Fishing Kayak Rigged With High Seat and Toolbox

People always have to ask about the W fishing kayak… and I tell them to get one. I now have rigged a Minn Kota electric trolling motor that works great for positioning an runs to a spot or back to dock.

Ray

2 sand bass caught with 1 bait in kayak fishing trip, Texas

fishing kayak with seat and DIY rod holders, Texas
“This seat sits a little higher, and it’s much more comfortable than the rigid seat I had added before.”

Sand bass caught by Texas kayak fisherman
Great toolbox for convenient storage of Ray’s fishing tackle

More tips and stories on rigging your fishing kayak >>

Attaching Gear To Your Fishing Kayak – The Easy Way. By Gary Rankel

Having seen some of the elaborate modifications W fishing kayak owners employ to attach paddles and other gizmos to their W’s, I thought I’d share a really easy, low-cost, no-weight method that I use.
When I first got my W’s, I drilled holes on each corner of the cockpit rim, primarily so that I could drain water out of the interior when turned upside down after washing down. Then I attached short pieces of waterproof rope thru the holes, knotting the bottom of each end to secure them(large flexible rubber washers can be installed about the knots to ensure that they don’t come thru the holes, but really aren’t needed). Finally, I attached 8-inch cable ties to the ropes or to the metal eyelets on the W to create carrying loops. You can see how I carry my Stick-it anchoring rod (stake out pole) on these devices.
Different sizes of metal clips can also be installed on the ropes to handle a paddle. By having holes and ropes on each corner of the rim, I can also attach an anchor to each, thereby eliminating the need for a pulley system (this works best if you can get by with just one length of anchor rope like you can fishing the shallow Florida flats).

Gary

rigging fishing kayak, improvements

rigging fishing kayak, improvements

rigging fishing kayak, improvements

rigging fishing kayak, improvements

rigging fishing kayak, improvements

rigging fishing kayak, improvements

rigging fishing kayak, improvements

Kayak Fishing In Tandem – Is It Possible?…

Not an easy question to answer, since a kayak is essentially a solo boat, which doesn’t lend itself easily to tandem applications –
In principle, it’s possible, since many kayaks are big enough to take two passengers on board. But practically, having two anglers fishing out of a small vessel such as a kayak is problematic with regards to several aspects that command serious consideration:

The first problem is Safety – two passengers moving about in the cockpit or on the deck of a fishing kayak in an uncoordinated manner can easily destabilize it, with the result being one of them overreacting, and causing the kayak to capsize. Obviously, having fishing rods, lures and fish flying around in all direction in such a limited space isn’t the best a recipe for safety.

The second problem is Convenience – Every angler wants and needs to have an unlimited range of motion, in order to perform basic things such as casting, reeling, landing the fish, unhooking, etc. Angler also need to have a comfortable workspace for attaching lures and bait, and doing other technical work involving the manipulation of fishing gear, including sharp objects such as fishing hooks and knives.
The last thing you want when you’re fishing in tandem is to get your fishing lines entangled with those of your partner, or get poked in the eye by a misguided fishing hook, etc.. -The possibilities for a disaster are so numerous that it’s practically impossible to list them all in this article, but we assume the reader gets the point…

Unlike paddling a kayak in tandem, kayak fishing in tandem is more complicated, and more difficult, and as a rule of thumb we don’t recommend it, unless the crew is composed of one experienced adult kayak angler and one junior kayak angler, such as a child, who needs guidance and often even technical help with handling their fishing gear. In such case the obvious choice for a kayak is the W500 that features a 6 ft long cockpit, and a longitudinal seat that makes it possible for the two anglers to sit separated by a long span, but also to approach each other effortlessly and safely when they need to do something together, such as in case the experienced angler has to instruct the novice, or help them hands-on perform a fishing related task.

As far as standing up while kayak fishing in tandem, this is even more problematic, and should be practiced only after both anglers have practiced tandem kayak fishing before, as well as stand up kayak fishing. Needless to say that the kayak used for this type of fishing should be fit such such activities to begin with, and vendors’ claims about their kayaks’ stability should be taken with a good dose of caution, common sense, and sufficient skepticism. It’s good to remember that it’s you and fishing buddy that are going to be out there in the real world, and not some guys who get paid to demonstrate fishing kayaks in front of a camera…

Kayak fishing offshore in tandem is even more difficult, and hazardous, and we do not recommend it, unless both anglers are lightweight and very experienced fishing together out of small boats, such as dinghies and canoes. Fishing in tandem out of a kayak equipped with a powerful motor, such as an outboard gas engine adds yet another level of risk, and in such cases you may consider outfitting your kayak with a pair of large size outriggers, such as this South Korean couple is using on an offshore fishing trip:

Couple fishing in tandem in the ocean, in South Korea

How Important Is Storage When Choosing a Fishing Kayak?

Storage is obviously very important in any fishing boat, and not just in fishing kayaks, because as every experienced kayak angler knows, you need to take your fishing tackle and a lot of fishing gear with you on board, and you should be able to secure all that stuff, protect it from the elements, and access it anytime you need it.

Most fishing kayak manufacturers try to lure potential buyers by offering bigger storage hatches, and additional space to put gear on top of their SOT kayaks’ decks. However, such those solutions are neither effective nor user-friendly, although there’s nothing else that can be done to solve the storage problem if you’re a manufacturer of sit-in or SOT kayaks.

The W500 offers several times more storage than any kayak on the market – be it a fishing kayak or a touring kayak, a sea-kayak or an ‘expedition’ kayak. In fact, the amount of storage space available in the W500 sets this kayak in a league of its own.

Moreover, the storage offered by the W500 is internal, dry, and always accessible to the passenger – be it an angler, a paddler, or a camper. In fact, there is so much room in the W500 kayak hulls and cockpit, that it can comfortably accommodate a second adult passenger on board, or two children >>

The total storage space available on board the W500 kayak is 14 cubic feet, or 0.4 cubic meter. It’s way above the kayak league, and comparable to the storage space offered by canoes and some small motorboats.

Have a look of Jeff McGovern’s W500 fishing kayak, and how he organizes storage in the kayak:

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

Two Anglers’ Knots

By Jeff McGovern

Knot tying is an essential fishing skill and there are entire books written about fishing knots.  I am going to concentrate here on two lesser-known knots that I use constantly in saltwater, as well as freshwater fishing.

1. Surgeons Knot

I use this for attaching a leader to my main line.  It works for both mono and the new super lines.  For best results when using a super line (such as Fireline, Power Pro, Spiderwire, etc.), double the line before tying in the leader.  This will give the connection more bite and it will hold much better. I normally use 10lb to 30lb leaders (mono or fluorocarbon) and tie to either 8 to 20 lb mono or 8 to 30lb super line.   With a properly tied leader, you can fish with less connection hardware such as clips or swivels.  It creates a connection point to the fish that is tougher to break than the main line and, in some cases, is less visible to the fish, and is a great handle when landing the fish.  I depend on this connection and it has not failed.

1_Surgeons_knot
1. Lay the two lines side by side.

2_Surgeons_knot
2. Tie an overhand knot pulling the leader line (green) through the loop.

3_Surgeons_knot
3. Make three more passes for a total of four<

4_Surgeons_knot
4. Wet the knot and pull it tight.

5_Surgeons_knot
5. Trim the tag ends.

6_Surgeons_knot
6. Done!

Photos: Kate McGovern

2. Canoe Man’s Knot

This knot is credited to the late Merrill Chandler, known for his pioneering efforts saltwater canoe fishing in Florida.   It is a loop knot for connecting a hook, lure, or jig to the leader.  Loop knots allow the bait or lure to move more freely in the water column making them more attractive to fish.  This one is super easy and does not use up long lengths of leader each time it is retied.  I use this knot as my leader to lure connection most of the time and, as with the Surgeons Knot, it has never failed me when properly tied.
Both knots should be wet before being pulled snug.  This allows the knot to seat better and be more secure.  It also protects the line from heat friction damage during tightening.  This is especially important when using fluorocarbon leader material.
The pictures show how to tie the knots.  Practice makes perfect and these two knots are well worth the time and effort.  Master them and they will be simple and effective additions to your fishing knot arsenal.

1_Canoeman's_loop
1. Put the leader through the eye of the lure about three inches.

2_Canoeman's_loop
2. Form two backwards loops toward the lure in the leader.

3_Canoeman's_loop
3. Push the second loop through the first.

4_Canoeman's_loop
4. Put the tag end from the lure through the loop that passed through the first loop.

5_Canoeman's_loop
5. Wet the knot tighten while holding the tag end this allows the loop to be sized

6_Canoeman's_loop
6. Trim the tag end.

Photos: Kate McGovern

Jeff McGovern is a life long angler and fishing equipment expert, a professional consultant in the fishing and kayaking industry., and a distributor of Emmrod fishing rods.

Visit Jeff’s kayak fishing blog >>

Topwater Fishing Gear Review And Best Practice

By Jeff McGovern

Fishing with a topwater or surface lure is lots of fun.  Out of a W kayak, it’s down right exciting, since you are so close to the action.  The equipment required is fairly simple and there are many topwater lures to choose from.  For the purpose of this short article, we will look at hard baits (also known as “plugs.”)  These are lures made of wood or plastic that float on top at rest.  When fish attack them, it looks like a giant hole just opens on the water and the bait disappears.
The basic types are: walking, popping, minnow, and prop baits.  These lures have been around for years and still consistently catch large numbers of fish.  There are variations, but these are the ones most commonly available.  All four types can be used in freshwater or saltwater and for a large variety of game fish.  Let’s take a look at a few examples.

WALKING BAITS

The best example is a Zara Spook.  A newer version is the Spit’n Image.   The angler provides the action this lure has on the water.  This plug looks like it could have been carved from a broom handle, and, indeed, the originals were.   Worked properly with a side to side wiggle, fish will blow them right off the surface in their effort to grab them.  This bait requires practice to use.  The angler must work their rod hand wrist and turn the reel handle in cadence to create the walking motion.  It will wear you down at first, but the results of practice time are well worth the effort.

Walking baits

POPPING BAITS OR POPPERS

These lures are just plain fun.  With a large exaggerated mouth on them they pop and gurgle when the angler pulls their line.  Some of the cupped mouths on these baits throw water a few feet in front of the plug as they move.  Classic examples are the Chug Bug and the Rebel Pop-R series plugs.  To work these lures, you cast out to a likely spot and let the lure settle down.  Then “pop it” and hold on for the strike.

Popping baits

MINNOW BAITS

These lures are best represented by the classic floating Rapala minnow.  The history of this lure could fill a book-suffice it to say it’s every bit as effective today as it was 40 years ago.  These lures have a slim profile and resemble a minnow.   They have a small clear plastic lip that allows the lure to dive a short distance on retrieve. Their life-like wiggle is very attractive to game fish.  To work the bait, throw it out let it sit for a moment.  Then begin a slow retrieve, briefly pausing from time to time.

Minnow_baits

PROP BAITS

These lures are some of my all time favorites.  Propellers are located at the front and/or back ends of these fun lures.  Simple to work, they are represented today by the Devils Horse, Tiny Torpedo, or, in handmade excellence, by the Lil Zip from Sam Griffin. They can catch fish just sitting there.  The moment they are moved, they get crushed by aggressive game fish.   Work them by throwing to a likely area and allowing the bait sit until the water calms down from the splash.  Then begin working the bait back in short, soft jerks until you find a pattern the fish like.
Prop baits

The equipment you use for topwater water fishing can be any that throws the lure properly.  Spinning, casting, or spincasting gear will all work just fine.  Line sizes can range from 8 to 20lb test (depending on the angler’s preference) and good old monofilament line is fine for these lures.  The best piece of advice I’ve ever had for fishing topwater lures came from Sam Griffin himself.  He told me “give the fish time to read the menu.” In other words, fish them slow for the best results.  This is the best way to start out– you can always speed things up later if the fish are ready to order.  So, this season, try a topwater water lure and prepare for excitement.

Jeff McGovern is a life long angler and fishing equipment expert, a professional consultant in the fishing and kayaking industry., and a distributor of Emmrod fishing rods.

Visit Jeff’s kayak fishing blog >>