Gary’s new book is a most comprehensive guide for kayak fishing enthusiasts.
Gary Rankel is a biologist who worked for decades in research and management of fisheries across the United States. Years ago, he retired in Citrus county, Florida, and became an avid kayak angler. Since then, Gary founded the local Nature Coast Kayak Fishers club, and published dozens of articles on fishing and conservation in local newspapers.
Gary’s new book is a most comprehensive guide for kayak fishing enthusiasts. It includes a wealth of valuable information on kayaks, local fish species, fishing gear, and angling techniques. The book is edited as a guide for kayak anglers, and it features dozens of local maps with suggested launching spots and directions to productive fishing areas.
Gary suffers from a sensitive back, which is why for the past decade he has been fishing from a Wavewalk 500. He summarized his experience with his Wavewalk 500 in a review of this kayak that he published on his website.
Elderly fishermen welcomed the kayak fishing trend that became popular about a decade ago, mainly because they felt jaded with having to deal with big motorboats and cumbersome canoes, and they welcomed the promise for physical exercise that came with paddling kayaks.
Nowadays, many senior anglers perceive the reality beyond the hype, and they are not as enthusiastic about kayak fishing as before. The reasons for this are primarily ergonomic, namely the discomfort and fatigue associated with staying seated in a kayak for long hours, and the risk of developing sciatica and other back injuries as a result.
Pedal driven kayaks have failed to provide solace to senior anglers, and in fact they proved to be harsher on the operator’s back and legs than regular, paddle propelled kayaks.
Electric trolling motors proved to be a good solution for ponds, small lakes and slow moving rivers, as far as shorter fishing trips are concerned. Whether trough assisted paddling or as an alternative to paddling, electric motors have become quite popular with older anglers who can tolerate being seated in the L position, or similar uncomfortable postures.
Wavewalk is a manufacturer of patented kayaks that solved the back pain problem in this field, as well as a host of other physical problems that plague kayaking and kayak fishing. Wavewalk also solved the motorizing conundrum, namely the insufficiency of electric trolling motors as means of propulsion for long fishing trips and for traveling in fast currents and in choppy water – something that only outboard motors can do.
Wavewalk offers three products lines of different sizes, all of which can be easily and effectively paddled and motorized with either electric motors or outboard gas motors.
The Wavewalk 500 is a lightweight (60 lbs) super stable and back pain free twin-hull (catamaran) kayak that anyone can car-top, launch paddle and beach anywhere, including people in the late seventies and even early eighties, as well as people with serious disabilities.
The Wavewalk 700 series is a lightweight (80 lbs), super stable and back pain free twin-hull tandem kayak and portable skiff. Anyone can car top a W700 on their own, as well as carry it and launch it. It can take powerful portable outboard motors, and it’s fun to drive, even in choppy water.
The same skiff serves as a fishing kayak in places that can be accessed only by the smallest and most nimble paddle craft:
Wavewalk is now offering a third line of small craft named Series 4 (S4). This portable (car-top) skiff can take on board two big and heavy anglers, a strong outboard motor, and plenty of fishing gear. It can also serve as a paddle craft (canoe, tandem kayak) when its crew needs to go in extremely shallow water, or in no-motor zones (NMZ). Being more stable than bigger boats makes it an ideal solution for elderly anglers who fish in a variety of waters, and do it either solo or together with a fishing buddy.
Gary Rankel, from Hernando, Florida, launched his kayak fishing club and website in 2015.
Since then, his website has become a useful source of information about fishing Nature Coast and Citrus County, kayak fishing techniques and rigging tips, the Nature Coast Kayak Fishers Club schedule and activities, and the Wavewalk 500, from which Gary has been fishing for the past seven years.
Gary offers lectures and advice on these subjects, and he organizes fishing trips, mainly to the Ozello wildlife refuge, where he and his friends fish for snook, redfish and seatrout, as well as other species. He is also active in campaigning for wildlife and fisheries conservation, following his decades long work as a scientist in this field.
Many seniors who would like to go out there and fish are prevented from doing so because handling and driving a regular size motorboat is too hard for them, while fishing out of a common (SOT or Sit-In) kayak is too uncomfortable for them, mainly because of back pain problems, leg circulation, difficulties in launching and beaching, and the need that some have for an extra source of power, namely a motor, due to the fact that their range of travel as paddlers is even more limited than that of younger anglers. Some elderly anglers, such as Gary himself, who’s in in seventies, no longer enjoys a perfect sense of balance, and appreciates the extra stability offered by the Wavewalk.
Many years ago you used to fish out of a motorboat, and you didn’t like the hassle, noise, trailer, and launching and beaching in boat ramps. So you looked for other fishing craft, non-motorized ones, and you weighed the options that were available to anglers back then, which were canoes or traditional (mono-hull) kayaks.
Whichever you chose, it did the job for some time, until you realized that a human powered fishing boat is a great idea, but at your age you can’t handle paddling long distances, not just because you’re no longer in great physical shape, but mainly because the ergonomics of these craft isn’t suitable for you – Your back is sensitive, and your legs tend to get numb, and your body neither forgives nor forgets any abuse.
Fishing out of a Wavewalk TM kayak would have made things easier for you, but still, you want to go places and your paddling capabilities won’t suffice to take you there, and back from there.
This is where you may be interested to consider fishing out of a motorized Wavewalk TM – You can outfit your with either an trolling motor for short fishing trips on flat water, or with a small, lightweight outboard gas engine for longer fishing trips and for traveling in moving water. And if you’re imagining that you’d need a trailer, think again, because this fishing boat can be easily car topped, and as bonus you’d be able to launch and beach it pretty much anywhere.
This short video can make this new concept a little more understandable:
It shows the Wavewalk TM 570 in action. This new series is designed especially for motorizing and fishing in moving water with an outboard motor, but you can still use a Wavewalk TM to paddle and pole when you need to, such as in skinny water, or weed infested water, or when you launch or beach in difficult spots that aren’t usable for other boats and kayaks.
It’s as simple as that: Thanks to a new generation of fishing kayaks, which are lighter, stabler, and more comfortable than common kayaks are, anglers in their sixties and even anglers in their seventies can spend long hours on the water, and enjoy paddling and fishing without suffering from wetness, instability, back pain, leg numbness and cramps, or premature fatigue, which are all symptoms that are commonly experienced by people who fish out of kayaks, especially if they happen to be middle aged and elderly. They can even motorize their kayaks and by doing so travel long distances, and fish in remote locations, without being constrained by the limited physical power they have when paddling is concerned.
Gary is a retired biologist who worked for decades assisting Indian tribes throughout the country in managing their fish and wildlife resources.
He’s in his seventies now, and he lives in Florida.
Says Gary –
Fishing has been my passion since I was young, and I prefer to fish in saltwater, where I go for redfish, sea trout, snook, and other popular local fish species. I practice catch and release, unless someone close (wife or neighbors) orders a particular fish from me for dinner. I fish alone and with other kayak anglers.
Over the years, I’ve owned various fishing boats, and I stuck to the Wavewalk for several reasons; its unmatched stability, comfort and dryness, and the fact that unlike other kayaks it doesn’t hurt my back even if I spend the entire day fishing in it. I can stand up and unkink anytime I want, or lay down on the saddle and stretch.
It’s also lightweight, and that makes it easy for me to take it from my pickup truck to the beach, and back, even with all my fishing gear loaded inside its hulls.
Paddling my W is easy for me, even in harsh weather as it tracks perfectly without the need for a rudder.
In recent years, I’ve discovered the pleasures of wildlife photography out of my W kayak.
I’m planning to add a motor at some point so I can cover even greater distances. I had first opposed the idea of motorizing my kayak, but the numerous videos posted on Wavewalk’s blog have changed my mind.
All in all, it’s the most comfortable and functional fishing kayak I’ve seen.
Here are some pictures of Gary and his senior fishing buddies Bob and Dick: