Tag Archives: motorized fishing kayak

Fishing offshore – the next frontier

Fishing offshore – the challenge

Let us define Offshore Fishing as fishing in the ocean or in the Great Lakes, away from shore, beyond the breakers. Such fisheries are characterized by currents and wind that are hard to overcome without adequate propulsion, and therefore hazardous to fishers who venture in them in small, human powered vessels such as canoes and kayaks.

Typically, people who fish offshore from kayaks tend to do it in more protected areas such as bays, or stay within a short distance from shore.
While these fisheries are relatively safer in comparison to distant and deeper ocean fishing grounds, they still present considerable challenges to kayak anglers, as well as to those who fish from other small, light, non-motorized craft such as canoes and dinghies.

Offshore kayak anglers know that traveling out there in a human powered vessel doesn’t grant them that they’d be able to go where they want or even get back to shore. For this reason, some anglers venture on long distance fishing trips with a mother ship, I.E. a large size motorboat that carries their kayaks into the ocean, and enables the members of such expeditions to return safely to shore. Typically, the kayaks used for such trips are sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks.

Comfort and safety factors

Those who fish offshore from a kayak can be exposed to wind and waves from the moment they launch.  Sitting in the L posture isn’t easy to begin with, but having to deal with the waves’ rocking motion and the constant wetness and  makes it even harder, especially  for anglers who fish in colder regions, where low water and air temperatures can be a critical factor.

Some kayak anglers outfit their ride with an electric trolling motor, and while this certainly adds an element of safety and increases their range of travel, it still doesn’t offer them the freedom to go on long fishing trips, or overcome fast currents.
Outboard gas motors are more suitable for this purpose. However, there are no kayaks out there except Wavewalk’s that can be outfitted and used with this type of powerful and reliable propulsion in a way that makes sense to the user. The problem isn’t just the poor stability of the mono-hull kayak design and the lack of effective means for its users to stabilize it, but also the fact that outboard motors are rather heavy and they work best when they’re attached at the stern, which is too far behind the area in which the kayak’s user is seated – Anglers who try to outfit their sit-on-top, hybrid or sit-in kayaks with an outboard motor soon discover that they can’t easily reach its controls, and they can steer neither safely nor conveniently, even when they use a long and articulated (U-jointed) tiller extension.

Unlike kayaks, small fishing motorboats (e.g. Jon boat, dinghy, small microskiff) are designed for motorizing, and their users can drive them without experiencing the safety and ergonomics problems that occur in motorized kayaks.
The users of such small fishing boats sit either facing forward on benches stretching across their deck, or facing sideways on benches located along their sides, or on a raised seat or swivel seat.
The problem with those small craft is that they feature flat bottomed hulls that work well on flat water, but offer neither good stability in waves nor much comfort to their users in the constant rocking motion created by the waves.
The same is true for the three above mentioned seating solutions – Sitting on a bench is fine as long as you can stand up from time to time and stretch, but it’s uncomfortable when you’re constantly struggling to balance yourself, and you’re prevented from standing up in confidence.
As for raised seats, they are great for comfort as long as you can stand up whenever you wish to do so, and as long as you don’t have to balance yourself while sitting in them. However, this is not the case when your boat is being rocked by waves, and in such cases you’d be likely to experience discomfort.

Most small fishing motorboats are not designed for car topping, or are just too hard for one person to car top. Therefore, they require transportation by trailer, which means launching and beaching in boat ramps, with the time loss and aggravation that entail…

For all these reasons, small flat-bottomed motorboats offer limited offshore fishability.

As for ergonomics, the W570 offers its users to travel facing forward while riding a saddle similar in size and shape to the saddles commonly found in personal watercraft (PWC – jet-ski). The riding position is unmatched as far as the power, control, comfort and balancing capabilities it provides, which is why it is so well suited for small, high performance, personal, offshore motorboats. No wonder that other high performance personal motor vehicles such as all terrain vehicles (ATV), dirt bikes, and snowmobiles all feature similar saddles.

The new W570 series

A few weeks have passed since Wavewalk announced its new W570 series of kayaks that are ready for motorized offshore fishing. During this period we’ve obtained substantial input about this new concept from W clients, fans and dealers who fish in different parts of the world.
It’s possible to classify their reactions to the W570 series into three categories – negative, mixed and positive.
Those who reacted negatively argued that there’s no real need for a spray shield and large-size inflatable flotation tubes, and consequently, these new accessories might reflect poorly on the W product and brand.
Those who had mixed reactions said that although personally they don’t see the point in either using or offering these new accessories, there may be a demand for a such a car-top boat among fishers who are looking to fish out of a small motorboat in the ocean or in large size bodies of water such as the Great Lakes, big and fast rivers, and other challenging fisheries.
Those who reacted entirely favorably to the new W570 series are mainly people who already fish offshore or in bays and large estuaries, and are familiar with the challenges that anglers face in such fisheries. Incidentally, there’s a higher percentage of motorized W kayak anglers in this third group compared to the general population of W angers.

All three points of view are legitimate and interesting –
Those who argue against the new accessories stress that as far as motorizing goes, Wavewalk has already shown in a most convincing way that its W500 series was perfectly suitable for driving while outfitted with an outboard motor at speeds that are similar to and even higher than the typical speed for other small motorized fishing craft such as Jon Boats, motorized square-stern canoes, dinghies and various flat-bottom watercraft classified as small-size microskiff. Therefore, adding large size inflatable tubes and a spray shield to a W kayak is overkill.
This argument is correct, obviously, but only so in the context of traditional fisheries where these other small motorboats are commonly used, which are inland, flats, small and medium size lakes, slow moving rivers, and generally speaking, in areas that are not particularly challenging in the sense that anglers who fish in them are unlikely to overcome either powerful and fast currents or waves while launching, driving and beaching their fishing boat.
It goes without saying that these relatively protected fisheries correspond to areas where the majority of fishing kayaks and canoes are used, as well as most other small, flat-bottomed boats. This fact puts the new W570 series at the edge of the current market, for better and for worse, in the sense that while the current market for it doesn’t seem to be big today,  there could be a substantial yet unfulfilled demand for such innovative, high-performance personal boat, whose offshore performance surpasses that of mono-hull fishing kayaks as well as traditional small motorboats when comfort, stability, ease of transportation, and launching & beaching are taken into consideration.

Keeping the cockpit dry

W kayaks offer several effective means to keep their cockpit dry on offshore fishing trips –

Typically, launching and beaching are the events that produce more spray, and are likely to get some water in if you don’t take any precautionary measure to keep the cockpit dry, which is easy since all W570 models come outfitted with a spray shield that blocks water from getting in from the front.
In addition, you can launch while riding the saddle aft of the middle part of the cockpit. Doing so would raise the kayak’s bow and further decrease the likelihood of spray getting into the cockpit.
And last but not least, all models from the W570 series feature a preparation for cockpit cover, which allows you to attach a small-size tarp over the front and middle parts of the cockpit, and thus prevent any spray from getting in. Once you’ve passed the surf zone and you’re out in blue water, you can easily detach the cockpit cover within seconds, and store it in one of the hull tips behind you.

These three defensive measures work effectively, and in addition, if any spray got in, dealing with it is very easy – All you need to do is take a couple large-size towels on board and drop them on the bottom of the hulls behind you, near the hull tips.
If any spray gets in, it will be drained to the bottom of the hulls, and the water would normally flow backwards, since the kayak’s stern is usually a bit lower than the bow.
The towels would soak the water, and if you see that a towel has reached its soaking capacity, all you need to do is grab it and squeeze the water outside the cockpit, which takes just a few seconds. This method is commonly used by canoeists and sit-it kayakers who travel in moving water.
If you’re into gadgets, who can replace the towels by an inexpensive hand-activated bilge pump. These pumps are popular among sit-in kayakers, canoeists and other small boat users. Their disadvantage over towels is that they become effective only in case a considerable amount of water has accumulated at the bottom of a hull, which isn’t likely to happen.
Another simple and effective accessory that kayak, canoe and small boat anglers use for bailing water out of their craft is a small-size bilge bucket. While this accessory is highly effective for this purpose, it’s not as easy to use as towels and bilge pumps are.

Watch the W570 in action -

Related articles

 The New Wavewalk 570 Series (W570) 2015 Models

 Motorized Kayaks

Offshore fishing trip in my motorized Wavewalk kayak, by Sungjin Kim

I woke up at 4:30 AM, before dawn, to be ready on time for this fishing trip in the ocean.
Launched at 6:00 AM from the harbor.
Going on the water with my motorized kayak was as I had planned.
Fishing wasn’t very good. Caught some squid, cuttlefish and seahorses.

Sungjin

Wavewalk Korea

 

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Just the W500 with extra-large flotation…

 

view-of-the-islands

 

my-fishing-pole-and-cooler

 

nasty-looking-fish

 

Read more about Sungjin’s innovations and fishing trips – inshore and offshore »

2.5 HP Lehr outboard propane motor mounted on my W500, by Robert Eller

I thought you might like to check out my W500 so here’s a picture of one of them. It is a Lehr 2.5hp propane fueled outboard.

Robert Eller

Florida

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W500 kayak rigged for fishing and outfitted with a TMM 15 motor mount and 2.5 hp Lehr propane fueled outboard motor

 

An Umbrella Sailing Assist, by Gary Rankel

For some time, I’ve been exploring ways to ease or reduce paddling in reaching some of my farther off fishing sites. I’ve researched motorizing my Wavewalk with both gas and electric models but, in the end, don’t want to add even a minimum of 30-40 pounds of weight, or put up with the added hassle of keeping gas, charging batteries, related maintenance, and anything other than a totally quiet experience on the water.
I’ve also taken a few umbrellas out with me exploring whether any might ease my journeys and save me a bit of paddling, but most were not practical, did not stay securely in place or allow me to paddle and steer when deployed. Not that I’m lazy, mind you; I still enjoy getting my exercise, but at age 72, I could use a bit of relief on my 8-10 mile paddles.

While looking at umbrellas online a few weeks ago, I stumbled across one from Radio Flyer that looked interesting. It’s specifically for children’s wagons.
I ordered one, and I’m glad I did. I’ve had it out twice and it works well.

The umbrella is 31 inches high and 26 inches in diameter when extended which is large enough to catch the wind yet small enough to not totally obliterate my view going forward. It has a bendable, tilt handle which can be rotated 360 degrees, and stays in place when set. The powerful clamp (you need to use both hands to open it) attaches securely to the W’s cockpit rim via a groove that is intended to attach to the lip of a wagon, but looks made for the W. These features allow for a secure, hands-free operation, allowing me to paddle and steer at the same time that the umbrella propels me forward.

The clamp can easily be slid or moved to any portion of the cockpit lip, but works best for me when positioned directly in front. When not being deployed, the umbrella, still attached to the cockpit rim, folds down and totally out of the way for fishing. When positioned on the side of the W and pointed downward so that a small portion of the umbrella touches the water, it might even serve somewhat as a makeshift sea anchor or outrigger (however, I’ll have to experiment more to determine related usefulness). And, of course, it can provide a bit of shade.

While the umbrella is an option only when the wind is blowing roughly in the direction you want to go, if you’re like me, and plan your trips to take advantage of the tide and wind, it can provide a nice boost.

I won’t be setting any speed records with my umbrella and won’t be challenging Yoav to a race in his souped up W, but I think the Radio Flyer may just make a few of my longer paddles a little more relaxing.

I’ll be ordering a couple more for backups, or maybe to deploy two at once.

Gary

Sailing Umbrella 015

Click images to enlarge –

 

 

Read more about Gary’s kayak fishing trips »

The New Wavewalk 570 Series (W570) 2015 Models

For 2015, Wavewalk introduces the new 570 series. The three models in this series come outfitted for offshore motorized fishing.

Overview

The 570 is a new type of small watercraft in which Wavewalk merged its patented W Kayak invention with the Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) technology.
RHIBs are known for their stability, high performance and seaworthiness in demanding applications such as lifeboats, rescue, and military operations. They also serve as tenders for large boats and ships, and as work boats in offshore facilities.
Unlike in regular RHIBs, the inflatable tubes that come with the W570 are easily detachable, for storage during transport, or in case they’re not needed, such as when you paddle or motorize on flat water.
And unlike RHIBs, the standard W570 comes outfitted with flotation tubes only in its rear part, so they don’t interfere much with fishing or paddling.
In addition, the weight of the outboard motor at the stern offers the W570 user to sit or stand closer to the bow while keeping the boat level. This slightly forward position further increases the range of motion when they fish, or paddle while launching or beaching in water that’s too shallow for motorizing, or in water with abundant aquatic vegetation.

The W570 can serve as a small, lightweight, car-top, durable microskiff with enhanced offshore capabilities.

The W570 user can drive it in the powerful and stable Riding posture, similarly to a personal watercraft (PWC, jet-ski), as well as standing up. Both types of boat feature a similar longitudinal, high saddle, although the W570’s saddle is longer, and allows the user to drive or paddle from different locations fore and aft of the middle of the cockpit.

Since motorizing at high speed in choppy water involves bumping into waves and generating spray, the W570 is offered with a lightweight, detachable spray shield that can be removed within seconds and stored flat and upright in one of the hulls, behind the user.  The reason we made this accessory detachable is in order to enable the user to get it out of their way when they fish, store it on board, and re-attach it only when it’s needed.

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Wavewalk 570 INF 20 outfitted with 20″ long shaft Honda outboard gas motor and tiller extension

 

Capabilities

  • Launching: Almost anywhere, including sandy and rocky beaches, steep banks that require seal-launching, remote beaches that require portaging and won’t allow for wheel carts, shallow water where only poling and paddling works, water with seaweed and/or grass, etc.
  • Beaching: Same as above, except less steep banks.
  • Mobility: Being a triple propulsion craft (motorizing, paddling, poling) the W570 can get anywhere a W kayak can, which means in seaweed, grass, reeds, over obstacles, in shallow water, in fast tidal currents, in strong wide, offshore in the chop,  etc.
  • Speed: 8.5 mph with a 210 lbs passenger on board and running a small, 2 HP Honda air-cooled outboard motor.
  • Range: Typically, when using a 2 HP outboard motor, 1 quart of gasoline (0.9 liter) would suffice for 1 hour at full throttle.
  • Maximum recommended load for passengers and their gear: 320 lbs (145 kg) when motorized.

 

Features

All three models in Wavewalk’s new 570 series (W570) come ready for offshore motorizing.
They include these standard features:

  1. A transom motor mount (TMM 15, TMM 20 or TMM 20-15). The mount requires installation that takes up to 5 minutes of easy work. The new TMM 20-15 transom mount fits both 20″ (long) and 15″ (short) propeller shafts, and it’s lighter than the other two.
  2.  A pair of high-capacity, detachable, inflatable side flotation modules (INF). Color:  Black. Attaching and detaching these modules takes seconds. Inflating them is easy and does not require a pump.
  3. A transparent, easily detachable and easily stored spray shield.
  4. A set of 4 additional tie-downs (eyelets) on each side of the boat (total of 8 extra eyelets) enabling  attaching the side flotation modules to it, as well as attaching an extra pair of flotation modules for extreme conditions.
  5. A preparation for cockpit cover that also enables attaching the spray shield to the front of the cockpit.
  6. A pair of clamp mounted Tite-Lok fishing rod holders.
  7. A saddle bracket – standard. Starting from 2014 all W models feature a saddle bracket – standard.
  8. A additional set of 4 standard (foam) flotation modules for paddling-only (100% non-motorized) mode, if the boat is not outfitted with a motor.

 

This video demonstrates the W570 INF 20-15 offshore, in choppy water:

 

Technical Specifications

  • Total length: 11’4″ (136″) 345 cm
  • Width: 29″ (73 cm) without the inflatable flotation modules
  • Weight: 60 lbs (27 kg) without accessories
  • Total width outfitted with 2 inflatable flotation modules: 29″ / front, 41″ / rear
  • Total weight when outfitted with accessories and no motor: 67 to 70 lbs, depending on motor mount model
  • Hull material: Rotationally molded High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Inflatable floats material: Heavy Duty PVC, 30 MIL (0.03″, 0.763 mm)
  • Spray shield material: 0.1″ (2.5 mm) thick Acrylite ®
  • Motor mount material: TMM 15 and 20 –  Trex ®. TMM 20-15 – Medium Density Overlay (MDO)
  • Minimum weight when outfitted with an outboard gas motor: 98 lbs with 2 HP Honda air-cooled outboard and articulated (U-jointed) tiller extension