Thursday, January 25, 2007

Electric Kayak Kingfisher-10 Features

A Unique Fishing Kayak- The Kingfisher-10

Kingfisher objectives:

All boats I have owned, at some time in their operation, have been too big or too small, too fast or too slow, too heavy or too light and all were too expensive. So when it comes to fishing boats, there will always be a lot of compromising going on. When thinking about the boat that became the Kingfisher, I set out the following goals bearing in mind that this was to be a fresh water boat operated by a single fisherman on both lakes and rivers that are not exposed to high wind conditions (over 30 mph). They are roughly listed in the order of their importance.

1. Hands free operation-Any boat can be viewed as a hands free boat as long as it is tied to a fixed point, or at anchor. Under these circumstances the boat is not in operation, and it doesn’t offer the fisherman access to any part of the water he cannot cast to. Our view of hands free operation is that the boat must be operating under control of the fisherman without the use of his hands. He must be able to compensate for changing wind and current without picking up a paddle, or to hold the boat in any desirable part of a river and have both hands free to fish. He can move along a shore line and cast to structure most likely to hold fish. He can drift down a river maintaining his line of drift while having both hands free to fish. He must be able to fight and control a large fish without the need to paddle or anchor.

2. Dry boat, adequate storage. The boat must offer a dry environment as it will often be used in colder climates where ‘wet butt’ boating is not an option. It is essential to keep equipment and supplies in good condition, possibly without the use of dry bags. Access to tackle, bait and nets should be at hands reach and without having to untie the desired item.

3. Entry and exit of the boat while on the water- In many fishing environments the operator must enter/exit the boat in shallow water. For example when launching in lakes and streams without launch facilities. Here the boat is loaded while in the water and entry/exit is required. Another common event is when the boat is entering shallow water and it is necessary to walk the boat to deeper water. Finally, landing a large fish in a river often requires the fish to be worked to shallow water and then landed on the beach. The boat is anchored near the shore and the fisherman steps out to beach the tiring fish. The boat must be easy to anchor and secure, preferably with one hand and stable enough that getting in or out is not difficult.

4. Adequate anchor mechanism. Typical kayak anchoring systems consist of a lateral line along one side of the hull, with a clipped on anchor line to secure the boat. Anchors weigh 1-3 lbs. The clipped on anchor is dropped and the clip moved to the bow or stern of the boat, usually a two hand operation. This works well in still water with little wind.
In a river or stream it is necessary to anchor in faster moving water requiring anchors of up to 10 lbs to hold the boat securely. The anchor line is usually 1/4 inch and it is desirable that it be routed thru a pulley at the bow or stern, with a jamb cleat near the seat to secure the line. When not in use the anchor is pulled up to the pulley and cleated off. It is helpful if the anchor can be quickly deployed using only one hand. Also it is very important the boat is stable when anchored in the current. Some boats will swing wildly on the anchor rope, to the point of overturning.

5. Good speed and paddling range. Paddle boats are not seen as fast boats. They only have a ¼ hp drive system (you and me) and at maximum speed it tires quickly. Still there is a need to be able to move upstream thru a riffle to make a second pass at a section of a river we believe holds fish, or work several miles of promising shore line. And then there is the paddle home at the end of the day. Cruising speed should be 3-4 mph and grunt speed 4-5 mph. Note that every time you double the speed of the boat, the motor will consume 4-6 times as much energy. So getting in a hurry uses up battery capacity rapidly.

6. Shallow water operation. When fishing rivers, or on a lake when the wind is blowing, you will find yourself entering shallow water unexpectedly. Your immediate need is to reduce the draft of the boat, by pulling up the propulsion unit (if used) getting hardware out of the water and perhaps deploying the anchor so you can further sort the problem out. If the boat should hit bottom it should not result in damage. Once the situation is clear, you might want to paddle to deeper water, or possibly walk, towing the boat behind. Fishing shallow water often means dealing with weeds and snags. If the boat is powered it will be necessary to clear the prop of weeds. Having the ability to lift the motor out of the water and spin the prop both forward and backward makes this a much easier task.

7. One man deployment. It is very desirable for the boat to be light enough that it can be taken to the launch site and deployed without assistance. It should fit in the back of a puck-up, SUV or at least be suitable to be car-topped to the launch site. This eliminates a trailer and storage facility when the boat is not in use. The boat described above can be hung from a garage ceiling using a few simple pulleys and some rope. It takes no floor space and stays clean and dry when the weather turns wet and cold.

8. Lack of Clutter. It has often been observed that a fisherman can get his hook into anything that is not stowed below decks, and even those items are not safe. Lines, bags, clothing and lunch are all candidates. Getting a hook out of a dock line while in a fast river is a very frustrating task, and keeping your line out of the rigging when you have a large fish on is equally important. The best view over the bow of your boat is one with no lines or hardware in sight. Then if you can keep the boat pointed at the fish, you have a good chance of landing that big one.

9. Simple operation. The operation of the boat should be as natural as walking and require little thought or training. Kind of like riding a bicycle, not natural at first, but soon it seems perfectly normal. All needed control functions should be easily at hand and the boat should provide feedback so the fisherman can see his status at a glance.

10. Backing down. Most kayaks are not designed to be operated in reverse, indeed some of the pedal craft have no reverse and a paddle is required. One of the more popular steelhead and salmon fishing techniques is called ‘Back Trolling’. The boat is facing down stream, and a lure or bait is let out from the boat and slowly moves down the river into a likely hole. The motor is running in reverse slowing the boats drift and adding action to the bait or lure. This puts the bait ‘in the fishes face’ and it often produces results when nothing else will.
I also often find bass in out of the way places that are tight to get in and out of. Hooking a fish there requires backing the boat out to open water to deal with the fish, and turning around is not an option.

This kind of fishing requires that the boat handles well in reverse. The shape of the bottom must allow reasonable speed in reverse and fast response to steering inputs. This usually means building some ‘rocker’ into the bottom, resulting in a slower boat with less cargo capacity. More compromises.

11. Places to put things. The boat owner will want to add items to the boat to make it a more effective fishing platform. Fish finders, GPS and tie points for lanyards to secure the paddle and net are but a few. Flat surfaces are much more amenable to these activities than are irregular rounded surfaces. A dash like surface at the front and rear of the cockpit is helpful to hold status indicators and perhaps small electronic equipment. It is helpful if these added items do not become part of the clutter on the forward deck where much of the fishing activity takes place.

I believe the KF 10 meets all of the above objectives. I have fished from one for years now and made changes as necessary to accomplish these objectives. I believe you will find it is a uniquely capable fishing kayak. It is available as a kit with many precut and some pre-assembled parts, making your construction job faster and less prone to error.

Go to our website <> to keep updated as to what we are offering. It is taking time to actually put together the information to show exactly what each kayak building kit includes. It will be posted very soon.