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/
The easterly trade wind has been blowing hard for more than a week. This is Spring Break in South Florida. Many of the local tour, fishing and diving boats that take people to the reef and blue water have to turn away customers because of the 6-8′ waves that are pounding the reef line. There has been some seriously lost business and most disappointed vacationers.
In Key Largo, we have had wonderfully productive trips fishing our Wavewalk W700 tandem kayaks in the narrow creeks that flow through the dense mangrove forest here in the heart of Pennekamp Park. Because of the tight quarters and many non-combustion zones where internal combustion motors are prohibited, many of these areas rarely see a fisherman.
This weekend, two groups booked Wavewalk kayak fishing adventures with me –
Issac brought Julio, Daniel, and Darren for a Good Friday afternoon trip. They caught about 30-40 lbs. of keeper fish (Mangrove Snappers, Bluestriped Grunts, and Sailors Choice). I filleted out and boxed enough fish for a panko fried fish platter with black beans and rice that they had cooked up at the Blackwater Siren Restaurant before leaving our island. And, they had a big bag of fish for a big fish fry in Miami.
April who was raised and worked in the Keys, brought her son Keith Jr. and crew Kevin and Joey on Easter Sunday. After a most slow start to the day, we found fish way up Smugglers Run (a creek named for the infamous Keys past when “Save the Bales” was the slogan of the day.). Those new kayak Ricky Rods got a real workout dragging fish from beneath the mangrove roots. April caught the most fish but everyone got their share including the pelicans who got a bucketful. We really had to travel some distance to find the calmest possible conditions but we ended an all day trip having caught over 100 fish.
Everyone who tours or fishes with me in the Wavewalk portable boats is amazed how comfortable and stable these vessels are compared to conventional kayaks. It is not too hard being the best fishing kayak guide in South Florida with the best fishing kayaks that are available, anywhere.
Yesterday, I took my W700 and a couple rigged Ricky Rods to little Snapper Creek that is virtually inaccessible to any other vessels. Only a motorized kayak can easily go the distance to get in there and back. Within a half hour, I had my limit of 5 legal Mangrove Snapper (over 10″) in my fish bag and hit the dock before a storm rolled in.
Wavewalk and Ricky Rod teamed up to put the limit of good eating snapper on my dock. Looks like we have a winning combination –
My first fishing rod that I purchased in the Keys in 1974 was a solid glass Ricky Rod. That rod set me back six bucks and has caught more species of fish than all my other rods together. When I ran bottom and chumming charter and commercial fishing trips from my 25′ six-pack diesel powered Kencraft in the 1980’s, Ricky Rods with American made Penn spinning reels put fish in the boat on every trip. No skunk in the box with a Ricky Rod in hand. About 3 years ago, on a Sunday morning, I spotted the Ricky delivery van at the Yellow Bait House in Key Largo. I pulled over to talk to the old timer who was delivering tackle from the Ricky company. After telling him how great my first rod still is and how much I like Ricky products, the octogenarian looked at me and said, “Well, I am Ricky!” Amazed at how the owner of a big Miami company would take such a hands on approach, I listened to his story. Mr. Ricky came from Cuba many years ago to escape the oppressive Castro regime. He built his company with hard work and fine products that are still reasonably priced. And, he invited me for a personal tour of his company. My buddy, Peg Leg Dan, wants to go with me. He has been fishing a Ricky Rod for as long as I have. Last week, at the Yellow Bait House, I spotted some short 48″ rods that are perfect for kayak fishing in tight quarters. Yes, they are Ricky Rods. Mr. Ricky is still innovating at eighty plus years old. So, I bought one and came back for two more.
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.
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: We ship to clients, and some of our dealers already have demo S4 boats.
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 seat 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 »
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.
Preparation for a vertical mounting plate for outboard motor or rod rack at the stern
Two Medium Density Overlay (MDO) 0.75″ thick Saddle Brackets – One bracket at each end of the saddle. The bracket in the front provides additional support for the stand up casting platform, and the rear bracket serves as extra support for a motor mount. Each bracket is attached to the vertical wall that’s adjacent to it by means of two rivets. The rivets are sealed with waterproof adhesive. Click thumbnail to enlarge
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)
White Color – Click images to enlarge
Light Gray Color – Click images to enlarge
Mud Brown Color – Click images to enlarge
Max Total Payload: 650 lbs (295 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
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
Hull: 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
Our kayaks, paddles and accessories are 100% Made in USA
4. PRICE $2,570.
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 not include the S4 mounting plate, whose cost is $104.
S4 Heavy Duty (HD) Motor Mounting Plate: $130
1.5″ thick. Made from Medium Density Overlay (MDO) and coated with urethane. Each mounting plate ships with a pair of 5/16″, 3″ long bolts, and self locking nuts. It takes a couple of minutes to attach this mounting plate to the boat: Just insert it into the molded-in stand for transom motor mount, drill two 5/16″ holes, and secure in place with the two bolts provided.
Fits 20″ long (L) propeller shafts.
Click image to enlarge
Wavewalk® 9 ft long dual blade (‘Kayak’) paddle: $190
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: $230
For very tall people, or people who plan on paddling standing and poling most of the time.
Wavewalk® Detachable Spray Shield: $140
For high speed motorizing in choppy water.
Wavewalk® Joystick Steering System: $270
For easy and fun steering seated and standing.
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 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.
7. S4 vs. W700
W700 advantages over the S4: Solo kayaking, tandem kayaking, solo 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.