When it comes to kayaks for fishing, Dwayne Walley says there are only two basic types — those that you sit in and those that you sit on, and 90 percent of those used for angling are in the latter group.
“After that, there’s about a hundred thousand ways to go, depending on your own desires and needs,” said Walley, an avid kayak fisherman and a Pro Staff member for Wilderness Systems Kayaks and Adventure Technologies Paddles. “You can pretty much set one up just like you like it, and there’s accessories from rod holders, depth finders and even power poles.
“There’s different seats, and you can even choose ones that have the pedals for propulsion. Mine just have the pedals that I use for the rudder.”
Kayak designs include longer, wider variations for offshore deep-water fishing, including two-seaters, but most are the smaller one-person versions that fishermen can accessorize as they like.
Fortunately for Walley, his real job is an electrician for a plastics company. That came in handy when he started personalizing his 13.5-foot Wilderness Systems Rides Kayak.
“I was able to rig my electronics, a Lowrance Elite-7 depthfinder and GPS system, plus wire for my two GoPro cameras, front and rear,” he said. “I did the wiring, the batteries and I even put in a charging system so I can just plug up the boat when I get home.”
According to Walley, the kayak and related accessory industries stays busy trying catching up to the growing market.
“As more people start fishing from kayaks, they keep coming up with ideas that would make the kayaks more user friendly,” he said. “My main accessory is a fancy-type milk crate that sits in the kayak behind my seat. It holds all my tackle boxes and other stuff, and I added rod holders to it so that I can carry them behind me out of the way. I did have to learn to do most of the casting side-armed but that’s OK.
“These modern kayaks, like my Wilderness System Rides, come rudder-ready with a lot of the accessories already built in, like the bungies that I can use to slide my paddle and my anchor pole under when I need to. They are all self-baling, which is very important. You take a wave and the boat is dry in a minute. I use one of the scupper holes for my transducer.”
Kayaks can even be rigged with a special designed Power Pole-type shallow water anchor system.
“These boats are generally ready to fish when you arrive at the water,” Walley said. “It takes me about 15 minutes from the time I drive up to the time I can push off. That includes parking.
“My 13½-foot Ride weighs 85 pounds, counting the seat and when I get everything I usually take, it tops out at about 125 pounds. I can easily pick it up and slide it to the water.”
Walley’s kayak has a double pontoon-like hull for added stability.
“But I’m really excited about the new Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 14-footer I have on order that will be here in about two weeks,” he said. “It’s a little wider and a little heavier so it will have added stability.
“These seats are really comfortable, and they adjust easily, up and down, front and back. As comfortable as the boats are, you know as well as I do that nature calls and sometimes you just have to stand up. That’s when stability counts.”
For more on the fast-growing sport of kayak fishing, see the June edition of Mississippi Sportsman magazine.