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:
Portable boats offer one big advantage, which is that when you own one, you don’t have to use a trailer to store and transport it. In other words, after a long drive to the beach, you can put in without necessarily waiting in line at the boat ramp, together with other impatient and frustrated boaters like yourself. And when your fishing trip is done, you can simply take the boat out, without having to wait for others who where there before you. Traffic at boat ramps can definitely take too much time away from your fishing trip, and it can definitely take away some of the fun.
Portability is important, but portable boats come with their own problems and limitations, and these have to do mainly with their size – Being of smaller size, these boats are neither stable nor comfortable, and their seaworthiness leaves much to be desired. Being boats and not paddle craft, they aren’t well fit for human propulsion, and paddling them across long distances is impossible.
These limitations practically mean than portable boats don’t work well in moving water, such as in the ocean, and on the other hand, they don’t work well in very shallow water (skinny water) and weed infested water, since outboard motors’ performance in such waters is very limited.
Fishing kayaks are considered by many as unworthy of being called boats because they are neither stable nor dry enough for fishing in the ocean, nor comfortable enough to fish anywhere, unless you’re a young, lightweight and physically fit person who suffers from no back problems at all.
Another problem that fishing kayaks present is their being unfit for effective motorizing, namely with outboard motors, and this severely limits the user’s range of operation, and could even be a safety problem in fast currents, strong wind, and bad weather. For these reasons, few kayak fishermen venture in the ocean along the Texas coast.
Seaworthy portable boats that work perfectly as paddle craft
But what if there were portable boats that were seaworthy enough for fishing in the ocean, yet narrow enough to work perfectly as paddle craft, whether with canoe or kayak paddles?
Such boats are the Wavewalk® 700 and Wavewalk® Series 4 (S4), patented twin-hull (catamaran) ultralight skiffs.
Both boats are lightweight enough to be car-topped by one person, yet roomy and stable enough to take on board two large size anglers with all their fishing gear, plus an outboard motor. They can be launched pretty much everywhere, including rocky beaches nicknamed “rock gardens”.
They can even be dragged across rough terrain. Both boats work well as paddle craft, with a crew of one (I.E. Solo) or two. In case the two passengers are not particularly heavy, the cockpits of these two boats are roomy enough to accommodate a third, small size passenger, such as a child or a dog, or both.
The fact that these two boats work in either a canoeing or a kayaking mode allows their crew to fish the flats in very skinny water, as well as fish and hunt in marshes and other fisheries where vegetation abounds, and in non-motor zones (NMZ).
This unique combination of seaworthiness and shallow water capabilities makes extremely well suitable to serve as skiffs for fishing the flats, bays and estuaries along the Texas coast. In fact the Series 4 (S) features the typical skiff stand up casting platform at the bow.
The differences between the W700 and S4 is that the bigger S4 can carry a bigger payload and a more powerful outboard motor, while the narrower W700 works so well as a paddle craft that it’s easier and more comfortable to paddle than any canoe or fishing kayak, whether in a solo or a tandem mode. And this is where it’s important to say that both boats feature a saddle seat that’s similar to the seats that personal watercraft (PWC) a.k.a. Jet-skis feature, and they are totally back pain free (see this review »), which can’t be said about sit-in and SOT kayaks.
This movie is about a 15 mile round trip offshore in a W700:
This video shows the W700 sneaking into a mangrove tunnel –
So, whether you’re after redfish or tarpon, seatrout, mangrove snapper or bass, or any other saltwater or freshwater fish species, and whether you fly fish or hunt for ducks, solo or with a friend – these two boats offer you a higher level or freedom, comfort and versatility.
Do you like shallow water fishing, and in particular flats fishing? Many fishermen in Texas do, and if you’re one of them, or just interested in this type of fishing, you know that some boats and kayaks are mote suitable than others for it, and some less.
The purpose of this website is to expose new types of kayaks and boats that work particularly well in this context, and deliver the most comprehensive solutions both motorized and human powered, namely paddled.
This category of small fishing boats is not particularly well defined, but generally speaking, it includes small-size, relatively lightweight, flat-bottomed motorboats designed for fishing in shallow water, flats, protected bays, and estuaries. An important attribute of any microskiff is being sufficiently stable to allow a fisherman to fish standing up in it.
Set YouTube to watch this video at 720p HD (high quality):
Some anglers use push-poling to advance through areas of thick vegetation and/or skinny water, where an outboard motor’s propeller drafts too much. This mode of human powered propulsion is slow and hard to practice, and therefore not convenient for covering longer distances.
Paddling works better, of course, but most microskiffs are too wide to be paddled, and those who do offer such option are still too wide and heavy to enable traveling over meaningful distances, or paddling in adverse conditions, such as wind, current, waves, etc.
At 80 lbs (without a motor), the new Wavewalk™ 700 series is the most lightweight microskiff on the market. In fact, it weighs almost half as the next lightweight boat in this class. This makes the W700 is the only car-top microskiff out there.
Thanks to its patented twinhull form (catamaran) the W700 is extremely stable, although it’s just 31 inches wide, which makes it the narrowest microskiff and a high-performance paddle craft, namely kayak. Note that it works perfectly as a fishing canoe as well, that is paddled with single-blade paddles, both with a crew of one or two.
Microskiffs are considerably heavier than kayaks, and they cannot be be car topped. Some of the smallest microskiffs are not designed to take a second passenger or angler on board. Such micro skiffs are called solo skiff, namely a one-person skiff.
The W700 is lightweight enough for one person to car-top, and with its total recommended load capacity of 580 lbs and the super-stability to back it, the W700 works as a full tandem microskiff (I.E. motorized) and tandem fishing kayak (I.E. paddled).
It offers all the advantages of a regular size micro skiff without imposing any of the inconveniences associated with boats, and it offers all the advantages of a fishing kayak, and some more, without any of the problems that plague fishing kayaks, which are instability, wetness, discomfort, poor tracking, and lack of sufficient storage on board.