriggers. With the W500 you don’t need outriggers, even with an electric trolling motor. You save $100 – $350.

Rudders are a pain to operate, they slow you down, and get stuck in shallow water and weeds.

Kayak seats are bad for your back, and can turn your kayak fishing trip into an unpleasant experience. They are even likely to get you to quit kayak fishing in the long run, because of back pain and discomfort.

Kayak racks need to be installed on your car rack, and when they’re there you can’t use your car rack to carry other things.

Outriggers are a pain to install, they slow you down, and they limit your kayak’s mobility and maneuverability. Plus they’re one more bulky thing to carry.

BOTTOM LINE: Rudders, yak racks and outriggers are annoying, and kayak seats are bad for you. Aren’t your health and peace of mind priceless?