Tag Archive: kayak speed

Review of fishing kayak trends in 2012

It seems like anglers have learned to put in the right perspective the unsubstantiated promises of ‘hands free kayak fishing’ , ‘stand up kayak fishing’, ‘ergonomic seat’, and other hype that’s typical to this market.  After all, you can’t fool all the people all the time…

Since the US economy isn’t exactly booming in recent years, sales of motorboats keep showing weakness, which in its turn sustains the market for cheaper alternatives, I.E. canoes and kayaks. In this market too, the main drive seems to be price, and increasingly so.

In the past year (2012), the main trend that could be observed in high-end fishing kayaks is the quest for more speed, a broader range of travel, and increased safety. In other words – motorized kayaks. And since common fishing kayaks are barely suited for weak electric trolling motors, realistically speaking, the W kayak is the only option out there when outboard gas motors are concerned. This explains the success of the motorized W kayak this year, both in cold and warm regions, inshore and offshore –
In other words, this new concept introduced at the end of 2011 has already proven itself as the real deal for any angler looking for a personal fishing boat that offers all advantages that can be found both in bigger motorboats and in common kayaks, plus some more features and advantages that only a W offers, such as all-water mobility, no need for a special kayak rack, zero back pain, stand up paddling, fishing, and driving , and more…

So what has happened to the electric trolling motor? Nothing, really – It’s a concept that got introduced and energetically pushed into the kayak fishing market by big companies who make electric motors and fishing kayaks. It got people excited, and many of them outfitted their kayak with such a motor. As time passed, the problems associated with this setup became more apparent, and much of the initial enthusiasm has faded.
Electric trolling motors are here to stay in the kayak fishing market, but typically as accessories for kayaks used in small bodies of flat water, and for shorter trips. Relying on these systems for fast moving water, offshore, or longer trips isn’t practical, and that’s where the outboard gas motor shines.

As far as kayak design goes, no big new this year, as usual.
The ‘Hybrid’ kayak that was energetically pushed by one of the major companies in the market hasn’t replaced the sit-on-top (SOT) or the sit-in kayak. The hybrid kayak, which is essentially a shallow canoe, works on flat water but when the wind picks up and the water gets choppy, it’s time for its passengers to head back home, unless they’re in a mood for getting sprayed and bailing out water from the hull.
BTW, that company itself didn’t do too well, and had to change owners.

As before, kayak manufacturers keep relying mainly on their versions of the traditional SOT kayak, and occasionally, a new manufacturer tries to introduce their own version (or perversion) of this concept that has been around for over 40 years, and hasn’t evolved during this period in any significant way.

Motorized Fishing Kayak Or Personal Micro Skiff?

From a kayak angler’s standpoint, the question is whether to motorize your kayak or, not, and if the answer is ‘yes’, the next question is related to what type of motor – an electric trolling motor, or an outboard gas engine… and so on.
This website deals with such questions, and other kayak design and outfitting questions that are of interest to kayak anglers, but the reality out there is that when fishing is concerned, kayaks are the least popular and least appreciated of all boats, and for the overwhelming majority of anglers out there, fishing out of a kayak is simply not anything they’d be willing to consider, since for them, kayaks are too unstable, uncomfortable, and wet, and they don’t offer a range of travel that’s acceptable for anyone who fishes out of a motorboat, which is what most anglers in North America are used to do.
Telling such people you have a better kayak is somehow pointless, since for them, kayaks are just below the radar.
But if your fishing craft is so good that calling is a kayak is belittling it?
Moreover – what if when motorized, this watercraft can compete pretty well with small skiffs known as micro skiffs (microskiffs)? By competing we mean not being better in everything, because that’s already achieved in the domain of kayaks, but we mean being better in certain things, on par in others, and offering less as far as load capacity and number of passengers are concerned.
This is what the Personal Micro Skiffs concept does: It presents the W twin hull watercraft in the context of small, motorized fishing skiffs, in terms that anglers who use such motorboats and other small motorboats can relate to, and understand.

So if you’re looking for a small cartop skiff that’s portable, versatile, mobile, stable and comfortable that you could use offshore as well as in no motor zones (NMZ), you’d better have look at this new website called Personal Micro Skiff:  http://www.microskiff.us

Here’s the video featuring on that site:

Fishing Kayak With 2hp Outboard Motor – Offshore

Here’s a recently produced movie showing a W fishing kayak outfitted with a 2hp 4-cycle Honda outboard motor, at the beach.
In this configuration, this kayak is a car top motorboat, eliminating the need for a trailer. It can be dragged on the beach, as well as on dirt, rocks and grass, which in most cases eliminates the need for transportation wheels.
Passengers and gear can stay dry due to the high free board, in combination with the cockpit cover. The kayak seen here is outfitted with extra large flotation modules on both sides, so it it happens to capsize, it should keep floating, even with the outboard motor mounted on it.
launching this watercraft is easy from any location, due to the fact that it benefits from triple propulsion: motorized, paddling, and poling (with the W paddle).
This motorized fishing kayak can even take a second passenger on board, although they may occasionally get splashed, as the 2hp outboard drives the boat at a 7mph speed.
This unique, patented twin-hull watercraft offers enough stability without adding stabilizers to it, and the driver is seen standing up while driving it, even in the presence of mild waves.
Steering is easy and intuitive, through an articulated tiller extension. This is particularly effective with this Honda motor, because it is controlled through its tiller grip handle.

More information about motorizing fishing kayaks >

Consequences and Hazards of Overloading a Fishing Kayak

What Happens When You Load a W Fishing Kayak?

The illustration below shows a W500 kayak in three load points –
The left image shows it unloaded.
The image in the middle shows it loaded with around 200 lbs (91 kg). The load is distributed evenly front and back, so the kayak stays level, which offers optimal speed and control. The draft is shallow.
This load results in a slight splaying of the hulls, and no problem at all. Flex is built into the W design.

3 kayaks loaded

The image on the right shows the kayak loaded with around 360 lb (163 kg), which is the maximum load recommended for it. Assuming the load is distributed evenly front and back, the kayak stays level, and it’s still fast, agile, and easy to paddle.
-Watch tandem paddling demo video >
The hulls are noticeably splayed, but sitting on the saddle is still very comfortable, and stability is still good. This amount of flex in the kayak is still perfectly normal.
Waterline is considerably lower than the saddle’s gussets (reinforcement ribs), so there is no hydrodynamic problem, since the water between the hulls flows without restrictions.

What Happens If You Overload This Kayak?

It’s important to realize that you can overload the kayak even if you don’t load it with more than its maximum recommended load capacity. This can happen if you’re a heavy person (over 240 lbs), and you paddle it, or fish from it while being seated in the back of its cockpit, and not its middle. If a heavy person operates their W kayak from the rear of its cockpit, they can cause the stern to draft too much, and the waterline to reach the saddle’s gussets, which would slow their kayak. Overloading the stern could also result in excessive splaying of the hulls there, and if this is done repeatedly, over a long period of time, it might damage the kayak. A person weighing over 260 lb (118 kg) should avoid paddling this kayak altogether, out of safety concerns.

Overloading the W kayak with passengers and gear in excess of 360 lb can be hazardous –
Although the passengers may still feel comfortable and stable, and enjoy plenty of free board on flat water, their kayak would draft too much, and the regular flow between its hulls would be disturbed by the saddle’s gussets. This would make the kayak slower and harder to paddle. Furthermore, the splaying in the hulls might increase to a point where they could be damaged by the extra stress, and the kayak crew might need to stop the trip and paddle to shore because of water seeping in. Such damage to the kayak is easy to fix later, but you definitely don’t want to take the risk of finding yourself in such a situation.

Recommendations:

    1. Do not overload your W kayak, whether you’re going solo or in tandem, paddling or motorizing.
    2. Do not paddle this kayak in tandem, unless both yourself and your paddling partner have each paddled it solo before, and gained sufficient experience as solo W kayakers.
    3. Take the time to learn how to paddle this kayak when it’s loaded – Like any vessel or vehicle, the W kayak behaves differently the more it is loaded.
    4. For optimal performance, keep your kayak level. In order to keep it level, paddle it from the middle of its cockpit, not its rear. This is especially true if you’re a heavy person.
    5. Do not paddle your W kayak from its rear, unless it’s just for a specific purpose, such as surf launching, beaching, or going over an obstacle.
    6. When motorizing, drive the kayak from the middle of the cockpit, using a long, articulated (jointed) tiller extension. Don’t drive it from the cockpit’s rear.
    7. When paddling in tandem, try as much possible to distribute the load evenly between the front and the back of the kayak. Do not overload the back

See W fishing kayak’s technical specifications >

Standing On Top Of A Fishing Kayak From A Stability And Safety Standpoint

Some fly anglers practice sight fishing: They paddle their kayak standing up, and scout for big fish. They prefer to to stand as high as possible, because it expands their range of vision. Once they spot a fish, they cast a fly at it as fast as they can.
Many fly kayak anglers and reel anglers sight fish while standing comfortably in their W kayaks. However, Ted, the kayak fly fisherman seen in these pictures, wants to stand higher, so he can look further.
Unlike Kevin, another fly fisherman who fishes the flats standing on top of his W kayak saddle without using outriggers, Ted added both a pair of outriggers and a frame to his fishing kayak. This setup puts him about 15″ higher than he would have been if he stood on the bottom of his W fishing kayak hulls, and this way he’s perfectly stable.
The drawback of paddling from such a high level is that you lose some leverage on the paddle, so you can’t go very fast. However, if the water is shallow enough, you can push pole – It’s slow, but what’s the rush?

fly_fisherman_standing_on_top_of_his_kayak_with_outriggers_Florida

stand_up_fly_fishing_kayak_with_outriggers_Florida
This setup calls for an electric trolling motor, or an outboard gas engine, but those are not allowed in some areas, which leaves stand up paddling and push poling as the only solutions for propulsion.

Safety Concerns, and Solutions:

Standing as high on top of such a tiny vessel as a kayak means that sooner or later, the fly fisherman is going to lose their footing, or lose balance, or both – It’s a statistical fact, and every experienced angler, paddler, surfer or sailor knows that “Stuff Happens” is the rule on the water.
So the real question is not “What if” but “What happens when” –
When you stand up on top of a conventional fishing kayak (SOT, sit-in, or ‘hybrid’), you need to somehow manage to fall on your knees, or on your behind, and regain your balance immediately. It’s almost impossible, and although it doesn’t hurt to try, you’re more likely to find yourself swimming.
However, things are considerably different when you’re standing high on top of a W fishing kayak, as Ted does: He can drop on his kayak’s saddle, with a leg in each hull, and stabilize himself while he’s in the ergonomic kayak paddling posture known as Riding, which is similar to riding a jet-ski, a snowmobile, an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) – or a pony. In other words, it’s the most stable, and most powerful position you can hope to be in when you’re trying to regain balance and control in your kayak. When Ted wants to switch from standing to sitting, it’s just a matter of hopping down –

fly_fisherman-sitting_in_his_kayak_waving

The pictures in this article were contributed by Ted Stevens, courtesy of Gene Andrews, W fishing kayaks dealer in Palm Coast, Florida.