Stand Up Kayak Fishing – From Fantasy To Reality

Kayak fishing has widely been considered as an outlandish fantasy since the advent of the craft itself. Fishing kayak manufacturers know that their products are completely incapable of supporting this option, so they scoff at the idea and say it’s contradictory to ‘classic kayak fishing’.

Then, in view of a growing demand for stable fishing kayaks, fishing kayak manufacturers realized they had to come up with some kind of response, so they began offering increasingly wide sit-on-top (SOP) fishing kayaks that became almost impossible to paddle, but were promoted as being stable enough to allow stand up kayak fishing.

Some people fell for this hype, but they soon realized that although the new, extra-wide fishing kayaks were indeed stabler, they weren’t nearly as stable as would be required to fish standing up. This has to do with both lack of initial stability and secondary stability, as well as the fact that such kayaks do not offer a ‘Plan B’, that is a solution for dealing with situations where the angler has already been destabilized, as it often happens, and they are facing the unwanted possibility of falling overboard with their fishing gear and tackle following them.

Then, some manufacturers began offering solutions based on kayak outriggers. Those may have improved initial stability, but they could not solve the problem of ‘what if” – that is what should the angler do if and when they lose balance in their kayak, and are forced to fall overboard – an event usually described as ‘going swimming’.

So far, the only fishing kayaks to provide adequate initial and secondary stability, as well as a solution in case the standing kayak angler lose their stability are the kayaks made by Wavewalk Fishing Kayaks, due to the combination of optimal kayak stability and a saddle that the angler can fall on, and regain balance instantly.

When to motorize?

The nature of the problem

Should I motorize my fishing kayak, and if so, when, and with whet kind of motor – A battery powered electric outboard motor, or a small, portable outboard gas engine?
These are questions that many kayak anglers ask themselves, for various reasons starting from being tired of spending so much time and efforts paddling or pedaling to one’s favorite fishing hole, through a need to have a backup plan and the means for going back home in case the weather and/or current change, and through the wish to extend one’s range of travel, and go for long fishing trips, as motorized fishermen like to do.
This is comparable to the decision about getting a snow blower –
If you live in a region that gets a lot of snow in winter, and if your house happens to have a long driveway, you realize at some point that a snow shovel no longer works for you, and you need a snow blower. You’d obviously get a gas powered snow blower, because big snow storms are often accompanied by power outages…

What factors to consider?

1. Ergonomics and safety

The first factor to consider is the human factor – yourself: Do you feel capable and comfortable paddling long distances, or does paddling drain your energy before you even get to start casting your baits, lures, flies, net, or whatever tackle you use? This question has to do with more than comfort – it’s about safety as well. Paddling long distances and while being tired can cause injury, and in rare cases it can lead to accidents. Not everyone is young and fit, and in fact, most kayak anglers are either middle aged or elderly, and many don’t benefit from being athletic. Furthermore, problems such as overweight and back pain are common in these populations.

2. Weather and water conditions

You may be a great kayaker and eager to paddle, but bad weather and strong currents are stronger, and may cut your trip short, or make it extremely difficult for you to get back to your launching spot, and even just back to shore, due to lack of propulsion power. Even an electric trolling motor might not be powerful enough in extreme adverse conditions such as a storm, a sudden swell in a river, strong wind, a fast tidal current, etc.

3. Weight

An electric trolling motor weighs about half the weight of a small outboard gas engine, but the battery that powers it can weigh twice as much as an outboard motor. Such setup can be inconvenient in several ways, starting from carrying your kayak from your vehicle to the launching spot (and back), and if the battery runs out of electricity, you’d have to paddle a kayak that’s considerably heavier.

4. Cost – performance

While you can get a small electric trolling motor, battery and charger for less than $300, a new outboard motor would cost more than twice as much. But if you go for an electric motor powered by a Lithium-Ion battery, you could end up paying more than what you’d pay for a top of the line outboard gas engine, and you won’t necessarily be better served than if you got an outboard motor.

5. What type of kayak?

You can’t put an outboard motor on any fishing kayak – In order for the motorized kayak to be safe and comfortable, it needs to be ultra stable and fully ergonomic to begin with, and the only kayak that fits this description is the W500. Rigging other kayaks with an outboard motor could be anything from uncomfortable to hazardous. As for electric trolling motors, most fishing kayaks including SOT and SIK can take them, although results may vary…

Bottom line

In sum, if you need to go far, and the water you’re going through can get choppy or fast moving, and if the wind can drive you where you don’t want to go – you’d better outfit your fishing kayak with an outboard gas engine. In contrast, if you fish in smaller bodies of flat water, an electric trolling motor could very well do the job for you.

Kayak Fishing In Freezing Canada

The phrase “Kayak Fishing in Canada” is sure to send a chill down (or up) your spine, doesn’t it?
Think about the cold water (brrr…) and the cold wind blowing (brrr as well…), and if you’re sitting in a SOT kayak or Sit In kayak you’re freezing – literally. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be like that, and not all fishing kayaks are prone to send you home with a wet butt and a running nose.

The notion of kayak fishing in Canada, a relentlessly cold area, will immediately bring up images of uncomfortably frigid trips and an overall undesirable experience.

The combination of bitterly cold wind and the constant splashing of icy water makes fishing from a traditional fishing kayak in Canada sound preposterous at any time except summer.

However, this need not be the case. Even though most fishing kayaks leave you with a soaked behind and a cold the next day, a new type of fishing kayak, dubbed the Wavewalk Fishing Kayak, will let you stay high, dry and out of the cold. The saddle design elevates you high above the water level, while increasing your stability and decreasing or even eliminating the chance that you will tumble into the cold Canadian waters. Even when fitted with outriggers, no fishing kayak matches the stability of the W.

Also, around the cockpit of this fishing kayak is an elevated lip, or freeboard, that protects the angler from freezing spray, a necessity while kayak fishing in Canada and any other cold climate in general.

Read more about kayak fishing in cold water on the Wavewalk blog>>

Kayak Fishing Pain With Jeff

Experienced kayak angler from Florida, Jeff McGovern has made some observations:

“Yet another problem in fishing kayaks is shoulder pain, as some of my common kayak friends have talked about- they often communicate that they need to get multiple shoulder problems fixed. Certain anglers have deformities on their shoulders which can be immediate threats. His main problem is casting from his sit on top kayak, which is very painful for his shoulder. The awkward casting angles are painful for my friend as well as others, so he is forced to fish by standing in the water and wade fishing. My friend is twenty five, and there should be no way a product is so painful to use, even for very young people. Whereas conventional kayaks limit your kayak fishing abilities, my Wavewalk fishing kayak offers a tremendous advantage when I power cast. I’ve never had to experience the described  pain in casting from the low L position, as my fishing kayak allows you to fish from a superior position.”

To get a better grasp of these problems, ask yourself these question:
Who in their right mind casts from docks or from large motorboats cast sitting with their legs perpendicular to their back? Who would subject themselves to this uncomfortable posture of their own volition, especially if less painful alternatives are available, like fishing standing up?

Of course no one fishes in the L posture while on land or in large boats, and no one has even considered it.

In different terms, this posture should never be considered suitable for kayak fishing, but conventional sit-in and sit-on fishing kayaks have no reasonable alternative. Anglers do not want to spend time and money with larger fishing boats, they must deal with this inconvenient hindrance to their enjoyment of kayak fishing, yo even be able to fish.”

As stated, conventional fishing kayaks all have this problem, so why not look towards the unconventional? The perfect fishing kayak would have an innovative new ability to use alternate postures. One such kayak comes to mind: The Wavewalk fishing kayak, mentioned in McGovern’s quote. This fishing kayak offers the ability to utilize new positions, like the riding and standing position, through its saddle, which allows for more powerful casting and a better overall experience when kayak fishing.

 Shoulder pain in kayak fishing while casting is discussed often in the kayak fishing world, and there are many articles written on it.

More Foam, More Lumbar Problems

Research on lumbar support in kayaks, demonstrates that remaining seated in the L position with footrest/backrest combo creates tension that is greatly unhealthy for your back, and results in an excessive amount of discomfort and pain.

Cushioning the seat of your fishing kayak with extra padding may alleviate pain for a short while, but it fails to solve the dilemma in the long run. What pushes the Lumbar spine up against the backrest while in the L position is the strongest muscles in your body, your legs, which are perpendicular to your back and are pushing against the footrest:
You don’t want something pushing against your back that can also propel you for long distances at running speeds, as well as lift your entire body of the ground when your jump. 

Your legs act as a sort of piston when in the L position, slamming your back against the backrest of your fishing kayak. Since there are very few bones and no large muscles in the are where the backrest and back meet, all the pressure is focused on a small area, your lumbar spine.

The forces pressing against your back are almost equivalent to the force needed to support your body weight, to put the pressure in perspective.

The harder you paddle, cast, or do other activities that require your legs to keep you in place, the more pressure is applied to your lumbar, or on top of your fishing kayak.

The more tired your body becomes, and the more uncomfortable, the more tense you become, and the more your legs have to work to keep you stable and in place, greatly increasing the pressure on your Lumbar spine, as well as exponentially increasing the pain, and creating an endless circle of fatigue.

Foam does not provide a good solution to the lumbar spine problem to start off, and due to foams compressing over time tendency, initial temporary relief will vanish after a time, and will increase the back resistance, as there is less movement room between your back and legs.

Also, if you are a heavier person, you have the possibility of experiencing butt pain, or as it is more commonly know among kayak fishing circles, yak ass, after kayak fishing in the L position. The nerves in your body, and the foam of your seat, will both become as compressed as pancakes. Leg numbness, leg pain, and butt pain are all directly correlated to compressed nerves, and are a common phenomena in the kayak fishing world. This intense pain is not a joke once you start feeling it, and has discouraged many prominent kayak anglers.

In summary, most sit-on top kayaks nowadays are equipped with heavily padded foam backrests, designed to reduce pain. Even with these specially designed seats, kayak anglers that use these fishing kayaks experience many of these symptoms: Fatigue, back soreness, yak ass, yak back, and leg pain. This creates a need for rest periods, where you must interrupt your kayak fishing for a “un-kinking” rest break.

In the Wavewalk fishing kayak, there is no L position, instead there is the Riding Position. Similar to riding a horse, your legs support your body weight, while helping you paddle, balance, and fish.

This revolutionary new type of fishing kayak allows the angler to change between a number of other positions at any time, which include the Standing Up position and the Sitting position (this position is like being seated in a canoe) . This means you can relax, stretch, and fish comfortably for very long stretches of time, without having the problem of pain, numbness, or soreness in any part of your body.