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.

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.


Seasons Changing – Get Prepared For The Cold

In some regions it’s already too cold for seniors to go kayak fishing, and in other, southern regions, it means everybody can finally go out an fish, as it’s getting less hot than in summer.

Seasons are changing, and that means it’s getting colder.

In some regions it’s already too cold for seniors to go kayak fishing, and in other, southern regions, it means everybody can finally go out an fish, as it’s getting less hot than in summer.

As for those reasons where you can still go fishing from you kayak, it’s time to think about getting better protection form the chill, and by that we don’t mean wearing an uncomfortable wetsuit, or heavy clothes, which can be dangerous if you fall in the water.

So if you’re senior kayak angler, make sure you’re well covered with adequate clothes, and make sure you’re fishing from a kayak that offers good protection from the elements, whether they are cold water or cold wind.

I Don’t Like To Get Wet – I Need A Fishing Kayak That Will Keep Me Dry!

Well, apparently this senior angler is absolutely right, and all kayakers, weather in cold or warm weather and water would better better stay as dry as possible, because of a surprisingly long list of reasons detailed in this article about getting wet in fishing kayaks called “The Wet Ride In Fishing Kayaks – Problems and Solutions” .

Yesterday I talked to an elderly angler from South Texas, who complained about the poor comfort that fishing kayaks offered to his old bones, and the fact he couldn’t switch between positions, which gave him a sore back after fifteen minutes.

That’s no surprise, of course, since most people don’t feel very comfortable in kayaks, especially as they get older. However, the thing that struck me the most in his list of complaints was that he doesn’t like to get wet, and he found no fishing kayak that would keep him dry.

It goes without saying that sit-on top kayaks are bound to get you soaked wet both from water splashing from the sides, as well as through the scupper holes, but sit-in kayaks aren’t much better since you’re sitting so low and close to the waterline that you’re bound to get splashed even by small eddies, and by your own paddle.

The need to keep dry is understandable when cold water and weather are taken into consideration, but what’s the problem in a hot climate like the one you find in south Texas?

Well, apparently this senior angler was absolutely right, and all kayakers, weather in cold or warm weather and water would better better stay as dry as possible, because of a surprisingly long list of reasons detailed in this article about getting wet in fishing kayaks called “The Wet Ride In Fishing Kayaks – Problems and Solutions” .

This article also points to which fishing kayaks would keep you dry, and they are neither sit-in nor SOT kayaks, but a new type of watercraft called W kayak.

Kayak Fishing In Cold Weather

In sum, SOT kayaks, and even sit-in kayaks offer too little stability, comfort and protection from the elements to serve as fishing kayaks in northern regions. These facts also imply less safety for the anglers, so it’s easy to understand why the number of kayak anglers in the north is much smaller than in the south.

Although kayaks were invented by Inuits living in the arctic circle, kayak fishing as a recreational sport, or outdoor activity, is largely confined to the southern regions: Southeast, South, and Southwestern regions of the United States, and so much to the colder Northern regions.

Florida, called the sunshine state, is world capital of fishing, and also the world capital for kayak fishing. It has the biggest number of kayak anglers, kayak fishing guides, kayak fishing clubs, websites, dealers, online forums, etc.  Texas is number two, and then other southern states follow at a distance.

This is why many people think that a fishing kayak is a ‘yak’, that is a sit-on-top kayak, or SOT kayak. Things are much different in the northern part of the United States, and in Canada, where kayak fishing hasn’t been accepted with a lot of enthusiasm, because of the different climate, and that includes both colder weather and water.

The simple truth is that capsizing your kayak in cold water is anything between very unpleasant and a very dangerous, because of hypothermia. Just being constantly splashed and sprayed by cold water is unpleasant and could be hazardous too, especially in cold and windy days. That’s what fishing from a kayak (sit-in or SOT) means  in the North, unless you accept a kayak fishing season that’s limited to the months of July and August, and in the further north you, even that would be stretching it.

In sum, SOT kayaks, and even sit-in kayaks offer too little stability, comfort and protection from the elements to serve as fishing kayaks in cold regions. These facts also imply less safety for the anglers, so it’s easy to understand why the number of kayak anglers in the north is much smaller than in the south.

I’ll further discuss this subject in future posts.