I went on another duck hunt. The mud flats are punishing at times. The tide went from a 14 to a 4 in six hours. That meant that I had to move and reset my decoys every 15 min. or so. Eventually toward the bottom of the tide it takes longer to reset than the water floats the decoys to hunt. That is usually when I give up and let it come back in. Today however it would not have done so in the light, so I had to paddle out at the low. It was a drag getting the boat out to water deep enough to float. But that is what I love about the W700. Stable for the weather and light enough to drag on the mud. Only got a couple of birds but it is always good to get out.
I have been hunting hard and had another great hunt in the W700. I haven’t found the time to get the motorized S4 ready. I need probably another 4-5 hours of work on it but have been struggling to find it.
I hunt mud flats. They are not like your typical muddy beach. These flats are the result of silt and mud that is deposited at the mouth of a river meeting Puget Sound. These kind of mud flats are incredibly rich in sea life and have huge shrimp and clam beds. The result is a mud that can be firm one minute and the next you are up to your knees. Much deeper than that and you are stuck. In addition, the tide moves in and out at a very good pace most days. Sometimes it will move up to 14 feet in 6 hours. That means you have to move, a lot. Motorized boats are able to hunt the edges of these flats but really can’t take advantage of the flats themselves. They can get stranded if they don’t move their boat fast enough. If you go high and dry in a boat over 100lbs. you will not get it out until the tide comes back in. I met a fellow at the boat ramp who was admiring the W700 and said he spent the night last year out on the flats because the tide did not come back in far enough for him to get his boat out.
This is where the W700 shines. It drafts shallow, cuts the waves when the weather turns nautical, and it is light! I can easily drag it across even the soft mud and not get myself stuck. It is the perfect tool for where I hunt. Plus there is no trailer to mess with! On this hunt you can get a feel for the mud and how it is the right tool for the job.
Put the anti-ventilation plate (AP) on the Twister kit and was able to get one of my sons to go out (also a friend saw us test running and had to stop). I was pleased with the results. It handled well and the plate made a huge difference. I still need to work on some things.
The motor really started clattering. I am not exactly sure why. I added some gas to it from a can I had around and it may have been really old. I will drain all of that out and get some high octane gas and put in it for next time and see if that makes a difference. I may be just too much pressure on the $50 dollar motor that has lived as a pressure washer up until now. I am also going to move the AP so as to make the prop a little less efficient. I think that may make it a little easier on the motor (sacrificing some thrust). I was messing with the trim but not yet satisfied with where I ended up. And as luck would have it it was high tide so no skinny water to be had.
I will do more testing to get it dialed in. I think I have accomplished my goal of proof of concept. Some lights, registration, and a blind to finish and the I will be ready for the season.
Today I was able to do my first test drive of the Wavewalk S4 with a mud motor!
As a duck hunter the potential for the S4 is incredible. Couple that with a mud motor and you can access places that others cannot go. I hunt tidal mud flats where traditional boat motors are difficult to use due to the changing tides (water depth) as well as the sand bars that constantly shift. The mud motor allows operation in very shallow water and lets me get over those sand bars. Other duck hunters hunt in flooded timber where the logs eat propellers for lunch and occasionally eat whole lower units. The mud motor is the only way to travel safely in those kind of swamps. That is why putting a mud motor on the S4 is like combining peanut butter and chocolate. This was my very first run, so I have a lot to learn about operating this kind of motor.
There are a lot of different styles of mud motors out there and the cost can be very prohibitive. But I found a kit which is created by Mud-skipper called the Twister. Rather than a straight shaft it has a curved shaft. At first I was concerned that due to this the turning radius of the boat would be dramatically effected. As it turns out that fear was unwarranted. The two hulls actually keep you from turning too sharp which could cause you to overturn considering the nature of how the motor turns. The 6.5 hp was plenty of horse power and I cavitated way before I ran out of power.
Lots of experimenting to do to get it all dialed in but it was a great first test run.
Well for the last month I have suffered through a horrible pinched nerve in my neck. This has prevented me from being out in the Wavewalk where I try and get at least 3-4 times a month during the fishing and hunting seasons. Basically every month but Feb. and the beginning of March which is effectively known as remodel season. After working diligently on rehab I was able to return to duck hunting this last week. The Wavewalks are our go to boat when it comes to hunting. We can put 3 dozen deeks, shotgun, camo net, hunting box, thermos and our selves in a W700 and paddle it anywhere we need to go. Then it not only serves as transportation but also as the boat for retrieving. That is where the stability is so important. You sometimes have to dispatch cripples (shoot them) from the kayak. As the video shows this can sometimes get a bit sporty. Wavewalk handles it fine.
The video is a bit of fun we had with a GoPro. If you don’t like hunting you won’t want to watch it. We enjoy the sport of duck hunting and the wonderful food it provides.
We were having a hard time keeping those ringnecks on the water. They are tough birds. We would smack them and then by the time we could get out to them they would recover and fly off! Diver ducks are really tough birds. Probably because they have very thick down and feathers to protect from the water.