Good news for elderly kayak anglers

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:

 

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.

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.


The Barge Yak: A Not So Cozy Fishing Kayak

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

A common fishing kayak is essentially a broad, clumsy recreational kayak, in most cases a sit-on-top (SOT) kayak, which is another name for a paddle board. Sea kayakers call these types of kayaks ‘barge’, since they although they are stabler than sea kayaks, are also hard to paddle.  
But barge kayaks are hazardous to paddle and fish from
Seriously, they can be, and that’s because fishing kayaks are used by real, everyday people like yourself, in real, everyday conditions. Life is neither a commercial video, nor a glossy ad.
Everyday people are not particularly fit, and they’re often both overweight to some extent.
The typical kayak angler is middle aged, and many kayak anglers are elderly folks. Unfortunately, these are the same people who would normally purchase a barge yak, because they are concerned about the instability of narrow sit-in and SOT kayaks, and may not want to pay for a W kayak.

So why is a slow and hard to paddle ‘barge’ fishing kayak potentially hazardous for such people?

It’s because in the real world, where real people paddle and fish, you’re bound to get into unfavorable circumstances – sooner or later, unless you paddle and fish in a tiny pond, preferably close to home. Such circumstances usually involve changes in the weather –
When bad weather happens while you’re seated in your kayak, you’d rather not overturn it, of course, and it is assumed that barge kayaks can normally handle this challenge – not always, and not as well as W kayaks, though… unlike other kayaks that are too unstable for that. If you happen to be away from shore in bad weather, being in a barge kayak could turn out to be a bad experience for you, and it may even lead to an accident, because you could find yourself unable to get back to your launching spot, or worse – go back to shore in any part of it. If back to shore means getting back to a beach, and the place you’re paddling and fishing in is the ocean, or a big lake, you could be in trouble.
This is because big bodies of water (E.G. ocean, lake, big river) also have currents in them, and the combination of wind and current is just too powerful for you to deal with when you’re paddling a barge kayak. Waves would likely swamp you. You won’t be able to direct the kayak to safety, and you’d be drifting somewhere you don’t want to go to. When this happens, you may find yourself in an even worse situation as night comes.
So try to imagine yourself wet, cold and exhausted from useless paddling efforts, your back sore, your legs are numb, and you’re drifting somewhere in the darkness.
The heavier, older, and less fit you are, the higher the chances you’d get yourself a barge yak, and at the same time the heavier, older and less fit you are, the more likely you are to get in trouble, discomfort and pain just because you’re paddling such a kayak.
Well, life is unfair, sometimes, especially to those who don’t take it seriously, and don’t imagine worse case scenarios that unfortunately are part of many outdoor recreational sports, including kayaking and kayak fishing.
It doesn’t make much difference if you paddle your clumsy fishing kayak or propel it with a pedal drive– You’s better not venture too far from shore with it, especially in unfavorable weather circumstances, or when there’s a good chance that the weather could change for the worse, because such change may very well be unfavorable, and even dangerous to you.

Herniated Lumbar Disk, Back Pain, and Long Kayak Fishing Trips

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.
This is part of a fishing kayak review combined with a fishing trip report published on the Wavewalk Fishing Kayaks blog, and on the Jacksonville Kayak Fishing forum:

I bought a Wavewalk kayak  in anticipation of using it for fishing the flooded grass because of the ease of standing in it and also because my lower back had been bothering me after long trips in my [15 ft long SOT fishing kayak]. Since then I’ve actually herniated a lumbar disk and was out of commission for 6 weeks, but although I’m functional now using the [15 ft long SOT fishing kayak] is out of the question in the near future.
I finally got to try out the W for what I bought it for.  We had flood tides over the weekend and I was anxious to pole the boat around the flooded spartina grass in search of tailing red fish.
I was not disappointed, it performed flawlessly.
It poles very easily in the grass, the view is great standing, and there is nearly no balancing effort for standing in it. I actually put a board across the top of the seat and poled standing on top of that. The view there is about 12″ above the water and the perspective that gives you hunting for tails is incredible.
I’ve also used the boat for some short trips fishing, and find that it’s a great little boat to fish out of because it allows you to be in so many positions while fishing and you never feel the need to get out and stretch or get the numbness out of your butt.
—————–
The Wavewalk is a keeper in my kayak herd now and for the near future will probably be the only boat I’ll be able to go out in. It’s nice and compact, stores a lot of stuff easily and keeps it dry, plus allows those of us with non cooperating bodies to fish more comfortably.
I’m also looking forward to staying nice and dry and warm fishing out of it this winter. This is a great boat to own even if my back wasn’t part of the reason I bought it.

Kevin

To read the entire review go to the Wavewalk Fishing Kayaks blog >>

Note: To review featuring on Wavewalk’s blog does not reveal the mentioned SOT fishing kayak’s name and brand, but if you’re interested to know what it is, you’ll find the info in the Jacksonville Kayak Fishing forum version.