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.
Kayaks’ sub-par ergonomics are putting thousands of kayak anglers in harm’s way, a problem that is easily surmountable by switching to a more ergonomic kayak such as the W fishing kayak.
There are a variety of dangers associated with using a traditional kayak:
First, there’s the peril of being unable to paddle back to shore due to fatigue or exhaustion.
In addition, anglers who are elderly or inexperienced, or just plain tired, can be at risk from outside hazards outside of their control such as strong wind or tidal current. If kayaking in your traditional kayak makes you tired quickly, consider switching to something more comfortable, with better tracking and easier paddling, namely a Wavewalk kayak.
Seasonal problems, such as overheating in summer, and hypothermia in winter, are also big threats, since they drain your energy and make it difficult or even impossible to return to shore.
Traditional kayaks that expose the user to the elements are costly both on your health and your wallet, for when buying extra gear such as dry suits to protect yourself you are potentially forking up hundreds of unnecessary dollars. Other heavy clothing, such as boots and waders, can disable you from swimming, and from getting back into your boat, or kayak, a very precarious situation to say the least.
Paddlers of traditional fishing kayaks are also susceptible to cramps, leg numbness and even partial paralysis, a problem that is virtually nonexistent in the W Kayak.
Leg cramps can be very painful and long-lasting if you can’t stand up safely in your craft to loosen up. Sit-in and SOT kayaks restrict you to sitting in an L shape, with your legs forced forward and clamped by footrests. Paddling or fishing in this position for extended period of time all but guarantees the onset of cramps and leg numbness, a very uncomfortable paddling experience.
Both leg pain and leg numbness also prevent you from balancing and maneuvering your kayak efficiently, a very dangerous dilemma.
Pain in your back and butt can compromise your paddling ability. Moreover, you might find yourself near shore but 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 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 >>
Examples like this are very common, many regular kayakers report experiencing similar discomforts with their sit-in and SOT kayaks. Many kayakers and kayak anglers have become so accustomed to this stiffness that they regularly stop their paddling and fishing just climb ashore and ‘unkink’. ‘Unkinking’ basically means stretching and allowing some reprieve for the tensed back and sore legs. This hassle is completely unnecessary when using the W Kayak because the user can easily stretch within the spacious confines of the craft itself, allowing you to finish uninterrupted and comfortably. So in order to enjoy more hours of kayak fishing without the pain, danger, and hassle of traditional SOT and sit-in kayaks, make the switch to the W Kayak, and if you want, learn more about kayak fishing pains on Wavewak’s website.
For many longtime anglers retirement sounds like a golden chance to have as much free time as they want to follow their passion of fishing, boats, etc…
While this relaxed life appeases some retirees, for others it seems like their life is lacking some action – they want to do something extra that would add some more fun and excitement to their lives, and even bolster their income.
Here’s a few life long anglers who upon retirement opened their very own fishing kayak dealership:
Gene Andrews, High and Dry Kayaks – Florida
Gene Andrews, who retired several years ago, moved to Palm Coast, in Northeastern Florida, south of Jacksonville – the kayak fishing capital of the world, in order to pursue his passion of kayak fishing.
Due to the ubiquitous yak-back problem that afflicts many older anglers, Gene bought himself a W500, the only back pain free kayak out there. Gene fished from it contentedly and free of back pain, and eventually realized he could further his love of the Wavewalk Kayak by starting his own dealership where he could resell this fishing kayak locally.
Visit Gene’s website, High and Dry Kayaks, which sells W fishing kayaks in Palm Coast >>