Tag Archives: poling

From boat design to production

How are these small boats made?

Here is a glimpse into the process of making a mold for Wavewalk’s newest portable skiff, the Series 4 –

The pictures below show the wooden pattern produced from solid wood and hard rubber from the CAD (computer Aided design) file for the product.  This first-generation mold will be used to produce a second generation mold called a sand mold. The mold makers will cast molten aluminum into the sand mold, and produce the actual rotational mold in which molders will pour Polyethylene resin, and produce the Series 4 boats.

The cockpit features slanted sides designed to allow the passengers to paddle this boat effectively with either canoe or kayak paddles. Paddling capability is critical to mobility and high performance in shallow water and weed infested water. This design makes poling easier as well as more effective.
The stand up casting platform is supported by integrated structural beams that look like slots when viewed from the top.
Front view that shows the S4 two hulls, which make it a full catamaran.
The stand up casting platform at the front – a typical skiff feature. This platform is particularly appreciated in flats fishing, by fly anglers and other fishers who practice sight fishing.
Rear view with the integrated transom motor mount.
Side view of this ultralight portable skiff.
Bottom view of the pattern for this boat.

More information on the Wavewalk Series 4 »

The Microskiff redefined

What is a microskiff?

Typically, a microskiff is a small, lightweight, flat bottomed motorboat used for flats fishing as well as in protected bays, estuaries, lakes and slow moving rivers, by a crew of one or two anglers. Some would trace the microskiff lineage to dinghies.
Small and lightweight in this case means a boat transported by trailer, and therefore requiring to be launched and beached at a boat ramp.

Microskiff’s propulsion problem

Microskiff are made to be propelled primarily by outboard motors, and the typical microskiff is too wide and heavy to allow for paddling. This is problematic for a number of reasons –
To begin with, an outboard motor can run out of gas, or stall due to a technical problem, and the electric trolling motor that many microskiff have on board isn’t enough for effective traveling over longer distances.
But more importantly, both outboard gas motors and electric trolling motors use propellers that must be immersed in water at a certain height, so the effective draft of a microskiff under motor is quite high, and often too high for really shallow water, a.k.a “skinny water”.
This problem also limits the typical microskiff as far as launching and beaching locations are concerned, and this means that you must launch and beach it from a boat ramp, which is a major source of frustration over a lot of wasted fishing time.
To add insult to injury, propellers don’t do well in the presence of aquatic vegetation, be it seaweed, grass, etc. This is particularly frustrating to anglers who realize that such waters are among the best fisheries.

Human powered propulsion – Poling, anyone?

Microskiff manufacturers often show pictures of people who use a long push-pole to propel their microskiff through shallow water. This human powered mode of propulsion is indeed possible, but it’s not that practical –
To begin with, poling involves long intervals between each pole push, so the big effort invested in each push that accelerates the boat goes to waste when the boat decelerates while you are busy lifting the pole and sticking it back into the water.  Acceleration is particularly demanding in energy terms, and in other words, the fact that microskiff are wide and heavy makes them lose speed quickly, and thereby drain your energy.
Few people can push a typical microskiff over a distance of more than several hundred yards, and that’s not enough in terms of real-world fishing.
On top of this, the hull of a typical microskiff is not designed for effective tracking – It’s neither very long nor narrow, and it lacks elements such as fins, skegs or tunnels that could improve its directional stability. The result is that poling in a straight line becomes harder, which means you waste an additional and considerable amount of energy because your microskiff zigzags instead of going straight forward.
Poling is far from being on par with more effective means of human powered propulsion such paddling and rowing.

Conclusion – A better microskiff should allow its crew to go in shallow water and vegetation-rich water in a human powered propulsion mode other than poling, and preferably paddling, since effective rowing requires good technique that can be acquired only through much practice.

An ideal microskiff for real-world fishing

Ideally, a microskiff should allow for either a crew of two fishermen or a solo fisherman to launch, beach, motorize, fish and paddle in any type of water, whether standing up or seated. This means that such a boat should be highly stable yet narrow enough for effective paddling, and only the patented, catamaran-style Wavewalk™ from the new 700 series offers to work as a both a full tandem and solo skiff in the sense that it works perfectly well for one person too, when the second crew member is missing. The fact that the W700 features two long and narrow catamaran-style hulls helps it track better than other craft of similar size, and that helps poling as well as paddling it, with either dual-blade (kayak) paddles or single-blade paddles – canoeing style.

The ideal microskiff should also be lightweight enough to allow for trailer-free transportation, and car-topping by one person, in case no fishing buddy is present. Again, the only two-person microskiff that offers such advantage is the new Wavewalk™ 700, which weighs just 80 lbs without a motor and accessories.  In fact, this weight is lower than that of most high-end fishing kayaks out there, including sit-on-top (SOT) and sit-in models, especially tandem fishing kayaks, which are heavier than regular ones.

Trailer-free with triple propulsion capability

The redefined microskiff is trailer-free I.E. easy to car top even for one person, suitable for choppy water, skinny water and vegetation-rich water, and accommodates two full size fishermen fishing standing in comfort. It can be easily and comfortably driven with a powerful outboard motor of up to 5 HP, as well as with electric motors.
One or two people can easily paddle it kayak-style or in the traditional canoeing style, and it lends itself to poling more easily and effectively than any other microskiff does, including solo skiffs, I.E. microskiff for just one person.
Such is the new Wavewalk™ 700 series.

Platform for standing higher on a kayak – for sight fishing, poling, etc.

Here’s yet another example of what unrivaled stability can offer in terms of additional versatility:

Platform for stand up sight-fishing from a kayak

Creating such a platform is easy and inexpensive, and you can design its surface area to be bigger or smaller, according to your needs. Furthermore, you can move this platform fore and aft along the saddle, to fit variables such as your weight and your fishing needs.
The versatility of this platform is also manifested in the fact that you can sit on it with your legs in the hulls, and your feet resting comfortably on the bottom. In this position, you can paddle, or operate an outboard gas engine mounted at the transom.

Naturally, when standing higher on a kayak, you lose stability, which is one of the reasons the W kayak is stabler for stand up fishing than all other fishing kayaks out there, and why it’s recommended to stand in a W kayak with your feet at the bottom of its hulls. The stand-up platform seen in the above picture would place you 16″ higher than if you stood on the bottom of the hulls, so you should expect to be less stable.
BTW, you can pole a W kayak while standing in its hulls, and there’s no real need for you to stand higher for this purpose.

Standing_platform_for_fishing_kayak_01

This stand up fishing platform is based on a pair of saddle brackets, but it’s possible to make one using different structural elements, and extend the platform’s width out of the cockpit. Having said that, one should remember that an adult cannot stand on one side on the kayak, especially not at such height.

Fly fishing sometimes requires scouting, and some fly anglers like to practice sight fishing, which consists of casting a fly at a fish as soon as they spot it. Standing higher adds some visibility in such cases, but reduces the effectiveness and ease of paddling, and increases the likelihood of losing balance and falling overboard, as if you were standing on a regular fishing kayak, and not in a W kayak, in which the saddle and extreme stability enable you to regain your balance and stabilize yourself instantly and intuitively in most cases.

How to add a poling platform and a high saddle add-on to your W fishing kayak

Initially, the saddle bracket was introduced as means to improve the saddle’s rigidity, and through that increase its load capacity, as by that the load capacity of the kayak itself.
But progress never ends in W kayak design: – The same accessory can be used for outfitting the kayak with a poling platform, and a high saddle, as shown in this images:

Poling Platform for Flats Fishing

Sight fishing and poling platform for kayak - fig 1 and 2

Figure 1 – Two saddle brackets                         Figure 2 – Two support beams

A pair of saddle brackets serves to attach the base of this poling platform to the saddle. Then, a two longitudinal boards are added as a support for the angler’s weight, and finally, the platform is attached on top:

Sight fishing and poling platform for kayak - figure 3

Simple, effective, easy to make, and inexpensive.

High Saddle Kayak Seat

Similarly, a high saddle is added to the kayak, for leggy users, and simply to provide yet another paddling and fishing position. Riding this seat causes no stability issues, since this position offers the angler’s legs a good way to support the upper body:

High saddle seat for catamaran kayak

Read the full article >

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.