contact us
To rudder or not to rudder with NZBlokes Fishtales
4:00PM 22nd Jan 14

In this guest post Andrew Fletcher of team Viking NZBlokes Fishtales shares his thoughts on the subject of to use a rudder or not.

To rudder or not to rudder your kayak is a very good question. I have come from a white water kayak background and owned 2 fishing kayaks without rudders before upgrading to my current ruddered Viking Profish 400. In a white water kayak if you stop paddling you are pretty much swung 180 degrees and turned backwards as soon as you lose momentum.

So going  from that to a standard Profish 400 I was very happy. I have heard quite a few people say that if you have never used or owned a ruddered kayak then you will probably be happy without a rudder but as soon as you experience a kayak with a rudder then you will find it hard to go without.

Personally I would have to agree. One of the areas I have found you gain from having a rudder is when you are facing a strong cross wind. When paddling with a strong cross wind without a rudder you will find you are forced to concentrate the bulk of your paddle stocks on one side to keep the kayak going in the direction you want it to go.

The use of a rudder assists to spread the load between the two sides. The other area I have found a rudder useful is when playing in the surf. After a wave picks you up it will naturally turn you sideways. Using a rudder you can turn the kayak away from the wave and have a bit more of a play on the wave.

Understanding fundamental basics of the kayak design will also help you to decide if a rudder is something must have or would just like to have. The below info is a generalisation to better explain the difference, in many instances location, weather, what gear your carrying etc...will be influential factors to the rudder being a need or want.

Shorter kayaks with more rocker (banana shape) like the Profish 400 will be easy to manoeuvre so a rudder is not going to help turn the kayak but is more useful in keeping the kayak in a straight line without any extra effort or skills with the paddle.

Longer kayaks with little to no rocker and a well designed hull with keel like the Profish 440 & Profish Reload will paddle in a straight line without the aid of a rudder in most conditions. However the rudder will greatly enhance the ability to turn the kayak, call it  power steering! useful for directing the kayak after hooking up on a trolled lure or being taken for a sleigh ride by a decent kingfish!

Andrew  NZBlokes FishTales