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:
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.
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.
The perfect car-top skiff that’s more seaworthy than most Jon boats and skiffs, and works better as a fishing kayak than all other kayaks. Ideal for one or two large-size anglers.
Whether you’re motorizing in a bay or in the gulf, in the flats or in rivers, the S4 offers you more stability and comfort, and you can switch to a paddling mode anytime you need to, or feel like it.
Launching no longer depends on boat ramps, and neither does beaching. No more trailers, and no more time wasted waiting for other boat owners to launch and beach.
This patented craft features a real catamaran hull and a personal watercraft saddle seat. Together, they provide the highest level of stability and balancing capability, not just on flat water, but also for driving in the ocean. And most importantly, no more back pain, since you sit in this boat in the comfortable riding position, or side-saddle, and not in the non-ergonomic kayaking L posture. Standing up in this skiff kayak is easy and intuitive, and you can even drive it standing.
The S4 features a front deck that can be used as a casting platform, or a dog platform for duck hunters.
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.