Tag Archive: barge

A barge is a name given to slow and cumbersome kayaks that are hard to paddle. barge kayaks are usually wide and heavy, and they track poorly.

New products launched in 2014

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.

inflatable-side-flotation-modules-motorized-kayak-640

 

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.

spray-shield-for-motorized-kayak-side-view-600

 

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.

My Wavewalk 500, by Steve Lucas

I live in Southeastern Florida, close to the Everglades, and I fish both freshwater and saltwater.
I have been buying and flipping a lot of different boats in my endless search for a car top, light weight, shallow draft, stand up fishing, flats poling, gas motoring, electric motoring, great paddling, straight tracking, comfortable, gear packing, easy launching, rugged fishing boat that I don’t have to worry about scratching gel coat at ramps and Everglades launch sites.
I knew this was a lot to ask from one vessel but I am nothing if not stubborn.
I kept looking and looking and recently got a WaveWalk W500 Kayak. I am not done testing or learning about this boat but I think I may be able to check off the box that says “all of the above”.

First test

I took the W500 over to Chokoloskee for a test paddle I was well pleased with the boat’s paddling, tracking, car topping, comfort and stand up fishing capabilities.
The W500 is not a “barge”. It tracks extremely well and moves quickly through the water. You can put a really powerful stroke on this boat using a long shaft paddle.
There’s a learning curve to paddling a W500. You “ride” this boat as opposed to sitting in it. You can stand up and feel very stable doing so anytime you feel the urge.
This boat is only 29 inches wide. It’s the same width as my [15.5 ft long touring kayak].

I’m nowhere near done messing around or rigging/configging the W.

In my opinion the W 500 is not a kayak, canoe or catamaran. It’s a horse of a different color. I really, really like this boat so far.  It’s also a dream to carry and lift. I just tip it up, walk under it and let it fall on my shoulders.
Weight is relative. All my boats have been near to 100 pounds. Most of the fishing kayaks that they’re selling now are near to 100 pounds, and therefore 60 pounds for me is very lightweight.
So the W 500 lets me stand more easily at about half the weight of the barges.
I’m not fully versed on the W paddling yet but from what I’ve done so far I’m impressed with the tracking and speed.

The storage on the W is huge but it’s a different kind of storage space. You just need to rethink how you stow stuff. I carried my 8 foot stake out pole in the bottom of the hull all day and never stepped on it.
It’s going to be fun to rig this boat because you can get to every area like a canoe.

Laying down to rest on the W saddle when the rods are in rod holders is a no brainer. It’s something you can do in a W500 that you probably would have a hard time doing in any other paddle craft. You can lay down at will, completely horizontal with no problem. There’s no gear or seat to move out of the way – just lay down. I’ll be watching the next meteor shower stretched out under the stars I think.
You can also easily use the W 500 and not get your feet wet at all, or your butt or your legs or your crotch.

When I got back the launch I figured I try dis-embarking without using the ramp. I stood up and got out on the floating dock. I grabbed the boat and dragged it up on the floating dock without any effort at all. Then I took it one step further and dragged the boat onto the marina from the floating dock. It was easy as pie. No bull. Drag over possibilities with a W 500 are numerous.

Another thing you can do in a W 500 is move forward or backward to lift or drop the bow. It lets get up on obstructions or anything else quite easily. You can’t do that in a regular SOT. I can’t wait to plow into some skinny and just move backwards to get off the flat without ski poling.

I was really surprised at how well the W paddled. I was looking at some video I took while heading in to the launch and I noticed that the W has a lot more glide than my [fast 15 ft long kayak]. This is from a dead stop. Watch the bow of the boat when I drop the paddle and pick up the fishing pole.


Note that I’m 230 lbs.

 

Chokoloskee-park-fishing-kayak

rigged-fishing-kayak-chokoloskee-park

rigged-fishing-kayak-chokoloskee-park (2)

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View of the bottom of the hull – small draft

 

view-from-fishing-kayak-cokpit

 

30-inch-snook

30-inch-snook-in-the-kayak's-cockpit

30 inch snook

docked

my-kayak-on-the-deck

scenic-view-of-the-park

scenic-view-of-the-park (2)

sitting-sideways

sunshine-on-the-water

view-from-the-cockpit

 

More testing

I took the W 500 down to Flamingo to test out paddling seated and standing on the flats. I am really impressed with the way the W paddles. I was going to try poling but it’s so easy to stand and use the paddle that I’ll save that for another trip.

I did some fishing but mostly I wanted to get into some currents and paddle the flats. I really enjoyed the comfort of the W as well. Not being stuck in the L position and being able to stand at will was such a pleasure.

bow-with-two-rod-holders

jack-crevalle-in-hand

scenic-view-of-the-water

stake-out-pole-in-the-water

unhooking-a-fish

 

Speed

I met up with a fishing buddy at Flamingo. We launched early and paddled out to Snake Bight. The skeeters were nowhere to be found and sorry to say so were the fish. We got a couple of hits and jumps from small Snook and Tarpon but nothing boated.
The day wasn’t a total loss because I got to stand and paddle the flats in complete comfort. The W500 is a true flats machine.
It was fun seeing my buddy Pete again and getting out on the water. The weather was very nice early on but we could see the clouds getting fluffy as we were heading back to the marina. I hit three or four storms on the road back to civilization… if you can call it that.

My fishing buddy paddled alongside me in the boat and I thank him for his first hand opinion. I asked him to paddle at a normal pace in his [16 ft long and 27″ wide, fast kayak] to see if I could keep up with him. Of course his kayak is a faster boat but I was able to stay with him. That’s the true test… not racing but paddling normally with a buddy.
I guess the twin hull cat design is the reason the W boat paddles so well although it isn’t even 12 feet long.

W500-kayak-next-to-16ft-long-kayak

beautiful-sunset-on-the-lake

inside-the-cockpit-01

view-of-the-water-and-mangroves

Night fishing

I wound up paddling the W 500 a lot and got to test her in some strong currents and a bit of occasional wind. So far the W has been a dream to fish from and paddle. If any of you ever get a chance to paddle one do yourself a favor and hop in the saddle.

beached-at-the-ramp-at-night

kayak-on-the-beach-01 (2)

kayak-on-the-beach-01

rainbow-on-the-water-between-two-rod-holders

trout-boated

 

About Wavewalk’s marketing…

Before I got my W500 I looked at everything I could find on the internet concerning the W500. I waded through tons of [verbal trash] posted by people who had never tried a W500, and I read all the marketing from WaveWalk. The two things that convinced me that the boat was a great flats fishing design were the videos and talking to Yoav.
Some of the videos are over the top but they don’t lie. The W500 can do everything that you “see” for yourself in the videos.

The bottom line is…

I really like the W 500. The comfort factor is a giant plus for me. I have no back, butt or leg pain after a trip in the boat. The ability to stand or even just sitting higher on the water is a huge advantage.

Steve Lucas (I Fishhead)

Florida

More from Steve »

Articles

 

This list features links to over a hundred articles published on our website since 2004.
Generally, the newest articles feature at the top of this list, and the oldest ones at the bottom of this page.

Most of these articles offer ‘How To’ or technical info on subjects related to stability, paddling, outfitting, fishing, rigging, motorizing, choosing a kayak or a motor, etc.
Other articles are about subjects ranging from kayak and boat design to skiffs, market trends, and ergonomics.

You can search our entire website by using its ‘Search’ function too.
If you can’t find the information that you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

List of articles

 

  1. Wavewalk S4 review by its own designer
  2. The world’s fastest kayak
  3. 10 good reasons to motorize your kayak
  4. Portable boats
  5. The smallest and greatest skiff
  6. Developments in Motorized Kayaks
  7. Wakes are fun?
  8. How much HP for my S4 skiff’s outboard motor?
  9. Jon Boat Stability vs. Wavewalk® S4
  10. Testing 15″ short (S) shaft outboard motor performance with Wavewalk kayaks and boats, By Captain Larry Jarboe
  11. How to measure an outboard motor’s propeller shaft length?
  12. Watertight riveting in kayaks and boats
  13. Choosing an outboard motor for your Wavewalk® 700 skiff
  14. Outboard motor propeller shaft length for Wavewalk® fishing kayaks and boats
  15. Aluminum rivets in fishing kayaks and boats
  16. Kayaks and Boats, Kayak vs. Boat
  17. Happy Birthday W700!
  18. Keeping the cockpit of your Wavewalk dry at sea
  19. Personal Catamaran
  20. Paddling in Strong Wind
  21. Outriggers
  22. Pedal drive for my fishing kayak?
  23. Review of my Wavewalk 700
  24. Flats boat or bass boat, or something else?
  25. Steering motorized fishing kayaks and small boats
  26. Boat stability in a kayak
  27. Microskiff
  28. KAYAK TOURING
  29. Paddling 340 Miles in a W500 Kayak, By Clint Harlan
  30. A better two-person fishing boat
  31. Bass fishing in Ontario, By Boyd Smith
  32. Why I became a Wavewalk kayak owner, By Michael Chesloff
  33. Fishing offshore – the next frontier
  34. More is less in your fishing kayak’s cockpit – Too much stuff and too little fishability
  35. The secrets of the SOT kayak’s underside
  36. Wavewalk kayak tracking a plus in strong tidal current, By Art Myjak
  37. Whatever floats your boat – flotation for fishing kayaks
  38. What makes the Wavewalk 500 faster and easier to paddle than other fishing kayaks?
  39. A stable kayak for photography
  40. How effective are outriggers for your fishing kayak’s stability?
  41. Dog on board
  42. Smarter electric motors and Lithium-Ion batteries – A winning combination for kayak fishing, By Gary Thorberg
  43. Ocean Kayak Fishing
  44. Your boat trailer, the abominable fishing-time guzzler
  45. Kayak fishing with disabilities
  46. Motorize your fishing kayak?
  47. About fishing kayak design, innovation, upgrades, accessories, etc.
  48. Storage: How Much Gear Can You Store Inside a Wavewalk 500 Fishing Kayak?
  49. Do Not Overload Your Fishing Kayak
  50. A Fair-Weather Fishing Kayak…
  51. A Brief History Of Kayak Fishing – Past, Present, and Foreseeable Future
  52. Fishing Kayak Stability
  53. About Kayak Fishing In Tandem…
  54. The Hybrid Fishing Kayak – Facts, Hype and Plain Nonsense
  55. Motorizing Your Kayak – Why, How, What Etc…
  56. More About Dangers To Kayakers and Kayak Anglers in Warm, Fresh Water
  57. How to Keep Your W500 Fishing Kayak Cockpit Dry
  58. THE BARGE – A NEW CLASS OF FISHING KAYAKS
  59. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Aesthetics and Performance in Fishing Kayak Design
  60. Kayak Fishing As An Extreme Sport
  61. Too Much Storage In A Fishing Kayak…
  62. What Is kayak Back Pain, And What Does It Mean For You?
  63. Paddle vs. Pedal Drive in Fishing Kayaks
  64. Resting in Your Fishing Kayak – Don’t Fall Asleep!
  65. More Storage Than Any Other Kayak: The W500
  66. Lumbar Spine and Kayak Back Pain: Facts
  67. Some Practical Advice About Rigging Your Fishing Kayak
  68. Kayak Fishing Safety: Is It safe To Paddle An Uncomfortable Kayak And Fish From It?
  69. Stretching in Your Kayak to Relief Fatigue and Pain, and Improve Circulation
  70. Stand Up Kayak Fishing and Paddling – For Real
  71. Kayaking Back Pains and Leg Numbness
  72. Fishability – How Fishable Are Kayaks?
  73. How to Save Money When Buying a Fishing Kayak
  74. Rigging Your Wavewalk Kayak With a Milk Crate – Is it Necessary?
  75. Lures for Bass Kayak Fishing, By Roxanne Davis
  76. Range of Motion and Protection From the Fish – Kayak Comparison, By Jeff McGovern
  77. Casting From A W Fishing Kayak Compared To Casting From Sit-In and SOT Fishing Kayaks, By Jeff McGovern
  78. How Effective Can Fishing Kayaks’ Outriggers Be?
  79. What Makes The Wavewalk The Stablest Fishing Kayak
  80. Are SOT Kayaks Safe For Offshore Fishing?
  81. Kayak Fishing Standing – And What If? (Stuff Happens)
  82. About Rudders and Fishing Kayaks
  83. Saltwater Fishing Gear Maintenance, By Jeff McGovern
  84. Kayak Fishing With Children
  85. Stability in Fishing Kayaks – Problems and Solutions
  86. How to Choose a Fishing Kayak That’s Best For You
  87. Back Pain, Good Posture and Kayak Fishing
  88. The Wavewalk Kayak Combat Position For Fighting a Big Fish
  89. Paddling and Kayak Fishing in Cold Water and Weather
  90. Whether paddling or fishing in your kayak, try to stay dry
  91. Fishing Standing in a Kayak
  92. Kayak Fishing in Shallow Water
  93. Common Kayak Fishing Myths, Tales and Hype
  94. Thrust in Electric Trolling Motors for Fishing Kayak
  95. What To Carry On Board Your Fishing Kayak, By Jeff McGovern
  96. Kayak Fishing From the Mounted (Riding) Position
  97. Southern Kayak Fishermen’s Complaints
  98. What Color and Form for My Fishing Kayak?
  99. Headwind and Side Wind – Paddling in Strong Wind Without a Rudder
  100. The Yak Back – What Your Fishing Kayak Shouldn’t Do To You
  101. Getting Trapped Inside a Kayak
  102. Are Sea Kayaks Seaworthy?
  103. Common Kayak Injuries
  104. Clamp Mounted Side Mount For Fishing Kayak Electric Trolling Motor
  105. How to Avoid and Repair Scratches in Your Kayak
  106. Kayak Side Flotation- How it Works and Why Use it
  107. Wheels For Fishing Kayak Transportation
  108. Detachable Flotation For Fishing Kayak
  109. Ergonomics and Biomechanics in Kayaks
  110. Kayak Hydrodynamics, Hydrostatics and Biomechanics As Speed Factors
  111. Fishing Kayak Reviews
  112. The Evolution of the Kayak
  113. Versatility: From Specialized Kayaks to Broad Range, High Performance Kayaks
  114. Mobility: The New Dimension in Kayak Design
  115. Wavewalk Demo Movies

THE BARGE – A NEW CLASS OF FISHING KAYAKS

The title of this piece should have been: “The Barge – A New Class of Fishing Kayaks, And Why It’s Even Worse Than You Imagine”… But long headlines are not elegant, so it got cut.

Most people know what the term Barge means when kayaks are referred to: It’s a big, wide, long, heavy kayak that’s hard to car top, hard to carry, hard to launch, hard to paddle, and hard to beach.
A Barge is a kayak that’s slow, and doesn’t track well, hence the expression “A barge to paddle”.

Manufacturers and vendors who offer barge kayaks often claim their products are so stable that you can stand up and fish from them. Some vendors would even get some dude to perform stability tricks in front of a camera, while standing up on their barge kayak, but few people fall for this kind of advertisement, and those who do soon learn not to trust improbable advertising, and they learn it the wet way, after they fall overboard :D…

So far, I don’t think I’ve provided any information that’s new to the reader, but I had to lay the foundation for this article on a common and solid basis, so bear with me.

Here is the main point of this article:

Barge Kayaks are Hazardous to Paddle and Fish From

Seriously, they can be, and that’s because fishing kayaks are used by real, everyday people like yourself, in real, everyday conditions. Life is neither a commercial video, nor a glossy ad.

Everyday people are not Olympic paddling champs, and they’re often both overweight to some extent, and not very fit. The average kayak angler is middle aged, and many kayak anglers are elderly folks. Unfortunately, these are the same people who would normally purchase a barge yak, because they are concerned about the instability of narrow sit-in and SOT kayaks, and may not want to pay for a W kayak.

So why is a slow and hard to paddle fishing kayak potentially hazardous for such people?

Simply because in the natural world, which is where real people paddle and fish, you’re bound to get into unfavorable circumstances – sooner or later, unless you paddle and fish in a tiny pond, preferably close to home. Such circumstances usually involve changes in the weather, and since everyone has experienced such things, there’s no point to elaborate on that.

When bad weather happens while you’re seated in your kayak, you’d rather not overturn it, of course, and it is assumed that barge kayaks can normally handle this challenge – not always, and not as well as W kayaks, though… unlike other kayaks that are too unstable for that. However, if you happen to be away from shore in bad weather, being in a barge kayak could turn out to be a bad experience for you, and it may even lead to an accident, because you could find yourself unable to get back to your launching spot, or worse – go back to shore in any part of it. If back to shore means getting back to a beach, and the place you’re paddling and fishing in is the ocean, or a big lake, you’re in trouble. Big time.

This is because big bodies of water (E.G. ocean, lake, big river) also have currents in them, and the combination of wind and current is just too powerful for you to deal with when you’re paddling a barge kayak. Waves would likely swamp you. You won’t be able to direct the kayak to safety, and you’d be drifting somewhere you don’t want to go to. When this happens, you may find yourself in an even worse situation as night comes.

So try to imagine yourself wet, cold and exhausted from useless paddling efforts, your back is killing you, and you’re drifting somewhere in the darkness, in your barge yak.  Scary, eh?

Again, the heavier, older, and less fit you are, the higher the chances you’d let some kayak dealer sell you a barge yak, and at the same time the heavier, older and less fit you are, the more likely you are to get in trouble because you’re paddling such a vessel…

Well, life is unfair, sometimes, especially to those who don’t take it seriously, and don’t imagine worse case scenarios that unfortunately are part of many outdoor recreational sports, including kayaking and kayak fishing.

It doesn’t make much difference whether you propel your barge yak with a paddle or a pedal drive – You’s better not venture too far from shore with it, especially in unfavorable weather circumstances, or when there’s a good chance that the weather could change for the worse, because such change may very well be unfavorable, and even dangerous to you.