Northern anglers enjoy plenty of water, great fish species, and still, compared to Southern anglers, not too many of them are choosing to leave their canoes and small motorboats, and fish from kayaks. This has to do with the fact that the climate in the Northern regions of the US, Canada and Northern Europe is colder than in the Southern regions, and traditional fishing kayaks fail to provide adequate protection from the cold, especially since you’re bound to get wet if you fish out of such kayaks.
W fishing kayaks are different in this sense as well as in other ways, and they offer kayak anglers excellent protection from waves, spray, rain and cold wind. It’s not just the extra free board they have, but also the simple and easy way to apply a cockpit cover. In fact, unlike traditional sit-in and SOT kayaks that require the angler to step in water when launching from a beach, W kayaks are perfectly dry, and you can launch and beach them without having to step in water, since you’re not required to step in or out from the side, and the natural way to enter and exit them is from the front, or back – whichever is resting on dry land when you’re launching or beaching.
The ‘wet ride’ issue is no longer inseparable from all forms of kayaking, kayak fishing, and types of kayaks. Getting wet while kayaking exposes you to possible dangers and inconveniences associated to direct exposure to water, humidity and cold in various circumstances.
What’s a ‘wet ride’ in kayak fishing terms?
A wet ride is a common expression describing a kayak paddler, or angler’s experience of paddling and/or fishing while being wet. The wet ride can be caused by many things, including stepping in water while launching, being splashed by spray and waves, water getting into the cockpit through the scupper holes in SOT kayaks, battling fish, and more.
The most unpleasant sensation associated with the wet ride is sitting in wet seat and seat area. It’s often described as the ‘soggy bottom’ feeling), but a wet ride can be hazardous, since the combination of cold water with cold wind can cause hypothermia, even if the kayak angler did not go overboard.
Hypothermia is a condition that reduces the kayaker’s physical and mental ability to navigate and arrive safely to his/her destination, and it can lead to virtual paralysis, disorientation and eventually – death.
Everyone knows that wearing wet clothes can cause skin rash, especially during and after a prolonged physical effort.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that getting wet while you’re fishing from your kayak is either unpleasant or hazardous, but it certainly means you need to be able to stay dry, if you prefer.
“Kayak fishing is a water sport” – Says who?
Some kayak fishermen would tell you that kayak fishing is a ‘water sport’, and by that they mean to say that getting wet is an inseparable part of this activity, as it is of water skiing, surfing etc.
This approach also implies that kayak fishermen should reduce their expectations as far as being comfortable comfortable while fishing out of their kayak, and that the ‘wet ride’ is practically inevitable.
This argument is wrong for a number of reasons:
1. Originally, the native people of the arctic who invented and developed kayaking tried as much as possible to avoid getting wet, and for a good reason, which is that getting wet in cold weather is very dangerous.
2. Fishing from canoes is a traditional from of fishing, but unless you’re extremely not cautious, does not involve ‘wet rides’ since most canoes offer better protection to their passengers than kayaks do.
3. Fishing from other small boats does not involve getting wet as much as kayak fishing does.
4. When one looks at the efforts that kayakers and kayak fishermen put into avoiding and minimizing the ‘wet ride’ it becomes clear that it is a real problem.
What’s causing the wet ride in fishing kayaks?
Traditional, sit-in kayaks (SIKs) have little free board, so that even paddling in eddies and small waves can result in some water getting inside the kayak through the open cockpit.
Sit-on-top kayaks (SOT) offer even less protection than Sit-In kayaks do when free board is concerned, and typically let water into the cockpit through the drainage holes called ‘scupper holes’. This is why SOTs have become popular only in warm waters, and anyone who tries to fish from these kayaks in cold water either gives up, or has to buy uncomfortable wet suits and expensive dry suits.
The problem of dry storage
Another aspect of the wet ride is the difficulty to keep gear dry in a fishing kayak. Some seasoned sea kayakers would tell you that before they go on a kayak expedition they simply take into consideration that eventually all their gear will get wet, even if it’s stored below deck. The solution to that is using watertight bags, which similarly to sea kayaks are not absolutely watertight… Storage hatches featuring in SOT fishing kayaks are neither comfortable to use, nor completely dry, and they offer very little space for storage.
Solutions to various aspects of the wet ride problem
Since the wet ride prevents many anglers from getting into kayak fishing, and leads many kayak anglers to drop out of the sport, it must be effectively addressed by kayak designers and manufacturers. The solution offered by the new, patented W Kayak concept is simple, and basically consists of more free board protecting the passengers inside the cockpit.
W kayakers can also sit change positions on their boat’s longitudinal saddle and sit, ride or stand in the back of the cockpit. By doing this they raise the bow and avoid much of the splashing and spraying that other kayakers are forced to put up with when launching in the surf.
Another good news for kayakers is the fact that even if some water gets into the W Kayak’s cockpit it just gets drained to the bottom of the hulls and away from the passengers’ sitting area on top of the saddle. This eliminates the unpleasant sensation of sitting in a puddle that is typical to all other kayaks.
Since it’s possible to enter the W Kayak’s from behind and exit it from the front it is no longer necessary for a W Kayakers to step in water when putting their boats in and taking them out.
And since W fishing kayaks offer huge internal storage space that’s also dry, kayak anglers no longer have to worry about getting their gear wet.
Some additional safety recommendations
Needless to remind our readers that paddling and fishing in cold weather is hazardous, and that wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) is mandatory, and it could save your life. Wearing waders while kayak fishing in cold water can be particularly dangerous, especially if the water is deep. The waders could fill with water and prevent passengers from getting back into their kayak. Generally, fishing alone is not recommended – Always try to fish in a pack, or at least in the company of another kayak angler like yourself.