Tag Archive: shallow water

Fishing in shallow water can be a challenge if you drive a motorboat, because of the need for the propeller to rotate below the lowest point in the boat’s hull, which practically means that even if the boat itself has a shallow draft, namely a few inches, once the propeller is running you can’t drive it in water that’s less than a foot deep.
This is unfortunate, since shallow water fisheries are among the most productive, and are home to fish species that are popular among anglers, such as redfish and tarpon in the South, and largemouth bass practically everywhere.
Alternative propulsion, such as poling practiced in flats fishing isn’t that practical because it’s too hard for the average angler, as well as too slow. Paddling works better for sight fishing, especially if you can paddle standing, and indeed, quite a few people fish shallow waters out of their kayaks, although only Wavewalk kayaks offer comfortable stand up paddling for everyone, and not just for small-size anglers who happen to be physically.
The optimal solution is to fish either from a motorboat that’s stable, lightweight and narrow enough to offer effective and easy paddling, such as the Wavewalk 700 car-top skiff, or from a kayak that stable enough to be easily and effectively motorizes such as the Wavewalk 500.
More shallow water fishing info: http://wavewalk.com/blog/shallow-water-fishing/

Two tandem crews fishing the mangrove tunnels in their Wavewalk 700 kayaks

By Captain Larry Jarboe

 

On Friday afternoon, I got a call to rent kayaks from some folks who had been skunked bridge fishing.

I was just heading out to my most secluded spot far up in the mangroves as the wind and tide were perfect. So, I shared my hot spot with them. They caught a bucket of fish and had a great time negotiating through the mangrove tunnels.

I am better at fishing than filming.

 

 

 

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Wavewalk® Series 4

High Performance Portable Boat – Skiff, Paddle Craft

This is Wavewalk’s 4th boat series since 2004, following the 300 (Mark I and II), 500, and 700 series.
Like all other Wavewalk® products, this boat is 100% Made in USA.

The S4 delivers the highest performance in the field of small boats and skiffs, even before you’ve reached the water, starting from the fact that at 98 lbs it doesn’t require a trailer for transportation, and it’s easily portable even on rough terrain.
Its patented twin-hull design delivers more stability than any small boat out there, including much wider and heavier ones.  This allows for driving in fast currents and in choppy water.
In addition, being a true catamaran makes this boat track better than other boats.
The S4’s extra large cockpit (8′ long x 38″ wide) offers ample room for two anglers or hunters and their gear, or for up to three adult passengers – a total of up to 680 lbs.
The S4 features a long saddle seat similar to the saddle of other high performance vehicles, which offers maximal balancing capability as well as full comfort for going in choppy water and for long trips.
The S4 features a stand up casting platform at its bow, such as can be found in a typical skiff.
The cockpit’s slanted sides allow passengers to paddle with more ease and better control than what canoes and tandem fishing kayaks may offer them.
The S4 has an extremely shallow draft, and this fact in combination with its portability, load capacity and high performance as a paddle craft makes it the most practical solution for shallow water fishing.

Availability: April 2017   See latest progress report »

Features

Dimensions

  • Length: 13 ft (396 cm)
  • Beam (Total Width): 38″ (97 cm)
  • Cockpit Length: 95″ (241 cm)
  • Cockpit Height: 17″ (43 cm)
  • Saddle Height: 15″ (38 cm)
  • Width of a single hull: 13″ (33 cm)
  • Total Weight: 98 lbs  (44.5 kg)

Structure Overview and Features

  • Patented twin-hull Wavewalk® catamaran hulls
  • Personal watercraft (a.k.a. ‘jet-ski’) style 7’6″ long Saddle featuring a series of seven molded-in brackets, and six vertical molded-in reinforcement columns
  • Integrated Skiff Style Stand-Up Casting Platform at the bow, with anti-skid surface. Read more »
  • Preparation for a vertical mounting plate for outboard motor or rod rack at the stern
  • The Cockpit’s Slanted Sides allow passengers to paddle with more ease and comfort than paddling a canoe or a common kayak of such width.
  • The two Medium Density Overlay (MDO) 0.75″ thick Saddle Brackets, one at each end of the saddle. The one in the front provides additional support for the stand up casting platform, and the rear one serves as extra support for a motor mount.
  • Built-In Flotation – The S4 saddle is a watertight compartment that offers 180 lbs of positive buoyancy.
  • Two pairs of integrated, molded-in heavy duty Carry Handles – A pair at the bow, and a pair at the stern.
  • Average Wall Thickness: 0.150″ (3.8 mm)
  • Colors:
WhiteLight GrayMud Brown

White ColorClick images to enlarge

 

Light Gray ColorClick images to enlarge

 

Mud Brown ColorClick images to enlarge

 

Capacity

  • Max Total Payload:  680 lbs (308 kg)
  • Max Number of Passengers: 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 children
  • Internal Space for Dry Storage : 34.7 cubic ft (0.98 cubic meter), namely 260 gallons
  • Draft –

Empty: 0.75″ (1.7 cm)
With 200 lbs Payload (90.7 kg) : 2.5″ (64 mm)
With 400 lbs Payload (181.5 kg): 4.25″ (108 mm)
With 600 lbs Payload (272 kg): 6″ (152 mm)

  • Max Outboard Motor Power: 6 HP
  • Outboard Motor Compatibility: 20″ Long (L) Propeller Shaft

Materials:

Recyclable kayakHull: Rotationally Molded High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Saddle: Rotationally Molded High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Heavy Duty (HD) Saddle Bracket: Medium Density Overlay (MDO).

Our boats are made from 100% recyclable materials

Country of Origin:

US flag 46Our kayaks, paddles and accessories are 100% Made in USA

 

Price

$2,505

This price includes shipping in the US to land addresses in the contiguous 48 states, with insurance and call before delivery service.
This price does include the S4 Motor Mount, whose cost is $94.

Accessories

S4 Motor Mounting Plate: $94

Takes a couple of minutes to attach: Just insert it into the molded-in stand for transom motor mount, and attach by means of two bolts.

Wavewalk® 9 ft long dual blade (‘Kayak’) paddle: $186

Common dual blade (‘kayak’) paddles are neither long nor sturdy or rigid enough for paddling this paddle craft, pole it in shallow water, and paddle standing.

Wavewalk® 9’8″ extra long dual blade (‘Kayak’) paddle: $220

For very tall people, or people who plan on paddling standing and poling most of the time.

Wavewalk® Detachable Spray Shield: $136

For high speed motorizing in choppy water.

Wavewalk® Joystick Steering System: $255

For easy and fun steering seated and standing.

Benefits

Best Stability in Small Boats

  • Initial (Primary) Stability: The S4 is more stable than any kayak, canoe, Jon boat and small skiff, including Wavewalk’s W700.  A 200 lbs person standing with both feet in one of the S4 hulls will make it draft barely 1″ lower than it would if that person stood with one foot in each hull – hardly a noticeable difference.
  • Secondary Stability and Balancing Capability: The unique combination of a saddle seat (such as ATVs, PWC and snowmobiles feature) with high-volume twin hulls enables the passengers to balance themselves easily, intuitively, and more effectively than in any other boat, including kayaks, canoes, Jon boats, dinghies, skiffs, and personal watercraft (PWC / ‘jet-ski’).

The S4 is unrivaled in Stability terms.

Best Boat Ergonomics

The 15″ high saddle featuring in the S4 is similar to the saddle featuring in other high performance land and water vehicles, such as All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV), Personal Watercraft (PWC / ‘jet-ski’), and Snowmobiles, as well as certain Rigid-Inflatable Boats (RIB) designed for high speed motorizing offshore.
Passengers riding this saddle can travel for long hours, including in choppy water, without suffering from back pain or fatigue. This is due to the fact that while seated in the Riding position, with a leg on each side of the saddle, the passenger’s legs support them in the most effective way, and no horizontal pressure from a backrest is being applied on their lower back.
In addition, the S4 passengers can stand up any time they want, and keep driving and paddling while standing up. They can even lay down with their back on the saddle, and relax. Switching between positions assures that no extreme fatigue or tension would build up in any part of the passenger’s body.

Easy Transportation and Full Portability

The S4 weighs 98 lbs without a motor attached to it. This means that it does not require a trailer for transportation, since it can be car-topped. The S4 can be dragged or carried over rough terrain, and launched practically anywhere, whether it’s a rocky beach, shallow water, and other difficult spots that are not accessible to other boats.

Mobility and Range of Travel

The S4 can go anywhere, thanks to a number of special features –
No other boat offers such a combination of shallow draft and total multi-modal propulsion, namely the ability to keep going in an effective paddling and poling mode even if the water is too shallow and/or infested with weeds to allow for motorizing.
No other small boat works so well both on flat water and in the chop.

On Board Storage

The space available for dry storage on board the S4 is equivalent to the storage offered by a good size Jon-boat, or a regular skiff.

S4 vs. W700

  • W700 advantages over the S4:  Solo kayaking, solo fishing, tandem kayaking, solo canoeing, tandem canoeing, portability.
  • S4 advantages over the W700: Motorizing, tandem motorizing, tandem fishing, stability, offshore trips, load capacity.
  • Shallow water – The S4 drafts less than the W700, and it features a skiff stand up casting platform, but the W700 paddles better, generally.
  • Offshore – Being more of a boat than the W700, the S4 offers a clear advantage in the chop.

 

Choosing an outboard motor for your Wavewalk® 700 skiff

This article is an attempt to answer some questions that Wavewalk skiff owners ask in the process of choosing an outboard motor for it –

Short shaft or long shaft?

We definitely recommend using outboards that feature a long (20″) propeller shaft, and for multiple reasons, which are discussed in this article entitled Outboard motor propeller shaft length for Wavewalk fishing kayaks and boats »
We recommend not to be tempted by the availability and lower price of 15″ short shaft outboard motors, because such motors don’t fit the W700, and using one would never produce optimal results, even for a highly skilled individual with a lot of experience in boat outfitting.

Here is a list of long (L) 20″ shaft outboard motors currently available in the 2 to 6 horsepower range, and their HP rating:

  • Honda 2.3 HP (air cooled), 5 HP
  • Suzuki 6 HP
  • Evinrude 6 HP
  • Tohatsu 3.5 HP, 4 HP, 5 HP, 6 HP
  • Yamaha 2.5 HP, 4 HP, 6 HP
  • Mercury 3.5 HP, 4 HP, 5 HP, 6 HP
  • Mariner 3.5 HP, 4 HP, 5 HP, 6 HP

Recommended reading –

Air cooled or water cooled?

Water cooled motors are quieter but heavier than comparable air cooled motors.
The only motor featuring on the above list that’s not water cooled is the Honda 2.3 HP. It is very lightweight, and works very well, but being air cooled makes it considerably noisier.

Note: Outboard motor manufacturers recommend flushing the motor’s cooling system with fresh water after every trip in saltwater. It’s possible to flush an outboard with a garden hose outfitted with a special adapter.

4-Cycle or 2-Cycle engine?

Nearly all new small motors on the market are 4-Cycle (4-stroke) and not 2-Cycle (2-stroke).
The advantage of the 4-Cycle system is twofold –

  1. The motor runs on regular fuel, and there is no need to mix it with oil.
  2. A 4-Cycle motor is cleaner, namely it emits far less stinky fumes than 2-cycle motors do.

Some experts argue that for the same displacement of its combustion chamber (cc, volume, size), a 2-Cycle engine in more powerful than 4-Cycle one, but we think that convenience and fresh air are more important.

electric or gas?

Many Wavewalk owners outfit their W500 and W700 with electric motors in the 30 to 50 lbs thrust range, and some go as far as 70 lbs thrust. They use their electric kayaks and skiffs for assisted paddling, recreation, touring, trolling, fishing, snorkeling, etc., but we prefer not to include electric motors in our list of “real” outboard motors for two reasons, which are:

  1. Power – Although some small electric motors are offered as “outboard motors”, just looking at their basic, objective power rating makes us think that they are too weak. Kilowatts to Horsepower conversion: 1 KW = 1.34 HP, and 1 HP = 0.745 KW. Consequently, an electric motor can work well on flat water and at a moderate speed, but not necessarily in adverse conditions, namely strong current, strong wind, etc.
  2. Range of travel – A gallon (3.8 liter) of fuel costs a few dollars, and it’s enough for a typical small outboard motor to run for 4 hours at a high RPM, or an entire day at a lower RPM. You can refuel a small outboard’s built-in fuel tank when you’re on board your Wavewalk®. You can take several gallons of fuel with you on a long camping trip, and you can buy more fuel almost everywhere, while recharging an electric motor’s battery can take half a day. Therefore, gas outboard motors offer a reliable and convenient solution whose price / performance ratio is unbeatable by any electric motor available today.

Weight

All small outboard motors listed above are considered to be Portable. However, between the 29 lbs of the 2.3 HP Honda and the 59 lbs of the 6 HP motors there is a considerable difference, if you need to carry the motor by hand over a distance.

The shallow water position

Most of the small outboard motors listed here offer to lock their propeller shaft in an intermediary position between the vertical (down) and horizontal (up) positions. In this intermediary, slanted position, the propeller drafts less than in the vertical position, and this allows for driving the boat at a moderate speed in very shallow (‘skinny’) water. Therefore, if you’re looking to fish in skinny water, we recommend that you look for this feature.

gear shift lever

Most outboard motors on our list feature a gear shift level, and this is a good thing, because the alternative is a centrifugal clutch that lacks an absolute neutral position. The absence of a full neutral gear can make starting the motor a little tricky, if you’re a beginner.
Our preference goes to the outboard motors that feature the gear shift lever at the front, rather than on their side. The frontal position makes it easier for the driver to access the lever whether the motors points left or right, and even if the driver is facing forward.

built-in fuel tank

All the above listed outboard motors come with a built-in (integrated) fuel tank, and this is a convenient feature considering the alternative is to have a fuel line run from a separate tank to the engine. When you operate such a small craft as a Wavewalk, simplicity becomes increasingly important.

propeller

The propellers that come standard with these outboard motors fit Wavewalk’s kayaks and portable skiffs. Typically, these motors propel much heavier boats, which is why the propeller’s diameter and pitch which determine output in terms of speed and torque are of no real consequence to the owner of a Wavewalk under normal conditions.

price and brand

All the brands listed above are known to produce quality motors, and in fact some of them produce motors for others. For example, Mercury is a Tohatsu brand. This is to say that we see no reason to pay more for a particular name brand, and we recommend to consider only the motor’s technical attributes, and its price.

HP rating – can i overpower my skiff?

6 HP is the absolute maximum for which the W700 is rated, and this is only for its RIB model. Overpowering your Wavewalk can be hazardous, and if you use the wrong motor mount you’d be calling for trouble. This said, if you happen to own a 20″ shaft 5 HP motor and your W700 is rated for a 4.5 HP motor, you can keep your motor, and you won’t necessarily have to get a new one. Similarly, if your W700 is rated for up to 4.5 HP and you found a nice 4 HP that you like, you’d be fine with it.

motor mount

If you choose to make a DIY mount for an electric trolling motor, chances are that you’ll succeed, since these motors are so weak that they’re not likely to cause trouble. But this is not the case with the gas outboard motors in the range that features on the above list.
There are several issues to overcome with motor mounts, and the motor’s weight is the least of them. The main problem is that operating at the end of a 20″ lever, the motor’s propeller generates a great amount of torque, especially at high speed, in rough water and when making sharp turns at high speed. This torque can twist and crack a 4×2 timber, and pull out nails and screws from their place. After having seen motor mounts get broken by outboard motors ranging from 6 to 3.5 HP that were mounted on them, we strongly recommend not to build a DIY motor mount for these motors, and to use only the motor mounts that Wavewalk recommends.

alternator

Some of the more powerful outboard motors listed here can be outfitted with an alternator and an AC to DC converter. Note that such accessories cost hundreds of dollars.
The electric current produced by this system can be used to power lights on board, or to charge a trolling motor’s battery. Such setups are common in bigger boats (e.g. bass boats) that feature much more powerful motors. Although some Wavewalk owners have outfitted their W700 with two motors (a powerful one for driving and a small one for trolling), we don’t know of anyone who’s outfitted their outboard motor with an electric current generation system.

Why an outboard motor?

Skiffs, Jon boats and other small boats sometime come with other motors, among which are air drives or air motors (large diameter propellers) for running marshes and flats, jet drives (similar to personal watercraft, a.k.a. jet-ski), long shaft mud motors for going in shallow water and over obstacles, and outboard motors that run on propane.

While each of these motors offers certain special advantages, and we’d love to see the W700 outfitted with any of them, as well as with other propulsion systems ranging from sails to oars, and even pedal drives… we think the common small outboards such as we listed here offer the optimal mix of price, performance, reliability, versatility, ease of use, and ease of maintenance – Just think how common are boat dealerships and repair shops that service these motors… And if you know how to use your outboard motor and you take care of it, it’s truly a wonderful thing that you’d enjoy for years, and possibly even decades.

Kayaks and Boats, Kayak vs. Boat

When two adults and a kid get into a small motorized aquatic vehicle, and drive it around at speeds exceeding 10 mph, their watercraft must be a boat. It can be a rigid or inflatable dinghy, a wide square-stern canoe, or a Wavewalk 700, but since it is used for boating, for this matter it is boat, and it makes sense to call it this way. Similarly, when two adult large size fishermen drive standing and fish standing in a small motorized aquatic vehicle, for them it is a fishing boat, even if from a technical-legal standpoint it belongs to a class of vessels labeled ‘Kayak’, as is the case with the Wavewalk 700, thanks to its slender dimensions.
Indeed, at Wavewalk we are thankful for this official classification, because it makes life easier for us, as manufacturers. Besides, this boat also happens to work as a super kayak in paddling terms, which makes things perfect for us. For people who use it for boating or fishing, the fact that it’s a super “kayak” adds to its functionality as a boat, by making it extremely lightweight, fully portable, and super mobile – beyond motorizing.
Versatility can be a great thing, and being able to paddle your boat effectively in case its outboard motor can no longer serve you for whatever reason, be it shallow water, rocks, or a technical problem, contributes a lot to your experience – It adds fun and functionality, confidence, and safety.

After this somehow lengthy explanation, we hope it’s clearer why Wavewalk offers its products in two lines – Kayaks and Boats. The main point here is what comes first for the user, and how they perceive the product. A boat comes ready for an outboard engine, and a kayak may feature an electric trolling motor, or a small outboard, but overall, it’s basically a paddle craft.

At this point, Wavewalk offers three W500 models and one W700 model in its Kayak product line, and four W700 models in its Boat product line.
The W700 R model, which we offer as a kayak alongside the three W500 models in this product line, comes with no accessories, while all four W700 models offered as boats ship together with a Spray Shield and a TMM 700 HD motor mount.

The bottom line is that Wavewalk classifies and offers its products according to the way people intend to use them.

Wavewalk 700 Lobster Scout Sea Sled

By Capn’ Larry Jarboe

Key Largo Fishing Kayaks and Skiffs

With the advent of Spiny Lobster season coming, I decided to convert my W700 into a search sled to hunt those crafty crustaceans.

A conventional tow sled that is used to drag a snorkeler behind a boat costs about a hundred bucks. The hapless free diver has no control over boat direction and has to breathe the fumes from the boat engine or engines. If the vessel has one or more two cycle outboards spewing exhaust upwind of the towed snorkel diver, there will be a lot of poisonous gasses inhaled.

This incarnation of the Wavewalk design as a lobster search sea sled allows the critter gitter to control direction and speed while breathing clean air. Electric trolling motors produce no air pollution and operate for pennies a day. It is easy to fly a dive flag planted in a support hole of the W700 support bracket.

This first test run worked very well but remember to cinch up your bathing suit real snug. I nearly lost mine a couple times…


Camera: Mrs. Jarboe

electric-Wavewalk-700-kayak-for-catching-lobster

Electric Wavewalk 700 attached to the mother ship

electric-Wavewalk-700-kayak-for-catching-lobster

 

More fishing adventures with Capn’ Larry »