Tag Archive: fish

Fish are what kayak anglers are after :)

W300 Fishing Kayak Review – Minnesota

Note: This is a review of the smaller, W300 kayak series that was discontinued in 2010. Go to the updated list of recent, W500 fishing kayak reviews »

By Scott Johnson

Kayak Fisherman and Photographer, Minnesota

Last year Scott ordered his first W kayak, a 300 2007 model that he outfitted for bow hunting and fishing – Read more about it ».
This year Scott got himself a second W Kayak, a W300 2008 model.

Scott paddling his fishing kayak on the maple river
Scott on his Maple river trip

Sandy walking in the river

Sandy walking in the river

Inside fishing kayak cockpit

“…my Pepsi was riding securely in front of me along side my camera.”

The Maple river viewed from Scott's fishing kayak
The Maple river viewed from Scott’s Wavewalk 300 fishing kayak

Railroad bridge shot from fishing kayak
“I love bringing the camera along for a scenic picture. The railroad is gone but with the WW I can get to places that bring back the past.”
“I decided since now I have 3 paddles, 2 of the heavy duty, to leave one of the Mohawk paddle ends off of just for paddling the W kayak like a canoe. It’s kind of nice to have a blunt end to grab hold of. I am getting good at keeping my WW going pretty straight, paddling mostly on one side and doing some lean turning to keep it going straight.””When heading home I was amazingly not even tired or sore from my
excursion, can’t wait to hit another stretch.”

Fishing kayak on Maple river, Minnesota
Scott’s kayak on the Maple river

-“My nephew Justin and I were anxious to venture down the  Watonwan river.  We had to wait until the waters settle down and clear up a bit.  When we started out we were on a 45 degree muddy incline. I positioned my Wavewalk square to the water and told Justin “This is how you get started!”   A little thrust and I was on my way down – I hit the water and bounced the front end a little but easily maintained my balance. Justin was grinning, he also managed the water slide entry with no problem. Going with the current is lots of fun and no work. We had our fish poles but the river was so muddy that fishing seemed pointless. The important thing is we had a great time just cruising down the river. We are both impressed with the wavewalks, they are very versatile.”-“Bill thought the WW kayak was just perfect for fishing, light enough to easily drag and easy to handle, even for the first time out!  It’s nice to have people in the W crafts enjoying themselves.”

Photography: Scott Johnson

Two fishing kayaks - Minnesota river

-“I have outfitted my W300 kayaks with two Igloo slimline coolers each, they don’t slide up into the storage area but they fit in perfect and make a nice platform with drink holders either in front of you or beside you. Those and some colorful bungee cords have the WW’s looking pro! The slimline coolers work great in the WW. ”

Maple river photographed from Scott's fishing kayak
Scott’s scenic shot of the maple river
-“I find myself taking my Wavewalk down stretches of river with conditions that would usually keep me at home, when the going gets to shallow, I can easily step out and walk her through stretches of river with little effort.”

Scott walking in the river with his fishing kayak
“The WW kayak also makes a great pack mule with plenty of room in the catamarans for whatever I may find on my adventures.”

Scott posing with his two fishing kayaks

Left to right: Lucy, Scott’s 08′ W300, Lady, Scott himself, and his 07′ W300

-“Everyone who see’s the WW are very impressed with it, especially when they see me standing! I Really like both the kayaks!”

 

Bill sitting in kayak and catching a fish
-“Made it down a stretch of Blue Earth River with my old fishing friend Bill. It was a nice cool afternoon. He had never even been in a kayak before, but had no problems with handling the Wavewalk 300.”

Justin paddling W fishing kayak on the muddy river

-“My nephew Justin and I paddled down the Watownwan river for walleyes. It is a very scenic smaller river.”

Picture shot from fishing kayak - river bank erosion

“More major erosion has widened out the river. ”

Bill sitting in kayak and showing a fish he caught

-“Bill’s smile says it all, though we only had a few hours it was a lot of fun!  Spending times with friends and enjoying the outdoors is what the WW is all about! I’m so Glad I have them!”

River Scenery - picturec shot from W fishing kayak

-“The river has transformed into a shallow slow mover.  There are big sandbars and lots of stuff to see. The walleyes are holed up and easily being caught.”

Fishing kayak cockpit

-“I’ve been fishing many times on the lake I live by, and I also have a lot of fun just paddling standing around the edge of the lake, scouting for fish and seeing what’s on the bottom.
I brought home some nice driftwood I picked of the bottom for the flower gardens.”

Choosing a bait caster

By Jeff McGovern

drawing of Jeff fishing

Bait casting is a powerful, accurate fishing system—but, without practice, the pursuit is frustrating.  The first thing to do is to decide which rig to purchase.  Bombarded with ads from every direction, making the right choice can be difficult.   I’ll try and give you a place to start.
First, do not be swayed by all the hype you see on TV and in the magazines.  There is no magic reel that will never backlash or add huge distances to a cast.  Those things are the result of how you develop your angling skills and how well you set up your individual reel.  The key is to start with a proven reel design that fits your hand and match it to a good rod you can handle easily.  It really is all about the fit and how the outfit feels to you.
There are two basic types of bait casting reels: low profile and round.   Low profile reels are sleek and racy looking.  Good examples are Shimano, ABU, and Daiwa.  The round reels are taller and have round frames.  The same reel companies previously mentioned have reels in that class as well.
The prices range from 60 dollars to over 500 dollars.  Now we need to address the confusion of deciding how much you need to spend to have something that works.  I have some simple suggestions, based on my own experience, to make this easier.  I normally recommend for a beginner a basic reel in the 60 to 140 dollar range.  Good examples are the ABU round reels, such as the C3 series with the 4500 or 5500 reels. These are found at most sporting goods stores and will cost you 60 to 80 dollars. Make no mistake about reels in this price range– they work.  You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a nice reel.  I use them regularly and have no problem catching fish.  The basic design has been around for decades and proven to catch fish anywhere in the world.  Mine have been around a long time, cared for properly and some are now approaching 40 years old.
One last important reel issue is which hand you will use to cast.  Most casting reels have their handle on the right side.  The standard casting method is to cast right handed, then switch the outfit to the left hand to reel in.  It sounds complicated at first, but becomes natural within a short time with practice.   More and more reels are now becoming available with left hand retrieve, so you don’t have to switch hands.  If you are just learning to cast, practicing with using either hand can be a real advantage.
Now that you’ve found your reel, you’ll need a rod to match.  Again, the same price range of 60 to 140 dollars will get things started.  Don’t go overboard on heavy actions and big long handles.  A great starting point is medium action, rear handle of no more than eight inches or so, and a total rod length of 5’6” to 7’.  Get the size you are most comfortable with.  You don’t need a long rod to cast far.  The longer rods are harder to transport and somehow manage to find car doors and tree limbs very easily.  Try out the rod on the reel at the store and check the feel.  There are many rod companies to pick from–just be sure it’s a known brand so, if there is a problem, you aren’t stuck with a lemon.  Your tackle store can help you with the brands best suited in your area.  You can also check out the catalogs from Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas.   These firms have additional in-house rod brands that are superb and well covered with guarantees.
Line is the next consideration for you new bait casting rig. Look for a line rating of 10 to 20 lb test.  The best line weight for beginning bait casting is 12lb test. Start with a premium mono line. Don’t buy cheap line.  Use well known brands: Berkley, Stren, Sufix, or YoZuri.  There are others, but these are nationally distributed and easy to find.  A solid basic product that is universally available is Berkley Big Game 12lb test.  I use this line and have been happy with it for years.  For teaching purposes, I use a version called Solar that has a fluorescent green color.  It’s easy to see and manage while learning, and relatively inexpensive.
Now you have gotten the rig together, spooled on the line.  Time for casting practice to begin.  The best place is not on the water, but on the lawn.  Buy some of the plastic practice plugs and try a little “lawn bassin”.  It’s a great way to learn and helps you practice the casting part instead of the fishing part.  I do this daily at home just to keep my casting eye in shape and it pays big dividends on the water.  Start with a ½ ounce practice plug and tie it on your line with the canoe man’s loop knot.  (Check the archives for my previous article on knots.)
Casting is a learned process.  Become familiar with the instructions that came with your reel on how to use the casting brakes and spool controls.  Start with easy tosses and progress as you get comfortable.  Don’t go for distance–go for accuracy.  A small plastic bucket is a great target to begin with.  Keep at it and learn to control the outgoing line with your thumb.  In no time you’ll be casting like pro and hitting right where you need to catch the big ones.

Jeff

Low profile reel
Low profile reel

Round reel
Round reel

Reels and hat
Reels and hat…

Casting plug
Casting plug

Short fishing rod handles
Short rod handles

 

Copyright © Jeff McGovern

Read more about Jeff’s kayak fishing trips and observations »

DIY outriggers for W300 fishing kayak (2007)

Editor’s Note:  Wavewalk produced the W300 series from 2004 tom 2010. The W300 was smaller than the W500 series, and less stable, hence the need for some elderly anglers to outfit their W300 with outriggers, so they could fish standing up.

Update from January 2010: Trophy Bass for Wayne Taylor, W Kayak Fishing Pioneer, Florida

Trophy bass caught by kayak angler, FL

Wayne Taylor

Wavewalk™ Kayak Fisherman

Florida

Wayne is a W fisherman from Florida with a remarkable sense for design, and the technical skills to carry through his plans.
He turned his W300 Fishing Kayak into a rowing outrigger boat:
-“I wanted to let you know about my W boat, it is great. To me this boat is a means to catch more and bigger bass. This is the best one man fishing boat I’ve ever used and I have tried them all…  I know younger people have better balance than some of us old guys.
I stand in my W but being 68 year old I wanted a little more stability when fishing, and I didn’t want to worry about tipping over.”

 

 

Wayne with his DIY outrigger W fishing kayak
Wayne’s DIY outrigger 2007 W300 kayak – canoe, fully rigged for fishing

“When I’m in the boat these outriggers barely touch water level and create very little drag.
I painted the outriggers with Krylon Fusion spray paint”

DIY outriggers for fishing kayak
“I used 4 inch thin wall PVC pipe for outriggers and elbows on each end.  Instead of using the heavy end caps on the elbows I cut discs to fit inside the elbows and glued them in, then siliconed the seams.
I cut disc on my CNC router and got perfect fits – they are 1/4 in thick and very light.
I used thick walled 3/4 in for the crossbars. I put the center of outriggers 6.5 inches out from edge of boat, that way I can paddle canoe style and not hit them.”

Deck mounted rod holder and oars on Wayne's fishing kayak

“I mounted the latest deck mounted rod holder in this place because when bass are not in the shallows I move to deeper water and I throw out my carolina rig or a drop shot rig and slowly row boat to cover water.”

closeup on oar locks and oars in Wayne's fishing kayak
“The reason I like the oars is I have better control of the boat with minor movements.”

rowing fishing kayak

“Paddling works good also, but I’m not picking up and laying down paddles as much.  I try to be quiet as possible as I am fishing small bodies of water and the fish are not accustomed to a lot of noise,  like on larger lakes… I also have a 20 ft bass boat which I’m not using as much as this W…”

 

Wayne fishing standing in his kayak-canoe
Wayne caught (and shot) this fish while standing up in his W300 kayak.

Tool bag for fishing tackle and gear
Wayne’s fishing tool bag firmly attached inside his W-Kayak cockpit

Rowing fishing kayak - fully rigged
Same fishing kayak with oar locks and oars.

Anotherv fish that Wayne caught from his fishing kayak
Another stand up shot of a bass caught by Wayne.

Fish caught in Wayne's fishing kayak
Note that sometime the rod holders are in the frond and sometime in the back – The W’s full front and back symmetry allows to switch between fishing styles.

3 stringed fish hanging from Wayne's fishing kayak
Wayne’s latest catch – stringed

Wayne standing byb his rowing fishing kayak holding the fish he caught
Outriggers, oars and fish of course…

Photography: Wayne Taylor

Measuring Your Catch – How Big Is This Fish?

When you’re fishing from a W kayak there’s an instant way to know how long a caught fish is:

You place it on the saddle top (a.k.a. mini-deck), and count the lines –

19 inch flounder caught in fishing kayak

Each rectangle is 6″, so this flounder that stretches over three of them would measure just a little above 18″.

Obviously, this method is not recognized by any fishing tournament, but it’s good to know – in case you forgot your ruler.

Photo courtesy of Jeff McGovern, Florida.