Note: This article was published before we LAUNCHED the Wavewalk S4 Cartop cat microksiff »
What’s a good two-person fishing boat?
A good two-person fishing boat is one that allows for two large size fishermen to fish from it in full comfort, for long hours. According to this basic definition, most boats out there are suitable as two-person fishing boats, except sit-in and sit-on-top (SOT) tandem fishing kayaks, which are neither comfortable nor stable enough for average people to fish from. So this preliminary definition is too inclusive, and we need to refine it by asking the following question –
What’s a better two-person fishing boat?
This is where the actual discussion begins –
1. More than two anglers on board.
One requirement that comes to mind is the ability to accommodate a crew of more than two full-size anglers, and in fact, most motorboats out there fulfill this requirement, although on a typical trip they don’t take more than two anglers on a board. In fact, most anglers fish either alone or with one fishing buddy on board, which is to say that being able to take a third and a fourth passenger is a feature that may be nice to have, but it’s not essential for a two person fishing boat. In other words, size may matter in this case, but only to marginal extent.
2. Less than two anglers on board – Very important!
Typically, recreational fishermen fish by themselves or in pairs. This implies that a good two-person fishing boat should also be practical and even easy to use for one angler who wishes to use it alone, without a fishing buddy – but most fishing boats aren’t. This failure to accommodate one angler is the result of the boat’s large size, and consequently, the need to transport it with a trailer, launch it from a trailer, and take it out onto a trailer… And while this may sometime be possible for one experienced and strong fisherman to perform, it’s not given to everyone. This is to say that a really good two-person fishing boat must also be a good one-person fishing boat – by definition.
3. Mobility is key
A typical two-person fishing boat is fairly large, and requires transportation on a trailer, which limits the number of launching and beaching spots for its users, makes them lose precious time at boat ramps and on the way to them, and limits the areas where they can go and fish. Such boats may be comfortable to fish from, but this comfort comes at a price that you wouldn’t necessarily want to pay, if you were offered a better alternative. And indeed, some two-person fishing boats such as lightweight dinghies and Jon boats can be car topped by two strong men, or transported in a pickup truck bed, and they can be launched and beached regardless of boat ramps. The problem with this class of small boats is that you can’t paddle them effectively, and you still need a fishing partner to handle them on land, both when carrying them from and to your vehicle, and for car-topping and unloading them.
4. The shallow water challenge
Unless you’re a blue-water fisherman, sooner or later you’d want to fish in shallow water, because these waters offer some of the best fisheries. But shallow waters are not just shallow, they’re often infested with vegetation and underwater obstacles, and we use the word ‘infested’ because although vegetation and underwater structures make great habitats for fish, they’re not that great for boating, to say the least, and they can cause you serious trouble with your motor’s propeller. This means that even a boat with a very shallow draft, such as some microskiff have, may not perform well in shallow water due to your inability to propel it effectively, meaning that it’s not comfortable to paddle, and it requires too much effort to push-pole.
Shallow water as a type of fishery that demands particular things from a boat, one of which is the ability to propel it manually (seriously, forget about pedal drives 😀 ) by using either double blade (kayak) or single blade (canoe) paddles. If you’re serious about shallow water, think paddling too, or get either a mud motor or an air-jet motor for your boat.
5. Launching and beaching issues
Good launching and beaching spots are not always available, and you may need to launch your boat and beach it in less than perfect conditions such as we described in the previous ‘Shallow Water’ section of this article, or in places called ‘Rock Gardens’. In both cases, the ability to propel your boat with an alternative, human-powered means is critical. By this we mean that a really good two-person fishing boat is one that offers its crew, be it two anglers or a single one, to paddle and push-pole easily and effectively, over long distances and in problematic water and weather conditions.
6. No-Motor Zones (NMZ)
These fisheries where no motor boats are allowed grow in number every year, and some of them are just too good to be left for others to fish in. NMZ are yet another reason why versatility in propulsion is important when you think about your next fishing boat.
No. A canoe is unlikely to fit your requirements for a good two-person fishing boat for a number of reasons, which are:
Although some canoes are wide, they’re not particularly stable, especially when powered by an outboard motor.
For the same reason (stability issues), canoes aren’t ideal for fishing standing, especially for average and above-average size fishermen, as well as elderly ones, and we all know that without the ability to stand up and fish, no boat can be labeled a good fishing boat.
Typically, canoes don’t offer much as far as comfort goes, and unless you’re super fit, that’s a problem when long fishing trips are concerned.
If you try to paddle a canoe by yourself on a windy day, chances are that you won’t try again… This is because canoes track poorly under wind, and they’re too hard for most solo paddlers to handle under such conditions.
But does such a two-person fishing boat even exist?
This article seems to raise the bar a little too high in realistic terms, doesn’t it? It describes a craft that’s lightweight enough for one guy to car top, yet can take two large-size fishermen in full comfort on a long fishing trip, and be motorized with a powerful outboard motor. The same boat is required to be very stable, naturally, and still be narrow enough for comfortable paddling… These contradicting requirements don’t exclude the Wavewalk 700 , which has a 450 lbs load capacity, and was designed to do just that, without giving up the solo abilities in launching, paddling, standing, poling, fishing, motorizing, beaching, and car-topping.
The perfect two-person is the Wavewalk S4: