Tag Archive: microskiff

A microskiff is a small to medium sized boat for fishing the flats, bays, and estuaries. Typically, a microskiff is propelled by an outboard motor, and it is sometimes propelled manually, with a push pole. This human powered mode of propulsion is called poling.
Most microskiff require transportation by trailer, which results in their owners losing considerable time on the way to boat ramps, waiting for other boaters to launch and beach, launching, and driving to the target fishing grounds.
At the end of the fishing trip, more time is lost driving the microskiff back to the boat ramp, waiting for others to beach and launch their boats, beaching the microskiff, and hauling it to the trailer. And then, the microskiff owner loses more time driving back from the boat ramp.
Another problem with microskiff is their limited mobility in shallow water and in water where aquatic vegetation abounds.
This problem is not negligible, since shallow water and areas with plenty of weeds are among the best fisheries.
The problem stems from the microskiff’s dependence on its outboard motor, and therefore on the propeller, which isn’t operational in such waters due to draft issues.
Poling is hard, and therefore cannot substitute for motorizing for any reasonable amount of time. This means that unlike kayaks, microskiff aren’t practical in no-motor-zones (NMZ), which are often high quality fisheries.

Both the transportation and the mobility problems described here are solved by a new type of microskiff that’s lightweight enough for one person to car top by themselves, without help, and thereby eliminate the need for using a trailer.
This new microskiff is also narrow enough for its users (one or two full-size fishermen) to propel it effectively and comfortably with either dual-blade paddles (kayak paddles), or single-blade (canoe) paddles across long distances, and in shallow water, as well as in weed-rich water. The same attribute allows the crew of two, or one, to launch and beach this new microskiff practically anywhere, including difficult spots, rocky beaches, and very shallow water.
Despite its being narrow enough to allow for paddling, the new microskiff is stable enough for two anglers to fish from it standing up, as they would from a traditional microskiff.
The new microskiff can be driven with an outboard as a two-person or a solo skiff, and it is called the Wavewalk 700. Currently, this series includes three models, and it is offered in four color combinations, including three dual-color combinations and all-white.

WAVEWALK® S4 REVIEWS

We launched the Wavewalk® Series 4 dubbed S4 in May of 2017. So far, it has been acclaimed by its users as a very comfortable and easy to paddle kayak, and a high performance motorboat in terms of fishability, versatility, comfort, load capacity, stability, and seaworthiness.
We publish a Wavewalk review only if it features its author’s full name and state, and pictures (or videos).
We publish reviews contributed by Wavewalk dealers as long as they use our kayaks and boats themselves for paddling, fishing, touring, hunting etc. We listen attentively to what they have to tell us because we think such people know what they’re talking about. We also recommend that our clients consult with them.

 

 

Review of motorized Wavewalk S4 on Lake Simcoe, OntarioWavewalk S4 with 2 HP Honda outboard in strong wind, lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada   
By Pyt Rotary, Ontario, Canada

 

 

Review Our Wavewalk S4 tandem kayakOur Wavewalk S4 tandem kayak    By Carl & Nichole Rodgers, Florida

 

 

Review of the Wavewalk S4 skiff with 3 passengers on board, and a new Tohatsu outboard motorWavewalk S4 skiff with 3 passengers on board, and a new Tohatsu outboard motor
By Captain Larry Jarboe, Key Largo, Florida

 

 

Review of My Wavewalk S4 in brownMy Wavewalk S4 in brown    By Lee Trolan, Virginia

 

 

Wavewalk Series 4 review and testing, St. Augustine, FloridaWavewalk Series 4 review and testing, St. Augustine, Florida   By David Hernandez, Florida

 

 

Review of the Wavewalk S4 – first impressionReview of the Wavewalk S4 – first impression   By Rafael Francke, California

 

 

Review of the Wavewalk S4 driving in ocean waves – first impressionSeaworthiness: Driving the Wavewalk S4 in 3-5 ft waves   By Captain Larry Jarboe, Key Largo, Florida

 

 

Wavewalk S4 first sea trial on windy day, with 5 HP outboard motor. Review and video.Wavewalk S4 first sea trial on windy day, with 5 HP outboard motor. Review and video.
By Captain Larry Jarboe, Key Largo, Florida

 

Back to Customer Reviews article »

 

Wavewalk® 700 reviews »

Wavewalk® 500 reviews »

 

 

Jon Boat Stability vs. Wavewalk® S4

Are Jon Boats Stable?

 

If you ask whether Jon Boats are stable, some people would say that they are, and others would warn you to stay away from them because they are tippy and unreliable. Their answer would depend on what they understand by ‘Stability’, what kind of Jon boat they see in their mind, and in what kind of water they see it being used, and these are often based on personal experience.

Is there a stability difference between a Jon boat and a skiff?

Both skiffs and Jon boats are flat bottom lightweight boats that differ in certain hull details, materials used in their construction, and deck structures.
Both are designed to offer as much stability as possible for a small mono-hull boat going on flat water, and as such they are stabler than wide canoes and kayaks of the same length and width.
Foot for foot and inch for inch, we don’t think there are major differences between Jon boats and skiffs in terms of the stability they offer. In other words, a Jon boat and a skiff of the same size, namely both length and width, can be expected to be about as stable as each other.

Who Uses Jon Boats, and Where?

Jon boats are small fishing boats that are popular among inland fishermen who fish ponds, small lakes, marshes, and slow moving rivers, namely flat water that’s usually well protected from wind, waves, and preferably from fast motorboats that generate big wakes. These anglers may fish alone, but typically they fish in crews of two. Bigger Jon boats can be used in bigger lakes and rivers.

Factors in Jon Boats’ Stability

Structure, size and passengers

A typical Jon boat features a flat bottom designed to make it draft as little as possible, and thus work well in shallow water, while other Jon boats feature a bottom that’s partially V shaped (sometimes referred to as “Semi-V”) that drafts a little more but offers better performance in choppy water. This V shape should not be confounded with the more seaworthy Deep-V design.
Jon boats can vary in width (Beam) from less than 3 ft to over twice as much, and this difference results in big variations in their stability, in this case initial (primary) stability, sometimes dubbed reserve stability.

When watercraft as small as Jon boats are concerned, passengers are typically the heaviest things on board, which is why passengers’ location and movements can greatly affect the boat’s stability.

Narrow-beam Jon boats are notoriously unstable, especially with a crew of two on board. Their instability can be felt even when they are used for fishing ponds and small lakes, where they are expected to perform at their best. Reading articles about Jon boat stability and user testimonials on this subject could lead the reader to the conclusion that any Jon boat that’s narrower than 48″ might not be stable enough for a tandem crew, and starting from this size, Jon boats get sufficiently stable, especially longer models. Another factor that affects a Jon boat’s stability is its length, since it acts as an enhancement to its width – A longer Jon boat is more stable than a shorter Jon boat of identical width (Beam).

External factors

External factors may destabilize a Jon boat as well, or at least destabilize the passengers on board – Such factors can be wind, waves and other boats’ wakes that hit the boat, especially on its sides (lateral waves).

Size matters, but it may not be enough

We found the following instructions for Calculating a Boat’s Capacity to Carry a Number of Passengers on a boating education website:
On boats less than 20 feet long, the following rule of thumb can be used to calculate the number of persons (weighing 150 lbs each) the boat can carry safely in fair weather and calm water conditions:
Number of passengers = boat length in ft x boat width in ft : 15
Example for a good size Jon boat or skiff: 15 ft x 4 ft = 60, and 60:15 = 4 passengers

However, the above formula seems outdated in view of the fact that these days the average adult US female weighs 160 lbs, and the average adult US male weighs 200 lbs.
Therefore, to calculate the number of adult passengers in a Jon boat, we suggest to use the same formula and divide the result by 20 instead of by 15.
Example for the same Jon boat or skiff: 15 ft x 4 ft = 60, and 60:20 = 3 passengers

Can the 13 ft long and 38″ wide Wavewalk S4 carry 3 passengers on board?
The answer is yes, in fair weather and calm water conditions:

Captain Larry Jarboe, of Key Largo, Florida. Click image to read the story

 

Balancing capability

When small craft are concerned, the boat’s own stability plays an important role in the overall stability of the combined boat and crew, but the passengers’ ability to balance themselves effectively is critical as well, which is to say that a wider Jon boat may not necessarily offer better means for its crew to balance themselves effectively –
Jon boats often feature rudimentary bench-like seats that are similar to ones found in canoes and dinghies, or high swivel seats such as can be found in bass boats. Neither types of seats are optimized for supporting the user’s balancing efforts, and they’re not very good in keeping their user anchored to their place and in full  control of their body’s center of gravity (CG).
This ergonomic deficiency exposes a Jon boat’s passenger to unexpected lateral (side) motion, as well as vertical motion, whether such motion is the result of an external force such as a wave or another boat’s wake, the movement of another passenger on board, or even the strong reaction of the boat to that passenger’s own movements.  More specifically, people on board a Jon boat can have a hard time finding their footing and balancing themselves intuitively, comfortably and effortlessly, and from the moment they lose their footing and balance, their own weight can act as an additional destabilizing factor that may tip the boat over, send its passengers overboard, and in some cases even overturn the boat.

A Jon boat of a smaller size works better as a fishing boat for one angler than it does for a crew of two.

Directional stability and lateral stability

Typically, Jon boats are motorized, and the flat bottomed ones can be easily deflected from their course as well as destabilized when going in lateral waves, especially at higher speeds. In such cases, the deficiency in a Jon boat’s lateral stability can become more problematic by the lack of good directional stability (tracking capability) that characterizes such boats, in particular ones that feature a flat bottom. People who use such boats are quick to head back home as soon as the wind picks up.
Jon boats with a V-shaped hull do better in waves and wind, thanks to the fact that they have some capability to go through waves and not necessarily on top of them, which isn’t the case with flat bottomed Jon boats that are essentially designed for use on flat water only.
This said, although Jon boats are not considered to be seaworthy craft, the bigger ones are sufficiently stable to offer a good experience to a crew of two or more anglers who fish inland, preferably in calm and protected waters, and away from fast motorboat traffic.

Stability: Jon Boats vs. Wavewalk® Series 4 (S4)

 

A detailed stability comparison between Jon boats and the Wavewalk® S4 is almost impossible to complete, because Jon boats vary so much in size and structure, and they can range from a flat bottomed, 32″ wide and 10 ft long (1032) boat to a V-bottom 72″ wide and 18 ft long one (1872), which can be assigned to another class of boats.

The Wavewalk form presents two main stability advantages:
The first comes from the fact that all the Wavewalk’s buoyancy is distributed as far as possible from the boat’s center line, where this buoyancy works more effectively to support lateral changes, whether such changes are external of generated on board.
The second advantage is the Wavewalk’s Personal Watercraft saddle seat that offers the passengers who ride it optimal, easy and intuitive means to balance themselves. This advantage is critical in view of the fact that the passengers’ total weight can be as big the the Jon boat’s weight, and it often exceeds this weight. For example, in the photo above, the passengers’ aggregated weight exceeds the S4’s weight by a factor of 5:1.

So, in order to avoid tedious detailed stability comparisons, let us simplify things and state that in general, the bigger models in the Jon boat class (over 54″ beam) are more stable than the S4, the smaller Jon boat models (less than 48″ beam) are less stable, and as for the the midsize models (48″ to 54″) the answer would depend on parameters such as their length (longer is more stable), and whether they feature a flat bottom or a V-shaped bottom, as discussed in the previous section of this article.

Bottom line: Compared to the traditional Jon boat design, the Wavewalk S4’s form and improved ergonomics add stability which is the equivalent of about 1 ft in width.

Portability and paddling capacity

More specifically, the Wavewalk® S4 is stabler than any car-topper namely portable Jon boat. Which is to say that if you’re looking for a Jon boat that’s more stable than the S4, you must take into consideration transporting and storing it on a trailer, as well as limitations in launching it, namely being dependent on launch ramps that come with trailer boats.

In addition, the Wavewalk® S4 is more stable than any Jon boat that can be propelled by means of paddling, whether it’s with dual blade (kayak) paddles or single-blade (canoe) paddles. This fact is particularly meaningful when very shallow water (‘skinny water’) fisheries are concerned, and no-motor zones (NMZ).

 

 

Seaworthiness

Generally speaking, Jon boats are not considered as being seaworthy, while Wavewalk® boats are more seaworthy thanks to their good  tracking capability and advanced ergonomics. These two factors allow for high performance when dealing with choppy water, which is why the S4 punches above its weight in terms of seaworthiness.

 

 

Payload

Small craft are penalized for their size in several ways, and one of them is their sensitivity to carrying more weight on board, which makes them slower and less stable. This is true for all boat designs, including Jon boat and Wavewalk. Therefore if you’re looking for stability for a larger crew of heavier people, say two big and heavy guys or more, your best bet is a very large Jon boat or skiff, that is 6 ft or more in width, and over 16 ft in length, and preferably with a V shaped bottom, so that you could drive it at higher speed. Two large size fishermen can go in an S4 and have a great time traveling and fishing for an entire day without experiencing any stability problem, even standing up, but they would not necessarily be able to go at speeds as high as a large size Jon boat or skiff offers.

Wavewalk S4 skiff with 3 passengers on board, and a new Tohatsu outboard motor

By Captain Larry Jarboe

Florida Fishing Kayaks

 

Will Akerstrom took this photo of the three explorers who ventured out of the depths of the mangrove forest. His wife, Margaret, is in the bow. My wife, Carlene, is the flag lady.

 

There is a rest of the story about our afternoon:

Will and Margaret come down to visit about 4 times a year. We had planned to take a trip out on the Line Dancer. Upon the routine engine check, I spotted a sheared motor mount on the port aft side of the engine. I delivered the bad news that the trip was cancelled but recommended a kayak adventure.

Will is not a small boat person but the ladies were game.

My S4 with the 4 stroke Tohatsu seemed like a good boat to do the job. Of course, it was.

Knowing the tide schedule, I chose the mangrove tunnel that I call Jurassic Park. The ladies were in awe (and, it takes a lot to impress my wife) of the strange animals and eerie quiet vibes in those narrow confines. I assured them that they need not be afraid of alligators and pythons as the crocodiles have eaten them all.

When the creek opened to the ocean, we saw thousands of fish and lots of lobsters in the shallows at the ocean opening.

We took pictures with my disposable flip phone but have yet to figure how to get them out.

My wife noted that the sun was going down soon and we would have to paddle fast to get back.

I said, “No problemo, senora.” One pull on the 3.5 Tohatsu, and we motored our way against the tide through and out of the tunnel.

Upon coming out of the main creek, we spotted Will at the public beach with his camera. He thought we were only going out for fifteen minutes not an hour and a half.

At least, it was not a three hour tour, a three hour tour with Ginger and Mary Ann and Gilligan…

Extension to Wavewalk S4 casting platform

The S4 is very lightweight (just 98 lbs) for what it offers.
This is not much even in comparison to many fishing kayaks, and it’s very little compared to skiffs. Which is why a fisherman standing on the casting platform at the bow of the S4 causes its stern to come up, and its bow to go down.

This is not that much of an issue for fishers who use their S4 as skiffs (namely motorized), or in tandem with a heavy paddler sitting at the rear, and in a full skiff capacity, namely with both another crew member and a good size outboard motor.
With both a motor and a fishing buddy at the rear, the S4 front casting platform is perfectly level.

For those who fish alone from their S4 without motorizing it, and prefer to cast standing on top of the front platform, here is a simple, easy, and lightweight solution –
Use 3/8″ plywood to extend the front casting platform backward, onto the front part of the cockpit.
This can be done while having the board rest on top of the saddle, or on top of the coaming (spray deflector), as seen in these images:

 

Option 1: Board on top of the saddle and under the coaming (spray deflector)

 

Option 2: Board on top of the saddle and the coaming (spray deflector)

 

 

An angler standing on top of such platform extension will be stable, and the platform level.