Kayak fishing is preferred by most anglers because kayaks are quiet on the waters.
Fishing aka Angling is one of the favorite summer pastimes of the western world.
That being said though, is kayak fishing safe? The answer is yes if done right. There are safety precautions that can be taken to ensure a safe fishing expedition on a kayak.
Be it Europe, the US, or Canada, all the angling enthusiasts look forward to the getaways wherein they can be in the middle of the water, basking in the sun, trying to catch some fishes to barbeque in the evening and have them with beer.
To do Kayak fishing, one doesn’t need to be a pro Kayaker. All one needs to be good at is balancing the Kayak. Since fishing only happens in still waters, and there is not much paddling involved other than required to reach the fishing spot, this is more of recreational use of the Kayak instead of an adventure or exercise.
Kayaks are quite convenient for people who want to fish in a minimalistic manner and still be able to cover the water better than from shore. Since Kayaks don’t have much storage space, you can only carry a few rods and an optimum number of baits. You’ll have to keep some storage aside for the catch. If you’re used to doing fishing from a bigger boat, you’ll have to give up on a few things, but you’ll soon realize that they weren’t essential.
How can you ensure safety while kayak fishing?
Don’t take your most expensive rods the first few times
They’re a strong chance that you’ll flip a few times during your first few days of Kayak Fishing. When that happens, the rods that you’re carrying might break. First, get used to the Kayak, and once you’re sure that you can keep the balance even in rough conditions, then take out your expensive gear.
Shorter rods are better for Kayak Fishing
If you’ve been fishing at the shore or are used to fishing from a powerboat, you would’ve been using the long fishing rods(9 ft). Those rods are hard to balance on a Kayak. For Kayak Fishing, the recommended rod size is 6ft to 8ft. It gives you more space to balance and maneuver while fighting with the fish.
Get used to paddling with one hand
You’ll need to learn how to paddle with one hand if you want to be good at Kayak Fishing. If you’ve got a catch and are fighting it, you’ll have to keep paddling upstream with just one hand as your other hand will be holding your catch. If you’re not comfortable paddling with one hand, there is a chance that you might lose your catch while trying to maintain balance.
If you’re fishing in shallow lakes and rivers, anchors are come in handy. If there are strong winds and it’s challenging to keep the Kayak in one place, instead of paddling back and forth, one can drop the anchor and stay at the fishing spot to focus on catching fish instead of staying still. You can either get a claw anchor or make a DIY anchor using dumbbells. For shallow waters, an anchor weighing anywhere between 2-4 pounds is good enough.
Research and Recon the location before going
Research is a vital part of Kayak fishing. It sets your expectations straight regarding the type and the frequency of catch. Don’t become too adventurous and venture into unknown waters. There can be crocs and alligators that can topple your Kayak. There might be a scarcity of fish at the spot you’ve chosen, and you might have to come back empty-handed.
Protect yourself from sunlight
Kayak Fishing requires one to spend the entire day in the sun looking for fish. Apply sunscreen before you leave and carry some with you. Make sure that you’ve got sunglasses to protect your eyes too. The last thing you want is a burn or a rash at the end of your fishing trip.
Don’t spend the entire space of rods & baits
Fishing requires patience. You’ll have to be in the water at times for the entire day. Make sure that you carry enough food and potable water to get by and a lifestraw. Since summers are the season for fishing, there is also a possible chance of dehydration. You have to be on top of your game to fish, and dehydration can cause disorientation.
Pick the right paddles
Don’t go for heavy paddles. Pick light ones. A lot of times, you’ll have to paddle with one hand, so it should be able to hold the paddle firmly. A high angle paddle is idle for still fishing waters.
Pick the right Kayak
You don’t need to go for the premium Kayaks right in the beginning. Most of the fishing happens in still waters, and even the entry-level Kayaks are good enough for those. Once you start doing it regularly, you can invest in a premium one. The main things to look for in a Kayak for fishing are
- Elevated seating position (For better vision) sit on top
- Hardshell instead of inflatable
- Multiple Rod Holders (To accommodate more than one fishing rod)
- Paddle Holders (To hold the paddles while you drop the anchor and stick to a single spot for fishing)
- A dry hatch (storage concealed inside the Kayak)
Understand your limit and take the time to learn how to be a good angler: If you are new to angling, it is a good idea to take the time out to learn how to properly use the kayak. You need to learn how to properly get back onto the kayak if you fall out. You need to have adequate stamina to venture far off the shoreline. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of the water because you are tired.
Wear personal floatation devices. This is important just in case you flip into the water. You need to ensure that the lifejacket is properly worn and that it fits you. As you paddle the waters, unpredictable situations may occur.
Safeguard your equipment: It is no fun to get stranded in the middle of the sea just because your paddle got lost. A paddle leash would be helpful in this situation. If your paddles have no leashes, you should invest in one. Not only paddle leashes, but you should also consider buying rod leashes if you don’t want to lose your rods.
Crosscheck the weather numerous times before setting off: Weather conditions can be unpredictable; however, if you have an idea about what to expect then you can enjoy safe fishing.
You should also pay close attention to the water temperature so that you wear the right outfit. For example, you should consider wearing a wetsuit if the water is going to be very cold.
Alert someone about where you are headed: Much as you may enjoy solo fishing, it is important to alert someone about where you are headed. Also, you may want to invest in a radio just in case you find yourself in an emergency.
Carry a map, GPS tracker, and whistle: The map and GPS tracker are useful for when you get lost. The whistle can also come in handy when you need to call for help.
Take the time out to “learn” the water
Having a decent understanding of how the water behaves may help you navigate otherwise dangerous situations.
Eat and keep hydrated
As you enjoy fishing, you have to remember to keep nourished and hydrated. Pack enough food and water to last you the time you will spend on the water. And, if you have space, you can also pack some extra just in case.
Kayak fishing can be safe if precaution is taken. Don’t go kayaking without protective gear. Ensure that you have a map, whistle, and GPS tracker for unavoidable circumstances. Last but not least, ensure that you let someone know your angling plan in case a search team needs to be sent out, and watch for sharks.