Kayak Fishing: Playing It Safe

By Mark Lozier, 1st Landing Kayak Fishing Services

Kayak fishing can be one of the most simplistic ways to spend time on the water fishing. Accessing areas not reachable boat has it’s own cautions and hazards that you should take under consideration. This is not meant to frighten would-be kayakers, but to raise awareness of the many cautions kayakers face. Too many times throughout the year we hear stories of kayaker rescues or even loss of life. Most of these circumstances could have been avoided with some planning and preparation.

The weather should be monitored before heading to the launch. In addition to TV weather stations, there are several great weather apps available for your smart phone. I like FishWeather and Weather Underground and use both to determine optimal fishing conditions. Both have location specific intel and are user-friendly. NOAA is another good one. One great benefit to using an app on your phone is that you can receive alerts while out on the water when bad weather is nearby. Summer storms can pop up out of nowhere and a little “heads up” can be a life saver. If you don’t have a smart phone, consider investing in a handheld VHF radio. A VHF radio provides weather alerts and can be used to contact the Coast Guard.

One of the most common safety items ignored by many is the personal floatation device (PFD). Life jacket manufacturers offer many functional and comfortable options for kayakers and boaters alike. Please do not head out on the water without a PFD! It can be very difficult for inexperienced kayakers to get back on their kayak once they become separated from it. This is the reason for most rescues or recoveries.

Spring air temperatures may be warm, but kayakers need to consider that the water is still very cool. Dress in layers with moisture wicking material against your skin. A wet suit or dry suit is a great way to keep the cold water away from your skin and stave off the onset of hypothermia should you enter the water. Remember, if you fall out of your kayak do not leave your kayak. Use the kayak to aid in floatation until help arrives. It is easier for help to spot a kayak floating than just a person. Learn to self-recover. I cannot emphasis this enough!

Kayak fishing is a challenging and enjoyable sport. Knowing weather conditions and having the proper safety tools to either avoid or adapt to a bad situation not only keep you safe, but will allow you to focus on the reason you are out there in the first place… To Catch Fish!