By Michael Chesloff, Upstate NY
I became a Wavewalk owner because I wanted a solution to my fishing dilemma. Maybe if you know a little more about my journey you will find something that will prove useful in deciding on your next watercraft.
Here’s my story.
After buying 7 boats, I knew what didn’t work. These 7 boats were, in order of ownership:
1) Jon boat – simple 10 footer with electric trolling motor and a paddle
2) Inflatable – Fairly heavy duty with removable wooden floor, outboard electric trolling motor and oars
3) Bass boat – 16 footer with full flat deck, gas outboard and bow-mounted electric trolling motor
4) Folding boat with electric trolling motor and oars
5) Ultra-light sit-in kayak with paddle
6) Fiberglass skiff – 14 footer with gas outboard, bow-mounted electric trolling motor and oars
7) Square-ended, 12 foot aluminum canoe with bow-mounted electric trolling motor, gas outboard motor and oars
As you can see, I have had almost every kind of freshwater boat, driven by almost every mode of propulsion. They also covered almost every means of transportation; car-topping, towing and stuffing the boat in the trunk of a car. Capacity ranged from 1 person up to 4 and each had its pluses and minuses. So what was missing? This past winter I decided to make an exhaustive list of my requirements and see where it led me. Here is that list:
1) The boat must be easy to car-top – so many lakes and streams forbid boats on trailers.
2) The boat must be easy to row or paddle – many lakes do not permit motors of any kind and I have experienced the misery of being far from the dock with a dead motor/battery.
3) The boat must be capable of taking an electric motor – I did not want to paddle if I didn’t have to.
4) The boat must be capable of taking a gas motor – I fish some large lakes and 3 mph was just not going to cut it.
5) The boat must have room for my gear – Can’t fish without multiple rods, rod holders, tackle boxes, net, anchor, sonar, toolkit, throwable cushion, thermos, etc. and of course, lunch.
6) The boat must allow me to stand up to cast, sight-fish and stretch – I couldn’t last 2 hours in the kayak before my back started to ache and my legs would to go numb.
7) The boat must be stable – the kayak and the Jon boat provided some unwanted excitement by nearly capsizing.
8) The boat must be able to go in shallow water and through weeds – that’s where the bass are most of the time.
9) The boat must keep me and my stuff dry – can’t fish with a wet butt and I did not want to have to put waders on every time I got in and out.
10) The boat must be quick to launch – I can’t spend 20 minutes setting up and taking down every time I want to fish… fishing time is too precious.
So there I was in the dead of winter with my requirements and the Internet. I researched every brand of boat under every category I could think of; dinghy, Jon boat, skiff, catamaran, pontoon, tender, punt, car-topper, canoe, drift boat, etc. Why, I even tried “kayak”!
After many months I had narrowed it down to just a few possibilities. One boat (with 2 electric motors) looked so interesting I was even willing to consider going back to using a trailer. Yes, these were desperate times! But the single most important decision I made was that I WOULD NOT BUY ANOTHER BOAT UNLESS I TRIED IT FIRST! In retrospect this seems so obvious as to be almost silly. I certainly would never buy a car without test driving it and every boat that had let me down was purchased without ever going anywhere near the water, until it was too late!
By spring I had exhausted my ability to absorb any more information from the Web and I pursued my commitment to a test drive. One boat just wasn’t available to try. I managed to test drive the second boat because the maker had a customer in the area who was willing to help. He lives on a small lake only 30 minutes away and so, with great anticipation, we set a date. It was a dud. Not only did it require a trailer (though you do not have to put the trailer itself in the water), but it was, as the owner himself described it, a “barge”. Slow and cumbersome. Well okay. AT LEAST I KNEW FOR SURE BEFORE IT BECAME BOAT NUMBER 8!
Finally, one manufacturer said: “Of course you want to try it first. When would you like to come here for a test drive?”. While this sounded great, the company was over 2 hours away and the boat appeared, to put it mildly, unusual! They called it a kayak, but it didn’t look like any kayak I had ever seen. But spring was approaching and after all, he was offering a TEST DRIVE. I wouldn’t be fooled again.
I can launch anywhere and within 5 minutes of arriving at the water’s edge I am out fishing from my Wavewalk.
So consider my story, then consider a Wavewalk. Google your way to being an informed buyer. Spend some time on YouTube. Don’t buy 8 boats… get a Wavewalk and be happy.