How Effective Can A Fishing Kayak’s Outriggers Be?

Your fishing kayak’s stability is key to your success and fun in kayak fishing, and the outriggers may help in achieving better stability, but at a price.

By effective we mean how much stability can a pair of outriggers add to your fishing kayak’s initial lateral stability, and what are the drawbacks for using outriggers or that purpose, if any.

First, you need to understand what makes your fishing kayak stable (or unstable), and here is the skinny:

The kayak’s total amount of buoyancy, or roughly its volume is what defines its overall load capacity, or in other words, what weight it can carry without sinking.

All kayaks are symmetrical, which means that every kayak has a longitudinal axis, or center line – It’s the line that divides it in two identical parts: left and right. Each part is buoyant, obviously, and its characteristics are what defines that kayak’s lateral stability. These characteristics are:

1. Buoyancy (roughly the volume of each half), and

2. The distance of that kayak-half’s center of buoyancy from the kayak’s center line.

For this purpose it’s enough to say that the half-kayak’s center of buoyancy is the point at the center of that half-kayak’s mass.  If this definition isn’t clear enough, let’s just say that the center of buoyancy is the point that best represents what that half-kayak can do in terms of keeping that side of the kayak from sinking in the water.

To make a long story short, a kayak’s stability can be simply defined by a number that’s the result of multiplying each half’s buoyancy times the distance of its center of buoyancy from the kayak’s center line.

That number would give us a relative answer as to a kayak’s initial stability: The more buoyancy on each side, and the further apart the kayak sides’ centers of buoyancy are – the stabler it is. It’s something that’s easy to understand intuitively, and reading this article about kayak stability will explain to you what makes the W fishing kayak stabler than the widest fishing kayak out there.

Going back to outriggers, what each outrigger does is two things:

1. Increase the buoyancy of each of that kayak’s halves, and

2. Displace the half-kayak’s center of buoyancy further away from the kayak’s center line.

This is why outriggers can increase your fishing kayak’s stability, and the bigger they are, and the more remote from your kayak’s center line – the stabler you’ll be.

And here are the drawbacks of using outriggers in fishing kayaks:

  1. Extra cost – A good pair of outriggers doesn’t come cheap
  2. Lack of efficiency – In order to properly stabilize your fishing kayak, outriggers would have to be attached to its middle section. This is impossible because doing that would prevent you from both paddling and fishing. This is why outriggers are mounted in the back of fishing kayaks, where they cause less disturbance to paddling and fishing, but at a price of offering no extra stability towards the kayak’s bow, and considerably less stability in the area where you sit, paddle and fish (or stand up, if you’re an over optimistic person…)
  3. Extra weight – With its attachment bars a pair or outriggers can weigh a lot, and that comes on top of your fishing kayak, fishing gear and tackle you need to get tom and from the beach.
  4. Extra complexity – In many case you’d have to attach the outriggers before launching, and detach them after beaching. It can take precious time.
  5. Reduced speed – Outriggers generate quite a bit of resistance, especially since their hull speed is much smaller than the main hull’s speed (I.E. they are much shorter than the kayak itself).  In addition, outriggers create a windage problem, which can be a nasty experience for you when the wind picks up, and for some reason it tends to do it almost every time you go out fishing…
  6. Fishing problems – Outriggers and fishing lines don’t get along very well…

More information: How effective are outriggers for your fishing kayak’s stability?

Bottom line –

Outriggers offer a solution to the stability problem in kayaks, and it’s a solution that comes at a price that you don’t want to pay, in terms of money, weight, complexity, and other problems. This is why you’d better think simple and effective, namely get the alternative that works better, which the patented, super-stable Wavewalk kayak.

Read more about kayak stability »

 

 

 

 


 

 

Kayak Fishing Standing – And What If?…(Stuff Happens)

It seems like all fishing kayak manufacturers these days claim that at least one of their fishing kayak models lets you stand up and fish from. Some of them even go as far as say ‘in confidence’.

The problem with those claims is that they aren’t true, and the sure way for you to know that is by asking yourself a basic, simple and essential question:

-“What if?”

-What if you lose your balance for any reason, just because stuff happens?

And as you probably know, stuff does happen – and in fact it’s practically unstoppable… It’s usually small stuff, like a gust of wind, a motorboat’s wake, someone calling your name which makes you turn your head, a fly, a bird, a moment when you let your thoughts wander, your kayak drifting and hitting the bottom or a submerged log while you’re focusing on your line, or just a fish… Yes, some fish can be quite strong, especially those fish you’d like to catch – certainly strong enough to make you lose your balance when they bite and start vigorously pulling on your line, and most likely not in a direction that would make it easy for you…

Any of these things can destabilize you, and sooner than later it will.  And then what? You’ll tip over and fall overboard, because that’s the only solution all those wishful-thinking stand up SIK and SOT fishing kayaks have to offer you. And when that accident happens you’ll get wet, and some of your precious gear and tackle (or all of it) would get lost, and that’s too bad. You might also catch a cold…

And let us not forget that all those pseudo stand-up fishing kayaks are not stable enough to begin with: The very form and structure of those monohull kayaks is inherently unstable (read article about kayak stability). It’s helpful to remember that all of them were developed out of the native Inuit kayaks, which were supposed to enable performing the ‘Eskimo Roll’ – if you’re sitting inside… Not a practical option for the great majority of kayak paddlers, and not a solution for anyone attempting to fish while standing on top of a kayak. Understanding this is a matter of common sense – You don’t have to be a kayak designer to realize that a kayak that’s barely stable enough for you to feel fully at ease while fishing sitting cannot support a full size, adult fisherman standing on top of it, and still be safe.

BTW, none of these facts has ever prevented any kayak manufacturer from hyping their kayaks as being ‘stand up fishing’ kayaks. People want to stand up while fishing, and they want small, portable and inexpensive boats like kayaks. Naturally, kayaks manufacturers want to satisfy this demand, at least verbally….

There is only one fishing kayak out there that has a real, dependable, tested solution: Our Wavewalk kayaks.

To begin with, the Wavewalk the only watercraft out there that was invented and designed specifically for stand up paddling in all types of water: flat water, streams and surf. We have a US utility (invention) patent on it.

Each of the Wavewalk kayak’s twin hulls offers sufficient lateral buoyancy to support strong and sudden shifts in load, which is what happens when you lose your balance. Your feet are planted at the bottom of the hulls, below waterline – exactly where you can tap the hulls’ buoyancy to the maximum.

The Wavewalk kayak’s high saddle seat is positioned between your legs, which is exactly where it would be the most helpful to you when you’ll need to lower your center of gravity both suddenly and intuitively in order to regain your balance and keep your kayak from tipping over.

Bottom line: Marketing hype won’t make you stabler if you try to fish standing from an inadequate kayak platform that’s bound to send you overboard sooner than later. Having no plan B when your plan A is too shaky is a strategy that you’re bound to regret.

You need a specially designed, real-life tested and truly dependable fishing kayak for stand up fishing, and there’s only one such kayak that can answer these requirements: the Wavewalk.

More on fishing and paddling standing in kayaks »