Want to go kayak fishing, but not sure what gear you need?
Kayak fishing is an excellent way to fish, relax and get some fresh air and exercise, but it does require some ‘stuff’ to pull it off. I am not a full-on ‘gear junkie’, so I have just listed the basics for a safe, comfortable and hopefully successful kayak fishing outing. Start with these items and as you get some experience, you can create your own checklist!
Here is a checklist of the most useful items to take kayak fishing:
☐ Sunscreen – even if you put some on beforehand, it’s important to take a spare tube in case you end up on the water for more than 2 hours.
☐ Hat – wide-brimmed or the ones with the neck flap offer the best protection. It’s a good idea if the hat can be secured or tightened for windy weather.
☐ Sunglasses – these are not just for protection from UV, if you get polarised sunglasses, they also help you to see the fish beneath the surface of the water.
☐ Long shirt and pants – even if it is hot, the more you can cover your skin from the sun, the better. But whatever you’re wearing, you need to be able to swim in, so snug-fitting is better than loose and lightweight quick-dry material is better than cotton.
☐ Phone + waterproof pouch – a smart phone is great for checking tide times, figuring out where you are and calling someone if you get into trouble. If you have a waterproof phone, that’s awesome, but they don’t float, so make sure you get a lanyard so you can attach the phone to your body. If you don’t have a waterproof phone, get a tech pouch, which keeps your phone dry AND secures it to your kayak.
☐ EPIRB / PLB – If something goes wrong, having a rescue beacon gives you a much greater chance of being found. An EPIRB is for the kayak, whereas a PLB is for you.
☐ Personal Flotation Device (PFD) – this is a must-have if you are kayak fishing, but it doesn’t have to be a big cumbersome jacket. There are kayaking-specific PFDs on the market that give you freedom of movement when paddling and casting.
☐ First aid kit – handling fish, knives, hooks etc. comes with an increased risk of injury. A first aid kit with some disinfectant and dressings will help until you can get to the doctor (or the hospital, depending on how bad it is!)
☐ Watershoes – if you are pretty hardcore and will go to great lengths to find the BEST fishing spot, you may end up setting off from some rocky, sharp or slippery shores. Neoprene watershoes are a great way to protect your feet and stay balanced.
☐ Dry bag with mini towel and change of clothes – no matter how good of a paddler you think you are, you should always assume you are going to fall in the water and the weather will take a turn for the worse … so pack a dry bag with a travel towel and a change of clothes, including something warm. Ensure the dry bag is strapped onto the kayak securely, so you don’t lose it if you capsize.
☐ Raincoat – again, always assume the weather is going to turn nasty…
☐ Water – take way more than you think you need, paddling in the sun is thirsty work!
☐ Snacks / food /drinks – fishing is partly about catching fish and partly about relaxing. Okay, mostly about relaxing! What better way to relax than with some food and drink on the water, waiting for a bite? Make sure your food is in a dry bag and secured to the kayak.
☐ Rod & reel – sounds obvious, but easy to forget…
☐ Tackle box – Every tackle box in the world is slightly different, but here is a list of items to get you thinking about what you need to pack:
☐ Net – if you use one.
☐ Bait – if you are into bait fishing.
☐ Esky with ice – a great way to store your catch if you want to eat it later.
☐ Paddle – you really are up sh*t creek if you forget your paddle!
☐ Pump – if you’re using an inflatable fishing kayak, take your pump.
☐ Fishing Kayak – again, sounds obvious, but sometimes we remember the little things and forget the big things!
Now you’ve got the idea of the gear you need, where do you start?
First things first, get yourself a suitable fishing kayak – one that is comfortable and will have plenty of space to fit all this stuff!
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