Tag Archive: fishery

The term fishery is used by kayak anglers to refer to a place where they catch fish.

Nature Coast Kayak Fishers Club recruiting new members

By Gary Rankel

 

Nature Coast Kayak Fishers Club

 

Our retirement community of about 2,300 people in Citrus Hills, Florida held its annual Activity Club Showcase yesterday where leaders of the many clubs and activities offered were provided tables on which to display handouts and other club materials. I drafted a handout on the Kayak Fishing Club I established last year and made it available along with other materials highlighting the fishery along Florida’s Nature Coast. I included handouts and pictures describing and depicting the Wavewalk, and answered questions about the sport and fishing kayak types.

While most of the old fogies attending congregated around the poker and bridge club tables, a few of the more adventurous ones stopped by expressing interest in the club. I offered “show-me” outings to a couple who wished to give my Wavewalk a try.

All in all, it was a good three hours spent. Hopefully, it will result in a few more club members.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more about Gary’s kayak fishing trips »

 

Read Gary’s review of his Wavewalk 500 fishing kayak »

Flats boat or bass boat, or something else?

“My father is retired, and he owns a sixty thousand dollar bass boat that he takes out maybe twice a year, but he fishes out of his Wavewalk nearly every day.”
-Clint Harlan, Missouri

Different boats with many similarities

Bass boats and flats boats have a lot in common, and they also differ from each other in some details.
Depending on their size and the speed required from them, these two families of small to medium size motorboats are propelled by one or more outboard gas engines, and they are relatively wide for their overall size.
The decks of both types of fishing boats are generally flat, and they don’t feature a cabin. Both types of boats feature a special casting area in the front of their deck, where one and sometimes two anglers can sit or stand, and cast comfortably.
Both bass boats and flats boats are stable, and their hulls are designed to have a shallow draft, which is why they are generally more flat than the deeper hulls of boats designed to travel offshore, in rough seas.
All these boats are comfortable to travel in and fish from, and the more expensive ones offer a plethora of amenities that make traveling and fishing easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable for their crew.

Another noticeable difference between flats boats and bass boats is color – Flats boats tend to come in light colors, predominantly white, and bass boats tend to have a dark hull, with dark blue being their more popular color.

Many people who own a flats boat use it inland, in freshwater, as a bass boat, but it seems that the opposite is less commonly practiced.

Flats boats are skiffs designed primarily for saltwater, and in general, their makers strive to enable them to go in more ‘skinny’ water, namely very shallow water. They are named ‘flats boats’ after the wide stretches of flat, shallow water in coastal areas in the southern regions of the United States.

How shallow can you go?

Fishing in shallow water is the raison d’être of flats boats, skiffs, etc. This is where fishers of all disciplines, from reel and fly fishing to net casting strive to get those big redfish, snook, seatrout, snapper, tarpon and many other species that live typically in those rich fisheries.

When push comes to shove, it’s the depth of the propeller that determines how shallow the water you can go in can be, and not just the number of inches that the hull drafts.

Unless a boat is outfitted with a special outboard motor called ‘mud motor’, the effective depth where you can drive it is about one foot of water, or more. This is because even a small propeller is about 8 inches in diameter, and it rotates at least an inch below the anti ventilation plate (often referred to as anti cavitation plate), which itself is required to be immersed in one to two inches of water below the hull’s lowest point (typically, its keel). And naturally, you need some good clearance between the propeller and the bottom of the body of water in which you’re navigating, or else…
Needless to say that the water you drive in has to be free of seaweed and other types of aquatic vegetation that’s likely to snag your propeller.
These are the reasons why you need an alternative mode of propulsion for the really ‘skinny’ water, and this alternative is poling –
The quintessential element that makes a boat a flats boat is the poling platform featuring at the stern, and some flats boats are dubbed ‘poling skiff’.

Poling? Come on…

Opinions differ as to how effective poling is in terms of covering any meaningful distance, because in the first place, not too many people are sufficiently fit to pole, and even an athletic, experienced and highly motivated pole pusher cannot move a skiff at a speed that’s comparable to the speed achieved in kayaks and canoes.
As for poling against a current, even such as in a slow moving river, and let alone a faster, tidal current – good luck with that.
Being flat bottomed, flats boats don’t offer very good directional stability, and their high deck structures tend to catch wind, and for these reasons, plus the overall size and weight of the vessel, poling in unfavorable wind conditions must be ruled out.

To be fair, it would be hard for one person to move a fairly large and heavy boat such as a flats boat just by using their muscles. These boats don’t lend themselves to human powered propulsion, whether it’s paddling, rowing, or poling.

It seems like the only effective human powered mode of propulsion for boats this size could be stand-up sculling, which is a traditional method that’s still popular in Asia, especially with heavier boats. But stand-up sculling is a technique that requires a skilled and experienced rower, namely someone who’s in excellent shape and rows frequently, and let’s face it, this requirement doesn’t fit the description of our typical weekend flats fisherman…

Hey, what about me?

The person who activates the push pole in a flats boat can help their fishing buddy by identifying fish from the height of their poling platform, but they are pretty much prevented from taking part in actual fishing action. Too bad for them…

Stranded

Whenever you fish in skinny water that’s affected by tides, you risk getting stranded as the tide ebbs, and this means you and your fishing buddy would have to spend many more hours together, and in the company of mosquitoes. Lots of them… In other words, skinny water capabilities are not just about fishing.

Putting in, taking out, etc.

Being full fledged boats, you can launch neither a bass boat nor a flats boat from a beach, let alone one where rocks and oyster beds are present, and you can’t launch from a dock either. You need a facility known as a boat ramp that allows you to access water that’s deep enough with the trailer on which you transport your boat. Such boat ramp has to have a parking lot too, for you and other boat owners like yourself to park your vehicles and trailers.
Driving to a boat ramp takes time, waiting for other boaters to launch and beach may take additional time, launching takes some extra time, and so does parking. And none of these activities is something to look forward to, because they’re not fun.
Taking your boat out is equally frustrating in terms of time wasted on doing other things that are not fishing.

In dollar terms

Buying, operating and maintaining a bass boat or a flats boat isn’t cheap. However, we will not discuss these well known issues because we assume that if you’re reading this article, you can afford such expenses. Whether you would want to spend this money if you had a good, cheaper alternative to owning such a boat is another question.  After all, owning a big and expensive boat offers other advantages that are not directly related to fishing.

In sum, neither bass boats nor flats boats are very practical for really shallow water and for shorter trips. 

Not an alternative, really

No sensible angler would consider a SOT or sit-in kayak (SIK) to be an alternative to a full fledged motorboat, because of the obvious shortcomings of fishing kayaks, which are that they are extremely uncomfortable, wet, and slow, and paddling or pedaling them takes too much time and energy. A kayak’s range of travel is limited, even with an electric trolling motor, and besides – why did we even bother to mention these kayaks in the first place?…

Canoes are OK for a crew of two paddlers (well, sort of), but they don’t work well for one paddler, and motorizing a canoe is problematic.

As for Jon boats, dinghies, and other smaller fishing boats, you need a trailer to transport them, and you can’t paddle them effectively.

Inflatables? Nah…

A pretty good alternative

The patented twin-hull, 60 lbs Wavewalk™ 500 can be easily outfitted with an outboard gas engine, and easily driven across long distances. It’s back pain free, dry, and it offers plenty of storage. It paddles better than any other kayak out there, including in strong wind, and one person can car-top it effortlessly in less than thirty seconds. 
You can launch a motorized W500 from any dock or beach, including rocky beaches, and you can paddle it in water that’s just a few inches deep, and even go over obstacles. The W500 is the most stable kayak out there, and anyone can paddle it standing, and fish standing in it.

But there’s an even better alternative:

The best alternative

While the W500 is unrivaled in the world of kayaks, it is limited as far as load capacity is concerned. Its 360 lbs capacity is fine for one large size fisherman, an outboard motor, and plenty of fishing gear, but that’s about it – no carrying capacity for another large size fishing buddy, and this can be a problem for many people who are used to fish in crews of two.
And this is where the perfect alternative can be introduced: The Wavewalk™ 700.
This new boat does more than effectively bridging the worlds of kayak fishing and regular fishing from boats – It offers a range of benefits that in some cases make it a better solution than bass boats and flats boats –

The ultra lightweight (80 lbs) W700 can carry on board 580 lbs of passengers, motor and gear, which is enough for two full size fishermen, their fishing gear, and a powerful outboard. The 6 hp outboard featuring in our demo movies is overkill for it.
The W700 offers all the advantages listed above for the W500, namely easy car-topping, easy launching anywhere you want, easy paddling, skinny water mobility, easy stand up fishing, comfort, storage, stand up paddling and fishing, etc., plus full tandem capabilities, for both short and long trips.
This makes the W700 both a full solo and a full tandem car-top boat and paddle craft, and if you tried to go on a fishing trip in a bass boat or a flats boat by yourself, without a fishing buddy, you’d probably agree that neither of these full-fledged boat types are optimal for one person to use on solo fishing trips. It can be done, but it’s not that much fun.

The W700 is a unique watercraft, and you’re likely to appreciate it either as a great alternative to a bass boat or a flats boat, or simply as a new type of fishing boat that redefines the market.

 

Wavewalk™ 700

 

Steering motorized fishing kayaks and small boats

Why drive and not just paddle?

Driving a motorized fishing kayak or a small motorboat is easier than paddling, and using a motor offers anglers additional advantages, such as a longer range of travel, a chance to spend less time on getting to remote fisheries and more time fishing there, and increased safety and independence in the presence of strong currents and winds.
But being easier than paddling doesn’t necessarily mean that driving these motorized kayaks and small boats is comfortable and pleasant. In fact, it may not be easy, especially in rough water and over long distances.

What makes steering a small boat comfortable?

Physical Constraints

The ergonomics of steering a small boat or a motorized kayak are simple and easy to understand, and the basic factor that determines in what way the boat can be steered is the stability it offers.

Wider boats –

Small boats that are wide enough to provide a high degree of stability, such as wide dinghies and especially inflatable dinghies, offer their driver to sit next to the outboard motor, in the rear corner of the stern, facing the other side of the boat, and thus holding the tiller rather comfortably while moving it forward and backward relatively to their torso, a motion that is not physically demanding. The ergonomic problem with this posture is the need to turn one’s head and torso sideways in order to face the boat’s direction of motion, and this can be straining over long drives and in choppy water. Another disadvantage in this driving position is the decreased stability when making a sharp turn to side where the driver is seated, especially in rough water. Generally, these wide boats offer plenty of stability, but little means for their passengers to balance themselves, and this is true for the driver as well.

Narrower boats –

Other, narrower and therefore less stable boats such as smaller dinghies, Jon boats, small skiffs a.k.a. microskiff, large square stern canoes, etc. force the driver to drive from a position that’s closer to the boat’s center line, and therefore more forward of the outboard and away from the stern area.
A stabler design may allow the driver to sit in an intermediary position between the above described sideways facing position and a forward facing position, and consequently, with their arm holding the tiller stretched behind them, to some degree.
A narrower, less stable boat, forces its driver to sit in front of the motor, with their torso turned fully sideways, and the arm that’s holding the tiller stretched behind their back while their legs are somehow stretched forward, in a visibly non-ergonomic posture. Using an articulated (U-jointed) tiller extension can help in such cases by allowing the driver to sit while facing forward and holding the tiller extension on their side. However, not all small boats can offer such an option, since in many cases their rear seat or bench (i.e. driver seat) is too close to the stern and therefore to the motor attached to it.

The driver’s seat

After stability, the second most important factor that determines driving comfort is the driver’s seat. Typically, small fishing boats come with a bench type seat, or a box type seat. Since these seats offer the driver to sit higher than common kayak seats do, they are more comfortable, but still, benches and boxes don’t offer much in terms of comfort or the ability to balance yourself easily, which is critical when small boats are concerned.  Some small boats are outfitted with padded swivel seats that are usually higher than a bench or a box. A swivel seat certainly improves the driver’s comfort, but it doesn’t necessarily improve the driver’s ability to balance themselves, and sometimes it may even reduce it.

The personal watercraft (PWC a.k.a. jet-ski) is a small boat worth mentioning in the context of this discussion, as these high-performance sports boats feature a high, longitudinal saddle that offers their drivers both a powerful and ergonomic sitting posture, as well as optimal balancing. But jet-skis also feature a steering bar located in front of the driver, in contrast with the above mentioned typical small boats.

What works best for the driver?

Facing forward

If you had drive any vehicle, be it on land or on water, or in the air, you’d want to face forward, and not sideways – to any extent. This is such a basic notion that it requires little or no explanation. Simply put, we’re built this way, and any other posture is between sub-optimal and most uncomfortable.

Sitting high

You want to sit high so that your legs can do their job in supporting your upper body and helping you in balancing yourself. Sitting at floor level with one’s legs stretched in front of them is called the L kayaking position, and it makes kayaks so notoriously uncomfortable and unfit for fishing, at least when sensible anglers are concerned.

Good distance between one’s feet

Sitting with your feet close to each other is both uncomfortable and unstable, and any seating arrangement in a small boat should offer the driver the comfort and stability provided by having their feet located at a good distance from each other, preferably on both sides of their body, such as in the riding posture offered by jet-skis and Wavewalk’s twin-hull kayaks and boats.

Frontal steering

Again, when driving anything from a bicycle to a jet fighter or a mega-yacht, you want to hold a steering device that’s located in front of you – Not on your side, and especially not behind you… You want to be able to manipulate this device easily, and hold it with both hands if necessary, such as in adverse conditions, or if you simply feel like it. This steering device can be a bar, as found in bikes, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and jet-skis, a steering wheel, such as in cars and boats, or a joystick, such as in airplanes and Wavewalk 700 microskiffs. The steering device should not be placed too low, and the driver should be able to somehow lean on it, or at least have their hands rest on it, for more comfort.

Stand up steering

Jet-skis and any reasonable-size boat that features a steering wheel can be driven standing up. This capability is important for both navigation and ergonomics, as well as for finding fish, and last but not least, for fun, because all these small boats should be fun to drive, since their main purpose is to help people have fun on the water.

Types of steering add-on systems for outboards

The owners of small fishing boats can choose between several types of add-on steering systems for outboards. These systems use either steel cables, hydraulic cables or electric / electronic components.
If your boat is permanently docked somewhere or its motor is quasi permanently attached to it because the boat requires transportation by trailer, you are free to choose any steering system. But if your boat is lightweight enough to be car-topped, you need to detach the outboard from it each time that you transport it, which means that the steering system you choose should be easy and quick to attach and detach, and this is where Wavewalk’s joystick steering system shines – It literally takes a few seconds to attach it, or shall we say plug it in, and detach it. No tools are required, and you can even ‘unplug’ it when you’re in the middle of a fishing trip, in case you prefer to have the saddle in front of you free of any object that might interfere with your fishing – You just ‘unplug’ (pull out) the joystick’s base and drop it in the hull behind you, and forget about it until you want to start the motor and drive again.
Wavewalk’s joystick steering system offers all the advantages mentioned in this article, including the ability to drive standing up in full comfort and confidence.

Pink Salmon in Puget Sound

By Chris Henderson

Fishing Kayaks of Gig Harbor

One of the great fisheries we have here in Washington State is the pink salmon. They run every two years (so every odd year). They are plentiful and aggressive on anything that is pink. They also have a habit of migrating close to shore. This makes them very accessible to shore fishermen and they are a lot of fun. They are not as desirable on the table as some of the other salmon, but they do better than most fish (it is just that we are spoiled out here on the West Coast). Because of their numbers there is healthy limit (4 salmon) and so a lot of people pursue them. This creates the situation known as “combat fishing.” Fishing elbow to elbow on the rivers. NO THANKS!
That is where the Wavewalk comes in. We are able to launch at a park in the City of Tacoma and hit the mouth of the Puyallup River (where the fish are headed) and fish without all the crowds. There are still quite a few boats that come by but it is nothing like the river. Great having a boat that can get you where the fish are and away from the crowds!

Having a great fishing season this year!

Tight lines,

Chris

 

 

netting-a-pink-salmon-WA

3-pink-salmon-08-2015

 

fishermen-showing-3-pink-salmon-they-caught

More kayak rigging, fishing and bow duck hunting with Chris »

Microskiff

Coming soon: The Wavewalk® Series 4 »

The new, highest standard in small craft: A 98 lbs twin-hull super skiff that delivers full-size boat stability and speed, plus paddling capabilities and hassle-free car-top transportation. Read more »




This YouTube video is best viewed in high-quality HD 720p on a wide screen

Microskiff definition

What is a microskiff?  We found several definitions, but typically, a microskiff is a small, lightweight, flat bottomed motorboat used for flats fishing as well as in protected bays, estuaries, lakes and slow moving rivers. The typical microskiff crew consists of two anglers, and sometimes one angler. The microskiff is said to have evolved from dinghies.
Small and lightweight in the case of typical microskiff means a boat that requires transportation by trailer, and therefore must be launched and beached at a boat ramp.

The Microskiff propulsion problem

Microskiff are made to be propelled primarily by outboard motors, and they are too wide and heavy to allow for paddling. This is problematic for a number of reasons –
To begin with, an outboard motor can run out of gas or stall due to a technical problem, and an electric trolling motor that a microskiff may have on board isn’t enough for effective traveling over longer distances.
More importantly, both outboard gas motors and electric trolling motors use propellers that must be completely immersed in water a couple of inches below the surface. The result is that the effective draft of a microskiff is not particularly shallow, and often too high for very shallow water, a.k.a “skinny water”.
This problem also limits the typical microskiff in terms of potential launching and beaching locations, and this means that you must perform these operations at a boat ramp, which is a major source of frustration over a lot of wasted fishing time.
To add insult to injury, propellers don’t do well in the presence of aquatic vegetation, be it seaweed, grass, etc. This is particularly frustrating for anglers who know that such waters are among the best fisheries.

Human powered propulsion – Poling, anyone?

Microskiff manufacturers often show pictures of people who use a long push-pole to propel their microskiff through shallow water. This human powered mode of propulsion is indeed possible, but it’s not very practical –
To begin with, poling involves long intervals between each pole push, so the big effort invested in each push that accelerates the boat goes to waste when the boat decelerates while you are busy lifting the pole and sticking it back into the water.  Acceleration is particularly demanding in energy terms, and in other words, the fact that microskiff are wide and heavy makes them lose speed quickly, and thereby drain your energy in a short time.
Few people can push a typical microskiff over a distance of more than several hundred yards, and this is not enough in terms of real-world fishing.
On top of this, the hull of a typical microskiff is not designed for effective tracking – It’s neither very long nor narrow, and it lacks elements such as fins, skegs or tunnels that may improve its directional stability. The result is that poling such a boat in a straight line becomes harder, which means you waste an additional and considerable amount of energy and time because your microskiff zigzags instead of going forward in a straight line.
Poling is far from being on par with more effective means of human powered propulsion such paddling and even rowing.

Conclusion –

A better microskiff must allow its crew to go in shallow water and vegetation-rich water in a human-powered propulsion mode other than poling and preferably not rowing, since effective rowing requires good technique that can be acquired only through much practice. This leaves paddling as the human-powered propulsion of choice, and therefore, a truly versatile and functional microskiff is required to offer its crew to use it easily and comfortably as a paddle craft.

The microskiff redefined for optimal performance in real-world fishing

Ideally, a microskiff should allow for either a crew of two fishermen or a solo fisherman to launch, beach, motorize, fish and paddle in any type of water, whether standing up or seated. This means that such a fishing boat should be highly stable yet narrow enough for effective paddling. Only the patented, catamaran-style Wavewalk™ from the new 700 series offers to work as a both a full tandem and solo skiff in the sense that it works perfectly well for one person too, when the second crew member is not present. The fact that the W700 features two long and narrow catamaran-style hulls helps it track better than other craft of similar size, and that helps poling as well as paddling it, with either dual-blade (kayak) paddles or single-blade paddles – canoeing style. The hulls and cockpit opening of the W700 are long enough to allow for dropping extra-long paddles in  them.

The optimal microskiff must be lightweight enough to allow for trailer-free transportation, and car-topping by one person, in case no fishing buddy is present. Here too, the only two-person microskiff that offers such advantage is the new Wavewalk™ 700, which weighs just 80 lbs without a motor and accessories.  In fact, this weight is lower than the weight of most high-end fishing kayaks out there, including sit-on-top (SOT) and sit-in models, especially tandem fishing kayaks, which are heavier than regular ones in in some cases heavier than jon boats…

A trailer-free microskiff with triple propulsion capability

The redefined microskiff is trailer-free I.E. easy to car top even for one person, suitable for choppy water, skinny water and vegetation-rich water, and it accommodates two full size fishermen who can fish standing in comfort. It can be easily and comfortably driven with a powerful outboard 3.5 HP motor, as well as with electric motors.
One or two people can easily paddle this microskiff either in a kayak-style (with dual-blade paddles) or in the traditional canoeing style, and it lends itself to poling more easily and effectively than any other microskiff does, including solo skiffs, I.E. microskiff for just one person.
Such is the new Wavewalk™ 700, and it comes in various colors including all white, which is the traditional color for this class of small fishing boats.

Microskiff-W700-white-640

The W700 Microskiff from Wavewalk

W700 -top-view=sitting-640-1