Tag Archives: SOT kayak

Francis Muldoon – W500 kayak owner, Key West, Florida

I really like my 500 Wavewalk kayak.
Previously I had used a sit on plastic Kayak (which belonged to my nephew) only to rig hurricane lines to offshore moorings in order to keep my fishing boat off the seawall during storms. I would never have considered a pleasure cruise in that tipsy slow slug.
My nephew reclaimed his SOT kayak earlier this year, and with hurricane season approaching once again, I began looking for a replacement.
Although more pricey, the Wavewalk caught my eye, and since it arrived I’ve been taking near daily trips around the shallow water here in the Keys. I love the way it glides and tracks as well as it’s ability to go in real shallow water.
By the way, I can paddle standing up but don’t seem to make as good speed as sitting down. I admit to still feeling awkward standing, but love the view it allows of our shallows here.
I wonder if I shouldn’t be able to go faster standing up since I’m using my legs too.
I’m looking forward to refining my technique.

Read more fishing kayak reviews that our clients have contributed >

Range of Motion and Protection From the Fish – Kayak Comparison

By Jeff McGovern

Range of motion and protection from the fish – Sounds a little weird but the W kayak offers a far better range of motion for anglers and some measure of protection when landing fish.
I’ve noticed this the most dealing with saltwater speedsters in the form of jacks and ladyfish. Both are considered trash fish but only in terms of eating them. For getting into lots of pulling and yanking they are a blast. But when brought boat side for landing they always have far better ideas than the angler. Leaping and jumping at the last moment can easily put one into your lap or worse. Since they also have a face full of hooks the results of this last moment dash for freedom can be a disaster. If you are stuck in that L position you are too low and too limited in movement options to do much about it. These are also fish that will run in any direction and in a boat you can’t turn your body very well chances are you’ll be tangled up in no time.
In the W kayak, because you are upright in the riding position you can turn much more toward the fish and it’s angle of pull. Also when you go to land the fish you are above most of the danger zone and far better protected. After netting a fish you can simply rest the handle across the cockpit rims and hold in in place. You don’t have a net to worry about getting caught up in the rod, a portion of your body, or other gear. Plus if you are dealing with a fish you might want to keep for a great fish meal if it does jump around it’s going to end up at your feet in one of the hulls safe for the table.
Even in the course of battling a fish if all goes according to plan the L position is a lousy one to fish from. Since you can’t rotate well from the waist or really brace for the battle your shoulders and arms take some real punishment. The L position acts to deny using your core muscles to fight the fish. The W offers so many fish fighting advantages but as with many things about the boat they are not truly realized until the angler actually can try it. If there is a problem with that it’s simply that nothing compares to the W. No other boats have the advantages.
Anyway I just wanted to shoot a note along this line. Sometimes you just have to feel sorry for all those other non W kayak fishermen out there.

Casting From a W Fishing Kayak Compared to Casting From Sit-In and SOT Fishing Kayaks

By Jeff McGovern

In preparation for comparison to the new W500 I have been spending time “relearning the joys” of sit inside and sit on top kayaks.

Besides the obvious back issue already known there is the concern of shoulder pain. I have had some discomfort, but in talking to a few other fellow kayak fishermen they mentioned the pain associated with casting from the awkward L position. I noticed soreness the next day trying to power out long casts from the L position. It was far easier to just get out and wade since in the standing position the casts were braced.

I think in many cases the so called fishing kayaks are really just fishing transport devices, since actually fishing from them is a constant compromise. Many times getting out on a suitable bank or sand bar is far more comfortable. Besides, in many sit on tops the wet butt syndrome leads to other comfort problems down the road…

If we compare a standard cast from the W kayak to a cast from a sit on top we see two different things entirely: The sit on top cast is a controlled flail with the hope for distance and accuracy. It is many times followed by a winch from the angler as they deal with the pain. A cast from the W kayak is a powerful controlled launch that accurately places the lure right where it needs to be. It’s quite a difference, and one that can only be experienced – it is difficult to describe.

I’ve mentioned the Emmrod fishing rods before both in articles on the your site, and in articles for Emmrod itself. Out of the W kayak the Emmrod casting rods are deck guns in power and distance. The W riding position allows the angler to use the Emmrod to it’s fullest. From the L position that same rod on a cast will not get the same results.

Is Rigging Your W Fishing Kayak With a Milk Crate Necessary?

It seems most kayak fishermen have gotten used to rigging their fishing kayaks with a milk crate attached behind the cockpit.
If you happen you own a SOT fishing kayak, rigging it with a milk crate would make sense, since SOT kayaks are basically hyped paddle boards that offer too little storage space and no real cockpit. Sit-in fishing kayaks offer a little more in this aspect, but not enough to drop the idea of adding a milk crate.

However, if you own a W fishing kayak, you may want to reconsider the pros and cons of adding a milk crate -

The only obvious pro that we can think of is that rigging your yak is fun, and attaching a milk crate to the top of a W kayak is an easy project that delivers immediate visual results…

And here are the arguments against rigging your W fishing kayak with a milk crate:

1. When launching, a milk crate would block your natural way into the cockpit from the back side of the boat. This means you might have to get in from the side, and possibly step in water.  Keeping your feet dry is one of those little pleasures you can afford with a W kayak, so why give it up if you don’t have to?
2. A milk crate catches wind, which can become a problem if there’s lots of it blowing around and you happen to be tired, and have a long way to paddle – A milk crate on top of a kayak demands more efforts from the paddler. Windage is essentially a tracking problem, and since W kayaks track better than SOT and sit-in kayaks they are less prone to windage issues, but nevertheless – it’s something to keep in mind.
3. Why store anything behind you, on top of the W kayak hulls, when there’s so much space available inside the W kayak cockpit and in its hull tips – within arm’s reach? It’s like attaching your luggage to your car’s rear bumper instead of just putting it in the trunk, or in the passengers compartment. The W500 offers 14 cubic ft or internal storage space, which is more than any kayak ever would, and probably more than you could ever use … -so why not use it?
4. SOT and sit-in kayaks have a very low deck – close to the water. Kayak fishermen who fish in salt water prefer to keep their reels as high as possible, away from the salt water, and they attach tube rod holders to their yak’s milk crate. This adds almost a foot of distance, and saves them some problems. However, the W kayak hull tips are normally higher, and you can protect your fishing rods by storing them inside the cockpit when launching, so there isn’t that much of a necessity for you to use a milk crate. Besides, you can rig the W kayak stern with deck mounted rod holders that pivot to any direction you want, and will position your fishing rods higher above water surface.
5. The milk crate adds weight to your fishing kayak. It’s not really important for paddling, but it could be for carrying it. It’s not that much, unless you’re tired and have to carry the kayak a long distance. The same is true when you have to cartop your kayak.

The ‘Yak Back’ – What Your Fishing Kayak Shouldn’t Do To You

The ‘Yak Back’ is a popular name given to a condition caused by paddling traditional sit-in and SOT kayaks, and fishing from them.

The ‘Yak Back’ symptoms include leg numbness and cramps, discomfort in the hips and buttocks, pressure and pain in the lower back (lumbar) area, and premature fatigue.

Paddlers and fishermen suffering from Yak back feel a strong urge to change positions, stand up, walk, and stretch.  Early Yak Back symptoms can appear as early as half an hour from launching, and they tend to aggravate as the hours go by.

It is not uncommon that people who paddle sit-in and SOT kayaks and fish from them develop a chronic Yak Back condition, manifested mainly as an acute sensitivity to pressure on their lower back, and sometimes even chronic lower back pain that forces many of them to abandon kayak paddling and kayak fishing.

The Yak Back is the result of being seated in an unnatural position often called the ‘L position’, in which your own legs push your lower back against your kayak seat’s backrest. The pressure applied is constant, and generated by the most powerful set of muscles in your body, which is why cushioning the seat’s backrest is quite useless.

Traditional sit-in and SOT kayaks offer too little stability to begin with, which is why as a paddler or fisherman who uses them, you’re required to keep your center of gravity (CG) as low as possible by sitting as low as possible and throwing your legs forward. As you do that, your legs change roles from naturally supporting your upper body to actively pressuring it in your spine’s lower part, which is a vulnerable place.

Native people of the Arctic who invented kayaks never used backrests, because they were used to sitting this way, so they didn’t need lumbar support. However, this is not an option for you because without a backrest you’re likely to find it impossible to keep your body in the L position for more than a few minutes.

The W kayak is the only kayak that offers your legs their natural role in supporting your upper body in your balancing, control, paddling and fishing efforts. Since your legs support your upper body you don’t need a backrest to support your back, and therefore there is nothing that can cause you discomfort, fatigue or pain.

The W kayak also offers you the possibility to switch between a variety of different paddling and fishing positions, including standing, which helps you stay fresh and comfy, and avoid Yak Back symptoms.

For these reasons the W got its nickname ‘Back Saver’.

Read more about ergonomics in kayak design.