A client who received his S4 Microskiff recently wrote us that he still hasn’t decided whether to outfit it with a regular outboard motor or a surface drive, a.k.a. mud motor, but in the meantime he found that the S4 paddles very well.
This client fishes in very shallow water, dubbed “skinny water”, and choosing the right motor for his S4 is important for him, but so is the fact that he can paddle his S4 easily when the water is too shallow to for a motorized boat to go in, even a boat with a very shallow draft, such as a microskiff. This is because whatever the hull drafts doesn’t determine the depth of the water that the boat can go through -Ultimately, it is the depth in which the propeller rotates, which is about 10 inches deeper, in the best case, so we’re looking at about a foot of water in total for the hull and the propeller, unless the boat is outfitted with a surface drive.
Those who don’t fish in skinny water might think that a foot of water is very shallow, but anglers who fish in skinny water sometimes want and need to go in water that’s much shallower, and this requires either a surface drive, or paddling. In extreme cases, it may require getting out of the boat and walking while pulling the boat.
As for poling, let’s leave this inefficient method of human powered propulsion to people who are physically fit and who like to pole their boat as a form of exercise, or as part of a tradition of sight fishing. Practically, most people can’t pole a boat, not even a small one, and carrying a full size poling pole on board such a small craft is problematic, to say the least.
What makes the S4 the easiest microskiff to paddle?
To begin with, most microskiffs are both too wide and too heavy to allow for paddling, even by more than one passenger.
As for the class of ultralight microskiffs that are light enough to be transported on a pickup truck bed, they can be paddled, but not very well, since they are both too wide, too heavy and not comfortable enough to allow for effective and easy paddling. Practically, this means that they can be paddled only over short distances.
The S4 is both the lightest and the narrowest full-fledged microskiff out there, and the only one that features sloping sides for ease of movement of the paddle, and an ergonomic saddle-seat that boosts the paddler’s power and comfort.
The S4 is easy to paddle seated and standing, with dual-blade (“kayak”) paddles or single-blade (“canoe”, “SUP”) paddles. It tracks extremely well thanks to its straight and narrow catamaran hulls, which is why no one has ever outfitted their S4 (or any other Wavewalk) with a rudder.
Interestingly, although the S4 is classified as a motor boat (a multihull boat, to be precise), some S4 owners use it as a paddle craft only, in a kayaking or canoeing mode. And although this practice is rare, in comparison, there are no owners of other ultralight microskiffs who use them only for paddling.
In sum, if you’re looking for the best fishing skiff for shallow water, and the only one that guarantees that you’ll never get stranded, the S4 Microskiff should be your first choice.