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.

DIY High Tech Fishing Kayak, Connecticut

Russ, from Connecticut, got himself a W502 in the fall of 2011, and rigged it with a 2hp 4-cycle Honda outboard – Read the initial motorized kayak review .
During the winter, Russ worked on turning his kayak into a mean, high tech fishing machine:

“We cannot fish in Connecticut until 3rd week in April. I have done more work on W kayak: Some lakes and ponds in Connecticut are for electric motors only, so I have set the boat up to work with gas or electric.
I had to make piece to raise the height of the motor mount for the electric motor. I made it out of teak & s/s.
I installed Fish Finder, Compass, Radio. Racks to hold paddle & push pole. I put another bolt on each side of motor mount, it makes it more stable and rigid.
I also installed a very small seat from a rowing machine. It’s in the best place for me.
Also took an old plastic cutting board and made a platform for my jiggers. It’s overkill, but it’s what I want to fish.
I plot out the lakes before I fish them, marking the outline of the proper depth for my type of fishing with buoys on my GPS screen. Got a couple more local & one in MA to do in the next few weeks.

work platform on top of fishing kayak saddleCutting board used as platform – the batteries are in the kayak’s hull tips

batteries at the bottom of fishing kayak hullsClose up on batteries at the bottom of the hulls, for the trolling motor and jiggers

fishing kayak cockpit with front deck and fish finderFront deck, depth finder, platform with fishing tackle attached on both sides

fishing kayak next to fishing motorboatFishmonger Junior, Russ’ fishing kayak, next to Fishmonger – his other boat

stand for electric jiggers in fishing kayakPreparation for the jiggers

electric jiggers installed in fishing kayakJiggers installed – rear view with electric motor, jointed tiller extension, and seat

electric trolling motor mounted on fishing kayak transom mountLong shaft electric motor, transom mount with additional piece, and security cable

rear view of high tech fishing kayakRear view of Russ’ high tech fishing kayak. Note the motor shaft is secured with a bungee ‘W style’…

rear view of high tech fishing kayakFishmonger Junior viewed from another angle

front view of high tech fishing kayakFront view of Russ’ high tech fishing kayak. Note the eyelets on the hull sides are part of the 502 configuration, and that’s where it’s possible to attach XL flotation modules

fishing kayak on trailer with fishing motorboat in backgroundFishmonger Junior and Fishmonger. BTW, Jr. has a Honda motor too, although it’s much smaller… More on kayak fishing reviews >>>

W Fishing Kayaks At The 80th Annual Northwest Sportshow In Minneapolis, MN

Gary Thorberg and the MinnYaks Team will be exhibiting the Wavewalk W500, which is the world’s best fishing kayak according to people who fish from it, at the 80th Annual Northwest Sportshow, between March 28 andApril 1st, in Minneapolis Minnesota.

When it comes to fishing from boats, Gary knows what he’s talking about:

-”Being a native Minnesotan, I was exposed to boating and fishing at an early age. My first experience sailing was at age 8, and it has been my passion ever since. I have captained many a charter on large catamarans in the Caribbean. Fishing has also been a large part of my life. I lived in the Florida Keys for a while, where I was a commercial fisherman and diver. Our families are fortunate to have owned lake cabins in northern Minnesota for 50 years, so fresh water fishing and boating is also in my blood. Many boats have come and gone in my life, and I am so very pleased to have added the W500 to my fleet. It possibly will be the last boat I will own (unless I buy another W500 for my wife!).”

Gary is an expert on outfitting fishing kayaks, including with powerful outboard gas engines, and he loves to fish out of his kayak. He and his team expect anglers from Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest, as well as Canada, to come to the show especially to see the W fishing kayak.

Visit MinnYaks, W fishing kayaks’ dealership in Minnesota >>

New, Cold Water and Weather Sections in Kayak Fishing Unlimited Magazine

Kayak Fishing Unlimited, our affiliate online kayak fishing magazine, features regional sections, some of which are dedicated to colder regions in the United States and elsewhere, such as Europe.

Kayak Fishing in the Northeastern United States

The Northeastern region of the United States offers both freshwater and saltwater opportunities, and it’s considered one of the best regions in the world as far as fishing is concerned. But since the northeastern climate is colder for the most part, it’s not as good for kayak fishing as the climate in the south. Therefore, you’d find less kayak anglers in this region.
When fishing out of W kayaks is concerned, many anglers in the Northeast have been switching from canoes, common fishing kayaks, and motorboats to this new type of kayak that offers more advantages than any of this watercraft, both inland and offshore.
This section features numerous trip reports, reviews, pictures and movies, rigging tips, and more, from the region’s finest kayak anglers.

Kayak Fishing In The Midwest – A Breakthrough

So far, Midwestern anglers have been reluctant to adopt kayaks as a fishing platform. The reasons for this are many, and they all seem to come down to one word – COLD.
Yes, the climate in the Midwest is not as warm and nice as it is in the southern states, where kayak fishing is the most popular, and sit-in, SOT and hybrid kayaks don’t offer much to protect their passengers from capsizing, or from cold weather and water.
But kayak fishing in cold water and weather now has a kayak that offers both much more stability than the other kayak types can, as well as better protection.
This magazine, Kayak Fishing Unlimited, has a permanent section dedicated to Kayak fishing in the Midwest – trip reports, fishing kayak reviews from Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio” Kayak Fishing in the Midwest. This section features trip reports and fishing kayak reviews from Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio, as well as reviews of rigged fishing kayaks, and even some information about hunting from kayaks, and stories about motorized fishing kayaks.

Developments in Kayak Fishing in Northern Europe

Many North Europeans like to fish, but unlike Americans and Canadian anglers, they fish predominantly from shore, as motorboats are relatively more expensive to purchase and maintain in Europe than they are in North America. Kayak fishing is still unknown to most European anglers, although some progress is being made in some European countries. However, when it comes to fishing from a boat, most European anglers still prefer the traditional platforms, such as motorboats, canoes, dinghies, or belly boats.
There are kayak fishing clubs in some European countries, but the participation is still small, especially when compared to the participation in the southern US states, and and in other warm regions, such as Australia and New Zealand.
Recently, W fishing kayaks have become available for sale in Norway. Anglers from other countries, such as the UK and Italy, still order these kayaks directly from the factory in the USA. The advent of new solution for motorizing fishing kayaks will certainly help many European anglers to switch from traditional boats to fishing kayaks.

Kayak Fishing in Canada

The climate in Canada is cold, and so is the water in this vast country. These climatic facts do not encourage anglers to venture on the water in kayaks for the purpose of using them for fishing. Canadian anglers still prefer canoes, dinghies, and motorboats, when it comes to fishing.
However, now that they are beginning to learn about W kayaks, and the advantages these special kayaks offer when fishing in cold water and weather is concerned, Canadian anglers are becoming increasingly conscious of the new possibilities they face. This is especially true in view of the fact that W kayaks can be easily outfitted with motors, and thus offer a much bigger range of exploration and fishing than non-motorized kayak offer.

Kayak Fishing in the Northwest

Kayak fishing has its fans in the Northwest, although it hasn’t been booming as in the warmer parts of the West Coast.

Offshore W kayak fishing in December 31st

Last year, last day, a club of offshore kayak fishing in Korea had a kayak fishing trip.
In South Korea, December 31st is a mid day of winter.
Without courage, nobody could dream of kayak fishing in this season.
Although I didn’t go with them, I received pictures.

The elderly couple is fishing on the W500 kayak.
We can see the outboard gas engine and two stabilizers. It looks sufficient for tandem.

Here is another motorrized sit on top kayak

Here are fishes they caught.

You can see in Korean at