The Future of Kayak Fishing is Painless

Have you ever wondered where the sport of kayak fishing was headed?

Well, one thing is for sure – If kayak fishing is to keep growing as far as participation is concerned, something must be done to make fishing out of a kayak less a pain in butt, literally, and less of a pain in the back, more specifically.

People aren’t stupid, and most of them think a long fishing trip must also be one that won’t involve being wet, uncomfortable, and unstable, such as you’re going to be if you choose a conventional kayak as your fishing platform.

Most people also want to be able to go places while they’re fishing, and they don’t appreciate the limited range of travel that conventional fishing kayaks offer.

In other words, there’s more than one good reason explaining why only one out a thousand anglers in North America fishes out of a kayak, while the rest fish from other boats (mostly motorized), or from shore.

Ergonomics is key in many products, as well as sports. People don’t like to feel sore, get bruised, or injured. Pain and discomfort are counter productive when your goal is to have fun.

Whatever the future of kayak fishing will look like, we can be sure it will be free of diaper rash, yack back, numb legs, and other unpleasant phenomena that afflict those who fish out of conventional kayaks.
Arguably, the W is the fishing kayak of the future, and it is already here.

70 Year Old Fly Kayak Angler: My Experience With The W Fishing Kayak

A fishing kayak review from an experienced angler who’s tried various fishing styles and fishing boats often tell a lot. Here is Glynn Gantenbein’s account of his experience with the W fishing kayak:

I have been flyfishing around the world for 20 years, much of it in a kayak.
I found only two things were missing: a comfortable seating position and the ability to stand up for sighting fish.
After studying videos at Wavewalk, I ordered an inventory of Wavewalk kayaks without even seeing one.
Upon receipt I tested the Wavewalk… -I am 70 years old, weigh 230, have a bad back, need a knee replacement, and have constant vertigo from a chronic ear condition.
During my initial test I was able to stand up and paddle and really enjoyed the seating position called Riding.
IF I CAN DO IT, ANYONE CAN!!
The Wavewalk 500 is fast and runs straight.
Everything you read is correct.
One of my customers put a $100 trolling motor on his and said he was “going water skiing”… which was his way of saying its fast.

Glynn

big redfish caught in a kayak fishing trip Texas

My first red fish, caught on a fly

DIY motor mount for fishing kayak. Texas

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.


A Look To The Future Of Fishing Kayak Design

There is no doubt that certain kayaks are more suitable for fishing than others. It is widely accepted that the more stable the kayak, the more ‘fishable’ it is. Since kayak fishing trips can take long hours, and sometimes days, properly designed fishing kayaks should offer their users the means to keep fishing and paddling without having to stop because of problems such as leg pain, leg numbness, butt pain and back pain, a.k.a ‘yak-back’.
Those who have tested W kayaks, especially the new generation of W500 models, would find it easy to understand why old-style fishing kayaks commonly known as sit-in and sit-on-top kayaks (SOT) are poorly designed, and do not fit the needs of the modern kayak fishing community.
Although certain kayak manufacturers have been pushing forward the notion that some of their wider fishing models are fit for stand up kayak fishing, there doesn’t seem to be a considerable number of kayak fishermen who would agree. Stand up kayak fishing is a misnomer when SOT and sit-in kayaks are considered.The main reason why kayak fishing is not as popular as it could have been, is the problem of discomfort and poor ergonomics. In other words, fishing kayaks are a pain to fish from, literally. This is especially true as the anglers get older.
Here is a link to an article about fishing kayaks and elderly kayak anglers, courtesy of the Painless kayak Fishing blog. The article has links to fishing kayak reviews written by elderly kayak anglers.

This movie shows the W500 fishing kayak. It is the second generation of W Fishing Kayaks, and offers a glimpse at the future of kayak fishing: Better ergonomics, better hydrodynamics, and better stability, enabling a good experience in both paddling and fishing – unlike the sit-in, SOT and hybrid kayaks commonly used today.

6’3″ 235 lbs, 70 Year Old With Back and Weak Legs Problems

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

I’m 6’-3”; 235 lbs. I have back and weak leg problems that will keep me from safely balancing in the standing position, let alone jumping up and down. Sitting, I can go all day! (at 70 yrs old that’s probably an hour or so)… The saddle and sitting positions it offers are the big appeal of the Wavewalk for me. Forget about the traditional L position – I couldn’t get up, even if I had managed to get down.
Once I saw the W500 I knew that was the boat for me, but, being me, and never having tried a W500, I kept thinking I could improve on the design here and there. During the acceptance process I learned a lot, and now I’m happy to accept the hull as it is.
I’m feeling a little guilty that I didn’t have any exciting adventures to relate.
The first time out, I went to a lake with a shallow beach where I figured I could walk back to shore if I dumped the boat. I started out cautiously, right from shore, without getting my feet wet. I paddled in the shallow area for less than a minute, then headed down the lake (how’s that for quickly gaining confidence?), then all the way up to the other end (a mile?), then back down the . . . oh, oh! The breeze has kicked up. This could be trouble. A couple of mental adjustments and I was paddling into the wind and doing OK. Remember, I’m not a paddler, not ever a rowboat. I rested a bit in the lee of the eastern lakeshore then headed back to the beach 1/2-way down the lake where I dis-embarked, without getting my feet wet.
So far, nothing out of the ordinary. I initially found the boat to be tender, but that was me, not the boat. Anything that only weighs 59 pounds is bound to be tender when it’s reacting to a 235 pound novice, and the more I use it, the more compatible we become. It took a bit of adjustment to handle the paddle, which I imagine every new paddler experiences. And even though I got a couple of scares out there on the lake by digging in too hard, I didn’t dump the boat.
I haven’t been chasing fish. I realized I’m not going to be an avid fisherman but the lure is still there, and watching Fisheries pour three tanker trucks of keeper size trout into the lake whets the appetite.