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/
Went out for the fourth time yesterday- getting my W outfitted for sight fishing carp with a fly rod in the flats. I stand almost the entire time now, great line of sight on the fish, and it’s easier to fight the fish standing also.
I have a stake out pole for anchoring in shallow water, and a 3 lb dumbell for dropping anchor.
Steering is easy, by dipping the paddle on the side I want to drift toward. And I installed a notched foam paddle seat on each side so I can quietly set down the paddle and make no noise or slippage.
Yesterday I caught a real nice Common Carp– about 26″ an 7- 8 lb. He ran me around for 15 minutes and was released healthy after pics!
I also hooked a monster bass (thought I was throwing to a carp) but I lost him when I got too much line slack.
The W is a delight- easy to load, my back is feeling good, and I’m catching fish!
W did it again, just back from two days (fished 4-8 thursday, and 8 hours Friday) at a 100 + acre spring fed lake in Pennsylvania. Beautiful weather and great fishing.
I’m really comfortable now in the W — changing at will from paddling standing across the lake, to sitting, drifting, casting in all positions. Caught 30+ large crappies, 10 bass, 10 bluegills, and most spectacular– has a hookup with a 20″ + northern pike who sliced off my tippet (need steel leader for them) in a flash while blasting out of the water! I was standing in the flats shallow end when I spotted him ahead in the clear water– I knew I would sacrifice my fly but it was worth it– one woolly bugger for a memory of nasty explosion in the water as he jumped the #12 nymph.
I also used a drift chute with the W in the afternoon as the wind rose to a blowy 15 mph or so— worked super, really slows your drift and keeps you on course much better. I worked the shoreline standing and casting to the crappies and bluegills. I’d recommend a drift chute if your water is prone to daily winds, as most lakes and ponds are.
I bought a small adjustable paddle to use when drifting shallows, helps me change course a little while holding the flyrod. My foam rod holder forward allows me to have the large paddle at the ready, and to be able to set it quietly without scaring the fish. I also added a tape marker for center of the large paddle so I can set it down and know it will be balanced on the W.
I’m loving the W– after 12 hours in it in a short period my back still feels good, although I suffer from chronic back issues. After 8 hours Friday I knew when to quit, when it started getting tired.
I’ll be getting back to chasing carp again next week, and I want to do a 5 mile float down my local creek now that the water level is easing and water clearing some.
Whether you’re on a paddling or fishing trip in shallow water, you don’t want to have to turn back, or worse – get stuck somewhere because of underwater obstacles. Such obstacles may be rocks, tree roots, fallen branches and fallen trees that prevent you from reaching your destination, be it an interesting place to tour or a promising spot to fish in.
If you have to turn back the W solution is either to paddle backwards, or turn the boat, or turn yourself inside the cockpit and face the direction from which you came from: The W kayak is fully symmetrical front and back and it feels the same paddling forward and backward.
Another strategy you can try is poling with your paddle (preferably the Wavewalk PSP), or going over the submerged obstacle – whether it’s top part is underwater or even a few inches above water: You position yourself at the back of the cockpit, thus raising your W kayak’s bow. Then you paddle forward full speed and try to get the boat to go as forward as possible over the barrier. If you succeeded in getting the middle of the boat pas the obstacle you’re almost there, and you’ll have to move swiftly to the front part of the cockpit and thus make your W kayak tilt forward and go over the obstacle. It may not be as easy as it sounds, but practice makes perfect, and in this case it’s fun too. It’s also great to know that you’ve gone where no other canoe or kayak could go… This video shows how it’s done:
Imagine you have a big boat, one that’s too big to beach. Well, you may actually own such a boat, and in such case you should be really interested in reading this post… Obviously, you’d need to tender this big boat with some kind of small boat, usually a dinghy. Why a dinghy? Because you need the thing to be really stable, protect you well, and enable you to carry provisions on board. For these reasons a traditional SOT or sit-in kayak might prove to be a bit problematic.
You may also want to use the little auxiliary boat just for fun and relaxation – maybe for paddling, or to go fishing in shallow waters. In this case the classic dinghy might be a bit awkward because rowing is OK for a short time if you really have to do it, but most people consider paddling to be more fun.
So, what’s the solution?
Read Cap’n Ron’s story about the beautiful ‘Ninja’ – his 42′ sailing boat, and the little green W Kayak that tenders it.
Jeff McGovern is a master kayak fisherman and W kayak fishing trailblazer from Palatka, Florida.
Here is what Jeff recently wrote me:
“In the W kayak I find myself poking the boat into grassy areas since the grass coming up between the hulls will hold it in place. With the slightly additional height the angler is at casting over the grass is easy. Also you don’t catch grass on the back cast as you would in a lower boat. I’ve fished the same areas out of a SOT and the W the last few months, and there are distinct advantages to both designs at certain times. At a higher tide the W can creep into the grass areas where the SOT would be surrounded by grass making a cast impossible. Also with moving forward in on the saddle the W becomes a pivot point so a larger fish has a tough time of getting on the wrong side of your efforts. In most other kayaks that concern is addressed with a longer rod to clear both ends of the boat but that is still harder. As you look toward newer W models I’m wondering if raising the saddle a bit would be nicer for big guys like me. Those little trashcans I use pushed in the hulls are pretty handy. One other thing about the W that comes up is the ease of dragging it on the ground. For short beach launches or for areas like the fish camp where I normally launch the W proves almost effortless. Other kayakers have mentioned how simple the W is to handle – I really only have to pick it up once at home to load it and then once more when I get back to put it away. At virtually all my launching spots all I do is pull it off the back of the Ranger and onto the ground. Once I place the rods in the rack I can drag the whole thing to the water and be off. Other kayak fishermen who use SOTs are either waiting for assistance or making multiple trips to the water. Jeff”