WhichTableGame.com - Kayak Fishing Safety Tips

Kayak Fishing Safety Tips

Kayak fishing has become more popular in recent years, because of the affordable equipment and ease of use. Kayak was originally invented thousands of years ago by native peoples of the Arctic, they not only used the kayak for the transportation purpose but also to hunt in lakes, rivers, and in shores of the Arctic Ocean.

We load modern kayaks with advanced technology and contain modified fishing gear, such as rod holders, rod leash, fish finder mounts and anchor. The new generation of kayaks that have recently been introduced in the market have a more durable and comfortable design. These Kayaks are very stable and allow the rider to do paddling and fishing at the same time.

Despite all the modern fishing gear, Kayaks are very affordable. If you are new to Kayak fishing and want to try it, then you can get a Kayak with second hand gears at a very reasonable price. If you want to purchase the brand new kayak with all fishing gears, then it can cost you around $500 to 1000.

Kayak fishing is an exciting and well-liked sport, people all over the world are adopting kayak finishing as a hobby, especially in the coastal areas of South Africa and the United States. If you are new to kayak fishing and want to know more about it, we have some very important tips for you to consider while learning the sport of kayak fishing.

Stability and safety should be a priority if you are thinking of starting kayak fishing. You need to look for the kayak with more stability and safety features such as double hulls and wide beam. The tips and safety guidelines given in this article will help you get a more safe and productive kayak with fishing equipment.

We can divide kayak fishing into two types, freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing.

Saltwater Kayak Fishing

Saltwater is mainly divided into two types, including coastal/inshore water and offshore water. Inshore/coastal water follows the coastline and has the maximum depth of around 70 feet. Anglers have to face unique weather conditions in the inshore waters. We recommend to use long and slim rocker kayaks for the inshore waters because they are faster and provide easy maneuvering in the water.  

Offshore waters are the off-coast deeper waters that have a depth of greater than 70 feet. Sit-on-top kayaks are preferred to use in the deeper water because of its unsinkable design and ability to flip over when the kayak flips. The sit-on-top kayaks are wider, which make them more stable and help the angler stay dry.

  • Always pick the top quality paddles, a good paddle will help you navigate around the water with ease.
  • You need to use rust proof fishing gears.
  • Protect your skin from rough wind and sunlight with the help of UV-resistant clothes.
  • Always wear a lifejacket while kayaking in the deep offshore water.


Freshwater Kayak Fishing

We can do freshwater fishing either on moving water such as rivers and canals or on shallow stagnant water such as lakes and ponds. Knowing what kind of water you are fishing in is important so you can choose the suitable kayak. For moving water, your kayak needs to be more stable and you may need an anchor to do fishing in the windy condition.

Fishing in moving water is very thrilling, but you need to be careful about the speed of the water flow and adverse weather. Naturally, moving water in a river or stream flows at different speeds, and you will have to monitor the water speed and wind condition.

Fishing in still water is a lot simpler than compared with the moving water. Kayak fishing in a lake is less complicated, you don’t have to face the unstable water and wind conditions. People with less kayak fishing experience can learn more advanced techniques with still water fishing.

  • For moving water, your kayak needs to be more stable and maneuverable. You may also need an anchor. For still water, you can use a traditional sit-on-top kayak.
  • If you want to catch the big species of fish, then you need to use a fishing net, it will keep you more stable.
  • Fishing in moving water can be more productive, and you can find fish easily, but fishing in still-water can be a little tricky. Find a fish finder to spot your prey.
  • In the lake, wind can push you in circles. Learn the technique of casting with one hand and paddling with the other to restrict the circular movement.

Other water conditions

It is important that you understand in detail the water situation where you want to do fishing. You must pre-measure the tides, reefs and currents found in the water, where you want to do kayak fishing. Places with rivers and canals always have unpredictable weather, so you need to check the weather forecast for your chosen area.

  • Always do a thorough research on the type of water before kayaking.
  • You can enlist the help of local people to understand the condition of the water and the species of fish found in the area.
  • It is recommended that you follow the weather forecast before planning to go kayaking.
  • Use your sixth sense and observations to decide if a river or canal is safe for fishing.

Angling and kayaking

When talking about safety and security, it is important to understand that angling and kayaking are two unique skills and both require a lot of practice and knowledge to learn? If you are starting with zero knowledge, then you should practice the two skills separately because if you try to kayak fishing with base knowledge you will struggle.

Must-Have Equipment

Having proper equipment for kayak fishing is very important, because once you left the shore, you cannot return to shore for some missing item. Always make a list of the important equipment you need for kayak fishing, so you can enjoy your entire fishing trip without interruption. Here is the list of most important tools and equipment that you must need when you go for kayak fishing:

  • Rod and reel
  • VHF radio
  • GPS
  • Baits
  • Dry Bags
  • Dry clothes
  • Tackle Box
  • Multitool
  • First aid kit
  • Life Jacket

Your tackle box must be easy to handle and well organized. The items in your tackle box may vary, depending on the fish you want to catch, but a typical tackle box must have lures or files, plastic worms, extra fishing line, hooks of different sizes, stringer to hold caught fishes, sinkers and bobbers.

You also need multitool in your tackle box. Instead of having a separate knife, line cutter and needle nose pier, it is better to have a multitool, which is enough for all kinds of cutting and it is easily accessible. It is important to have a first aid kit with you during your fishing trip, as minor injuries are likely to occur during fishing, such as a hook biting into the fingers. It is best to have a good medical aid kit containing Neosporin, a small bandage and waterproof medical tape.

Don’t compromise on Paddle

The paddle is the most important part of kayaking, you will have to do hundreds of strokes with your paddle during the fishing trip. If your paddle breaks in the middle of the water, it can be an enormous problem for you. You need to make sure you pick the high quality paddle for your kayak.

A good pedal will help you move easily and safely in the water, while an inferior quality pedal will only cause frustration and blistered hands. Paddles usually come in three pieces, and you have to learn how to assemble them properly.

Another thing to consider is that the weight of the paddle should be so light that you do not get tired halfway through your journey. To enjoy the kayak fishing experience, we advise you to learn how to maneuver with one hand, and handle the fishing rod with the other hand. This skill is very handy during the kayaking.

  • Paddles made with Lightweight materials give better performance, your paddle needs to be lightweight and durable.
  • The pedal should not be too long, the total length of the pedal should be such that you can reach the water comfortably. The kayak width and fisherman's height determine the length of the paddle.
  • Your paddle’s blade should be of standard size and shape, the shape and size affect the overall efficiency of the paddle.
  • It is recommended to use a bent shaft or feathered blade as it improves the paddle’s performance.

Always Bring an Anchor

The wind is the worst enemy while fishing. It is very difficult to control your kayak properly during a worst windy condition. Wind not only makes it tough to paddle in the water but also affects the fishing. Anchor is very important, especially during the windy condition.

Kayak is so light, and it definitely needs a small anchor, to keep your kayak balanced in the proper position, as wind and currents can make your kayak unstable. If you don’t like to carry an anchor with you in your kayak, then you can use a power pole or a pushpin to make your boat stable.

Rod holder

The major difference between a fishing kayak and an ordinary kayak is a rod holder. A fishing kayak should have a rod holder where you can place your fishing rod while angling. Kayaking with a rod holder can help you explore new places where you can catch more fish.

You need not worry if your kayak doesn't have a rod holder, you can find separate rod holders in the market, which you can easily install in your kayak. There are distinct types of rod holders in the market.

  • Flush Mount Rod Holders–it is the most used and basic style of rod holder. It is usually installed at a 45-degree angle to give a perfect grip for your fishing rod.
  • Deck Mount Rod Holders - it is the most convenient and easiest to install in the kayak. It only requires a few holes for drilling and you can mount it on the deck of your boat.
  • Clamp-On Rod Holders – they are perfect for anglers who do fishing in different kayaks. Clamps-On rod holder uses spring to grip, so you can easily remove it.

Need a floating storage

Make sure that everything on your kayak is well organized. Your tackle box, multitool and baits should be accessible to you at all times. It would frustrate you for you to let go of a caught fish to catch a piece of equipment.

One of the major problems that an angler faces during kayak fishing is the shortage of storage space, especially when you’re keeping your catch. Kayak is so small, you have little space for your catch. You just need an alternative storage to keep your catch.

You can use a floating storage container or bag for the fish you catch. You can also put your extra stuff in the container. Just make sure that you properly tie it with your kayak, so it doesn’t float away. You can also use a game bag with some ice, it will take less space in your kayak.

Waterproof camera with mount

Most of the anglers go alone for kayak fishing. If you are alone on kayaking and you catch a big trophy fish, but you don’t have any friend or family member around, then the catch may be useless. You need to bring a camera with you to take pictures of your enormous fish.

When you are kayaking, you will find some amazing landscapes that you will want to capture. So be sure to bring a waterproof camera with you. It would be better to use a wireless remote camera for taking photos. You can also use your smartphone, but for that you have to use a waterproof case so that your smartphone can avoid water damage.

With the help of your camera, you will not only be able to get a picture of your prize fish, but also the amazing natural beauty of the water during your journey. It is recommended that you have some kind of mount where you can adjust your camera during kayaking.

Bug Spray

Deal with insects and bugs during your fishing trip, especially if you are fishing in the evening. This is a monumental challenge for kayaking lovers. If you ask kayaking experts, they will definitely tell you that insect bites are the worst part of kayak fishing. You also have to be prepared for it.

Insect bites can cause skin allergies, which can create red patches on your skin. The most irritating thing is that insect bites can cause skin itching, which can affect your fishing trip, and if you are camping, you may have to stay up all night because of the insect bites. Bugs spray and insect repellant can be very useful for kayakers.

While preparing for the kayak fishing trip, add a few insect repellants and bug sprays in your backpack. You can also use mosquito and insect repellent cream.


The most important thing is that you have a safe fishing trip. If your trip is not safe, then you cannot enjoy the fishing experience. To avoid any serious safety issue, be well prepared during your kayaking trip. Kayak anglers must take the following steps to ensure their safety.

  • Dress appropriately – always check the weather condition of the area and make sure you dressed up properly for the weather condition.
  • Life Jacket – No matter how experienced a swimmer you are, never leave the shore without a life jacket. Always be prepared for the worst.
  • Keep hydrated and energized – make sure you eat properly to maximum energy for your fishing trip and constantly drink water to keep you hydrated.
  • Stay close to the shoreline – don’t go too deep in the water, always try to stay close to the shore. It will help you to get back quickly.

Always check the local weather conditions

The weather in areas where rivers meet is unpredictable, so check the weather forecast in detail before going fishing. Always be careful and never leave the shore without first checking the weather conditions and forecasts. If the weather is terrible, don't go for kayak fishing and stay home.

You will also have to be careful for some random rain and lightning storms, which are not predicted in the weather reports. These random storms can be very nasty and can ruin your kayak fishing trip. So, always carry rain gear with you no matter what the weather is like outside.

Protect yourself from the Sun

Exposing yourself to the sun for hours can be very dangerous. Your skin will be exposed to UV radiation for hours, which can be harmful to your skin. You can use UV resistant clothing to protect your skin from dangerous radiation while kayaking. This clothing can also help prevent dehydration.

In addition to UV resistant clothing, you will also need a good quality hat to protect your head and polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes. Another most important thing to protect your skin is to apply some sunscreen on the exposed skin. You need to make sure you apply it to all the parts of your body that are exposed to sunlight and apply it at least 15 minutes before exposing yourself.

Bring plenty of water

Paddling a kayak for hours under the Sun can be exhausting. You will get thirsty and will need plenty of water to drink. It is important to keep water with you while kayaking, especially if you are kayaking in an ocean. You cannot find any fresh water source for hours in the ocean, and you will have to keep yourself hydrated with water all the time.

Always keep a bottle of fresh water or sports drink with you while kayaking. It will keep you hydrated and you can refill it with the freshwater. If you are planning for kayaking in an ocean for a longer time, then it is recommended that you use the hydration pack for water. Hydration pack straps to your back just like a backpack and allows you to carry more water.

Create a float plan

You should create a float plan and share it with your friends or family members. Your float plan should include all the details of your fishing trip.

  • Which place did you choose for caking?
  • Where do you want to leave the beach?
  • How long will your fishing trip be?
  • When do you plan to return?

A float plan is very important for your safety. If you do not return on time, your friend may share information about your float plan with the Coast Guard. Another important thing is that once you hand over your float plan to your friend, don't change the plan, or at least tell your friends about any changes in the plan.

Safety equipment you need

Being in the middle of deep water is like being in the desert. Safety equipment is essential for kayaking. We have already discussed some important safety measures, such as drinking water, sunscreen and UV resistant clothing. Here are some important safety tips you can't forget on a kayak fishing trip.

  • Life Jacket or PFD – Wearing a personal flotation device such as a life jacket during kayak fishing is mandatory. It doesn’t matter how great a swimmer you are, a life jacket can save your life in the case of emergency.
  • VHF Radio – you can use your mobile phone during an emergency, but if you have a VHF radio on your kayak, you can easily contact other boats near you. You can also use VHF radio to communicate with the local coastguards for help.
  • Flares – Flares can be very helpful in an emergency. It is very difficult for water rescuers to see the capsized peddler in the water. Flares can help rescue workers identify the area where you are and can dramatically reduce rescue time.
  • Whistle - a whistle can also gain attention of other kayakers during an emergency. The sound of a whistle doesn’t cover a long distance, but it is still useful to get quick help.
  • Fishing Rod Leash – Losing your fishing rod in the middle of the ocean can be devastating for you. You can use a fishing rod leash to protect your fishing rod.
  • Paddle Leash – you will have to protect your paddle in the water.  
  • Flag – use a bright colored flag on your boat to be visible in a high traffic area.
  • Headlamp – if you are planning to kayak fishing in the evening or early morning, then always carry a headlamp with you.

Handling a fish

Handling fish is the job of an expert. Before you go fishing, you need to know some basic fishing skills. Catching big fish can be a challenge for you, as a few pounds of fish can easily imbalance your kayak in the water, and you will have to position your kayak in such a way that it remains stable. Below are a few important tips for handling your catch.

  • Always keep the line at the 9-degrees to the kayak, this way you can easily control your catch.
  • If you don’t want to keep your catch then it is best to release the fish quickly and painlessly.
  • Don’t remove the hook with a jerk, and place the fish back in the water.
  • Don't throw the fish into the water, try to place it gently.
  • If you want to revive a fish, then move the fish in the water, the water will move through the gills of the fish to revive their breath.
  • If you want to take a photo with your catch, hold the fish carefully and avoid damaging the gills.
  • Some fish have sharp teeth and can bite your hand. Always hold the fish vertically and use fishing gloves.
  • If you want to keep your catch, bleed out the fish properly, and make sure you have the proper tools for that, such as pliers, sharp knife, fish grip, fishing net, line cutters and gloves.


Kayak fishing is an adventurous and most-loved sport that adds thrill to the fishing. There are many reasons kayak fishing is becoming more famous all around the world. One reason is that kayak fishing equipment is cheap and most people living on the coast can afford it. Another reason is that paddling a kayak is easy, even a common man can learn kayak fishing skills easily.

When you are sailing, you should be ready for the fun and prepare for the worst. Safety precautions are important for kayak fishing. If you are new to kayaking, you can follow the guidelines and tips in this article to stay safe. To make your trip fun, you need to have a better understanding of water and weather.

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If you require more information, please check these references

Fishing--A Sport for All Seasons , article, "eric.ed.gov", retrieved on, Tue 14-July-2020

An Angler’s Perspective: Kayak Fishing Wild Waters for Black Bass , article, "afs.confex.com", retrieved on, Tue 14-July-2020

Feral Fish and Kayak Tracks —Thoughts on the Writing of a New Leopold Report— , article, "www.jstor.org", retrieved on, Tue 14-July-2020

Author: Nick

is a Computer programmer with 25 years experience working in the Industry. Mainly using Microsoft products I have produced systems for several blue chip companies including The BBC, Natwest, British Rail.and Torbay Council.

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