Tag Archive: flat water

Flat water is a stretch of water with no waves or currents. Paddling and fishing in flat water is easier than in moving water

10 good reasons to motorize your kayak

Wavewalk is the world leader in motorized kayaks in terms of stability, load capacity, seaworthiness, speed, versatility, mobility, comfort, and more.
This article answers the question “What are the advantages of motorized kayaks over non-motorized ones?”

1. Motorizing is easier than paddling

Not everyone can paddle their kayak over long distances, or in less than perfect conditions. Some kayakers suffer from disabilities, and others are elderly or not physically fit. Assisted paddling, namely paddling while an electric motor provides your kayak with additional propulsive power makes things easier, be it in strong wind, fast currents, or waves, as well as on flat water. When you motorize, you save your own energy, and you’re more comfortable.

2. Having a motor is safer than depending solely on paddling

A human powered kayak is an under powered vessel, by definition. In a sustained mode, an average adult paddler can produce between one tenth of a horsepower and one quarter of a horsepower, and this is very little, even in comparison to weak electric motors. In case you’re too tired to paddle back to your starting point, or due to unfavorable changes in water or weather conditions, being able to propel your kayak with a motor can be a critical factor that could save your trip, and even your life – A motorized kayak is safer than a non-motorized one.

3. A motor greatly increases your range of travel

Simply, having an extra source of power on board allows you to go further, since you can paddle to your destination, and motorize on the way back. So, whether you’re on a touring, fishing or on a photography trip, the motor allows you to cover more water, explore, and go to more places.

4. A motor allows you to take a bigger payload on board – cargo and/or passengers

You may want to take a passenger on board, or load your kayak with heavy camping gear, but this additional weight could make it too hard for you to paddle. In such case, a motor could make the difference.

5. Motors work well for trolling

You can paddle your kayak and fish at the same time, namely engage in trolling, but an electric trolling motor or a small outboard gas motor can do a better job than your paddle.

6. Driving a motorized kayak is fun!

Driving a motorized kayak can be fun too, especially if it’s a Wavewalk that’s outfitted with a powerful outboard motor. And driving standing, which is an option that all Wavewalk models offer, is even more fun – It’s comparable to skiing, except you’re going on water and not on snow, and it’s also comparable to water skiing, except for the fact that you’re free to go anywhere you want, including in choppy water and in waves, and you don’t depend on a powerboat to tow you.

7. A motor can get you to places that you otherwise couldn’t access

A Wavewalk outfitted with a mud motor (surface drive) can go where other boats can’t, and even where human powered kayaks can’t, such as mud flats, fast streams, etc.

8. Driving saves time

An S4 Wavewalk kayak outfitted with a powerful outboard motor can go at speeds approaching 20 mph, for as long as you want. This is more than five times the speed that a strong kayaker in a fast kayak (that is not a typical fishing kayak) can sustain for a limited amount of time, on flat water. In other words, a motor kayak can get you much faster to where you want to go, and back.

9. Motor boating is cool, and speed is exciting

Not everyone likes paddling, and not everyone thinks it’s cool. You may want to take someone on board your kayak, be it a child, your wife, an elderly parent, a fishing buddy, etc., and find that kayaking (or canoeing) doesn’t appeal to them, but going in a motorboat would, and to some of them the appeal would be greater if you go at high speed.

10. Helping other kayakers

Having a kayak powered by an outboard motor puts you in a unique position of being able to help other kayakers. You could do it by carrying heavy camping equipment on board your motorized kayak (realistically, only a Wavewalk…), taking passengers that aren’t fit for paddling, and by towing other kayaks.

 

More articles on these subjects –

How much HP for my S4 skiff’s outboard motor?

Developments in Motorized Kayaks

Paddling in Strong Wind

Boat stability in a kayak

Motorize your fishing kayak?

How Much Gear Can You Store Inside a Wavewalk Fishing Kayak?

Fishing Kayak Stability

Motorizing Your Kayak – Why, How, What Etc…

 

Choosing an outboard motor for your Wavewalk® 700 skiff

This article is an attempt to answer some questions that Wavewalk skiff owners ask in the process of choosing an outboard motor for it –

Short shaft or long shaft?

We definitely recommend using outboards that feature a long (20″) propeller shaft, and for multiple reasons, which are discussed in this article entitled Outboard motor propeller shaft length for Wavewalk fishing kayaks and boats »
We recommend not to be tempted by the availability and lower price of 15″ short shaft outboard motors, because such motors don’t fit the W700, and using one would never produce optimal results, even for a highly skilled individual with a lot of experience in boat outfitting.

Here is a list of long (L) 20″ shaft outboard motors currently available in the 2 to 6 horsepower range, and their HP rating:

  • Honda 2.3 HP (air cooled), 5 HP
  • Suzuki 6 HP
  • Evinrude 6 HP
  • Tohatsu 3.5 HP, 4 HP, 5 HP, 6 HP
  • Yamaha 2.5 HP, 4 HP, 6 HP
  • Mercury 3.5 HP, 4 HP, 5 HP, 6 HP
  • Mariner 3.5 HP, 4 HP, 5 HP, 6 HP

Recommended reading –

Air cooled or water cooled?

Water cooled motors are quieter but heavier than comparable air cooled motors.
The only motor featuring on the above list that’s not water cooled is the Honda 2.3 HP. It is very lightweight, and works very well, but being air cooled makes it considerably noisier.

Note: Outboard motor manufacturers recommend flushing the motor’s cooling system with fresh water after every trip in saltwater. It’s possible to flush an outboard with a garden hose outfitted with a special adapter.

4-Cycle or 2-Cycle engine?

Nearly all new small motors on the market are 4-Cycle (4-stroke) and not 2-Cycle (2-stroke).
The advantage of the 4-Cycle system is twofold –

  1. The motor runs on regular fuel, and there is no need to mix it with oil.
  2. A 4-Cycle motor is cleaner, namely it emits far less stinky fumes than 2-cycle motors do.

Some experts argue that for the same displacement of its combustion chamber (cc, volume, size), a 2-Cycle engine in more powerful than 4-Cycle one, but we think that convenience and fresh air are more important.

electric or gas?

Many Wavewalk owners outfit their W500 and W700 with electric motors in the 30 to 50 lbs thrust range, and some go as far as 70 lbs thrust. They use their electric kayaks and skiffs for assisted paddling, recreation, touring, trolling, fishing, snorkeling, etc., but we prefer not to include electric motors in our list of “real” outboard motors for two reasons, which are:

  1. Power – Although some small electric motors are offered as “outboard motors”, just looking at their basic, objective power rating makes us think that they are too weak. Kilowatts to Horsepower conversion: 1 KW = 1.34 HP, and 1 HP = 0.745 KW. Consequently, an electric motor can work well on flat water and at a moderate speed, but not necessarily in adverse conditions, namely strong current, strong wind, etc.
  2. Range of travel – A gallon (3.8 liter) of fuel costs a few dollars, and it’s enough for a typical small outboard motor to run for 4 hours at a high RPM, or an entire day at a lower RPM. You can refuel a small outboard’s built-in fuel tank when you’re on board your Wavewalk®. You can take several gallons of fuel with you on a long camping trip, and you can buy more fuel almost everywhere, while recharging an electric motor’s battery can take half a day. Therefore, gas outboard motors offer a reliable and convenient solution whose price / performance ratio is unbeatable by any electric motor available today.

Weight

All small outboard motors listed above are considered to be Portable. However, between the 29 lbs of the 2.3 HP Honda and the 59 lbs of the 6 HP motors there is a considerable difference, if you need to carry the motor by hand over a distance.

The shallow water position

Most of the small outboard motors listed here offer to lock their propeller shaft in an intermediary position between the vertical (down) and horizontal (up) positions. In this intermediary, slanted position, the propeller drafts less than in the vertical position, and this allows for driving the boat at a moderate speed in very shallow (‘skinny’) water. Therefore, if you’re looking to fish in skinny water, we recommend that you look for this feature.

gear shift lever

Most outboard motors on our list feature a gear shift level, and this is a good thing, because the alternative is a centrifugal clutch that lacks an absolute neutral position. The absence of a full neutral gear can make starting the motor a little tricky, if you’re a beginner.
Our preference goes to the outboard motors that feature the gear shift lever at the front, rather than on their side. The frontal position makes it easier for the driver to access the lever whether the motors points left or right, and even if the driver is facing forward.

built-in fuel tank

All the above listed outboard motors come with a built-in (integrated) fuel tank, and this is a convenient feature considering the alternative is to have a fuel line run from a separate tank to the engine. When you operate such a small craft as a Wavewalk, simplicity becomes increasingly important.

propeller

The propellers that come standard with these outboard motors fit Wavewalk’s kayaks and portable skiffs. Typically, these motors propel much heavier boats, which is why the propeller’s diameter and pitch which determine output in terms of speed and torque are of no real consequence to the owner of a Wavewalk under normal conditions.

price and brand

All the brands listed above are known to produce quality motors, and in fact some of them produce motors for others. For example, Mercury is a Tohatsu brand. This is to say that we see no reason to pay more for a particular name brand, and we recommend to consider only the motor’s technical attributes, and its price.

HP rating – can i overpower my skiff?

6 HP is the absolute maximum for which the W700 is rated, and this is only for its RIB model. Overpowering your Wavewalk can be hazardous, and if you use the wrong motor mount you’d be calling for trouble. This said, if you happen to own a 20″ shaft 5 HP motor and your W700 is rated for a 4.5 HP motor, you can keep your motor, and you won’t necessarily have to get a new one. Similarly, if your W700 is rated for up to 4.5 HP and you found a nice 4 HP that you like, you’d be fine with it.

motor mount

If you choose to make a DIY mount for an electric trolling motor, chances are that you’ll succeed, since these motors are so weak that they’re not likely to cause trouble. But this is not the case with the gas outboard motors in the range that features on the above list.
There are several issues to overcome with motor mounts, and the motor’s weight is the least of them. The main problem is that operating at the end of a 20″ lever, the motor’s propeller generates a great amount of torque, especially at high speed, in rough water and when making sharp turns at high speed. This torque can twist and crack a 4×2 timber, and pull out nails and screws from their place. After having seen motor mounts get broken by outboard motors ranging from 6 to 3.5 HP that were mounted on them, we strongly recommend not to build a DIY motor mount for these motors, and to use only the motor mounts that Wavewalk recommends.

alternator

Some of the more powerful outboard motors listed here can be outfitted with an alternator and an AC to DC converter. Note that such accessories cost hundreds of dollars.
The electric current produced by this system can be used to power lights on board, or to charge a trolling motor’s battery. Such setups are common in bigger boats (e.g. bass boats) that feature much more powerful motors. Although some Wavewalk owners have outfitted their W700 with two motors (a powerful one for driving and a small one for trolling), we don’t know of anyone who’s outfitted their outboard motor with an electric current generation system.

Why an outboard motor?

Skiffs, Jon boats and other small boats sometime come with other motors, among which are air drives or air motors (large diameter propellers) for running marshes and flats, jet drives (similar to personal watercraft, a.k.a. jet-ski), long shaft mud motors for going in shallow water and over obstacles, and outboard motors that run on propane.

While each of these motors offers certain special advantages, and we’d love to see the W700 outfitted with any of them, as well as with other propulsion systems ranging from sails to oars, and even pedal drives… we think the common small outboards such as we listed here offer the optimal mix of price, performance, reliability, versatility, ease of use, and ease of maintenance – Just think how common are boat dealerships and repair shops that service these motors… And if you know how to use your outboard motor and you take care of it, it’s truly a wonderful thing that you’d enjoy for years, and possibly even decades.

Poling the flats, casting, and catching one more redfish

By Kevin Eastman

I thought I’d send you another report from sunny Florida as the sun is setting for the Northern kayak fishing season. Our inshore waters remain high with continued unpredicted floods at high tide so I took advantage of one this morning before work. Again, this fish took some work to find, though the catching was easy. I poled to a couple of my not so secret secret spots only to find not enough water and no fish. I decided to leave since it didn’t look like the water was coming up and I hadn’t seen any fish on my way in. I figured that would be the end of it for the day since the tide was receding. There is little bait left in the grass after two weeks of twice daily flooding there are very few fish foraging now. I checked out one more small flat near the launch on the way back and did find one lonely fish to stalk. I was fortunate to get a couple of good casts and he was interested in my offering (spoon fly). It was a nice long fight thanks to the cooler waters as fall creeps in. So, not big numbers but at least there was no skunk today.

It’s been fun this year learning to use the fishing belt I made that holds my fly rod and push pole so I can cast from the poling platform an not have to put everything down, then wade after the fish. I think I’ve managed to get casts at fish that I would normally not have. An added bonus is staying dry for the whole trip.

 

nice-redfish-caught-in-flats-fishing-poling-trip-10-2015

 

Read more about Kevin’s DIY rigging projects and fly fishing adventures »

My favorite time of year

By Steve Lucas

 

I do like the Spring. The tourists are gone, the weather is nice and the waters are smooth. I wish my fishing luck was better but I can’t complain about a glorious day on the water, sight fishing Choko Bay.

I had basically the same score as last time. A bunch of small Snapper and Snook.

Here’s some pix.

sunrise-May-2015

patroling-the-magroves-in-quest-for-fish

 

snapper-05-2015

 

snook-05-2015

 

sun-refleceted-in-the-water

the-birds-are-fishing-too

Read more about Steve’s fishing trips and rigging tips »

Finally caught a few in the tidal flood, by Kevin Eastman

Sunday night the high tide was after dark but we had a nice east wind that brought the water in early so I launched for a sunset cruise to the flats. I found a couple of nice reds that came home with me for dinner. I got the last one just as the lights went out and had a nice paddle home in the moon light.

I got out again this morning for few more hours and the fish were on the flats. The water was calm as glass and no wind to speak of so conditions were perfect. It’s not too often it’s that nice for the floods this time of year. I missed number of them but did manage to get a couple of more before the water receded.

I finally got around to make a better standing platform for my seat. It’s a bit longer so I can move a bit better than with my shorter one.

Kevin

 

two-redfish-and-fly-fishing-rod

A pair of reds on the new DIY standing platform

 

redfish-caught-in-tidal-flood-october-2014

 

DIY-fly-rod-rack-mounted-on-the-kayak

DIY fly rod rack designed for stand up fishing

 

Read more about Kevin’s DIY rigging projects and fly fishing adventures »