Tag Archive: fishing

Fishing is a popular outdoors recreational activity, or sport, in the context of this blog.

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.


Canoe and Kayak Market Trends in Recent Years

The (U.S.) National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is offering to download a preview of the abstract of its 2006 statistical report for download free of charge on this page: http://nmma.org/facts/boatingstats/2006/files/orderform.asp

According to this report the 2006 US market for canoes was a little over 100,000 units sold, at an average price of nearly $550 per unit.
The market for kayaks was over 350,000 units sold at an average price lower than $500.
The total 2006 market for canoes and kayaks was $233,000,000.

If I understand this report correctly the data take into account neither inflatable nor used canoes and kayaks, and they reflect a relatively stable market both in price and number of units sold in recent years.
A rigid entry level kayak costs between $300 and $500 while a touring, whitewater or fishing kayak can cost over $1,000.
It becomes clear from this report that entry level (a.k.a. ‘recreational’) kayaks constitute the bulk of the market in terms of units sold, since the average kayak price is within the price range of this category.

What else is it possible to deduct from this report?
Obviously, entry level kayaks differ from traditional designs mainly by their length to width ratio (L/W, or L/B). They are shorter and wider than traditional kayaks, namely slower and stabler.
This means that the overwhelming majority of U.S. paddlers are willing to sacrifice speed for stability, and that paddlers who practice the Eskimo Roll and put their trust in it as the main means of recovery are a rarity (by that I mean even less than a minority).
Entry level is in fact the norm, and contrarily to what touring manufacturers used to believe paddlers stay at that level and don’t ‘progress’ to the traditional, narrow designs. Progress is therefore represented by the stable designs, while tradition is represented by the (you’ve probably guessed it already) traditional designs…

And last but not least, it doesn’t take statistical reports to see that kayak fishing is the most active and fastest growing market in paddle sports and activities. Most kayak manufacturers have noticed this trend and offer a wide variety of extra wide kayaks (up to 42″, that’s over one meter), because fishing requires more stability than any other kayak related application.
In the same spirit, traditional paddling magazines and websites are increasingly preoccupied with kayak fishing and feature more advertisements for fishing kayaks than ever.


2008 W Kayak Models

(Added May 08, 2008) –

One of the typical things that happen with a good design is that after people actually begin using it they discover new advantages it offers, and new things it enables.

The 2008 model has already exceeded our initial expectations by offering two new positions:

Side-saddle , and Riding-over


Original post:

I guess many have asked themselves what made Wavewalk modify our kayak design in the 2008 models.
The answer is a bit long:
First, we wanted to do counter affect the rising cost of shipping, and cutting two inches from the spray deflector’s top resulted in a 10% reduction in the overall nominal volume of the standard package we ship to the customer.
Second, we’ve noticed that some people preferred a more rigid cockpit rim, so we made it broader, thicker and more robust. Now they got what they wanted.
Third, we wanted to help small children (5-6 year old) paddle without having to stand up, and lowering the spray deflector offers just that.
Fourth, we wanted to make it even easier to step into the cockpit and out of it, and that’s really where one can say ‘the best gets better’.
Fifth, we thought that a deep and narrow hull was a perfect place to drag a powerful and energetic fish into while it’s fighting to get free. Lowering the cockpit rim enables the W kayak fisherman to swiftly ‘drag and drop’ the fish out of the water and into a hull with minimal effort, and let the fish calm down a bit before being taken care of – without causing a mess on the deck or worse – in the fisherman’s lap.
Sixth, we realized that although capsize and deep water re-entries are quite rare we’d better offer the paddler a more comfortable way back in, and again – a lower cockpit rim was the solution.
Seventh, a lower spray deflector enables W paddlers to move the paddle faster from side to side whether they’re canoing or kayaking their W.
Eighth, well, we felt we needed to show something new…

To compensate for the 2″ of protection lost we equipped all 2008 models with a preparation for a cockpit cover.
This means that W paddlers can paddle the 2008 models in the surf or in fast rivers as well as in bad weather while being better protected than they were before.


kayak cockpit closeup

What fishing gear to carry on board

By Jeff McGovern

A kayak is not a bass boat, bay boat, or a flats boat when it comes to hauling equipment. While a kayak can fill most boating roles, space is limited– so serious thought is needed as to what to carry. You outfit your boat according to the needs you have in your own fishing area. My fishing time is split between saltwater and freshwater in Florida. The gear is similar, except for the tackle changes normally associated between the two types of fishing.

Safety gear is first. You need to be safe in the water and there are some things that are mandatory and might be required by law. A PFD or personal floatation device is very important and should be worn at all times while in the kayak. A whistle is required as a signaling device and should be carried on board. Hat and sunglasses add protection and comfort from the sun. Proper clothing, either rain suit or sun protection, needs to be accessible for when the need arises. Fishing gloves protect the hands from sunburn and can aid in the landing of fish. Sun block should be worn at all times to protect the skin. I prefer at least SPF 30 or higher. Foot wear needs to be nonskid and of a type that can be worn in the water. Here in Florida, shoes with a sturdy sole help prevent cuts and slashes from oyster beds and shells. I also carry a sponge or towel to wipe my hands after a fish, as well as to soak up any water I get into the boat.

You need some way to secure your kayak while still fishing. An anchor or stake out pole is ideal for this. My preference is to use a small folding anchor on an anchor trolley rigged to the side of the kayak. If the water is shallow enough, in the W you can simply change your position on the seat to pin the hulls to the bottom–a great method for stop and go style flats fishing. In deeper water, a drift sock or small bucket can be used to slow down your drift. In addition to securing the kayak at times, you’ll also need a place to keep the paddle out of the way. You can either place it across the cockpit, resting on the cockpit noodles or on paddle hooks (as seen on the W website.)

Fishing tackle needs a place to be kept out of the way until needed. A fishing vest with multiple pockets is fine for small terminal tackle and packages of plastic baits. It also gives you a place to carry a small camera, line clippers, dehookers, and other small fishing tools. I use small gear reels or lanyards to keep the gear close at hand but out of the way while fishing. Larger lures in tackle packs and other tools can be placed in a small plastic trashcan and slid under the deck on whichever side is most convenient. A net is handy and a small one can be kept under the front deck opposite the side with the trash can. Another great tool for landing and controlling fishing at the boat is a pair of fish grabbers.

I keep drinks and snacks in a small soft cooler behind me in one of the hull spaces. If fish are to be kept for dinner, they can be stored in a cooler bag in a hull space as well.

Rods and reels are placed in the flush mount holders, if the W model you have is equipped with them. My F2 has two holders, while my standard W boat has a three-tube crate rig mounted on the deck behind me. If I need extra rods, I use multi-piece pack rods stored below the decks. Some folks like to troll while paddling and the new Ram rod holders are ideal for this purpose.
Remember that, even though space is limited compared to a powerboat, there is more than enough room for a day of fishing in a kayak. It just takes a bit of thought and planning.

Jeff's kayak fishing shoes
Editor’s note: Jeff’s shoes seen here are size 15

Jeff's fishing vest and gear

Jeff's lure boxes

Jeff's fishing rod

Plastic Fish Grabber

Plastic Fish Grabber

Jeff's fishing gloves and sun protection

Photos: Jeff McGovern

Copyright © Jeff McGovern, 2007


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

Two Fishermen’s Knots

By Jeff McGovern

Knot tying is an essential fishing skill and there are entire books written about fishing knots.  I am going to concentrate here on two lesser-known knots that I use constantly in saltwater, as well as freshwater fishing.


1. Surgeons Knot

I use this for attaching a leader to my main line.  It works for both mono and the new super lines.  For best results when using a super line (such as Fireline, Power Pro, Spiderwire, etc.), double the line before tying in the leader.  This will give the connection more bite and it will hold much better. I normally use 10lb to 30lb leaders (mono or fluorocarbon) and tie to either 8 to 20 lb mono or 8 to 30lb super line.
With a properly tied leader, you can fish with less connection hardware such as clips or swivels.  It creates a connection point to the fish that is tougher to break than the main line and, in some cases, is less visible to the fish, and is a great handle when landing the fish.  I depend on this connection and it has not failed.


1. Lay the two lines side by side.



2. Tie an overhand knot pulling the leader line (green) through the loop.



3. Make three more passes for a total of four



4. Wet the knot and pull it tight.



5. Trim the tag ends.



6. Done!

Photos: Kate McGovern


2. Canoe Man’s Knot


This knot is credited to the late Merrill Chandler, known for his pioneering efforts saltwater canoe fishing in Florida.   It is a loop knot for connecting a hook, lure, or jig to the leader.  Loop knots allow the bait or lure to move more freely in the water column making them more attractive to fish.
This one is super easy and does not use up long lengths of leader each time it is retied.  I use this knot as my leader to lure connection most of the time and, as with the Surgeons Knot, it has never failed me when properly tied.

Both knots should be wet before being pulled snug.  This allows the knot to seat better and be more secure.  It also protects the line from heat friction damage during tightening.  This is especially important when using fluorocarbon leader material.

The pictures show how to tie the knots.  Practice makes perfect and these two knots are well worth the time and effort.  Master them and they will be simple and effective additions to your fishing knot arsenal.



1. Put the leader through the eye of the lure about three inches.



2. Form two backwards loops toward the lure in the leader.



3. Push the second loop through the first.



4. Put the tag end from the lure through the loop that passed through the first loop.



5. Wet the knot tighten while holding the tag end this allows the loop to be sized



6. Trim the tag end.


 Copyright © Jeff McGovern, 2007

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