Some kayak anglers have the gift of being able to express themselves very clearly and thoroughly, and some do it exceptionally well. Some kayak fishermen have a sense for observing things in detail, and for drawing meaningful conclusions. Others suffer from various physical disabilities and problems, including severe ones.
This big and tall, elderly and disabled kayak fisherman from Texas belongs to these three categories, and he wrote a review of the Wavewalk 500 that’s classic in the sense that it’s encompassing and interesting, as well as painfully personal.
On top of this, the author of this review shows his W500 that he rigged intelligently.
This review is a highly recommended reading for anyone who likes to fish and suffers from back pain.
John Fabina, from Wisconsin had a hearty laugh when he came across ads by a well known, nationwide, catalog and online distributor of outdoor apparel and gear for high-end (dubbed “deluxe”) sit-in angling kayaks, and they declared the following (quote):
“For outings of a few hours in calm to light winds on lakes, ponds and protected bays” and –
“For outings of a few hours in calm to light winds”
So why did John laugh about these fishing kayaks ads?…
Simply, because John has been paddling kayaks and fishing from them for many years, and he immediately understood what the advertisers really meant to say, which was:
“This kayak would make your back hurt within a short time, and sooner than later, you’d want to end your misery, and paddle back home. Besides, don’t even think to fish from it when the wind blows, or in moving water, because eddies would fill its low cockpit with water in no time, and you’d find your butt marinating in a floating pool… On top of this, you’d find it really hard to control this kayak and paddle it, because such kayaks don’t track well, and sooner or later you’d find yourself struggling to paddle back to your launching spot, pretty much at the mercy of the wind. In other words, our “deluxe” sit-in fishing yak is just a flat water craft, and essentially, a fair-weather friend – It’s not a reliable piece of gear. And since we’re a respectable and cautious outdoor gear and apparel company, we said something about it, so don’t say we didn’t warn ya!”
And from his own experience, John knows that paddling while you’re wet and your back is sore is no fun at all, and it should be avoided.
John also knows that there’s no such thing as guaranteed fair-weather and mirror flat water doesn’t stay that flat for long, and he knows the weather has a tendency to change without consulting with kayakers, or anglers, and the wind has a nasty tendency to blow from where it comes, and not necessarily where you’d want it to go…
So why does that particular outdoor gear and apparel vendor tell its clients something about the limitations of those sit-in angling kayaks? It has to do with the terms of purchase that company offers, which include an unconditional return policy, with no questions asked. In other words, the vendor expects to have issues with unsatisfied clients wanting to return the lemons they had purchased, which is why somehow limiting the buyers’ expectations before they buy would be a reasonable measure to take.
Our article’s intention is not to criticize that particular kayak vendor, but rather the opposite (well, sort of): This vendor at least tries to warn their clients about potential issues. They don’t make blatantly false claims such as “this kayak is so stable that you can fish standing in it”, which is a common, misleading statement that both kayak manufacturers and vendors often use. This particular vendor doesn’t claim that the angling kayak they offer for sale is ‘ergonomic’, which is yet another ridiculous claim that practically all kayak manufacturers and vendors make, one way or another… Etc.
Are These “Deluxe” Fishing Kayaks Different?
No, they’re not. Those are wide, sit-in kayaks, featuring rod holders. They are no different from any other sit-in fishing kayak, and they’re not different from sit-on-top fishing kayaks, or ‘hybrid’ fishing kayaks (low canoes), in the sense that SOTs and hybrid kayaks too force their users into the notorious L posture that hurts their back, they too get their users wet as soon as there’s some wind blowing, and they also become hard to control and paddle when the wind picks up. They’re all the same, as far as sensible anglers are concerned.
Fishing Kayaks As Fair-Weather Friends
Stay away from fair-weather friends, because they’re unreliable, and they won’t be there for you when you need them. Any boat, or kayak, must be dependable, and a kayak that’s not dependable cannot properly serve sensible anglers.
We would argue that fishing kayaks are not even friendly to begin with, as far as nearly all anglers in this country are concerned, and rightfully so. Here is an article that discusses how fishing kayaks are perceived by most anglers >
The Only Fishing Kayak That’s both Friendly and Dependable:
The W is the only kayak worthy of being called a fishing kayak. This is a broad and far reaching statement, and here is some in-depth information to back it:
- This article explains how you can easily and effectively paddle, steer, and control your W fishing kayak in strong wind, without using a rudder >
- There is no need to say much about how W kayaks offer more free board, and provide more protection to their users than any other kayak out there, but here’s some information about how you can stay dry in your W kayak in waves, rain, etc >
- As for how long anglers use their W kayaks in single fishing trips, you can find plenty of testimonies from actual clients, in our website’s fishing kayaks reviews section > You’d find we have elderly clients who suffer from a variety of back problems and other physical limitation that spend long hours in their W kayaks, even when the weather is less than perfect
- ‘Ergonomics’ is a word that everyone uses, and rather loosely, but if you’re interested to know why kayaks are synonym to back pain (a.k.a. ‘yak back’), have a look at this article about fishing kayaks’ ergonomics > The article also explains why W kayaks are known as the ‘No-Back-Pain’ kayaks
- Stability is recognized as being a key factor when kayak fishing is concerned, and W kayaks are far more stable than other fishing kayaks, including ones that feature various stabilizers – Here’s an article discussing fishing kayaks’ stability >
This summarizes the difference between all those fair-weather yaks, and yaks for fishing in the real world, known as Wavewalk™ kayaks: The only kayaks worthy of being called fishing kayaks, because they actually solve problems that other kayaks merely address.
Fishing in the closer locales has been kind of slow so I’ve decided to explore a few places farther away with overnight stays.
I set up a kayak fishing tour of an area close to Tampa yesterday, and went down there on Tuesday to examine a few launch sites on my way. I didn’t take my W kayak with me.
While checking out a site near Bayport (about 30 miles south of me), I happened upon a fellow just returning from a morning of fishing, and loading his Wavewalk kayak into his car. I think his first name was Al but can’t recall his last name. He had a yellow W with a slick electric motor and rod holder assembly mounted in back. He recognized my name from my blog posts (see, you’ve made me famous!).
From Bayport, I proceeded down to Tampa and hooked up with the local kayak fishing guide yesterday, to explore a new area.
He supplied all the gear, and uses the [brand name of a 42″ wide, 80 lbs, hybrid kayak] kayak which is really a cross between a kayak and canoe.
So, I spent my first day in several years in a regular “L” posture kind of kayak, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, since the seat was up off the floor a few inches… I was fine during the day, stayed in a motel down there last nite, and was supposed to go out with him again today to check out another area, but when I got up this a.m. the old back was tight and aching pretty good, so I decided to cancel the second day, and come home early.
I enjoyed my day fishing down there, and plan to hook up with the guide again to learn another new area, but next time my W kayak comes with me!
Moral of the story – the older you get, the more you need a W kayak.
More about how the W Fishing Kayak trumps traditional kayaks in ergonomics >
It was too windy to fish in the river so I stayed in the lagoon by where my friend lets me keep my Wavewalk kayak on his floating dock. I had been out in the morning about 7:30 AM and caught a small snook about 14 inches – a beautiful fish and since I got him on a small foam rubber “gurgler” fly it was fun to see a fish take that surface fly less than a foot from the mangroves in about eight inches of water. It took a little while reviving him in the water before releasing him before I could go looking for his big brother.
Fished until about noon got a couple of hook ups but nothing came to the boat.
I went back just about 7 PM and staked out at the corner of a nice grass flat in the lagoon next to the mangrove creek that feeds in from the Indian River.
It was low incoming tide one of the best times for the bigger fish to get in close to the flat in about four to five feet of water, they slip up on the grass flat and raid the little mullet fingerlings and grass shrimp and can dash back into the deeper water for cover.
So I fished different flies and different sides of the flat for about an hour… fifteen minutes after sunset I was making my “last cast” for the night and bang a freight train hits my fly about thirty five feet from the kayak I am standing on my platform on top of the center tunnel and all the line starts to shoot out of my striping basket and (for once it is not tangled up) whiz all the line is out of the basket probably 125 feet or so and I am on the reel and it is buzzing. First time I am down to my backing line it is still going out to open water in the lagoon
(not back to the mangroves like sneaky snook usually do). So I let him go
I mean he is too big and hot to horse in with an eight weight and 10 lb
tippet. Three good runs, a couple of tries for the mangroves and 15 minutes later I have him in the boat.
26″ snook WOW the first really nice fish I have ever caught out of the “W” and it was a beauty it took me almost 10 minutes to revive him pushing him through the water next to the boat.
But finally he swam off before I was eaten to death by Florida mosquito’s it was almost dark but I was as high as a tree frog just paddling back to the dock whistling Dixie.
I have caught a few smallish fish in the lagoon but started to think that all the nice ones are in the river.
Oh yeah all you northern woodsman who are wondering why I released a five pound snook instead of eating him, there is a limit here we call “slot” fish, 28″ to 32″ inches if they are in the slot then they are keepers but he was a little shy of the slot. And after one of the best battles I have had on fly since my Trinity river steelhead days, I figured he deserved a second chance anyway.
I love my Wavewalk… when that fish was on I was thinking he went 360 degrees around the boat did three really long runs and in general made 15 minutes feel like about three. I honestly don’t think there is any chance that this old man could have landed that fish in any other kayak but the Wavewalk fishing kayak. I mean I fish with a friend who has five kayaks SOT and Sit in type and he is an athlete, but I have seen how little room to
move and how cramped it is and if your line snags on anything when you have a big fish on a fly (even just for a moment) it is good by fish.
Watch fishing kayak videos >