First WaveWalk Paddle Trip, Kayak Review By Retired Gentleman From Texas

Took my WaveWalk out this morning for my first paddle and decided to take a trip thru some of our marshes down here. According to a google earth retracing of my steps I covered about 5.7 miles in 2 hours at a leisurely pace (as would be expected from a Retired Gentleman of Leisure).
The wind was blowing about 8 mph when I started and picked up to 15 to 20 towards the last half of the trip. We had a thunder storm moving in with the usual increase in winds, cloudiness and slight drop in temperature. Literally “no sweat.”
This gave me a chance to compare how the WaveWalk handled the wind as compared to my experiences with both sit in and sit on top kayaks. I think that I can sum it up as WOW! All I had to do was shift my position to raise the bow or stern enough to give me enough weather vane effect to keep me pretty much on a straight course. It took a little experimentation, but I picked up on it pretty quick. I also think that the wind being channeled between the 2 hulls helped me stay on line to a degree. The main point is that I did NOT have to paddle just on one side to keep my heading in a quartering or broadside wind, even when crossing open water. Just scoot towards bow or stern and keep on truckin’.
I had a tug pushing a load of barges up the Neches River throw a pretty good wake at me when I was fixin’ to cross on my way back to the launch. I was pretty nervous, but I shifted my weight all the way to the back of the cockpit and took the 1.5 to 2 foot wake head on. No problems once I got over the initial “oh crap” moment, and the boat took the waves just fine.
I got caught in the rain for the last 40 minutes or so, but I was having so much fun that I decided that if Indians didn’t have ponchos then I didn’t need one either. I wonder if Hyawatha got as nervous as I did when the lightening started popping…
I had a great paddle.
Snuck up on birds, fish, a boat full of fisherman and the one small gator who wasn’t paying much attention. (choot ‘em, Lizabet) Got a few blisters and my muscles are a little sore (hey, I’m 60) but no yak back and my shoulder with arthritis feels pretty good. I was kind of surprised when I stepped out onto land at the end of the trip and staggered around for a few minutes. It’s true – you do use the muscles in your thighs when you paddle a WaveWalk, you just don’t notice it.

Being able to change positions while paddling also helped my knees tremendously. Years ago I shattered one knee cap twice (full of screws now) and tore cartilage in the other, so that was a big plus for me.
I only have one question – how come nobody thought of a catamaran hull concept for paddling craft a long time ago? Ok, so the Polynesians may have figured it out first on a larger scale. It needs less energy to paddle than a sit in, is much more stable than a SOT, your back doesn’t hurt and your butt stays dry! What more could you ask for?
I want to thank both of you for the amount of time that you spent giving me and my friend a test drive and a few tips. The only thing that I would suggest so far is a couple of tie downs inside the hull to tie a small dry box or whatever to securely keep your ID, cell phone, fishing license and maybe a few bucks from going swimming if you get swamped or capsize. Just a thought…

Anyway, thanks guys! I’m having a blast! I’m gonna infect my son with WaveWalk fever the first chance I get, as he is still using a SOT. I think Village Creek would be a good place to start him out.

Lee,
Nederland, Texas

Addendum:

I did a lot of research on the W500 – read all of the blogs and watched most of the videos – before I started saving the funds to possibly purchase one. I had the “book knowledge” on the W500 but not the practical experience. The purchase was totally dependent on a test drive to see if it was as advertised. It didn’t take long to get the basics down.

Although I do plan on doing some fishing from the W, I realized that I need to get more practical experience learning the boat before I do some inshore fishing in it. Plus it’s really great to get back to cruising the marshes & bayous like I used to do years ago. If you’re going into unfamiliar territory, especially back in the marshes, take the time to use GoogleEarth to print a map of the area. A compass is great, but the bayous twist & turn quite a bit and you often can see where you want to be but can’t get there without a map on board. Man, do I love GoogleEarth!

So I’m looking forward to spending some more time just wandering around and getting better with the W and enjoying the sights before I actually go fishing. I’d rather be in a narrow twisting bayou than just about anywhere. Thanks to the wealth of info at the W web site, for making retirement even better than it already is.

More fishing kayak reviews >

“The W500 Rules the Water!” Says Kayak Angler With Fibromyalgia and Sciatica

Neither the fibromyalgia nor the sciatica that Rox suffers from would stop her from fishing for stripers (striped bass) in her W fishing kayak, which she outfitted with an outboard motor, so that she could cover more distance. Rox fishes standing up most of the time, yet another thing she can do only from a W kayak:

Epic, That’s what this day was……Epic. 🙂

I took the W500 fishing kayak out for my first solo Striper fishing on the Connecticut River In Windsor Locks, CT.
My buddy Mike was already on the water, I launched at 12:00 noon. I took the 1.2hp Gamefisher outboard since I knew I could count on it running well. My first slam came at 12:25, but the fish came unbuttoned.
I was drifting and casting my top water lure and working it slowly back to the W500, when BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fish on, and it’s a big one………………..ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Off goes the drag, and the sleigh ride began. It was an awesome Battle, she circled me twice, and shot up river, still towing me ………….. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

I start to tire her, and get her yak side, went to grip the lip with my boga, and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ she wasn’t ready.
Now she is tired, I get her yak side one more time, reach with the bogas ………… and SHE IS MINE!!!!!
You could here me hooting for miles I’m sure.

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

29” Fat and Healthy, 14 1/2 lbs of fighting fury.

Many more Battles happened after that.

Today was one of the Best Fishing Days of my LIFE!!
I landed 3 keepers, and 9 smaller Stripers.

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

I had some awesome blow ups, and Lost 4 Bigger Stripers, but That’s okay, that’s why its called fishing.  😀

I can’t Thank Wavewalk enough, for this wonderful yak, The W500 Rules the water.

Rox

kayak angler standing with big striper in stand up fishing kayak, Connecticut river
Ergonomic, stable, stand up fishing kayak

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

big striper in fishing kayak, CT

“I honestly don’t think there is any chance that this old man could have landed that fish in any other kayak but the Wavewalk”

It was too windy to fish in the river so I stayed in the lagoon by where my friend lets me keep my “W” kayak on his floating dock. I had been out in the morning about 7:30 AM and caught a small snook about 14 inches – a beautiful fish and since I got him on a small foam rubber “gurgler” fly it was fun to see a fish take that surface fly less than a foot from the mangroves in about eight inches of water. It took a little while reviving him in the water before releasing him before I could go looking for his big brother.
Fished until about noon got a couple of hook ups but nothing came to the boat.
I went back just about 7 PM and staked out at the corner of a nice grass flat in the lagoon next to the mangrove creek that feeds in from the Indian River.

It was low incoming tide one of the best times for the bigger fish to get in close to the flat in about four to five feet of water, they slip up on the grass flat and raid the little mullet fingerlings and grass shrimp and can dash back into the deeper water for cover.
So I fished different flies and different sides of the flat for about an hour… fifteen minutes after sunset I was making my “last cast” for the night and bang a freight train hits my fly about thirty five feet from the kayak I am standing on my platform on top of the center tunnel and all the line starts to shoot out of my striping basket and (for once it is not tangled up) whiz all the line is out of the basket probably 125 feet or so and I am on the reel and it is buzzing. First time I am down to my backing line it is still going out to open water in the lagoon (not back to the mangroves like sneaky snook usually do). So I let him go I mean he is too big and hot to horse in with an eight weight and 10 lb tippet. Three good runs, a couple of tries for the mangroves and 15 minutes later I have him in the boat.

snook caught in kayak night fly fishing, Florida

26″ snook WOW the first really nice fish I have ever caught out of the “W” and it was a beauty it took me almost 10 minutes to revive him pushing him through the water next to the boat. But finally he swam off before I was eaten to death by Florida mosquito’s it was almost dark but I was as high as a tree frog just paddling back to the dock whistling Dixie.

I have caught a few smallish fish in the lagoon but started to think that all the nice ones are in the river.

Oh yeah all you northern woodsman who are wondering why I released a five pound snook instead of eating him, there is a limit here we call “slot” fish, 28″ to 32″ inches if they are in the slot then they are keepers but he was a little shy of the slot. And after one of the best battles I have had on fly since my Trinity river steelhead days, I figured he deserved a second chance anyway.

snook caught in kayak night fly fishing, Florida

I love my “W” fishing kayak … when that fish was on I was thinking he went 360 degrees around the boat did three really long runs and in general made 15 minutes feel like about three. I honestly don’t think there is any chance that this old man could have landed that fish in any other kayak but the Wavewalk. I mean I fish with a friend who has five kayaks SOT and Sit in type and he is an athlete, but I have seen how little room to move and how cramped it is and if your line snags on anything when you have a big fish on a fly (even just for a moment) it is good by fish.

OK the truth is my one man fishing machine is a blend of “W’ stability and flexibility and my friend Rick Rosenberg’s outriggers system, and I JUST LOVE IT.

Going back out now, back to the snook lagoon “Middleton Cove” named after my friend who lets me store my boat on his floating dock – just lift on the bow handles and slide it in the water and I am gone Fishing !

Thanks for listening,

Ted ,
Florida

FL lagoon great for kayak fishing at night.jpg

The Future Of Kayak Fishing Is Not As An Extreme Sport

For most anglers, kayak fishing is an extreme sport. Extreme in the sense that an angler fishing from a kayak is compelled to give up the two essential things that any regular fishing motorboat provides, which are adequate stability and elementary comfort. The third requirement, storage space is important as well, but less than the first ‘must have’ two. Indeed, fishing kayaks are not stable enough, and they are extremely uncomfortable, when compared to regular size boats. As for storage in fishing kayaks, the situation is as dire as it is with regards to stability and ergonomics.

The Promise vs. Reality

Kayak fishing promised a cheaper, hassle free, low maintenance, lightweight, car top form of fishing craft, and a direct, sporty experience. However, today, out of tens of millions of Americans who fish from boats, merely one in every thousand fishes from a kayak, and this is after a decade of promises that ‘kayak fishing is the fastest growing outdoors sport’, etc.  The bulk of US anglers have followed neither the kayak fishing pioneers nor the fishing kayak manufacturers’ hype, and since growth in kayak fishing participation is no longer as fast as it had been several years ago, it is safe to say that the US kayak fishing market has matured. This is partly a result of decreasing enthusiasm from new participants, as well as a high dropout rate that has been typical to this sport since its early beginnings.

Yes, but…

But kayak fishing feels extremely uncomfortable only if you’re fishing from the old fashion, sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks and sit-in kayaks. In contrast, when you fish from a W kayak, you experience a level of comfort that’s equivalent to that of fishing from a regular size boat, and some W fans would argue that you feel even better.

When stability is concerned, the level of stability an angler experiences while fishing from a W500 kayak is on par with what they’d feel fishing in a regular size fishing boat, in the sense that they are not required to constantly address the issue of balancing, and they can fish standing up with ease, comfort and confidence that are outside the world of fishing kayaks.

The W500 is the only kayak offering storage space that’s dry and accessible any time, and as much as any kayak angler may need, even if their fishing trip includes camping, and therefore carrying on board numerous and bulky items that so far only canoes and regular size boats could carry.

The Future Of Kayak Fishing

This is to say that kayak fishing has a future, and a bright one, but not as the extreme sport it’s been for most kayak anglers so far. The future of kayak fishing as a broad base sport and leisure activity depends on the participation of regular people, who care about their personal comfort, and demand a performance level in stability and storage that is not sub-minimal.  In other words, the future of kayak fishing is W kayak fishing.


Kayak Fishing and the Pain of Being Wet (Wet Ride)

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

Paddling kayaks and fishing from them is viewed by many as a pain just because the paddler or angler can expect to get wet, and stay wet for long hours on board their kayak, whether it’s a sit-in or sit-on-top (SOT) kayak.

Many people avoid using  SOT kayaks just because paddling them and fishing from them inevitably means getting one’s feet and butt wet (soggy bottom). For others, even sit-in kayaks are a turnoff just because they require stepping in water when entering and exiting them, and they don’t assure the passengers’ dryness, to say the least.

An article named ‘A Wet Ride – Problem and Solutions‘ first appeared on the Wavewalk Fishing Kayaks website over a year ago. Since then, it’s been updated, as evidence and other information is accumulating.

This article exposes and explains the various ailments that may result from staying wet while paddling a kayak and fishing from it. Those ailments and problems include bacterial and fungal infections, pruritic eruptions, exposure to various aquatic parasites, diarrhea, jaundice, fever, headaches, muscle aches, rashes, and enlargement of the liver and spleen.

Obviously, exposure to wind while wearing wet clothes is increasing the risk of hypothermia, a condition that in extreme cases could lead to death. This is especially true for elderly people, and people who aren’t in good physical condition for other reasons (E.G. recent illness, weakness).

Needless to say, that if you’re suffering from other kayak fishing and paddling related problems, such as sciatica, back pain, shoulder pain etc., being wet and consequently being cold is not a good practice for you, as it would contract the muscles in the aching area, and increase your discomfort and pain.

In sum, avoiding prolonged wetness is a good idea, in general, and the old fashion sit-in and SOT kayaks commonly available for paddling and fishing don’t offer sufficiently dry usage conditions. This is yet another serious ergonomic issue that is hardly ever addressed by kayaking and kayak fishing professionals, or by paddling and kayak fishing magazines. The common attitude they usually display is “So what? If I get wet so can you, and besides, kayaking and kayak fishing are water sports, and that means you get wet!”. In our opinion, such attitude is unprofessional, inconsiderate, and non-constructive. It just increases people’s discontent and frustration with kayaks.

As for yourself, if you like paddling and fishing, and you don’t like getting wet, you may want to consider a W kayak, since these new, patented kayaks offer easy, dry entry and exit, as well as a dry ride, whether you’re fishing from your kayak or just paddling it for fun.