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.
Wavewalk sells its fishing kayaks directly to clients in Australia. This means that Australian clients can import their W kayak individually, all by themselves.
Australia, which is the world’s second biggest market for fishing kayaks, after the United States is also a fast growing market.
Australians love the outdoors, and they love water as well, which is why they spend as much time as they can sailing, boating, fishing, kayaking… and even kayak fishing.
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.
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…
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.
2012 was the year of the motorized fishing kayak – Not just a common sit-n or SOT kayak outfitted with a lame electric trolling motor, but the real thing: a motorboat as American anglers understand it, and this means a boat powered by a gas engine – typically an outboard motor.
And by motorboat we don’t mean one that offers just inland fishing on flat water but cannot be used for offshore fishing – What we’re talking about is real ocean fishing capabilities, from surf launching to trips that are several times longer than what electric motors may enable before they run out of electricity.
This also means sufficient stability for stand up fishing, dryness (sorry, we don’t buy the notion that kayak fishing is a wet sport…), sufficient storage space for long trips, and a comfort level that’s acceptable for anyone, and not just for young, lightweight and athletic fishermen.
And when trailers are concerned – we find that unless you’re looking for a boat that will carry you and several passengers on board, you can and should do without a trailer, not just because of the additional expense, but also because it takes room in your yard, and it takes precious time from each and every fishing trip you make. And when you consider the fact that a trailer also limits your launching and beaching options to the same spot, and one that features a boat ramp, we’re talking about a new level of freedom…
No-motor-zones? Not necessarily a problem when you can instantly switch to a human powered mode of propulsion – paddling in most cases, poling in shallow water, and rowing if you prefer!
This is no longer an experimental concept – People enjoy the advantages of fishing out of W motor kayaks worldwide, and if you ask many of them, the boat they fish from is a personal skiff that offers some extra advantages compared to small motorboats (skiff, jon boat, bass boat, etc.) and kayaks.
From now, this online kayak fishing magazine will focus exclusively on Motorized Kayak Fishing. We’ll publish articles, videos and reviews related only to motorized fishing kayaks: Inland and offshore, in shallow and deep water, in cold climates and in warmer ones, in bass fishing trips and when fishing for other fish species.