Fish From a Kayak, a Canoe, or a Portable Boat?

This article is mainly for anglers who fish in the northern regions of the United States, Canada, as well as in colder regions in other parts of the world. To these people, we also recommend reading this broad range, comparative Wavewalk review »

1. What’s the Problem?

For decades, the problem that anglers faced was choosing between different types of boats, all of which come with advantages and disadvantages –

Big motorboats are stable enough, and comfortable to fish from, but they don’t come cheap, and they take a lot of space on your driveway, or your backyard. Most importantly, they limit launching to boat ramps, and the most critical problem with them is that they work only with a motor, be it an outboard gas engine or an electric trolling motor, and their crew is prevented from paddling them effectively. This problem means that even if a big boat has a shallow draft, it is to going in water that’s not very shallow, and where aquatic vegetation is not abundant, and that’s too bad for bass anglers and anglers who go after other fish species that can be found in these productive waters.
In addition, an increasing number of attractive  fisheries are now closed to motorboats, and if an angler wants to fish in them, they need to use human powered propulsion.

Big motorboats include bass boats, large-size Jon boats, skiffs, to name a few, and a broad range of other types of boats.

Portable boats are neither as stable as full fledged motorboats, nor very comfortable to fish from, but they’re usually less expensive. Their smaller size and independence from transportation by trailer saves their owners plenty of space on their driveway, or backyard, which is convenient.
Being trailer-free also means freedom from the absolute need to launch in boat ramps, which is another advantage.
But a portable boat is still a boat, namely a vessel that’s not designed for paddling, whether in a kayaking or a canoeing mode. The operator or crew of such boats may be able to paddle them over small distances, in case of necessity, but overall, the range of paddling for common portable boats is limited.
Being small and not very stable also limits these boats’ comfort for crews of more than one person, and anglers who fish out of them know they need to be particularly careful in their movements, in order to avoid doing anything that could destabilize their boat.
Generally speaking, portable boats are suitable for fishing smaller bodies of water and other protected fishing grounds.

Portable boats include inflatable boats, folding boats, small-size Jon boats, and small dinghies.

Canoes and Fishing Kayaks are not stable enough to allow for worry-free fishing, and to say that they are uncomfortable would be an understatement. In fact, most people who try fishing out of kayaks give up the experiment due to physical problems ranging from back pain and leg numbness to excessive fatigue.
Storing a canoe or a kayak is convenient, and so is transporting and launching it. In general, canoes and kayaks are more stealthy than bigger boats.
However, in the real world, motorizing canoes and fishing kayaks is limited to less powerful electric motors, and this fact coupled with their instability limits their use to ponds, small lakes, slow moving rivers and well protected waters. The last thing you want is to fish out of is a canoe or a kayak on a big lake when the wind starts to blow, and white caps appear over the waves. Powerful, fast tidal currents are unwelcoming too for these small and under-powered vessels.

2. A Perfect Solution?

Perfection depends on the angler’s requirements, and anglers who practice a large variety of fishing styles in various types of fisheries and lack storage space at home put severe constraints on their search, and finding a perfect boat would be harder and perhaps impossible for them.
Some of the more important factors for choosing a boat are the crew size – solo, tandem or more, the type of water, range of travel, etc.
But there are near-perfect solutions, namely boats that more versatile and can deliver higher performance when important factors are considered. These near-perfect solutions are the Wavewalk 700 and the new Series 4 (S4) from this company.
These two patented twin-hull (catamaran) craft are similar in many ways, which are their ultra light weight (even by comparison to some fishing kayaks), extreme portability (both are car-toppers), unrivaled stability for their size, high level of comfort, and the high performance they offer in both motorized and human powered modes. Both are also well suited for solo and tandem crews.
The differences between them are mainly qualitative –
The 700 paddles better than the S4, and the S4 can be outfitted with a more powerful outboard motor and be driven at higher speeds as well as in tougher waters.
The 700 is lighter than the S4, and the S4 can take a heavier payload.
Both offer full comfort and stability to anglers who fish standing up, but the S4 features a stand-up casting platform at the bow, which is typical to skiffs and large-size Jon boats.
Since this article discusses fishing kayaks, it would be inappropriate to mention the world’s best ultralight fishing kayak, which is the Wavewalk 500.

The following collection of online videos (playlist) shows the 500 and 700 driven with outboard motors of various size, and electric motors:

 

 

The following video is a preview of the new S4 –

The S4 is offered in three colors – White, for anglers who fish blue water, Light Gray, for anglers who fish smaller bodies of water, and Mud Brown (dark brown) for anglers who are into stealth and camouflage.

Great bass season for Michael, in Upstate Ny and Cape Cod

Michael is a passionate ‘bass hunter’ whose favorite bassin method is top water lures. He prefers small lakes and ponds with abundant vegetation, where he goes mainly after largemouth bass.

This summer was very good for Michael in his numerous fishing trips in eastern Upstate New York, Western Massachusetts, and Cape Cod.

Here are some pictures he shot from the cockpit of his W500 –

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17″ 4 lbs largemouth bass caught in Rudd Pond, NY

 

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Calico bass

 

 

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This beauty was caught in Cape Cod

 

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22 inch bass from a pond in Cape Cod

 

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And this is a bass fishing movie from Sutherland Pond, Upstate NY:

 

Visit Michael’s website »

Cool summer but good fishing in Upstate NY

This summer has been rather cool and windy in the Northeast, but the low temperatures did not present any problem to the bass themselves.

Here are some pictures of chunky bass and trout that Clint caught in Upstate New York, standing in his Wavewalk 500 –

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trout-caught-in-kayak-fishing-trip-otsego-lake-ny

 

And here is Nioca, Clint’s wife, showing a 5.5 largemouth bass she caught while fishing in tandem with him:

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More bass fishing from North Dakota

It’s been a busy summer from Mike, a bass fisherman from North Dakota who occasionally fishes for other species, and in Minnesota:

5 lbs bass caught in kayak - Minnesota - N. Dakota

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largemouth-bass-North-Dakota

While Mike has complaints about the cold summer in North Dakota, but he has warm words for his Wavewalk kayak:

It’s been over a year since I bought my W and I have fished out of it numerous times so I thought I’d provide another review –
Stability
This yak is extremely stable. I have not had a single time on the water where I was worried. Not one. I am able to stand, sit in the riding position (by far the position I spend the most time in) or stretch out my legs with ease. This ability to change positions has helped me stay on the water longer than I would be able to in other yaks. I can’t tell you how good it feels to stand up and stretch after a couple hours of bass fishing. I also love to stand up to paddle around. It allows me to see weed lines, beds and other items that help me catch more fish.

Fishability
I have to tell you that I own a 17 ft bass boat and it has sat a lot this summer. I really like being able to sneak up on fish with my W. I also enjoy the ability to get into skinny water without a concern about damaging a motor. I have 2 surface mount rod holders and I simply sit my tackle bag in front of me on the saddle but more on rigging in a moment. If anyone has a concern about stability when fighting a fish, don’t worry. I’ve caught some very large Northern Pike and the yak is very stable throughout the fight.

Transportation
I transport the W in one of two ways; in the back of my truck or on top of my wife’s Subaru. The Subaru is equipped with some crossbars and I use bath rugs to protect the back of the car and just lift the W up onto the back of the trunk and then slid it up on the roof rack. From there I just strap it down. The design of the double hulls makes strapping the W very easy. When I use my truck it’s even easier. Just two straps and away I go. I haven’t used a cart much because where I fish, I just drag it 20-30 ft to the launch across sand.

Operation
The W has been a joy to operate. The W tracks very well without a rudder. While wind may grab you a bit more since you are up a bit more than a traditional yak, this seldom poses much of a problem. Once you get used to turning the W, you won’t even think about it. Frankly, I would rather have the solid tracking. Just a note here, I did have to go up and over a log in my W to retrieve one of my favorite lures. I just sat way back and paddled up to the log and then moved all the way forward and I went down the other side.

Rigging
I have tried many things but found the minimalistic approach is best. I have 2 flush mount rod holders behind me, some rod holding hooks I made out of heavy wire, a collapsible oar and that’s about it. I do have a small tray that I sit on the saddle in front of me that I use to hold onto small items. It’s affixed to the saddle using a couple Velcro strips. I do use on inflatable pad so my butt doesn’t get too sore. I use Velcro to keep it secure.

Durability
I have beat the heck out of my W and there are no visible issues except some surface scratches on the bottom from me dragging it all over the north woods. I mean I abuse the poor thing. I weigh 255 and I did get one of those saddle bracket deals. Since mine didn’t come with one (I think they all come with them now),  It was easy to install and I was good. Don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t any sign of stress or anything… Believe me, these things are tough.

Overall I am extremely satisfied with my purchase and will be buying another for my wife in the future.

A kayak that’s useful for cold water fishing

Paul Malm is a fishing guide and tackle manufacturer from Iowa , and an expert in fishing for cold water species such as Musky, Pike, etc. In fact, he’s nicknamed the Musky Guy.

I have recently purchased a new type of fishing kayak called the WaveWalk 500 that’s very useful in the waters around here. I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying the W. I wish I would have bought one sooner!

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I’m also offering kayak trips for those who just want to get out for the day and enjoy the experience. This particular design is more stable on the water than any other kayak I have seen. Plus the amount of storage of these unique kayaks blows them all away, too. Fishing while standing is no problem at all, and they are very comfortable to spend extended time in. You can actually lay down in this one!
This has been one the most unusual years I have ever been witness to as far as the weather and the fishing goes. In Northwest Iowa the rains seemed never-ending for a while, especially on weekends. Waters are high all over the area, with levels that have not been seen in a few seasons.
As far as the rivers go, these heavy rains have caused a lot of flooding, and as for fishing, it depends on where you live and what you are fishing for. Because of the unstable rivers and muddy waters, the musky and pike bite has been off and on from day to day. Nothing that you can predict with the crazy barometer this year. The bass, crappie, and big bluegills, on the other hand, have been great this year!

I have been fishing out of my new WaveWalk 500 fishing kayak and it has been giving me access to waters that others are not able to get to. As a result, I am able to target fish that are not pressured, and it is working very well. It is amazing how much you can see and learn from such a silent , low-profile craft. Fish swim right under you without spooking. Awesome to see! I am now offering kayak trips and kayak fishing through my guide service. Right now I am only able to take one person at a time for kayak bookings, but I am hoping to change that shortly.

I am also offering bow-fishing trips. You would be surprised how much fun it is to get a 20 pound carp on the end of an arrow. You can’t stop the smile on your face! Once again, from the kayak I can only do one at a time, but there are other options, too.

I am also offering fishing lessons and classes for small parties or large groups. I have been certified by the State of Iowa DNR as an official “Fish Iowa” Instructor. So not only do I get the honor and privilege of introducing many people to the sport, but this also gives me access to many of the materials the DNR makes available for young or new fishermen, promoting our great fishing in the State of Iowa!

Paul holding a bear cub

I am proud to introduce the latest in my line of terminal tackle. It is another leader, but geared towards finer fishing. This product came up as a result of a day of walleye fishing where the big pike were biting me off every other cast. Not a major problem, but I was after walleye that day, not pike. But walleye will not take to the sight of a heavy leader and it seems a little silly to cast a curly-tail jig on one too. So I went home that night and came up with what I will use from now on when casting for walleye during aggressive feeding. The snap is of my own design again, with nothing to open or close, changing lures in an instant. Whether you fish for bullheads or musky, it is great just to get out and enjoy a little of what nature has to offer.

As far as safety concerns about tandem use. I am picky about who goes out in the W500 with me. There is a certain way to do things that has been working out very well. Large people are not showing interest in kayaking, they want the bigger boat. Most of the people I have taken in the kayak are not large, so no problems there. The way we work it for bow-fishing, the person in front stands and shoots the bow, the person in back is the navigator. This works great! As far as fishing, the client stays seated and fishes in front while I overlook everything from the rear. I have had no issues at all doing things this way. And I still get to cast myself! I am a big one on safety for my clients, if I thought there was any problem at all, I would not be taking them out. A little common sense can go a long way also. Not much of that left in today’s world it seems sometimes.
I forgot to mention that I have explored the option of other kayaks, even before I bought my W500. I was not impressed by any of them. There are a couple that are no doubt usable, but nowhere near as convenient for one person to handle and move around with. My plan is to add at least one more W500 to my inventory. I am just waiting for business to pick up. I know where I can get cheap kayaks right now, but nothing I would care to have clients in or around. I won’t risk my name on shoddy equipment. Like the old saying goes, You get what you pay for! I am sure it won’t be an extended wait before my W500 fleet starts to grow! I am looking forward to it!

Things have been a little slow lately because of the weather. Hot and humid, just like a normal Iowa summer. People tend to think that fish cannot be caught right now. It’s tough to get across that fish can be caught almost all the time, you just have to adjust tactics, time of day, or try another species! I had my youngest son (22) out in the W a couple days ago and he had an absolute blast. He wants to go out again soon. We were bow-fishing, but we were laughing so hard.

Paul Malm

Malm Fishing Services, Northwestern Iowa