Tag Archive: advice

Tips, advice on kayaking, fishing and rigging kayaks

The Sea Lion Has Roared – Jeff Started a Kayak Fishing Blog of His Own

Jeff McGovern, and ex-disgruntled Wavewalk Kayaks customer turned big fan, just started his own kayak fishing blog called Jeff’s Tackle Box.

Jeff is undoubtedly one of the most knowledgeable kayak anglers around, and he’s always been willing to share his insight and enthusiasm with other anglers, whether on Jaxkayakfishing – his local kayak fishing club’s online forum, or worldwide – on the Wavewalk Kayaks forum.

Over the years, Jeff has contributed great articles and reviews about fishing, rigging and fishing tackle to our website. He’s also contributed numerous, interesting kayak fishing and rigging movies , as well as countless comments to our blog.

During these turbulent economic times, Jeff had to change directions in his career, and from being a high flying executive in a big pest management company, he became a distributor for Emmrod – an innovative fishing rod company that offers a range of rods that are particularly suited for kayak fishing, which is Jeff’s passion.

Jeff usually fishes both saltwater and fresh water in the northeastern part of Florida, but once a year he goes on a fishing trip to Canada to fish with his father and brothers.

Jeff at the fishing tackle store

Photo: Jeff and Kate demonstrating fishing rods in a fishing tackle store in Jacksonville, Florida

We wish Jeff a big success in his new business, and we hope his new blog will become popular among kayak anglers, as well as other anglers worldwide.


Wavewalk Kayak Paddling in Strong Wind

Wavewalk kayakers report excellent performance under wind, mainly because tracks better than other kayaks and canoes, and it offers various means for power-paddling and counter-affecting the wind.

Here are some tips that can improve your W kayak’s performance when you’re paddling in strong wind:

1. Paddle only in the Riding Position, which is the optimal posture for power and balancing, and lean a bit forward, with your knees lower than your hips – That would give you extra power.

2. Paddle from the middle of the cockpit, as much as possible –

  • If you paddle from its rear it would raise your W kayak’s bow and expose it to the wind, and the boat will turn away from the wind.
  • If you paddle from the front of the cockpit, the stern will go up, and the kayak will turn into the wind.

3. Lean your W kayak into the wind – That would make it harder for it to affect the course of your W kayak.

4. Apply short J strokes on the side from which the wind is blowing, and more powerful strokes on the lee side (the sheltered side) – That would help you track.  You may even hold the paddle not from its middle, so that you can apply longer strokes on the lee side.

6. Any object protruding from the deck is exposed to the wind, and therefore generates additional drag – Detach the spray shield if you have one attached, dismount deck mounted rod holders, and store your fishing rods inside the hulls whenever possible. A milk crate would act as a small sail that’s controlled by the wind, so you’d better avoid using one altogether.

7. Keep paddling in a steady pace and a straight course – This is not about one-time corrections, but about minimizing your effort and getting there. Precision and efficiency are as important as power.

8. IMPORTANT – Remember you can move fore and aft along the saddle, and by doing so control the angle in which your W kayak will point relatively to the direction from which the wind blows: Paddling from a forward position will tend to point the bow into the wind, and paddling from a backward position would tend to point the bow sideways and away from the wind (not a desirable thing).

Here is an instructional video on the subject:

Paddling and Kayak Fishing in Cold Water and Weather

‘Cold’ is relative of course, and what I mean by it in this case is temperatures below freezing or close to that.

Sometimes you can find open water on a frozen river or lake, and since it’s possible to launch your W kayak from ice as well as to beach it on ice the question is ‘why not go paddling or fishing?’

The simple answer is ‘because it’s very dangerous’.
In other words, the combination of ice and cold can turn out to be deadly.

Some of the factors that contribute to making such activities more dangerous are:

Air temperature: When it’s below freezing your paddle can get covered with a layer of ice and become heavy. The water dripping from it on your kayak can freeze and form a heavy layer that might destabilize it. If the water freezes inside the cockpit you might slip on it, lose your balance and fall overboard.

Alcohol: Absolutely not. Drinking while you’re paddling or fishing in cold water or weather is taking the first active step towards an accident. There is a strong correlation between drinking and paddle fishing accidents. If you need to boost your energy while you’re kayaking or kayak fishing do it with hot coffee from a thermos bottle, chocolate or energy bars.

Cellphones are an absolute necessity in order to call 911. BTW, a wet cellphone is useless…

Children. Too dangerous: being smaller children have a bigger surface area by relatively to their volume, which means that if they fall in the water their body temperature will drop faster than that of an adult in the same condition. Children also have a tendency to be careless (at least those that I know…) and panic easily – two potential hazards that you don’t want to have to face.

Clothing: Boots, heavy shoes, waders and heavy clothing are an absolute no. A good wetsuit or dry suit and booties are a must.

Distance from shore: Don’t paddle or fish where people on shore can’t see you. Preferably, they should also be able to hear you. Carry a whistle with you.

Number of people with you: Paddling or fishing in cold water all by yourself is really careless. If you feel you must do it you should go with a group, preferably with people who know what they’re doing and could advise you on what to do and not to do, as well as help you in case something happens. It’s also a good idea to have a bigger boat, preferably a motorboat as part of your expedition – stuff happens.

Saltwater. Ocean water with typical salinity freezes at about 28.9°F (-1.8°C), which is a colder than the freezing temperature for fresh water. This means that sea water that’s partly covered with ice is likely to be colder than fresh water in a similar condition. This means it would be even more dangerous if you fell overboard.

Time of day: Winter days are shorter, which means that you might find yourself trying to paddle your way back in the dark, which is dangerous both because it increases the risk of an accident as well as reduces the chances of you succeeding in rescuing yourself or getting rescued by others.

Type of boat: Reducing your degree of exposure to the elements is a good idea when kayaking or fishing in cold water and weather.
The worst are sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks that put you close to the water without any protection. Sit-in kayaks (SIK) can be a little better since they offer you the opportunity to protect yourself with a spray skirt, but using such an accessory is hazardous if you don’t have a fool proof Eskimo Roll (very few people do), and it’s highly inconvenient for fishing. Canoes offer good protection from spray but paddling them can become too difficult because of windage problems. Finally, W kayaks offer you the best protection from both spray and wind, and they also perform better than the other boats under wind.

Water depth: Getting out of deep water is far more difficult than it is from shallow water. Falling in deep water can cause hypothermia faster than it would take you to rescue yourself, which means that your chances of survival might be slim.

Wind: The combination of wind and sub freezing temperatures can lead to the formation of surface ice where you had open water before. This means that on your way back to shore you might find yourself tired and shivering in your boat without being able to paddle through the newly formed ice.

Your physical condition: Some people are in great shape and can resist cold, but are you one of them? Remember – water is about 700 times denser than air, which means that it can cool your body instantly and lead to heart failure even before hypothermia settles in.

So, if you still feel you must get out on a cold winter day it’s better if you kept your kayak at home and found something as rewarding as paddling or fishing to do, yet not as dangerous.