Tag Archive: standup fishing kayak

Are Kayaks Boats, and Should They Be?

The following text was copied from an article published on a kayak fishing website:

“This next statement is important. Kayaks are not boats. Let me repeat that, kayaks are not boats. There’s a lot of room in a boat so you can move around. Even a very small boat has much more room then the largest kayak…. -Let’s look at the situation. In a kayak you’re pretty much restricted to staying in the seat area. You’re going to be most comfortable here and this is where the stability is. “

(The author of this article is unknown)

Why is this passage interesting? -Because it reflects reality as perceived by all people who fish from SOT and SIK kayaks: Restricted space, limited mobility in the cockpit, clutter and eventually discomfort – although the anonymous writer refers to the seat area as being the ‘most comfortable’ for the kayak fisherman to be in, which makes sense only because there is practically no alternative in SIK and SOT kayaks…

Technically, sit-in (SIK) kayaks are boats: They are small, hollow vessels stripped down to the minimum functionality in terms of load capacity, speed and functionality.

Sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks are not vessels – they are boards, which can be completely filled with foam and contain neither passengers nor cargo. This is why it makes more sense to classify them as ‘not boats’, as the writer did.

W kayaks are boats, with all the characteristics of boats. They even offer enough internal space and stability for the passengers to change their location within the passenger compartment called ‘cockpit’.

The author of that article quoted here was probably unaware of the existence of W kayaks when he/she wrote it.

W kayaks even offer passengers to stand up while propelling the boat, and when fishing from it, and that’s a feature that not all bigger boats can offer.

What SIK, SOT and W kayaks have in common is their small size and light weight that offers their owners the possibility to cartop them and carry them along considerable distances on shore. This small size and light weight are essentially what differs fishing kayaks from fishing canoes, which are usually bigger and heavier – although some of the bigger fishing kayaks are as heavy as canoes, and may require a trailer…

Paddling Standing in a W Kayak – Another Angle

Being a kayak fisherman or a regular paddler you may be interested in improving your stand up paddling skills and technique. This is a short movie that shows how paddling standing in the W kayak is done on flat water:

The video also shows some ‘warming up’ exercise: Jumping up and down in the cockpit.

This image taken from the video clearly shows the W wave created by the W Kayak bow:

Top view of kayak fisherman paddling standing in his fishing kayak

Standup Kayak Fishing – Choosing a Stable Fishing Kayak

You may ask yourself “how stable should a fishing kayak be for me to feel comfortable in?”
The answer is simple, and widely discussed on this blog, but pictures are better than words, and a movies are the best for showing such things.
So, according to us, a fishing kayak should be stable enough to enable you to fish from it standing in full confidence, and this is the basic test in flat water, as demonstrated in this 12 seconds video:

A six foot, 200 lbs guy is standing up in his W kayak, he’s jumping up and down repeatedly, and hopping from one leg to another. The W Kayak is the only fishing kayak that offers such stability, and therefore it’s the only one enabling fishing standing in full confidence as well as paddling standing with the same ease and confidence as sitting.

About the Wavewalk fishing kayak

Note: This is the first review that Jeff had published on his Wavewalk 300, a series that was produced between 2004 and 2010. Read more recent fishing kayak reviews »

By Jeff McGovern

My nickname in the pest control industry is “Gadget” since I am always looking for the latest, greatest thing or making improvements to what is already out there.  My favorite part of the job is speaking to large audiences across the country and I always bring lots of “Show and Tell.”  I am no different when it comes to my passion-fishing.

Long before kayaks hit the fishing world here in Florida, canoes ruled the shallows in many areas.  When I started canoe fishing here in the 80’s, there were a number of folks doing it, but it wasn’t well publicized.  Then we discovered outriggers for canoes and things started to change.  I could stand up in my canoe and see the fish I was stalking.  Plus, I could go into water that was too shallow for a motor or into zones that were designated “no motor zones” like the ones near Kennedy Space Center.  I love my canoe, but I wanted something I could just toss in the back of the truck and go.  So we started shopping for kayaks.

Jeff casting standing in his W fishing kayak

Photo: Jim Green

We looked at sit inside, sit on top, rudder, no rudder, big, small, skinny, HEAVY.  My wife, Kate, is small and wanted something small and light.  I am not small.  I am 6’3″, 245 lbs. and have size 15 feet.  We started with two small sit insides.  I enjoyed fishing from them-even won a fully loaded 13′ sit on top kayak catching a winning flounder during my club’s tournament-but I missed being able to fish standing up.  My quest for a stand up kayak began.  Then one day, surfing the web, I found a video clip of a guy jumping up and down in a kayak.  I knew that I had found my dreamboat-The W.

I am not small. I am 6’3″, 245 lbs. and have size 15 feet.

The W has ruined me for other kayaks.  My wife will tell you that the fleet (did I mention we now have 5 kayaks?) stays on the porch and the W goes fishing every Saturday morning.  I do need to mention that there is a learning curve similar to learning to ride a bike when it comes to handling and fishing the W.  I was discouraged the first couple of outings-but then I got the feel of it.  Now I use it exclusively, even in tournaments.

When other yakkers stay home because of high winds, I’m out paddling around.

Jeff standing up in his fishing kayak

The W allows me to fish virtually all the time.  When other yakkers stay home because of high winds, I’m out paddling around.
In the W, your lower half is protected from the wind and the spray shield keeps water off you as well.   A set of Frog Togs ensures that you stay dry and comfortable all day.  I’ve spent as much as 5 solid hours in the W in cool weather and lots of wind.
Padding is easier and requires less effort than in a regular kayak.  I use a long stroke at a slower pace and have no trouble keeping up with longer kayaks that are using double the amount of short strokes.  The W’s height allows that and helps me.  Also, I “push” the stroke rather than “pull” it.  The high hand and arm push the paddle through the water with the lower hand only pulling enough for guidance.  This allows you to paddle longer because it’s less tiring.

The W also handles waves much better and far drier than other small boats and kayaks.  We have a number of large yachts on the Intercoastal that kick up huge waves.  Other kayaks and small skiffs get spun around or tossed badly.  The W rides it like my CraigCat-up and down without a problem.  Last week I found it also slips up and down over the backs of very large and too curious manatees.  The boat tipped to one side, but remained upright and we both went home with a story of the one that got away.

Fishing is a sport of tactical knowledge and a feel for the area you are fishing.  I own hundreds of rods and reels and have designed a few kayak/canoe rods. I also test new rods and reels for a number of companies before they go onto the general market.  The more you fish, the more specialized your gear gets.  The most important thing is to understand the area you are trying to fish.  I envision the travel patterns the fish use to get from place to place.  I think about where they can ambush a meal with the least effort or how the tidal patterns affect where they rest and feed.  I have to understand how the light hits the water and how I might be exposed or hidden by it.  The W allows me to move into their house and position myself to the best advantage.  I wish I could come up with a way to describe the feel of the W.  Sitting down, it’s like riding.  Standing up-well, until I figure some way to put floats on my size 15 feet and walk on water,
standing up in the W is the next best thing.

I would venture to say the W offers improved casting with any gear. From the riding position, I get more power with my casting and spinning because I can put my whole body into the cast and use my legs.
The solid feel of the boat gives you a great sense of security.
Netting fish is also easier because you can bring the net handle up and across the noodles and just hold in until you net the fish alongside.
This allows you to compose yourself and arrange things to remove the hook without tangling your gear or hurting the fish.  WARNING:  It is very important to fill the handle of your net with spray foam.  This is
so that when manatees and sundry aquatic creatures borrow your net, you can get it back.  I know from personal experience these critters are very inconsiderate and will leave it on the bottom where you can’t find it.
I would venture to say the W offers improved casting with any gear.
It’s a great exploration kayak and there’s a great sense of adventure for the user.

My favorite scouting position in the W is standing up.  I can spot fish and then move in stealth mode with a push pole or paddle blade.
There is a serious advantage to being able to stand and see over grass or oyster beds.  Being able to peak over cover is a big deal.
Sometimes, like when I was working my way along the Ocklawaha River, I was moving through snag (and gator) infested waters with logs, bed pads and deep, dark places you might not want to get into.  The W handled that
type of paddling better than our other craft.  You could stand quick to see ahead, duck and move around things.  It’s a great exploration kayak and there’s a great sense of adventure for the user.  No craft is perfect for all things, but sometimes I have so much fun with the boat, I forget to fish.


Copyright © Jeff McGovern, 2007-10


Read more about Jeff’s kayak fishing trips and observations »