Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Barge Yak: A Not So Cozy Fishing Kayak

A common fishing kayak is essentially a broad, clumsy recreational kayak, in most cases a sit-on-top (SOT) kayak, which is another name for a paddle board. Sea kayakers call these types of kayaks 'barge', since they although they are stabler than sea kayaks, are also hard to paddle.  
But barge kayaks are hazardous to paddle and fish from
Seriously, they can be, and that’s because fishing kayaks are used by real, everyday people like yourself, in real, everyday conditions. Life is neither a commercial video, nor a glossy ad.
Everyday people are not particularly fit, and they’re often both overweight to some extent.
The typical kayak angler is middle aged, and many kayak anglers are elderly folks. Unfortunately, these are the same people who would normally purchase a barge yak, because they are concerned about the instability of narrow sit-in and SOT kayaks, and may not want to pay for a W kayak.

So why is a slow and hard to paddle 'barge' fishing kayak potentially hazardous for such people?

It's because in the real world, where real people paddle and fish, you’re bound to get into unfavorable circumstances – sooner or later, unless you paddle and fish in a tiny pond, preferably close to home. Such circumstances usually involve changes in the weather -
When bad weather happens while you’re seated in your kayak, you’d rather not overturn it, of course, and it is assumed that barge kayaks can normally handle this challenge – not always, and not as well as W kayaks, though… unlike other kayaks that are too unstable for that. If you happen to be away from shore in bad weather, being in a barge kayak could turn out to be a bad experience for you, and it may even lead to an accident, because you could find yourself unable to get back to your launching spot, or worse – go back to shore in any part of it. If back to shore means getting back to a beach, and the place you’re paddling and fishing in is the ocean, or a big lake, you could be in trouble.
This is because big bodies of water (E.G. ocean, lake, big river) also have currents in them, and the combination of wind and current is just too powerful for you to deal with when you’re paddling a barge kayak. Waves would likely swamp you. You won’t be able to direct the kayak to safety, and you’d be drifting somewhere you don’t want to go to. When this happens, you may find yourself in an even worse situation as night comes.
So try to imagine yourself wet, cold and exhausted from useless paddling efforts, your back sore, your legs are numb, and you’re drifting somewhere in the darkness.
The heavier, older, and less fit you are, the higher the chances you’d get yourself a barge yak, and at the same time the heavier, older and less fit you are, the more likely you are to get in trouble, discomfort and pain just because you’re paddling such a kayak.
Well, life is unfair, sometimes, especially to those who don’t take it seriously, and don’t imagine worse case scenarios that unfortunately are part of many outdoor recreational sports, including kayaking and kayak fishing.
It doesn’t make much difference if you paddle your clumsy fishing kayak or propel it with a pedal drive – You’s better not venture too far from shore with it, especially in unfavorable weather circumstances, or when there’s a good chance that the weather could change for the worse, because such change may very well be unfavorable, and even dangerous to you.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

fyi fishing kayaks need to be stable, and the way to achieve that is by making them very wide!!

Painless Kayak Fishing said...

Anon,
W kayaks are narrower than other fishing kayaks, and this is why they're easier to paddle, and yet, they're by far more stable than all those extra wide barge-like fishing kayaks out there, and more comfortable.
PKF