By Joe Stauder
This is Rodney’s New Rig. He Just Loves it!
This is how the guys up here are using the motor mounts. I coached him through rigging his fish finder up. He did a great job.
Read more about Joe’s fishing trips and rigging tips »
Paddling is important for fishing, yet under-utilized
The overwhelming majority of people who don’t fish from shore fish out of a motorboat, and only a tiny fraction of anglers afloat fish out of paddle craft, be it a canoe or a kayak.
-Why is that?
This website features dozens of articles explaining the shortcomings of canoes and common fishing kayaks from every possible angle, including poor stability, poor tracking, limited range of travel and too small load capacity, dysfunctional storage, wetness and bad ergonomics. And let’s not forget the inability to go in shallow water that’s specific to another mode of human powered propulsion, namely pedal craft.
But paddling offers many advantages to anglers who fish from boats, due to various reasons –
What would you gain from fishing out of a motorboat that you can easily paddle?
Common fishing boats are too wide and heavy to allow for paddling to any meaningful distance, and this fact limits their use to deeper water than the shallow water accessible to craft that are typically propelled with paddles. In addition, the absolute reliance on the motor’s propeller inhibits movement in another type of productive fisheries characterized by the abundance of seaweed and grass.
If you could paddle your motorboat as easily as you paddle a canoe or a kayak, you’d gain a lot in fishing terms, a.k.a. fishability:
Being able to paddle your fishing boat would open new places for you to launch from and beach in. This would be no less than a strategic advantage, since it would reduce your dependence on boat ramps, and save your precious fishing time from being wasted in driving to boat ramps that are few and far between, waiting for other boaters to launch and beach there, and performing difficult and lengthy maneuvers with your own boat and trailer.
But all this discussion about launching a motorboat just anywhere you feel like is moot, of course, unless your motorboat is lightweight enough to eliminate to need for transportation by trailer.
Is paddling a motorboat even an option?
It isn’t an option when typical motorboats are concerned, since even the smallest and lightest ones are too heavy and too wide to allow for effective paddling. But the upcoming Wavewalk™ fishing boat from the 700 Series is different – It will weigh just 80 lbs, which is a fraction of the weight of a small boat, and in fact, it’s even less than the weight of most large-size SOT and sit-in kayaks out there (a.k.a. barges), some of which weigh around 200 lbs without a motor… Furthermore, the W700 will be just 31″ wide, which is not wide compared to canoes or typical fishing kayaks, some of which reach up to 41″ at their waistline, a fact that prohibits anything remotely close to effective paddling, while delivering mediocre stability.
Its patented twinhull form will make the W700 stable enough for motorizing with a powerful outboard and for stand up fishing in tandem, and yet, it will be narrow enough to allow for a good paddling experience. Without ever requiring the use of a rudder, the W700 will track better than traditional kayaks do, and better than canoes, which track even worse than kayaks.
As far as serving as a microskiff (shallow water, flats fishing boat) the W700 will outperform other small microskiff who offer just motorizing and poling as means of propulsion – Being able to paddle this new craft would greatly increase your mobility in every dimension, from launching to moving in shallow water over long distances, getting over underwater obstacles and going through thick vegetation, as well as dealing with low tides and swift currents.
The best of both worlds, and some more –
The upcoming W700 Series is not just about enjoying the best of both worlds, I.E. motorboats and paddle craft. It will allow you to benefit from the combination of the most important features of these two classes of watercraft while adding new benefits that only Wavewalk™ kayaks can deliver –
It will be the Best Of Breed in the world of kayak fishing, both as a solo and two-person fishing kayak, and it will distinguish itself as the only trailer-free fishing boat that you can paddle and car-top easily and effectively either solo or with a two person crew –
A trailer-free fishing boat that you can paddle and pole easily together with a fishing buddy or just by yourself.
Legal restrictions on motorizing
And let’s not forget that some of the most productive fisheries in your state may be Non Motor Zones (NMZ), namely restricted to non-motorized fishing – Yet another reason to appreciate a boat that you can easily car-top and paddle by yourself, and together with a fishing buddy.
A good two-person fishing boat is one that allows for two large size fishermen to fish from it in full comfort, for long hours. According to this basic definition, most boats out there are suitable as two-person fishing boats, except sit-in and sit-on-top (SOT) tandem fishing kayaks, which are neither comfortable nor stable enough for average people to fish from. So this preliminary definition is too inclusive, and we need to refine it by asking the following question –
This is where the actual discussion begins –
One requirement that comes to mind is the ability to accommodate a crew of more than two full-size anglers, and in fact, most motorboats out there fulfill this requirement, although on a typical trip they don’t take more than two anglers on a board. In fact, most anglers fish either alone or with one fishing buddy on board, which is to say that being able to take a third and a fourth passenger is a feature that may be nice to have, but it’s not essential for a two person fishing boat. In other words, size may matter in this case, but only to marginal extent.
Typically, recreational fishermen fish by themselves or in pairs. This implies that a good two-person fishing boat should also be practical and even easy to use for one angler who wishes to use it alone, without a fishing buddy – but most fishing boats aren’t. This failure to accommodate one angler is the result of the boat’s large size, and consequently, the need to transport it with a trailer, launch it from a trailer, and take it out onto a trailer… And while this may sometime be possible for one experienced and strong fisherman to perform, it’s not given to everyone. This is to say that a really good two-person fishing boat must also be a good one-person fishing boat – by definition.
A typical two-person fishing boat is fairly large, and requires transportation on a trailer, which limits the number of launching and beaching spots for its users, makes them lose precious time at boat ramps and on the way to them, and limits the areas where they can go and fish. Such boats may be comfortable to fish from, but this comfort comes at a price that you wouldn’t necessarily want to pay, if you were offered a better alternative. And indeed, some two-person fishing boats such as lightweight dinghies and Jon boats can be car topped by two strong men, or transported in a pickup truck bed, and they can be launched and beached regardless of boat ramps. The problem with this class of small boats is that you can’t paddle them effectively, and you still need a fishing partner to handle them on land, both when carrying them from and to your vehicle, and for car-topping and unloading them.
Unless you’re a blue-water fisherman, sooner or later you’d want to fish in shallow water, because these waters offer some of the best fisheries. But shallow waters are not just shallow, they’re often infested with vegetation and underwater obstacles, and we use the word ‘infested’ because although vegetation and underwater structures make great habitats for fish, they’re not that great for boating, to say the least, and they can cause you serious trouble with your motor’s propeller. This means that even a boat with a very shallow draft, such as some microskiff have, may not perform well in shallow water due to your inability to propel it effectively, meaning that it’s not comfortable to paddle, and it requires too much effort to push-pole.
Shallow water as a type of fishery that demands particular things from a boat, one of which is the ability to propel it manually (seriously, forget about pedal drives 😀 ) by using either double blade (kayak) or single blade (canoe) paddles. If you’re serious about shallow water, think paddling too, or get either a mud motor or an air-jet motor for your boat.
Good launching and beaching spots are not always available, and you may need to launch your boat and beach it in less than perfect conditions such as we described in the previous ‘Shallow Water’ section of this article, or in places called ‘Rock Gardens’. In both cases, the ability to propel your boat with an alternative, human-powered means is critical. By this we mean that a really good two-person fishing boat is one that offers its crew, be it two anglers or a single one, to paddle and push-pole easily and effectively, over long distances and in problematic water and weather conditions.
These fisheries where no motor boats are allowed grow in number every year, and some of them are just too good to be left for others to fish in. NMZ are yet another reason why versatility in propulsion is important when you think about your next fishing boat.
No. A canoe is unlikely to fit your requirements for a good two-person fishing boat for a number of reasons, which are:
Although some canoes are wide, they’re not particularly stable, especially when powered by an outboard motor.
For the same reason (stability issues), canoes aren’t ideal for fishing standing, especially for average and above-average size fishermen, as well as elderly ones, and we all know that without the ability to stand up and fish, no boat can be labeled a good fishing boat.
Typically, canoes don’t offer much as far as comfort goes, and unless you’re super fit, that’s a problem when long fishing trips are concerned.
If you try to paddle a canoe by yourself on a windy day, chances are that you won’t try again… This is because canoes track poorly under wind, and they’re too hard for most solo paddlers to handle under such conditions.
This article seems to raise the bar a little too high in realistic terms, doesn’t it? It describes a craft that’s lightweight enough for one guy to car top, yet can take two large-size fishermen in full comfort on a long fishing trip, and be motorized with a powerful outboard motor. The same boat is required to be very stable, naturally, and still be narrow enough for comfortable paddling… These contradicting requirements exclude even the Wavewalk™ 500, since with its 360 lbs recommended load capacity this unique watercraft cannot accommodate more than one large-size fishermen, but they don’t exclude to new Wavewalk™ 700 , which has a 580 lbs load capacity, and was designed to do just that, without giving up the solo abilities in launching, paddling, standing, poling, fishing, motorizing, beaching, and car-topping.
The purpose of this article is to offer the reader information about ocean kayak fishing, starting from potential hazards and problems to recommended solutions.
Ocean kayak fishing means fishing offshore out of a kayak, be it a sit-in, sit-in-top (SOT) or a Wavewalk™ kayak. Since kayaks are small vessels and in most cases they’re human-powered (Read: underpowered), and since kayaks expose their users to the elements, this kind of fishing typically involves some hazards and discomfort. Fishing in big lakes is similar to ocean kayak fishing in the sense that is presents similar challenges.
Fishing in the ocean is different from fishing in flat water in many ways. To begin with, the ocean is practically limitless, and unlike small bodies of water, it presents the danger of being lost at sea as a result of the action of ocean currents, tidal currents, wind and darkness, or a combination of these factors. In addition, the large distances facing the angler and their kayak could be more than it is practically possible for them to go. Depending on circumstances, the angler paddling their kayak faces the dangers of capsizing, dehydration, sun stroke, hypothermia, exhaustion and disorientation.
Unless kayak anglers launch and beach at a dock in a protected harbor, the surf is where
they typically make the transition from land to sea, and vice versa.
The surf is characterized by various hazards related to the presence of waves – from water getting into your kayak while you’re launching or beaching, to capsizing, getting your fishing tackle sprayed with corrosive saltwater, losing fishing gear, and just getting soaked and uncomfortable during the rest of your trip. Strong waves can even pin your kayak in parallel to the shoreline, in a situation known as ‘broaching’, without you being able to either get to shore or go into the ocean.
Launching any kayak in the ocean surf isn’t easy, and launching a kayak loaded with fishing gear and tackle is likely to be harder. However, launching a W fishing kayak is considerably easier, and it can be fun: You just get the kayak in the water and hop inside – as you can see in the demo movie below.
If you prefer to surf launch in a more relaxed way, you can just launch regularly from dry land, as shown in the first part of this video:
Tip for easier surf launching: When you ride in the rear of the cockpit, you raise your W kayak’s bow, and by doing so you make it easy for the kayak to go over the incoming waves instead of going through them. This can make a big difference as far as the efforts required,
the chances of succeeding, and the probability that you’ll get wet. This maneuver is possible only with a W fishing kayak, thanks to its long saddle, which offers its user to relocate fore and aft, and by that move the kayak’s center of gravity (CG) with them.
How to prevent your W kayak from broaching –
If the waves drive your kayak to a fixed position that’s parallel to the shoreline (a.k.a. ‘broaching’), and your kayak happens to be a regular one (I.E. sit-in or SOT), then you’re broached, and your best bet is to try to get out of your kayak without capsizing it, and depending on what your plans are, either drag it out to the beach, or drag it in the water so it would face the ocean. But if you’re lucky enough to be in a W kayak, you’re not broached, since you can slide to the front of the cockpit, thus lowering the bow and making the stern go up.
The bow will act as a pivot while the waves hit the stern and make your kayak face the ocean again. When this happens, you can swiftly reposition yourself at the back of the cockpit, and paddle out to the ocean.
The reason why you want to do it from the cockpit’s rear is that it would make it easier for you to go over the incoming waves instead of having to go through them.
When this is done, you go back to paddling forward from a position in the middle of the
cockpit, and most importantly: in the Riding position.
Remember – the riding position is your position of choice in rough waters. Standing up is less stable, and sitting with your knees forward isn’t recommended at all in such conditions.
If you need to go pass big incoming waves, you should ride the saddle from the back of the cockpit. This makes your kayak’s bow go up, so you can go over the wave crests rather than have to go through them.
Watch more videos »
Every W fishing kayak comes with at least one pair of side flotation modules.
Outfitting your W kayak with at least one pair of these side flotation modules is highly recommended.
Lateral waves can be a big problem if you’re paddling a sit-in or SOT kayak, but if you’re paddling a W kayak they can be a source of fun if you’re surf playing – You paddle your W kayak in parallel to the beach, and let the side waves roll under you.
You’d need to learn how to lean your kayak into the wave just enough to prevent it from being overturned, but don’t lean too strongly or else you might roll to the other side once the wave has passed under your kayak.
Tip: Never go through the surf alone, and don’t go fishing by yourself far from shore. Make sure the beach is safe for kayaks No underwater rocks, oyster bars etc.
You should practice with your W kayak in smaller waves before you tackle bigger ones.
Some people believe that SOT kayaks are watertight, which in fact they aren’t, and some believe these kayaks are self-bailing, which they aren’t either. The ‘scupper’ holes are in fact structural elements that were introduced in the SOT hull to prevent it from collapsing as passengers sit on its top side (a.k.a. ‘deck’). These holes do not drain water out of the hull (yes, water does get inside, and when it does you can’t see it..) – they drain water only from its top side – the deck.
There is ample evidence to suggest that SOT kayaks can be hazardous to fish out of in the ocean. Read more on this subject »
As for capsizing your W kayak (it is possible to do so!) – If you bail out swiftly enough the W kayak is likely to stay right. In such case you can hop back in from the side (if you’re athletic enough) or slowly crawl inside from the back, with your legs balancing you and the kayak.
If the W kayak is just laying on its side, chances are the side flotation would prevent it from overturning, and with some luck the kayak may even right itself back. Read more about side flotation ».
If your W Kayak gets overturned close to shore, the easiest and most sensible thing for you to do would be to let the waves wash it to shore. Once it’s there, pull it out to the beach, and drain it by simply overturning it. It’s easy and takes little time, and you can be
back paddling immediately after you’re done.
If your W Kayak is overturned far from shore, you can turn it back but when you do so one of the hulls will scoop some water in, and you’d want to pump or scoop it out (or at least part of it).
Keeping a hand bucket or small hand-operated bilge pump on board is highly recommended.
Important: Capsizing your ocean fishing kayak in deep water can be extremely hazardous, and therefore it is strongly recommended never to go fishing offshore by yourself. Always fish in the ocean in the company of other boaters or anglers that could help you in case of an emergency, well as call for help, if possible.
Spray isn’t that much of a problem when you’re a W fishing kayak: The W kayak features a real cockpit and higher free board, which other kayaks don’t have. When you launch or go back to sea you can “climb” even big waves by standing or riding in the back of the cockpit and leaning backward -This way you’re lifting your W kayak’s bow in a steep angle and the waves normally pass under you.
When paddling a W kayak in waves you get relatively little water in, and it is drained to the bottom of the hulls, where even a couple gallons might be unnoticed by you.
You can also outfit your W kayak with a cockpit cover that will protect you and your fishing gear from spray. All but one W kayak models come equipped with a preparation for such a cover. You can use a small tarp or any waterproof fabric or plastic sheet to cover your cockpit in full, or partially.
Anglers who fish in warm waters and hot climates may scoff at this question -Why would they care about getting wet? But anglers who fish in colder regions should be aware of the dangers of hypothermia, which can result not just from falling overboard, but also from being exposed to the wind while wearing wet clothes.
This is to say that neither sit-in nor SOT kayak offer their users adequate protection from wetness, wind and cold, which is why people who fish from them in colder regions should wear either a dry suit or a wet suit. As for anglers who fish out of W kayaks, they are far better protected, and therefore their need to wear such protective clothing is reduced.
Remember that a kayak angler suffering from hypothermia is basically helpless, and may not even be able to call for help using their cell phone when they’re offshore. Read more to learn about the danger presented to kayakers by hypothermia
When paddling or surfing your W fishing kayak you may go overboard, especially while you’re in the initial, learning phase –
Before you catch a wave you need to check and make sure that in case you fall overboard and your kayak gets washed ashore it won’t hit anyone.
Possible solution: Have your paddle tethered to your kayak with a long bungee leash, and don’t let go of it if and when you’re in the water. This will help you stop the boat from hitting people in the surf zone.
Beaches are sometime crowded. In many cases board surfers have no paddle, so they are both less protected and less mobile than you.
A collision between you and a surfer may be harmless to you but it could be painful to the surfer.
Always leave surfers enough space for surfing and maneuvering, even it means you’re losing a nice, big wave… -Don’t worry, there will be others, and you can always paddle around and do other fun stuff with your W kayak…
If you cross paths with surfers let them pass before you.
Nearly all kayaks used for fishing in the ocean feature a rudder, since without it paddling in strong wind is practically impossible, as the wind deflects the kayak from its course. Sit-in and SOT kayaks track poorly to begin with, and they are prone to windage issues, but rudders are not necessary with W kayaks, which track remarkably well even in strong wind, due to their user’s ability to harness the wind as a factor that helps them track. This effect is achieved simply by the user relocating themselves fore or fat along the kayak’s saddle – By doing so they relocate the kayak’s center of gravity (CG), and direct it either into the wind or away from it, depending on the course they want to take and on the direction from which the wind blows.
More information on tracking in strong wind »
Strong (fast) currents in are particularly dangerous, because they can carry you away from shore, into the ocean. Anglers whose kayaks aren’t outfitted with a motor are particularly exposed to this danger, because a current can be faster than the maximum speed they can achieve with their kayak just by paddling it, and because they may be exhausted after some time trying to paddle against the current.
A motorized fishing kayak is safer to use in the ocean since it offers the angler a chance to deal with strong wind, fast currents, and the long distances they may need to go in order to return safely to their launching spot, or to shore. Although motorized kayaks are heavier than non-motorized ones, driving a motorized kayak is certainly easier than paddling a non-motorized one. This is especially true after a long day of fishing and paddling, when the angler is tired, and it’s even more relevant for middle aged and elderly kayak anglers.
As far as deciding between an electric motor and an outboard gas engine, the latter is pretty much impossible to use with any type of fishing kayak except the W500. If you own a W kayak, you may want to read more about the advantages and disadvantages of electric motors and outboard gas engines in this article about motorized kayaks »
As for outboard motors, Wavewalk now offers the 570 series that’s ready for motorizing and offshore fishing:
Ocean kayak fishing trips can be long, and you’d need to take plenty of gear on board, as well as carry fish you caught back to shore. Therefore, having plenty of dry storage space is a real necessity, and needless to say that you should be able to easily access everything you store on board, anytime you need to.
Other fishing kayaks feature hatches, which are small and in many cases hard to reach while you’re sitting on board. Unless the ocean is perfectly calm, waves splashing on your kayak would get water into the hatches. In contrast, the W kayak offers over 8 cubic ft (60 gallons) of dry, protected storage space, and all of it is fully accessible to you when your out there on the water.
As for a crate, there is no need for you to attach one to your W kayak, since this kayak offers more storage space than you’d ever need:
Again: Always wear a PFD when using your W Kayak!
Two kayak fishermen from South Korea in an offshore fishing trip, including preparing a meal on board »
W500 kayak: Surf paddling in waves during tropical storm Irene. Watch the video »
Surf launching standing in W300 kayak
Launching W kayak in big surf – The advantage of riding a high saddle and being protected by a real cockpit, and preferably by a cockpit cover too…
Easy kayak surfing -Ride the waves
Kayak surfing in the Riding position
W300 kayak playing with lateral waves
Kayak surf fun in lateral waves
Rocky surf beaching – it’s possible with a W fishing kayak
Stand up paddling your W kayak in the surf can be non-stop fun
This website features hundreds of movies produced by Wavewalk and contributed by its fans.
This page features a selection of 17 online videos that may take a few seconds to load – You won’t regret being patient.
This is not a catch phrase but a new reality enabled by our invention, for which the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted us utility patent No. 6871608.
This demo movie is guaranteed to change the way you think about kayak stability, stand up paddling, and stand up fishing from a kayak:
The new W570 outfitted with detachable, inflatable side flotation modules, a detachable and lightweight spray shield, and new lightweight transom mount that can fit both 20″ (long) and 15″ (short) shaft outboard motors.
Watch this new type of watercraft performing like a champ in the chop, and its user driving it standing… More info »
Driving standing up in this kayak is so much fun, and not that hard, but don’t try this with another kayak…
This demo video shows how you can go over obstacles with this kayak, and it will prove to you that super mobility is not a superlative but a real thing.
Stand up kayak paddling on lake Massapoag in Massachusetts, during a tropical storm with 35-55 mph (55-90 kmh) frontal and side wind. Just for the heck of it…
Launching in a rock garden, driving standing and with a lightweight passenger on board… Lots of fun!
Total load: 350 lbs, which is close to the maximum 360 lbs we recommend. Overloading reduces performance, and it is not recommended.
Jeff McGovern shows how he rigged his Wavewalk™ kayak for fishing.
Craig Masterman, a lifelong fly fisherman explains what makes the W kayak perfect for fly fishing.
Can you imagine a 6 ft, 200 lbs middle aged guy jumping up and down in a kayak while paddling it?… Watch this video –
You enter the cockpit of this kayak simply by walking in from its rear, and you exit it by walking out from its front, and your feet always stay dry.
This video was shot with a head camera, and it shows what it’s like to enter the cockpit, launch standing, paddle standing, and even jump up and down!…
Jim Luckett demonstrates sailing the W500 standing, without outriggers. It’s fun to watch, but don’t try it yourself unless you’re an experienced small-boat sailor or a seasoned wind surfer…
John Fabina shows his camouflaged W kayak rigged for fishing and hunting.
The Riding position is the position favored by people who drive high performance vehicles such as dirt bikes, jet-skis, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles (ATV). It’s also the most powerful and stable paddling position, as shown in this slow-motion video.
Few kayakers practice surf playing. This old video shows a small, early Wavewalk kayak model called the W300 used for paddling in the surf, just for fun…
Watch more W fishing kayak movies on our YouTube channel »