Tag Archive: tackle

Driving an S4 motorized kayak skiff with a 9.8 HP Tohatsu outboard at 17 mph

Captain Larry Jarboe from Wavewalk Adventures in Key Largo, Florida, drives his “White Knight” workhorse S4 kayak-skiff powered by a 9.8 HP 2-cycle Tohatsu outboard motor, outfitted with a 9″ pitch propeller.
Larry easily gets to a 17 mph speed, which is probably a world record for vessels that are officially designated as kayaks, such as the S4.
He drives sitting in the side-saddle position, similarly to the way that he’s been driving dinghies and other small boats for decades – No stability problems, and no control problems, even in the chop. Most people who drive the S4 and other Wavewalk kayaks / boats do it in the riding position, with a leg on each side of the saddle seat, similarly to the way that Personal Watercraft (PWC a.k.a. jet-ski) drivers operate these vessels.

Generally, 2-stroke outboard motors are lighter than comparable 4-stroke outboards, which makes them more portable.
9″ is the highest pitch for propellers that fit this motor. A propeller with a higher pitch would have probably added some speed to Larry’s record. In any case, 17 mph falls within the upper range of speeds achieved by small, lightweight boats with propellers of such pitch.


Practically speaking, this performance coupled with the S4’s capability to carry on board up to three anglers and their fishing gear, puts it on par with Jon boats, skiffs, and even some bass boats.
The S4 is an ultralight car-top boat that can be launched and carried anywhere, as well as paddled in extremely shallow water, and it is most seaworthy. These facts offer its users an advantage that neither conventional nor new boats do.

Note that Larry is a most experience boat driver, and driving such a small craft at such high speeds requires skills that not anyone has. This is to say that we do not recommend such powerful motors for the S4.

Topwater Fishing

By Jeff McGovern

This is a republication of the original article that Jeff contributed to our website in 2007

Fishing with a topwater or surface lure is lots of fun.  Out of a W kayak, it’s down right exciting, since you are so close to the action.  The equipment required is fairly simple and there are many topwater lures to choose from.  For the purpose of this short article, we will look at hard baits (also known as “plugs.”)  These are lures made of wood or plastic that float on top at rest.  When fish attack them, it looks like a giant hole just opens on the water and the bait disappears.
The basic types are:
walking, popping, minnow, and prop baits.  These lures have been around for years and still consistently catch large numbers of fish.  There are variations, but these are the ones most commonly available.  All four types can be used in freshwater or saltwater and for a large variety of game fish.  Let’s take a look at a few examples.


The best example is a Zara Spook.  A newer version is the Spit’n Image. The angler provides the action this lure has on the water. This plug looks like it could have been carved from a broom handle, and, indeed, the originals were.  Worked properly with a side to side wiggle, fish will blow them right off the surface in their effort to grab them.
This bait requires practice to use.  The angler must work their rod hand wrist and turn the reel handle in cadence to create the walking motion.  It will wear you down at first, but the results of practice time are well worth the effort.

Walking baits



These lures are just plain fun.  With a large exaggerated mouth on them they pop and gurgle when the angler pulls their line.  Some of the cupped mouths on these baits throw water a few feet in front of the plug as they move.  Classic examples are the Chug Bug and the Rebel Pop-R series plugs.  To work these lures, you cast out to a likely spot and let the lure settle down.  Then “pop it” and hold on for the strike.

Popping baits



These lures are best represented by the classic floating Rapala minnow. The history of this lure could fill a book-suffice it to say it’s every bit as effective today as it was 40 years ago.  These lures have a slim profile and resemble a minnow.   They have a small clear plastic lip that allows the lure to dive a short distance on retrieve. Their life-like wiggle is very attractive to game fish.  To work the bait, throw it out let it sit for a moment.  Then begin a slow retrieve, briefly pausing from time to time.




These lures are some of my all time favorites.  Propellers are located at the front and/or back ends of these fun lures.  Simple to work, they are represented today by the Devils Horse, Tiny Torpedo, or, in handmade excellence, by the Lil Zip from Sam Griffin. They can catch fish just sitting there.  The moment they are moved, they get crushed by aggressive game fish.   Work them by throwing to a likely area and allowing the bait sit until the water calms down from the splash.
Then begin working the bait back in short, soft jerks until you find a pattern the fish like.

Prop baits


Photos: Jeff McGovern


The equipment you use for topwater water fishing can be any that throws the lure properly.  Spinning, casting, or spincasting gear will all work just fine.  Line sizes can range from 8 to 20lb test (depending on the angler’s preference) and good old monofilament line is fine for these lures.  The best piece of advice I’ve ever had for fishing topwater lures came from Sam Griffin himself.  He told me “give the fish time to read the menu.” In other words, fish them slow for the best results.  This is the best way to start out– you can always speed things up later if the fish are ready to order.
So, this season, try a topwater water lure and prepare for excitement.


Copyright © Jeff McGovern, 2007 – 2015

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

Saltwater Gear Maintenance

By Jeff McGovern

Kayaks are king in saltwater flats fishing. You can get into places that even the finest flats boats have trouble accessing. You have no fuel expense and the maintenance on the kayak is far less than any motor powered craft. However, saltwater is not kind to equipment of any type, so unless your gear is properly cleaned up after every trip, it will wear out quickly and be ruined.

Cleaning equipment for fishing gear

The process begins on the water in the way gear is handled.  Lures should never be replaced in the tackle box directly after use.  They need to be placed in a separate plastic container that is for used baits only.  The small amounts of saltwater on the lure can be transferred into your tackle box as baits are changed out and that small amount ruins a box of lures in very short order.
Once you arrive home, the baits in the plastic container need to be cleaned.  My own method for taking care of this is to add a squirt of baby shampoo to the container and fill it with tap water.  A few shakes, a simple brush off with an old tooth brush to get the crud, a tap water rinse and the lures are finally hung to dry before replacing in the tackle box.  The reason for the recommendation of baby shampoo is that it rinses fully in cooler water and it has no other substances in it other than simple soaps.  It won’t harm your tackle and it’s inexpensive.

Washing off saltwater from the deck gear

All equipment from the day should be cleaned up as soon as you get home.  The boat is easy: some people just spray it off and put it up.  I take a few extra minutes with mine and use a soapy water wash down with one of the all-in-one car wash products.  My paddles, net, anchor, and other on board gear is done at the same time and allowed to dry before being stored.  Stainless rigging such as on my anchor trolley will rust in time with continued saltwater use if I don’t clean it each time.

Hand washing the lures

Rod and reel are ruined if they are not thoroughly cleaned after saltwater use.   There are different ideas for this process, but the one I use has kept my gear in working order for years.  I have rods and reels pushing 40 years old that are still fine, work great and I owe it to my cleanup methods.  I start by clipping the line and removing the leaders.  The line is then secured to the spool clips or, in the case of bait casters, to the reel frame.  Reels are removed from the rods before cleaning.  The rods are wet down and washed off using the car wash cleaner and mesh scrubby.  It’s light cleaning not a harsh scrub and will not damage the guides or wraps on the rods.  Once rinsed, the rods are put aside to dry.

Cleaning the plug

The reels are washed off using the baby shampoo on a wet wash cloth.  The idea is to just wash the reel off, not soak it.  Rinsing is done with another wash cloth and tap water.  Do not spray off the reel – it forces salty material into the reel and destroys it from the inside.  Once the reel is rinsed off it gets a spray of furniture polish.  It won’t hurt anything (including the line.)  After the spray down of furniture polish it is wiped clean.  At this point, lubrication of the parts (like the level wind worm gear on the bait casting reel) can be done before storage.

Take care of your gear after every trip and it will last for years.  Put it up without cleaning and you’ll be the tackle store’s best customer..



Copyright (C) Jeff McGovern, 2007-2015

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

Morning blitz, by Bill Davenport

The early bird gets the fish. I’m an early riser and it’s so easy to load the W kayak up that I have no excuse to not get out there. It helps to live three miles from my favorite launching spot. I can put the W and gear on the car and be on the water in less than half an hour.
The last two days have had terns working over baitfish that the stripers are feasting on.
15 fish yesterday, 4 today. All in the 20” to 24” range.

Light tackle nirvana, for me at least. . .


launching my rigged camo kayak out of my car

landing a striper


Striper in kayak

another striper

More kayak fly fishing with Bill »

My W kayak one year later, by Mike Moody

ND-kayak-fisherrman-holding-5-lbs-bassIt’s been over a year since I bought my W and I have fished out of it numerous times so I thought I’d provide another review.



This yak is extremely stable. I have not had a single time on the water where I was worried. Not one. I am able to stand, sit in the riding position (by far the position I spend the most time in) or stretch out my legs with ease. This ability to change positions has helped me stay on the water longer than I would be able to in other yaks. I can’t tell you how good it feels to stand up and stretch after a couple hours of bass fishing. I also love to stand up to paddle around. It allows me to see weed lines, beds and other items that help me catch more fish.

I have to tell you that I own a 17 ft bass boat and it has sat a lot this summer. I really like being able to sneak up on fish with my W. I also enjoy the ability to get into skinny water without a concern about damaging a motor. I have 2 surface mount rod holders and I simply sit my tackle bag in front of me on the saddle but more on rigging in a moment. If anyone has a concern about stability when fighting a fish, don’t worry. I’ve caught some very large Northern Pike and the yak is very stable throughout the fight.

I transport the W in one of two ways; in the back of my truck or on top of my wife’s Subaru. The Subaru is equipped with some crossbars and I use bath rugs to protect the back of the car and just lift the W up onto the back of the trunk and then slid it up on the roof rack. From there I just strap it down. The design of the double hulls makes strapping the W very easy. When I use my truck it’s even easier. Just two straps and away I go. I haven’t used a cart much because where I fish, I just drag it 20-30 ft to the launch across sand.

The W has been a joy to operate. The W tracks very well without a rudder. While wind may grab you a bit more since you are up a bit more than a traditional yak, this seldom poses much of a problem. Once you get used to turning the W, you won’t even think about it. Frankly, I would rather have the solid tracking. Just a note here, I did have to go up and over a log in my W to retrieve one of my favorite lures. I just sat way back and paddled up to the log and then moved all the way forward and I went down the other side.

I have tried many things but found the minimalistic approach is best. I have 2 flush mount rod holders behind me, some rod holding hooks I made out of heavy wire, a collapsible oar and that’s about it. I do have a small tray that I sit on the saddle in front of me that I use to hold onto small items. It’s affixed to the saddle using a couple Velcro strips. I do use on inflatable pad so my butt doesn’t get too sore. I use Velcro to keep it secure.

I have beat the heck out of my W and there are no visible issues except some surface scratches on the bottom from me dragging it all over the north woods. I mean I abuse the poor thing. I weigh 255 and I did get one of those saddle bracket deals. Since mine didn’t come with one (I think they all come with them now), Yoav hooked me up. It was easy to install and I was good. Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t any sign of stress or anything, Yoav and I were chatting and he said I should have one so I got one and installed it. Believe me, these things are tough.

Overall I am extremely satisfied with my purchase and will be buying another for my wife in the future.

Mike Moody

North Dakota

largemouth-bass-ND largemouth-bass-North-Dakota largemouth-bass-standing-in-my-kayak


The deer in the one picture were happily eating lilies from the shore as I was fishing.

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