How To Stay Dry And Keep Your Kayak Cockpit Dry When Fishing Out Of A Kayak

Typically, very little water can get inside your W500 cockpit, because the kayak offers a high freeboard – more than any kayak does. This is true even when you’re launching in the surf, because you can lift the bow by sitting in the back of the cockpit, and thus go over the incoming waves, instead of through them, like you’d have to do with all other kayaks.

1. How to Prevent Water From Getting Inside the Kayak Cockpit

All W500 models except the R model feature a preparation for a cockpit cover system comprising a long bungee, 2 Nylon eyelets, and 12 lashing hooks attached around the spray deflector.

lashing hook and bungee for fishing kayak cockpit cover

Attaching the cockpit cover to the cockpit’s spray deflector is quick and easy, and you do it by lifting the bungee, tucking the cover between the bungee and the spray deflector, and securing it between the bungee and the lashing hooks, this way:

Fishing kayak cockpit cover

Any plastic sheet, tarp, or waterproof fabric can serve you as a cockpit cover, and you don’t have to cut or sew it in any particular shape (unless you feel like it…)

You can use the cockpit to cover any part of the cockpit: Whether it’s just the front, or all the area between you and the hull tips,  or just one side of the cockpit, or the entire cockpit, including yourself. It all depends on the size of your cockpit cover, and what you need the cover to do for you. You can even use two, separate covers for covering different parts of the cockpit.

Here is an example how you can use a simple, low cost 3′ x 8′ tarp as a cover for your W500 cockpit:

How to attach tarp cockpit cover the your fishing kayak

Fishing kayak cockpit fully covered with tarp cover

Here’s a real life account of a large size cockpit cover used to protect a W kayak bass angler during a rainstorm in Connecticut:

Prtecting yourself in fishing kayak during rainstorm
Outside View of Weatherproof Fishing Kayak
Dry fishing kayak in rainstorm
Inside weatherproof fishing kayak during rainstorm

Read the entire report on Rox’ bass kayak fishing trip, in which she got caught in a rainstorm, and managed to keep perfectly dry in the cockpit of her W500 >>

And this is the initial design, by a W300 fly kayak angler  from Oregon, which inspired us to develop the universal preparation for cockpit cover:

Cockpit cover for fishing kayak, protecting fly angler from snow and cold

A cockpit cover can add to your personal protection from the elements, even in cold weather, wind, snow, and hail.

This picture shows a car topped W500 in Ohio – Note how the owner covered its cockpit with a tarp:

fishing kayak with cockpit cover, on top on car, Ohio

2. What If a Little Water Gets In?

Like everything that has to do with the W500 kayak, it’s easy:

First, you don’t have to care too much about a little water getting inside, because unlike sit-in kayaks, all water that may get inside is automatically drained to the bottom of the hulls, where it doesn’t bother you. This is true for drops falling from your paddle, rain, spray, etc.  The 14 inch high W kayak saddle stays dry, and since this is where you sit,  so do you.

Keeping the bottom of the hulls perfectly dry is easy too, if you simply put a big sponge at the bottom of each hull. The sponge will absorb the water by itself, since the water will eventually reach it due to the kayak’s natural movement. By the end of the trip, or anytime during the trip,  you’d just have to  squeeze the water out of the sponges, and that’s it.

3. What If a Lot of Water Gets Inside Your W Kayak Cockpit?

Again, since the water is drained automatically to the bottom of the kayak hulls, and you sit on the 14 inch high saddle, or ride it, water in the bottom of the hulls doesn’t necessarily bother you, even if there’s several gallons of it down there.  This is true even in cold water and weather, if you’re wearing rubber booties.

In any case, getting rid of this water is simple: Just scoop it out with a hand bucket, also called a bilge bucket. Making one from a 1 gallon plastic bottle with a handle is cheap and easy, and such DIY bilge buckets are perfect for the job.

If you feel like being more sophisticated, just use an inexpensive, plastic, hand activated bilge pump,  the same as sea-kayakers, canoeists, and other small boat passengers use for the same purpose:

Fishing kayak bilge pump

4. Getting Rid of Water on Land

You may want to get rid of water that’s in your W kayak’s cockpit when you’re on dry land. Again, nothing could be easier: You just overturn the boat, and the water will get drained out through the special drainage holes at the top of the spray deflector. Normally, this is the kayak’s highest point, but when it is upside down, the holes are at its lowest point, which makes the water come out in no time, and from all parts of the kayak hulls.

5. Safety – Why Are SOT Kayaks Hazardous?

Simply, because if your kayak hull is leaking, you want be able to detect the problem immediately, in real time, since any delay might be critical. Therefore, closed hulls, such as sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks feature, present a potential hazard, because water can leak inside them without you having any way to notice it, until it’s too late. This is one of the downsides of the so-called ‘self bailing’ (paddle board) SOT kayak hull. Worst of all – those SOT hulls are rarely fully watertight, because of various reasons – The first being the basic design flaw putting their parting line too low above the water, combined with the weakness in the scupper holes area. The second reason being the fact that once the SOT kayak is molded, it has numerous big and small holes drilled in its hull for hatches, rod holders, seat etc., and such holes are extremely difficult to waterproof in the long run, and can easily leak, since the  SOT kayak deck is too low above waterline, and is often washed by waves, or immersed in case the SOT kayak is overturned in the water.

SOT kayak anglers are required to drain their kayak hulls through special drain plugs installed in them, preferably after each trip, and sometimes even during the trip, if they can find a place to beach. Read more >>

In comparison to SOT kayaks, the W kayak’s parting line is 6 to 12 inches higher above the water surface, the kayak features neither scupper holes nor hatches, and its deck is much higher too, and the cockpit part of it is protected by a spray deflector. Since it sold its first W kayak, back in 2004, Wavewalk has received no complaints about water leaking into a W kayak hull.

Hazarads Associated With Fishing From Kayaks in Warm, Freshwater

When you’re fishing our of your kayak in warm, freshwater, you might think that nothing could happen to you, if for some reason you lost your balance and fell overboard, but this is not necessarily true.

The following article describes various dangers that kayak anglers are exposed to in different water conditions, and here is some information more about this important kayak safety issue, when warm, freshwater is concerned:

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that a deadly amoeba, which is commonly found in lakes and rivers is the cause of the recent death of a Florida swimmer –
Health officials in Brevard County, FL, said they believe water infected with the parasite Naegleria fowleri went up the swimmer’s nose while she was swimming in the St. Johns River, east of Orlando.
Once the amoeba enters the brain, it usually causes a fatal infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Initial signs of PAM include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, loss of smell or taste and stiff neck.
The disease spreads rapidly, and usually results in death within a few days.
This disease is not contagious.
A similar case has also been reported in Virginia.
Florida state officials issued a health advisory saying the amoeba proliferates in stagnant freshwater lakes, ponds, streams and rivers, when temperatures climb into the 80s. They said people should take safety precautions when swimming, and avoid swallowing pool, lake or river water.
Officials say 32 such infections were reported in the US between 2001 and 2010.

Does anyone need more reasons to look at traditional kayaking’s cherished Eskimo Roll technique as inadequate and hazardous?
Does anyone need more reasons to look at fishing standing on top of a SOT kayak as taking unnecessary risks?
Do you need more reasons why SUP boards are not well suited for stand up paddling on flat water?

The Best Kayak Fishing Channel On YouTube

So, you may be wondering which fishing kayak would best fit your needs, and you get dizzy just from reading all the blatant nonsense out there, and watching tons of irrelevant video. But seriously – you’re about to choose a fishing kayak, and you’re going to be fishing out of your kayak in the real world, and you’d still be yourself, in real life, so why should you care at all about some guy in the Pacific ocean who’s escorted by a mother ship, and is getting his SOT fishing kayak dragged for miles by a 200 lbs marlin?! …  Such staged movies are the stuff that hype is made of, like people sliding down waterfalls in their kayak, or fishing standing up on a SOT kayak – nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about – It has nothing to do with you, actually.

If you’re looking to watch some fun kayak fishing videos, check out the Zeepty channel – The Zeepty Channel on YouTube is quite a phenomenon. It features over 130 kayak fishing related movies, and since it was founded it has already had over 750,000 views, of which over 280,000 in 2011. The videos feature mainly Wavewalk’s fishing kayaks of the now discontinued W300 series, and a bunch of movies featuring kayaks from the new W500 series.
You can spend literally hours on the Zeepty, and enjoy watching these fun videos.

Kayak fishing movies on YouTube

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 >>