With more and more anglers taking to the water on Kayaks, it makes sense to know what you need aboard your new craft, to stay safe and be prepared for the worst. Many want to just paddle to where the Mackerel are schooling up, but some want to go further out from the shore. This is where things start to get a bit more serious since you won't be close to the shore, you'll be in much deeper water and possibly placed into much more unpredictable situations. In Part 1 we explained what you'd need to stay safe; a PFD, Kayah Leash and basic safety items such as flares, a whistle and a rescue knife. Part 2 will detail what you'll need for more serious, deep water kayak fishing.
One of the safety aspects of kayak fishing is that wherever possible, and certainly whilst you are fishing, you shouldn’t do it alone. Fishing alone on a kayak is risky, as you are by yourself on open water, with no one around to help in the event something goes wrong. We mentioned having a VHF radio is a crucial part of your kit and this will save you in many circumstances. However if the situation arises where you for example faint or lose consciousness, you won't know what will happen. Having another member or friend with you on fishing sessions on open water will make everything far safer and you can rest assured that if something unexpected happens to either yourself or partner(s) there is someone in the area to help. It's also nice to have 1 or more people there to show off your catches.
Now that you have your a partner or a group of anglers on their own Yaks, the next thing you'll be concerned about (especially if you want to fish evenings) is if you get lost on your kayak on Open Water. You can rest assured that t technology is here to help you ease that lost feeling, with a Geographic Positioning System or GPS to you and me. A Waterproof GPS system will allow you to see exactly where you at any given time. GPS systems also allow you to log routes and travel maps of where you have been. This is perfect if you are planning to go long sessions on open water and you can't tell which part of the mainland you came from. Match with a GPS, you should also carry a trip plan, a small map, charts and a compass. This is essentially a backup in case the GPS system you have fails or shuts off due to low battery.
Your list should be starting to look a little bit longer now, especially with all of this technology at your fingertips. So far we have the following items ready to go:
- PFD (Personal Floatation Device)
- Kayak Leash tethered to your Kayak
- A Whistle attached to your PFD
- A Rescue knife for cutting away line/cord if you capsize and get tangled
- A Waterproof VHF Radio capable of calling for help and Mobile phone in a Dry Bag
- A Selection of Day and Night Flares
- A fishing friend or group
- A GPS System with backup Trip Plan, Charts, Small map and a Compass
The last parts of your kit will involve a Tow rope. The reason for this is if you catch yourself in a current and get pulled out from where you were originally fishing, if you radio for help, there is a high chance that another boat will be able to reach, preferably one with an outboard. A Tow rope will allow you to tether your kayak to another boat and be towed back to where you came from.
A Waterproof watch, this seems silly but it can make the difference between getting back to shore and staying out longer than you intended. A Watch will allow you to keep track of the tides. If you research your tidal times prior to going out on your kayak, you can plan for when you want to come back in with the help of the tide. It will also give you a better indication when to come back to shore, to beat nightfall.
A basic first aid kit - In the event that you hook yourself or hurt yourself at sea, you can quickly patch yourself up. Remember to also keep a bottle of suncream to hand as well as prolonged exposure to the sun can cause sunburn. It's also advised to bring food and plenty of water with you.
We highly recommend that you visit the RNLI website and read up on the leaflets, checklists and dangers that come with Kayak fishing on Open Water and in Sheltered bays. We would also recommend that you seek and take part in courses designed to keep you safe on a Kayak at sea and on inland waters and you can find that information on the RNLI website as well.
This article was brought to you in association with Sea Angler.