Elderly Couple Fishing Offshore, In Tandem Out Of Their Motorized Fishing Kayak. December, South Korea

This is a most unusual, yet most revealing story.
It says a lot about kayak anglers and the sacrifices some of them are willing to make for their love of fishing.
It also shows that propelling fishing kayaks with outboard gas engines is picking up, has a future, but it also faces certain limitations.
This story also shows that pedal drives for fishing kayaks simply can’t substitute a motor – any motor, in any way, and that when push comes to shove, they can’t replace the paddle.
And last but not least, it shows that two elderly people can go out for a long, offshore kayak fishing trip on a cold day in December, catch fish together, and enjoy each other’s company while doing so, without suffering from back pain, leg numbness, discomfort, wetness, or any other undesirable phenomenon that elderly anglers suffer from when they attempt to fish out of kayaks.

Members of the South Korean Sea Dreamer Kayak Fishing club, who are all courageous and avid anglers, outfitted their fishing kayaks with outriggers and outboard gas engines. These unusual people went out for an offshore kayak fishing trip December 31st, in cold weather. The fishing expedition included a few traditional SOT kayaks, and a W500 kayak, which unlike the other kayaks, was operated by a crew of two: And elderly couple who loves fishing, and enjoys fishing together.

Elderly South Korean couple fishing in tandem, offshore, out of a w500 kayak outfitted with an outboard gas engine and outriggers

Sungjin Kim, Wavewalk’s distributor in South Korea, published this story (in Korean) on his Korean kayak fishing website, and his post there includes a link to the kayak fishing club’s website.

Here are the fish this tandem crew of kayak anglers caught in the ocean:

fish caught in the ocean near the South korean coast, by an elderly couple fishing in tandem out of a W kaayk outfitted with an outboard motor

The reader should be aware that imported fishing kayaks are expensive in Korea, and so are outboard motors and outriggers. For the cost of their motorized W kayak, this couple could have gotten a nice small motorboat, but not necessarily one that they could car top:

beached motorized kayaks ready for fishing in the ocean, South Korea

Another inconvenience with a bigger boat could have been the need to launch it from a boat ramp, which is neither easy nor convenient.

But let’s not forget that winters in south Korea are cold, and so is the ocean there. This means that elderly people can’t go fishing offshore out of regular SOT, sit-in or hybrid fishing kayaks: They need to fish out of a kayak that keeps them dry, which wouldn’t be the case if they used anything else than their W500:

fishing kayak with outboard gas engine and outriggres in the ocean, South KoreaAnd last but not least, elderly people need a level of comfort that can’t be found in kayaks other than the W kayak: They need to stand up easily and whenever they want to stretch, change positions, be free from any pressure on their lower back, and be able to fight and prevent leg numbness.

The reader has surely realized that fishing in tandem out of a kayak can be problematic, due to the small space available, and the reduced range of motion of the crew. But this was not the case for this tandem crew, obviously – They managed just fine.

In other words, while the other anglers who participated in this cold water and weather, offshore expedition practiced kayak fishing as an extreme sport , this elderly couple practiced traditional, cozy fishing – as it should really be. The only difference between their motorized W500 and other motorized W500 kayaks is the fact they outfitted it with outriggers, like all the other participants in this fishing trip did. This safety measure is understandable in view of the hazardous environment and the risk of hypothermia in case of an accident, the fact that two people were on board the W500 and not just one, and the fact that these were elderly people whose sense of balance might be impaired by age: Seniors are usually more cautious than younger people are, and rightfully so.

Interestingly, the other motorized kayaks that participated in this expedition were of the type that features a push pedal drive, but all the other anglers carried a paddle on board as a safety measure in case the motor stalled, and in order to propel their kayaks in shallow water, when launching and beaching. In other words, out of the three propulsion devices (paddle, motor and pedal drive), the drive was redundant. The fact they didn’t count on their pedal drives for such a long, offshore trip also shows that such devices cannot be counted on as means to extend a kayak’s range of operation, and cannot serve as a substitute for some kind of motor when currents and wind are to be dealt with.

Too Much Comfort in a Fishing Kayak?

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

Kayak anglers who normally suffer from leg numbness, leg pain, butt pain (yakass) and back pain (yak-back) will surely think this headline has some error in it.
First because traditionally, kayaks are infamous for the discomfort their passengers must endure, ans second, because comfort is a good thing, so how could a kayak possibly be too comfortable?

Well, discomfort, fatigue and pain in different parts of our body appear as a result of our being forced to spend a long time paddling and fishing while seated in the non-ergonomic L kayaking position, with neither option to switch to other positions, nor the possibility to stretch effectively. So basically, discomfort comes with sit-in and SOT kayaks, and those who paddle W kayaks and fish from them are spared.

But when can a W fishing kayak be too comfortable?
This article named ‘Resting in Your Fishing Kayak‘ raises the issue of falling asleep while lying down to rest on the W kayak saddle. This position is so restful and comfortable, that the kayak angler trying it could fall asleep, and that’s where the danger lies.

Photo: Getting some rest in a W500 fishing kayak

Kayak Fishing Safety: Is It Safe To Paddle An Uncomfortable Kayak And Fish From It?

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

This question is an important one, as thousands of kayak anglers are risking paddling and fishing accidents because of their kayaks’ poor ergonomics.

The hazards are many and diverse:

First, there’s the danger of being unable to paddle back to shore, as a result of fatigue, and even exhaustion.
Strong wind and tidal current are external forces that could be hazardous to a tired kayak angler, especially if elderly or inexperienced. If your kayak makes you prematurely tired, you need to consider switching to something more comfortable that tracks and paddles better, namely a Wavewalk kayak.

Additionally, overheating in summer, and hypothermia in winter should not be underestimated, since they reduce your ability to paddle effectively and get back to your launching spot, and could even prevent you from getting back to shore.
If your kayak exposes you to cold wind and water, you should avoid paddling it under such circumstances, unless you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a dry suit. Remember: wearing waders and boots while operating small boats is very dangerous, since such heavy clothing might prevent you from swimming, and from getting back into your boat, or kayak.

Furthermore, there’s the hazard of cramps, leg numbness and being practically paralyzed by pain in your back, or in your butt.

Cramps in your legs can be very painful, and last a long time if you can’t stand up safely and relax. Sit-in and SOT kayaks offer only one position, which is sitting in an L shape, with your legs pointing forward and being restricted by footrests. Paddling or fishing in this position for a long time is s recipe for cramps, and for leg numbness, which is not as dramatic, but still most unpleasant, and undesirable as far as paddling is concerned.
Both leg pain and leg numbness are also dangerous because they prevent you from balancing and maneuvering your kayak efficiently.

Pain in your back or butt is dangerous, since it can literally cripple you, and compromise your paddling efforts. Moreover, you might find yourself close to shore and still unable to beach your kayak, or get out of it, as Don, this California kayak angler describes in his kayak review:

-“I fished for 8 years in an [Brand, Model].  The “L” sitting position and it’s effect on my back is what finished standard kayaking for me… One day I beached the bow of that 16 footer and was still about 10-12 feet out in the water where I was sitting.  I discovered I couldn’t move my legs.  Getting out of that thing without causing all kinds of laughter from spectators was one of my greatest physical accomplishments.
I was sure I’d avoid those scenarios with the”W”, and I could hardly wait to find out all the wonderful differences.” 

Read this entire kayak review >

This is not a rare example, and in fact many people report experiencing similar things with their sit-in and SOT kayaks.
Actually, most kayakers and kayak anglers have grown used to frequently stopping their paddling and fishing, just to go on shore an ‘unkink’. This ‘unkinking’ basically means stretching, and allowing some rest for the sore back and aching legs. Stretching your legs and back improves circulation, and relaxes muscles and tendons.
Some kayak fishermen in warm regions just stand in the water, if it's shallow enough. If such frequent ergonomic stops are impossible, the only solution anglers face is to cut short their fishing trip, and paddle back to their launching spot.

The combined effect of back pain or leg pain and cold is dangerous because the cold further contracts your muscles, and thus increases the pain, and therefor makes it harder for you to paddle.

Paddling in intense heat, especially if you’ve suffered from a sun stroke or dehydration is dangerous if you have pains, because such combination can increase the danger of premature fatigue and exhaustion.

More on kayak fishing pains