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.
Candy and I had friends visit from North Carolina, and we took them over to Peanut Island, and hung out for the day. What a blast! We went all four of us in the boat. We had to go slow but it works fine. It was only about a half mile ride over. We had probably a little over 700 lbs of payload on board.
Skiff, sun, fun…
This 100 lbs Wavewalk S4 skiff carried over 700 lbs of payload…
Wavewalk S4 skiff side by side with a conventional skiff
Shooting an aerial view of the S4 boat and its crew of four
I usually keep my Wavewalk S4 on my dock so I can use it right there. But sometimes, we like to explore other areas. I don’t have a truck to transport it, so I decided to convert an old sailboat trailer into a Wavewalk S4 trailer.
All it took was some treated 2×6 and 2×4 boards, some U-bolts, and some ceramic deck screws. I started with the trailer for a [brand name] sailing catamaran that I don’t use. I’ve never trailered that boat. The first step was to attach two 2×6 boards each with a U-bolt on the front and the back. On top of those, I screwed five 2×6 cross-boards so they support the boat from underneath all the way from front to back. Then I added 2×4 boards on both of the outside edges to provide an outer groove for the S4 to sit inside. A set of rollers from the sailboat trailer act as guides to align the inner hull of the S4.
The result? A very light but stable platform to pull my Wavewalk S4. When we get to the boat ramp we just back it down the ramp and the S4 slides off the trailer with an easy push. You should have seen the faces of the big boat owners at the ramp when I launched my boat with one finger!
The key to trailering the boat is to make sure it is tied down securely in the front and the back so that it doesn’t slide forward or backwards. I also have two lines over the top of the boat to hold it down, but be careful not to over-tighten these and compress the hull. Also, remember to tilt the motor up if you have one so it doesn’t hit the ground as you trailer it.
Having a homemade trailer can extend the range of your Wavewalk adventures and save the hassle of loading it in or on top of your vehicle. All it takes is a used trailer and some treated boards!
This short movie shows Captain Larry Jarboe driving his S4 kayak skiff powered by a 9.8 HP Tohatsu outboard motor with a 6’3″ 260 lbs passenger on board, in a narrow and winding mangrove creek. The total payload carried by his S4 is over 500 lbs. The S4 is perfectly stable and maneuvers easily despite the high speed and heavy load.
Larry is driving seated side-saddle, dinghy style, with both feet in the left hull and facing sideways, and his passenger rides the saddle PWC style, with a foot in each hull, and facing forward.