Flats fishing

New guide to portable boats

Like anglers in other regions, Texas anglers don’t appreciate wasting their precious time driving to boat ramps, or waiting in line while other anglers launch their boats there, or take them out. Popular launching spots can get crowded, and people waiting in them can get impatient and frustrated –
But what is the alternative to launching a boat that’s transported on a trailer?
Well, the alternative is to downsize to a car-top boat that you can launch in spots that are closer to where you want to fish, and where you won’t have to worry about finding a parking spot.

Portable boats are by definition smaller than full fledged boats, but this is not necessarily a problem if you fish the flats, and you don’t venture too far offshore into the Gulf. And  for a the price of a trailer, you can buy a lot of fishing gear…

Micronautical published a new guide for people who are looking to know more about portable boats. The article is entitled “The Portable Boat“, and it provides insight about different types of portable boats, including small dinghies, inflatable dinghies, Jon boats, and ultralight skiffs, their advantages, and disadvantages.

So, if you happen to be stuck in traffic on your way to a boat ramp, or worse, you’ve just arrived there only to find that there are no parking spots left for your vehicle and trailer… think about a car-top boat!

And by the way, if you’re worried about the performance of a portable boat in the ocean, or with more than one person on board, watch this movie:

 

 

And if you’re totally desperate about boating, and you’re thinking about downgrading to a fishing kayak, or you think not to downsize because of the need to go fishing with additional passengers on board (going solo isn’t necessarily that much fun), there are good news for you too:

Fishing Texas’ coastal areas with the Wavewalk S4 micro skiff

Fisheries along Texas’s coastal areas are diverse and most productive, from flats to estuaries, and to deep blue water.
The Wavewalk S4 works extremely well in all these environments, since it can go in shallow water that bigger skiffs that draft more cannot access, and if necessary it works perfectly with a paddle, be it a canoe or a kayak paddle.
But the S4 shies in choppy water too, as well as in actual ocean waves, which means that crossing bays and estuaries with is not only possible, but it can be fun too. Unlike other skiffs that may get their crew to feel seasick in rough water, the passengers of the S4 ride a saddle seat much like the saddles of big personal watercraft (PWC – “jet-ski”), all terrain vehicles (ATV), and dirt bikes. These vehicles allow their users for the most effective balancing possible, so they don’t feel seasick.

This first movie shows the Wavewalk S4 driven in wavy seas and towed behind a big motorboat, as a tender boat. Note how well it moves with a second passenger on board -This is not a solo skiff!

 

 

This second movie shows the WAvewalk S4 driven in choppy water –

 

 

Both these movies demonstrate the S4’s versatility and high performance that rival and even outperform various types of skiffs and microskiffs out there.

Mud motor for kayak fishing the flats?

Flats fishing is very popular in Texas, since the flats are very productive fishery. The warm and shallow water are home for the most prized fish species, including redfish, seatrout, flounder, and more.
But the skinny water and tides present a challenge to local anglers who fish from boats, since they risk being stranded, or worse – damaging the motor’s propeller and even its lower unit.
Kayaks are often used for fishing the flats, but their limited range of travel and the discomfort imposed on their users has most anglers stay away from them.

The solution seems easy, and it is to fish out of a boat that’s lightweight enough to have a very shallow draft, and that can be propelled manually with paddles, since poling isn’t much of a real world solution for non athletic anglers. But such a boat would still be drafting as much as its outboard requires for proper functioning, which raises the question why not use a mud motor with it, as mud motors can operate in extremely shallow water –
The reason why mud motors are less popular than conventional outboard motors is mainly their bigger size and heavier weight, which require the boat to be more stable. Price wise, mud motors are not necessarily more expensive than conventional outboard motors of similar horsepower.

The following video shows a Wavewalk S4 kayak skiff powered by a 6.5 HP Twister from Mud Skipper

 

 

The video shows how effective the motor is for going through aquatic vegetation, and over underwater obstacles.
This kayak skiff is by no means a solo skiff, and it can carry on board up to three anglers and their gear.

 

 

Unlike most microskiff, the S4 is a seaworthy boat that can go in choppy water and waves, which makes it ideal for crossing open water, bays and estuaries even under rough conditions, and it can serve fishermen who fish in deep water.