Note: This is a review of the smaller, W300 kayak series that was discontinued in 2010.
Go to the updated list of recent fishing kayak reviews »
Upadate from May 2010:
New Rigging Solutions for Craig’s Fly Fishing Kayak »
Update from March 2009:
Craig’s amazing kayak fly fishing trip to Florida with the W attached to his cartop »
Craig Masterman is a fly fisherman from central Massachusetts.
After having tested various fishing kayaks for over a year he decided to get himself a W because it was the only fishing kayak he found to be stable and comfortable enough for standup fly fishing and paddling, which was what he had been looking for to begin with.
Craig’s 2008 W300 Fly Fishing Kayak
“I do a bit of inland fresh water fishing, I am primarily a saltwater fly fisherman. I fish mostly on Cape Cod, but I also plan to car top the W kayak to SW Florida to fish the beaches and mangroves for a couple of weeks in March most years. The great thing about the W is that I can fish virtually any kind of water, fresh or salt, almost anywhere!”
Craig’s approach to rigging was “keep it simple” and “travel light”, with an emphasis on original and effective solutions:
-“I used two pair of the standard rubber paddle clips to mount the fly rod on one side of the boat and the paddle on the other. I used one-inch 18 gage self drilling screws to mount the clips 1/4 inch below the nearest fore and aft rigging loops on each side. That keeps them well out of the way of the paddling stroke. I cut about 1/4 inch off the upper tab on the paddle clips that hold the paddle to allow for easy insertion of the paddle from the cockpit. I improvised a light duty paddle leash from a small coiled key chain and a velcro loop from Ace Hardware. This results in the clips holding the paddle just firmly enough to preclude it falling out while on the water, with the paddle leash for extra insurance.”
-“To carry the fly rod, I mounted the paddle clips just as they come. To put the rod into the clips I hold the rod so the handle and reel are just aft of the rear clip, so the narrower rod shaft slips easily into the opening. Then I slide the rod forward until the cork handle is inside the clip, all the way until the reel is up against the clip as pictured. The cork handle is thick enough to be held securely in the rear clip. The tip is simply swung into the forward clip and is secured by a very small bungee loop as pictured. Again, this set up holds the fly rod very securely while paddling, well out of the way of the paddling stroke. When I get to my spot, I put the paddle in the clips on the port side [i.e. left side], retrieve the rod from the starboard side [i.e. right side], stand, and cast. It’s pretty slick.”
-“I bought a couple of stainless carabiners for the anchoring system. I tied the tail end of the anchor line to one and clipped it to one of the two eyelets between the hulls on one end of the boat. I clipped the other carabiner to the eyelet between the hulls on the other end of the boat. I plan to mount a small cleat on the first end right over the W logo to tie off the anchor line to any desired length. If I want to anchor off the opposite end of the boat, I simply run the anchor line under the rigging hooks along the cockpit rim and through the carabiner on the opposite end of the boat. I then have the option of anchoring between the hulls, or off either port or starboard quarter [i.e. left or right side] as needed. ”
Update from September 2008:
-“I have taken the W out in Pleasant Bay twice and on the Brewster flats in Cape Cod bay once, and I caught fish on each outing with the fly rod. The rigging for the rod and paddle worked out really well. I did add a small cleat on one end of the boat right over the W logo to tie off the anchor line as I had planned. The first trip on Pleasant Bay found me paddling up onto a beautiful white sand shallow flat next to a deeper trough of water on a falling tide. I was able to stand and slowly pole/paddle along the edge and sight cast to visible stripers edging onto the flat to feed. I hooked a 26 inch fat fish on the third cast! Just perfect! I love the boat.”
Front view of Craig’s W300 fly fishing kayak
Close up on modified rubber paddle holder, and paddle leash.
Top view of paddle holder
Close up on fly rod holder rigged using rubber paddle holders.
Close up on fly rod securing device
Fly rod securing device, and anchor carabiner
Photography: Craig Masterman