Fishing in the ocean is practiced by some kayak anglers, although they rarely venture to distant fishing grounds, but prefer to fish in protected areas such as bays and estuaries. This is due mainly to the fact that human powered fishing vessels such as kayaks are no match for ocean currents, wind and waves, and neither are electric trolling motors.
Brandon Cutter and friends, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts play with Brandon’s 2008 W fishing kayak in the surf in Nantucket. They paddle in parallel to the beach – hopping on breaking waves. They launch, surf and beach. (1 minute)
One of them easily recovers his overturned boat, and then keeps paddling.
Brandon is a saltwater reel and fly Wavewalk kayak fisherman. Last year Brandon bought a 2007, F2 W300 fishing kayak for himself (Read more about that boat), and this year he got a yellow 2008 F2 W300 kayak for Katie, his wife.
Two W300 fishing kayaks and one big striper…
Brandon rigged Katie’s W kayak in an original way: First, he mounted a RAM-117 rod holder in the cockpit front. He used three stainless steel bolts to fix the ball mount to the cockpit rim (coaming). This is possible since the 2008 W300 kayak’s rim is sturdy enough to serve as base for the aluminum mount of a heavy-duty piece of equipment such as the RAM-117. Brandon and Katie are using the RAM-117 to hold reel rods as well as fly rods.
The 2008 W300 kayak fits upside down on top of Brandon’s SUV, which is equipped with Brandon’ patent pending invention – A user-friendly hitch mount cargo carrier
Since the RAM-117 has two rubber balls it can be made to point in any direction even when its deck mount is attached vertically
Brandon and friends surf playing (1 minute video)
Click to play video
Brandon also used the 2008 W300 kayak’s standard cockpit cover bungee in a creative way – literally with a twist… He converted the bungee and lashing hooks into a paddle holder that secures the paddle in the ocean and the fast moving salty rivers that Brandon and Katie fish in.
General view of paddle holder
Paddle holder close-up. Note the twisted end of the bungee clip
Brandon standing by his green 2007 W300 fishing kayak
Katie paddling Brandon’s 07′ W300 kayak
Three stainless steel bolts and a sturdy aluminum deck mount firmly attach the rod holder to the 2008 W300 kayak’s cockpit rim.
Front view of RAM-117 with fly rod. Note the additional eyelet between the hulls – for the anchor line.
-“I uncrossed one end of the bungee cord and hooked it in the middle of the starboard side. I also bent the metal hook up to create a barrier for the lower cord to catch on. The paddle sits nicely when you pull the lower cord up over the metal hook.”
Brandon from Cape Cod made this ingenious instant release anchor system for his W kayak.
-“Here are some pics of an anchor system that worked really well for me last season. The key is to be able to release the Wavewalk kayak from the anchor line in an instant to chase and fight a big fish.
The Genius Carabiner opens at an angle so only one hand is needed. The float allows the angler to find the anchor system after the fight and start fishing again from that productive spot. Commercial fisherman use a similar (yet much beefier) system to hook, fight and land giant bluefin tuna here on Cape Cod.”
As the popularity of kayak fishing increases more kayak designers and manufacturers are drawn to offer their solutions to kayak fishermen. Interestingly, if one can judge from the solutions the main problem that needs addressing is the fishing kayaks’ poor stability.
Out of three recent, original monohull designs all three are explicitly designed to be stabler than regular fishing kayaks, and two out of the three represent experiments in combining canoe features into the kayak design – for the purpose of increasing overall stability.
The two canoe-like or canoe hybrids are different by the fact that one is a SOT and the other a SIK. Both are very wide, and are offered as solutions for flat water fishing. This could mean that either their manufacturers estimate the offshore kayak fishing market to be too small to be worth addressing, or their boats not to perform well enough in the surf. This brings up again the question of seaworthiness, and whether these designs are indeed stable, comfortable and and safe enough to be used for standup fishing.
The third new fishing kayak design is a monohull as well, but it departs from the conventional approach of trying to increase stability by making the hull wider. This design offers a mechanism enabling splitting the rear part of the kayak in two and pulling the ends sideways, thus creating a stabler platform for the fishermen to fish from. The obvious problem with this design is that once the fishing configuration is deployed the ‘kayak’ becomes nearly stationary since paddling it does not meet any standard of efficiency. This fishing kayak is not offered for offshore fishing either, which again implies that its manufacturers may have some concerns about its possible performance in the ocean.
In this context it is interesting to see that another manufacturer of fishing kayaks now offers outriggers to accompany their kayaks, which is yet another fact that shows stability to be a problem at the core of the kayak fishing concept.
Overall, the appearance of new designs and solutions that address the stability problem is a sign showing that some kayak designers and manufacturers are attentive to the real problems that kayak fisherman face. Whether any of the solutions offered are viable in the long run remains to be seen.