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.
Gary Thorberg and the MinnYaks Team will be exhibiting the world’s best fishing kayak at the 80th Annual Northwest Sportshow, March 28-April 1st, in Minneapolis Minnesota.
Gary is a lifelong fisherman:
-“Being a native Minnesotan, I was exposed to boating and fishing at an early age. My first experience sailing was at age 8, and it has been my passion ever since. I have captained many a charter on large catamarans in the Caribbean. Fishing has also been a large part of my life. I lived in the Florida Keys for a while, where I was a commercial fisherman and diver. Our families are fortunate to have owned lake cabins in northern Minnesota for 50 years, so fresh water fishing and boating is also in my blood. Many boats have come and gone in my life, and I am so very pleased to have added the W500 to my fleet. It possibly will be the last boat I will own (unless I buy another W500 for my wife!).”
Gary is an expert on outfitting fishing kayaks, including with powerful outboard gas engines, and he loves to fish out of his kayak >>
Visit MinnYaks – fishing kayaks in Minnesota >>
Gary and the MinnYaks team expect anglers from Minnesota, the Midwest and Canada, to visit this show just to see the W fishing kayak.
While considering what kind of fishing kayak to purchase to fulfill your personal requirements, it is of high importance to your wallet to be conscious of the fact that the bottom-line price of a fishing kayak is almost always not limited to just the base cost of the kayak itself. When you factor in the additional cost of the countless accessories necessary to outfit a traditional kayak, you will find that the money piles up and that the add-ons can end up doubling your investment.
However, buying a Wavewalk fishing kayak eliminates much of these expenditures by eradicating the need for these hassling adjuncts.
- Rudder: With superior tracking over competing traditional kayaks, the W kayak gets rid of the the need for a rudder. You save $220 – $300
- Kayak Seat: W Kayaks do not contribute to yak-back, and thus do not necessitate any special seat. (Read more about that her) You save $80 – $200
- Kayak Rack: W kayaks are easy to cartop and fit any car rack – No need to go out of your way for auxiliary kayak rack. You save $50 – $500.
- Outriggers: The W500 kayak model is by far safer and more stable than traditional kayaks, even those equipped with outriggers. The W500 fishing kayak is so stable that their is zero need for outriggers, even with an attached electric trolling motor. You save $100 – $350.
Rudders are a hassle to use, they considerably slow you down, and get easily mired in shallow water and weeds.
Kayak seats are unhealthy for your back, and can turn a pleasant kayak fishing trip into an uncomfortable endeavor. It’s even possible that they will irritate you to the point that you quit kayak fishing in the long run, simply due to the mounting back pain and discomfort.
When using a traditional SOT or sit in kayak, you must place a kayak rack on top of your car rack, taking up a lot of space and disallowing you from carrying other things you may need on top of your car.
Outriggers, which are often necessary to establish adequate stability with the usage of a traditional kayak, are a pain to install, slow you down, and limit your kayak’s mobility and maneuverability. Out of the water, they’re just one more cumbersome thing to carry.
The bottom line is that the slew of accessories needed to utilize a traditional kayak: rudders, yak racks and outriggers, are annoying, expensive, and unwieldy. The added cost of those accessories could top $1,000. Besides the financial investment, your health and peace of mind can be compromised by using these accessories in conjunction with a traditional yak.
In order to avoid endless hassle, discomfort, and a gaping hole in your wallet, go to Wavewalk’s website to find these fishing kayaks.