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Have you noticed that every time you go out in your kayak to paddle or fish that you see more and more boaters? As spring and summer hit, you'll notice more and more traffic on the water, and you'll likely notice too that some of them don't have a clue about kayak angling etiquette, nor accepted navigational rules, and in some cases even common courtesy.
Truth is, boaters are not looking out for kayakers because they aren't expecting them to be on the water, so it's your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings at all times and be responsible for your safety and other kayakers who are with you. In addition, being more aware on the water will also keep you safer when unforeseen weather comes in quick and you have to react and have a plan in place for getting back to shore and your vehicle safely.
Motorized watercraft (motor boats, yachts, tankers, etc) are much faster than a fishing kayak, and are usually much less aware of your presence on the water. They can also leave large waves which could capsize you and your fishing kayak if you as a kayak angler don't know how to position yourself and paddle through properly.
Always keep an eye out for motorized boats and be realistic about how long it could take in your fishing kayak to cross open water where faster boats could be traveling and be on top of you very quickly. If in doubt, always paddle along the water line, and practice how to keep aware of watercraft around you.
If a fast or large boat causes waves that are moving towards you and your fishing kayak, it's smart to turn your fishing kayak towards the waves and paddle strongly through them. Paddling parallel to waves can cause your fishing kayak to capsize.
More things to keep in mind when you're on waters with motorized boats while in a fishing kayak:
¬ Always follow the boating rules of the area you're in.
¬ Most importantly, WEAR YOUR PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICE (PFD). Should you go overboard while kayak angling, wearing your lifejacket will help keep your head above water and add insulation to your body, keeping you warmer in cold water. Buy a fishing kayak PFD that fits you well, and always wear it while you paddle and are out kayak angling – such as the NRS Chinook Fishing PFD.
Bad weather can come on quickly and make it unsafe to be on the water, as well as ruin a kayak fishing day. Always check the weather reports before you head out to the water. Wind can make choppy waves which can be flip your fishing kayak. Fog can easily make you lose your direction and cause motorized boats to hit you and your fishing kayak without warning. If you see a thunderstorm, get off the water immediately.
Put your fishing rods down in your kayak so they don't act as lightning rods. Resist the temptation to keep after that big bass. Rain is usually just a hassle unless it's cold, and then it can be hazardous. A backup waterproof rain jacket, or a good waterproof DIY option, kept in your fishing kayak's storage bin can be a good thing.
Here are some additional tips for dealing with adverse weather while kayak angling on the water:
¬ If kayak fishing on cold water, a dry suit or wet suit can keep you both warm and comfortable. In warmer weather, a long-sleeve shirt can provide sun protection, as can a 'sun jammer' for neck protection – such as the terrific Vibe Sun Jammers in lots of sweet colors and designs.
¬ Beware of off-shore winds that make it difficult to return to shore.
¬ Think of a quick escape if bad weather rolls in. The C-Tug Cart can be stored in your fishing kayak and then get you to your vehicle quickly, and then the Malone SteelTop Cross Rail System for the top of your vehicle can get you and your fishing kayak quickly on the road. The less time out in stormy weather the better.
Keeping these smart and helpful tips in mind about motorized watercraft and weather while out on the water, will make your day out kayak fishing way more safe, productive and fun.