Category Archives: fishing kayaks

What’s under your sit-on-top (SOT) kayak?

A kayak’s deck and cockpit are its most visible parts, and few people bother to look under a kayak, although there are some interesting things to discover there -

The kayak’s underside is its part that comes in contact with water, and as such its design affects the kayaks speed and directional stability. SOT kayaks used for fishing are notoriously sluggish, and they’re also known to track poorly.

This new article entitled The secrets of the SOT kayak’s underside talks about two characteristic features of SOT kayaks, which are scupper holes and longitudinal tunnels, it analyzes the effect these elements have on the kayak’s performance, and most interestingly, it explains the real reasons why these elements came into being and became standard in SOT kayaks.

view of the bottom of a SOT fishing kayak

Bottom view of the underside of a SOT kayak – scupper holes and channels

Designing a kayak for photography

Some kayak manufacturers claim that certain kayak models they offer are suitable for photography (I.E. wildlife photography).  While it’s possible to shoot pictures out of such kayaks, categorizing them them as suitable for wildlife photography is more wishful thinking than solid reality, regardless of such kayaks being sit-in, SOT, or hybrid canoe-kayaks.
Some fishing kayak models are very wide, and as such they offer a higher degree of lateral stability than similar designs that are just Touring or Recreational kayaks, but other than that, such ultra-wide kayaks fail to provide wildlife photographers with what we consider to be a basic package of services.
Such basic package includes adequate stability, of course, and the ability to paddle standing and shoot photos while standing with no ifs and buts. Needless to say that photographers who spend long hours (and sometimes days) paddling their kayaks and shooting from them cannot enjoy doing so if they use a kayak that forces them to be seated in the non-ergonomic L position, which is the traditional kayaking position in which the kayaker’s legs are awkwardly stretched in front on them, and the lower part of their body is encased between a set of footrests and a backrest that compresses their lumbar spine in a horizontal direction.

Plentiful dry storage space is essential for outdoor photographers who go on a kayak photography trips since they  usually carry a lot of expensive photographic equipment with them, including cameras, tripods and lenses.

It goes without saying that being able to launch, travel and beach the kayak in aquatic environments that are not necessarily accessible due to shallow water, vegetation and all sorts of obstacles is a substantial advantage, because such environments tend to be rich in wildlife. This requirement means that heavy kayaks are out of the question, and this rules out most wide fishing kayak models, as well as other kayak models labeled as touring kayaks that fail to pass the mobility test phrased by Wavewalk as “launch, go and beach anywhere”.
Excessive size and weight make some kayaks irrelevant if only because they are so hard to car top and carry over long distances.

Taking into consideration all these technical requirements as well as others, the only kayak that can deliver an acceptable performance in terms of photography is Wavewalk’s W500.

Additional, in-depth insight about kayaks for photography >

Review of 2013 fishing kayak design trends

A meager harvest when kayak anglers are concerned, and plenty of reasons for a good laugh :D

2013 hasn’t been much different from previous years as far as fishing kayaks are concerned. The kayak obesity trend keeps being the main one, and it drives kayaks to reach titanic proportions. For example, kayaks that are 35 inches wide and weigh 80 lbs are almost typical, and a kayak that’s over 40 inches wide is no longer viewed as an aberration despite the fact that paddling such a kayak is quite a challenge, and almost impossible to do for medium and long distances. Leviathan barge kayaks weighing around 120 lbs are still considered as kayaks (at least by some) although even a seasoned weight lifter might find it hard to car top one, and people who buy them have to buy a trailer to go with them, which is yet another way to defy the purpose of kayak fishing.
The reason behind the persistence of this trend is the poor stability that fishing kayaks offer to their users, albeit the fact that kayak manufacturers insist that the kayaks they offer are very stable, enough to allow for kayak fishing standing… Go tell this to all those disappointed anglers who purchased such kayaks and found out that reality is different from bogus reviews and staged YouTube movies  :(

Fishing kayak hulls keep featuring all sorts of weird longitudinal channels and vertical dimples that work perfectly to create more drag and by that further impede the kayaker and make it harder for them to paddle. The infamous scupper holes that were introduced as means to prevent the deck from collapsing but have since been hyped as drainage holes keep conducting water in both directions, which means they also drive water up and onto the deck, and into the paddler’s area.

In the twilight zone, kayaks with integrated outriggers are still being offered although the concept has proved to be rather useless in practical terms. It seems like the failure of the kayak industry to present kayaks that actually work for stand up kayak fishing drives more people to try outriggers.

New designs still appear on the scene, and they make one wonder if kayak designers have any ability to learn from others’ mistakes.

Pedal driven kayaks are still being promoted as the panacea, although reality has disproved most of their manufacturer’s claims as far as practical usefulness is concerned.

Kayak storage keeps relying on hatches, which are often inaccessible to the user while they’re out there in their kayak, trying to fish from it. Such hatches have an annoying tendency to fail to be waterproof, and that’s bad news for your sandwiches!

When ergonomic design is concerned, manufacturers seem to realize that the kayaks they offer are really uncomfortable, so they keep trying to come up with new ideas for seats, although it’s the seat itself together with the L sitting position that cause the back pain and leg numbness problems that so many anglers experience.

Motorizing… well, oddly enough, some kayak manufacturers tell their clients they can outfit their kayaks with powerful outboard gas motors. Naturally, not too many people buy into this nonsensical notion. The most ridiculous case in this regard is a kayak manufacturer who offers his clients to attach their outboard gas engine directly to the kayak’s transom, which like the rest of that kayak is made from a thin, rotationally molded plastic wall… It is only appropriate to apply Hanlon’s razor to this case, and say “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” :D

And last but not least, fishing kayak manufacturers keep competing with each other by offering an increasing range of useless accessories, from cup holders to stand-up metal frames and stand-up ropes and straps… The latter being pure exercises in futility, at least from the user’s standpoint.

No wonder the Wavewalk 500 keeps being the most loved fishing kayak out there!

A fishing kayak designed for easy transportation

Many watercraft labeled fishing kayak are too bulky and heavy to be paddled, but another problem that accompanies such barges is that they’re practically impossible to car top.

This ‘oversize’ issue is yet another one that defies the purpose of kayak fishing – With their weight varying between 80 and north of 120 lbs, transporting such overgrown kayaks and ‘hybrids’ requires using a small boat trailer, because an average person cannot upload them on top of their vehicle. This is a major turnoff, since having to launch and beach in boat ramps is an experience that most anglers don’t like.

Other, smaller and lighter kayaks can be car topped, but they normally require a special kayak rack attached to the car’s standard car rack, which is not just inconvenient, but it happens to be costly as well.

The solution is to have a fishing kayak that’s lightweight enough for anyone to car top with no problems, and does not require installing a special kayak rack. This type of kayak does exist, in fact, and it’s no other than the Wavewalk -

As you can see in the last part of this video, it takes less than a minute to upload such a kayak on top of a sedan outfitted with a regular car rack. This is done within seconds, from the back of the vehicle, as shown in the last part of this video:

This photo shows the basic setup, which includes just two towels that protect the car paint from getting scratched by the kayak:

transporting fishing kayak on top of car - uploading 360

Photo and video: Michael Chesloff, New York Fishing Kayaks

When a fishing kayak turns into something else…

Sometimes a design offers more than the eye meets. In this case, a patented fishing kayak offering unrivaled stability and comfort as well as unmatched storage space and dryness can turn into a self-motorized water skiing device by virtue of its small size, light weight, ease of use, and tracking capabilities.

Watch this video:

Just drive around, standing up, with no motorboat to tow you… And you don’t need to be an athletic youth to perform this trick and enjoy it.

The middle aged guy demonstrating the kayak in this video is 6 ft tall and weighs 200 lbs.

The basic model of this rotationally molded Polyethylene W kayak weighs 59 lbs. The 2 hp Honda outboard motor weighs 29 lbs, and the transom motor mount adds five more pounds to the total.
The driver controls the motor and steers the craft through the tiller handle, which is outfitted with an articulated (jointed) tiller extension allowing for effective steering even when the driver is standing up.
This little wonder fits on top of any car rack, and inside some medium and large size vehicles.
It’s easy to carry just by dragging in on the ground by a strap attached to its bow, as demonstrated towards the end of the video clip.

Is this an effective solution for offshore trips? It is, and a simple and effective cockpit cover would provide additional protection from spray.

This watercraft can be outfitted with detachable flotation modules that would keep it afloat in case of a capsize accident leading to much water getting inside.

The more traditional ways to look at this small boat are either as a motorized fishing kayak or a personal microskiff. The difference between the two viewpoints is related to whether you’re used to fish out of a kayak or from a motorboat.