What is a microskiff?
A microskiff is a small skiff, namely, lightweight, flat bottomed motorboat. Fishermen in the South use such boats for flats fishing, and in protected bays, estuaries and lakes, as well as on slow moving rivers. The microskiff is said to have evolved from dinghies. Typically, two fishermen man a microskiff.
But “Small and lightweight” means a boat that still requires transportation by trailer, and consequently, its owner must launch and beach it in boat ramps, which is often inconvenient.
Propulsion problems with typical microskiff
These small skiffs are are too wide and heavy to allow for paddling, and they are designed to be propelled with outboard gas engines, which is problematic for several reasons –
Outboard motors can run out of fuel or stall due to technical problems, and any electric trolling motor that may be on board would not be enough for going over long distances and/or in adverse weather conditions, fast currents, etc.
Both outboard motors and electric motors have propellers that require being immersed in water a couple of inches below the surface. This means that the effective draft of a typical microskiff is not very shallow, and it’s often incompatible with fishing in very shallow water, namely “skinny water”.
Draft issues also limit these small skiffs when it comes to available launching and beaching spots, which means that their owners depend on boat ramps, and this fact is known to cause frustration due to much time wasted on waiting and technical maneuvers instead of being available for fishing.
On top of this, propellers don’t perform particularly well in water that’s infested with seaweed and grass. Anglers who fish in such waters know that they are particularly productive fisheries.
The myth of Poling
Small skiff manufacturers like to show pictures of fishermen who propel their microskiff through shallow water with a push pole. While possible, poling isn’t that practical in real world conditions, because it involves long intervals between pushes, and the big effort that’s invested in each push to accelerate is soon wasted when the boat decelerates as the pole is lifted out of the water in preparation for the next push. Accelerating is very wasteful in energy terms, and besides, being relatively wide and heavy makes skiffs lose momentum rapidly, so the person who uses a push pole to propel them gets tired in a short time.
Not many people are capable of poling a microskiff for more than a few minutes, namely for more than a few hundred yards. This is hardly enough for effective fishing.
To add insult to injury, the hulls of these small craft don’t track well, because they are neither very long nor narrow, and they do not feature fins, skegs or tunnels that can contribute to their directional stability. This is why poling a small skiff in a straight line isn’t easy, and it makes you waste a lot of time and efforts trying to maintain the course.
Poling is far less effective than paddling, and it’s wasteful even compared to rowing.
Bottom line –
To fish in very shallow water and vegetation-rich water, you need a boat that does not depend solely on its outboard motor, and one than you can easily, comfortably and effectively paddle, and not just pole.
Wavewalk’s W700 series: The optimal skiff for fishing
A good microskiff is required to enable two fishermen or a solo fisherman to launch it, beach it, drive it, fish from it and paddle it in all water conditions, standing or seated.
This fishing craft must be very stable yet not too wide, so that it can be effective for paddling.
The twin-hull (catamaran) Wavewalk® 700 microskiff works perfectly both as a tandem and solo boat. This means for one angler too, in case a fishing buddy is not available.
The W700’s two narrow catamaran hulls make it track better than other boats of similar size, and this fact also guarantees top performance in terms of poling and paddling with either kayak or canoe paddles.
Weighing about 80 lbs, this optimal small skiff is sufficiently lightweight for transportation without a trailer, and for car-topping by just one person.
The W700 is the only two-person small skiff that offers such advantages, and ironically, this innovative craft is lighter than the typical fishing kayak, and much lighter than the typical tandem fishing kayak.
No trailer, and all types of propulsion in one boat
Wavewalk’s revolutionary W700 microskiff is a portable, car-top boat, which means that it requires no trailer. Even one person can easily car top it. It works well in choppy water and in skinny water, and also in vegetation-rich water. Two big and heavy fishermen can fish standing in it in full comfort. Driving it is easy, comfortable and fun, and it can be outfitted with a powerful outboard motor, and with an electric motor for trolling.
A crew of paddlers can easily and effectively paddle this microskiff either in a kayak mode, using dual-blade paddles, or in a canoe mode, with single blade paddles.
This lightweight craft tracks better than conventional skiffs, so that poling it is easier and more effective than poling other microskiff, including solo skiffs, namely skiffs designed to carry just one person.
The Wavewalk® 700 comes in all-white, which is the traditional color for this class of small fishing boats, and in a number of additional color combinations that are suitable for inland fishing.
I recently upgraded to a combo fish finder GPS unit. I was using a suction cup to hold the transducer to the side of the W but I noticed it would create drag and occasionally fall off. I tried several different methods to mount it in the inside of the W and shoot it through the hull, not so successfully. Again sometimes the simplest method works the best. I wish I would have tried this first. On YouTube tube I noticed a installation using duct seal. I purchased 1lb. at under $3.
Simply form a well at the bottom, lay transducer flat to surface , pinch some of the duct seal over it to hold in place. When you start kayaking simply put a slight amount of water in the well you formed to cover bottom of the transducer and start enjoying drag free readings. This duct seal sticks great, is waterproof, remains soft, and is portable. If you want to move it to another W simply peel off and reset it.
More about rigging your fishing kayak >
Boating has always been in my blood, and it still is. Sailed several oceans, fished a whole lot of rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico on all kinds and sizes of boats.
Found a new way to enjoy my family, and still not have them dependent on me to start the boat, work the oars, or even tote the cold beer. We go kayaking on crystal clear, 60 degree water on near 100 degree days.
Was joined today by a new W kayak owner. He boarded from the dock, worked on a few practice strokes and maneuvers, practiced starting and stopping, stood up and balanced the boat, then headed out up river, all the while whacking the heck out of some nice rainbows.
We watched him lift the rod time after time, resting the paddle on his knees, then gently releasing his briefly captured bows to return home. He was all grins, heading for a nap, and vowing to head back out this afternoon.
My wife showed off, jumping onto her boat, paddling a mile upstream standing up, and then slowly drifting the river, fly rod in hand.
A big pack of sit on fisherman passed going downstream as we paddled upstream. They stared, careened, and finally paddled over to ask what the heck those were. “Those look pretty stable”, one said, so I stood up, all 6’4 275 pounds of me…
More about stand up kayak fishing >
The battery for the motor is located in the front, between the hull tips, in special wooden box Randy made.
More about motoizing your fishing kayak >