Common Core Equipment
As mentioned previously be careful when choosing the right kayak for the job. It would take a whole article on the subject of kayak design to cover this properly. The only sound piece of advice is to try before you buy as this will confirm whether the kayak is right for you. Take it for a good paddle not just a quick session within a calm sheltered bay because the test will only be limited and kayaks handle differently when wind and chop come into play.
Most fishing styles require the deployment of an anchor of some sort to be successful. Because the kayak user is sitting down and confined to the cockpit area assigned to them it is not ideal to access the bow or stern (front or rear) where the anchor should usually be fixed from.
Always wear a personal floatation device (PFD)
Choose a properly designed kayak specific personal flotation device (lifejacket) that is the correct size for your body and size. They are more comfortable to wear than standard PFD’s and won’t restrict your movements which means they can be worn all day long. Ensure it is the correct type for your activity as some PFD’s are rated inshore only. Many have pockets that allow you to carry things like phone, VHF radio, knife and more
Using the kayak
Many still don’t take practising re-entry to the kayak from deep water (over your head) as seriously as they should. Consider if you fall out and then find you can’t flip the kayak up-right and or get back on to it. In the first instance you’ll become short of breath which will be compounded as you continue to try without success. Panic may also start to make things harder for you and worse still your body is getting colder because of water temperature. Things will rapidly go downhill from here and if you are not found in time then eventually you will succumb to the elements. I know this seems harsh but your life is at risk so learn the skills and if you are not sure then learn from someone who can teach you to get back on your kayak from open water.
When you are paddling always keep a good body posture leaning slightly forward off the back of the seat. This will allow proper movement of the upper body for a better paddling technique and in turn a faster more efficient ride to the fishing spot. Try not to paddle with the arms only and also avoid movements that keep your shoulders square and in-line.
Weather is another area that can be underestimated and just because the forecast says it is going to be sunny doesn’t mean it is ideal. Check the proper weather forecast which means the marine forecast and not just one either as they can get it wrong sometimes. Before going out on the water ensure the wind strengths are not going to make it difficult for you to paddle. More and more kayaker angler’s are travelling further afield in search of new fishing country which is one of the many advantages this style of fishing has. If you are planning on doing so think hard about situations you are likely to encounter in the area you intend to venture out to. Study a marine chart of the area and find out any other information you can from other kayakers. Things like the internet and kayak forums can help get you in touch with others and Google earth is also useful for checking the access and launch site etc. When it comes down to doing trips away kayak fishing it is preparation that will improve your chances of getting through any situation encountered while on board a kayak catching fish.
Kayak Fishing Check List for New Comers
- Become familiar with your kayak and learn how to maneuver it in conditions you are comfortable with.
- In a capsize situation learn how to get back into your kayak successfully from open water. Practice this in safe waters when conditions are calm which can be found in a sheltered bay.
- Tether yourself to the kayak with the correct type of tether line if you venture out on your own. If you become separated from your kayak due to capsize while out on the water because of wind or current, then there is a high probability that you are unable to catch up to the kayak by swimming alone.
- Carry the correct safety equipment – VHF, cell phone, flares, first aid kit, personal locating beacon (Epirb) etc.
- Don’t go past your physical ability and know your own limitations. Always save a bit of energy in reserve for the return journey back to your launch site. If you push yourself to the limit and run out of steam due to fatigue while fishing then your ability to get home may be jeopardized. Conditions are best if they favor the wind direction is against you on the way to your destination and behind you on the way home when your energy levels have been depleted.
- Always carry plenty of food and water to fuel the body during the duration of your kayak fishing adventure.
- Check the weather forecast for any adverse weather conditions or wind warnings.
- Always tell someone about your trip intentions and expected time of return.
- Become familiar with any rules and regulations you are required to comply with in your area by local authorities.
- If you launch from a boat ramp, then never leave your kayak sitting on the ramp while retrieving your vehicle. Position the kayak to one side of the ramp so as not to cause congestion with other boats waiting to use it to launch or retrieve.
- Wear hi-visibility clothing and apparel so you are more easily seen by other vessels on the water. Hi-visibility hats are far more easily seen due to the constant visible area they offer as opposed to a flag which can have very little profile depending on wind direction.
- If you stay out fishing till the change of light or are paddling in the early morning before sunrise to your fishing destination then you are at the risk of being run over by other boats without a light. When planning to travel during dark hours use an approved navigation light so you are clearly seen from all directions.