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.
Many kayak companies are trapped within the design limitations imposed by the mono-hull form. They strive to come up with exciting and useful innovations, but so far the results are lackluster, and the innovations are mostly repetitions of previously seen accessories that are not particularly useful, and tend to crowd the kayak’s deck and cockpit, and reduce both the angler’s range of motion and their comfort.
In other words, Innovation isn’t always exciting or useful, and it doesn’t necessarily make a kayak more fishable.
But some innovations are both exciting and useful, such as the new W570 INF 20-15 model from Wavewalk. This Motorized kayak doubles as a high performance microskiff that’s suitable for offshore fishing trips, even in choppy water. Its small size and light weight do not compromise the impressive stability it offers – enough for the user to drive it standing. The same attributes make it a car-top boat, thus freeing the owner from the use of a trailer, which has become a must-have accessory for the new generation of large-size and heavy fishing kayaks that other companies offer. No trailer means no need for a boat ramp, and in the case of the W570 INF 20-15, it also means you can launch it from any beach where it’s legal to do so – If the water is too shallow for motorizing or infested with obstacles such as rocks or vegetation, you can paddle this motor kayak out, and start motorizing in open water.
As far as the innovations presented in this new model, they include a transom motor mount that works for both short-shaft outboard motors as well as for long-shaft outboards. Practically, this means that you can use it for different types of motors that you have, or would like to use in the future.
Another useful innovation is the high-capacity inflatable side flotation. This accessory works to help the boat from flipping in case of an accident, and it keeps it afloat in case it capsized. The wide floats are detachable, and when they’re attached to the sides of the hulls they offer the user to paddle and pole, although not with the degree of freedom and comfort they would enjoy with smaller floats.
And last but not least, the new detachable spray shield helps preventing water from splashing into the cockpit’s front end when the kayak is driven in waves at high speed. It can be detached within seconds and stored standing flat in the rear end of one of the kayak’s hulls. Being able to detach it easily enables the user to keep casting and landing fish from the kayak’s front, and not just from its sides.
This promotional video shows this amazing little watercraft in action:
Note the ease of portaging this motorized craft through rough terrain – a truly important feature for anglers who like to beach and fish where others don’t.
Where to get the best fishing kayak in New Zealand?
New Zealand has a lot to offer as far as fishing is concerned. The country has many lakes and rivers that abound with fish. Kayak fishing has been gaining in popularity in New Zealand, although many local anglers are not particularly enthusiastic about fishing from such notoriously unstable and uncomfortable boats. But this situation is now changing, as W kayaks are available locally for testing and purchase.
If you want to learn more about kayak fishing in New Zealand, or if you’ve already decided that you want to get yourself a fishing kayak, you’d probably want to visit Dennis’ fishing kayak dealership. The store is located in Hamilton, in the Northern Island, within a short short driving distance from Auckland.
W fishing kayaks are available the southern island as well, at Murray’s dealership in Nelson.
Dennis and Murray are seasoned kayak fishermen with considerable experience both in freshwater and offshore fishing, and they outfit the kayaks locally, so you can purchase a customized kayak from them or take advantage of their expertise and outfit your own kayak by yourself.
Decided to bring the kayak to Mammoth Lakes, CA for a few days. I also hauled along my electric trolling motor, only to discover that motors are not allowed on the lake I was fishing in. Will test out down here locally. I used Kayak and caught fish out of it. Forgot camera the day I caught most of the fish…but got some nice shots of bow out on the water and snow covered mountains. No problem with the kayak at on waters 8892 feet elevation.
Lake Mamie at 8898 feet elevation in Mammoth Lakes CA. Beautiful day!
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