‘Yak Fishing (Getting Started)
Kayak or “Yak” Fishing has been enjoying a tremendous growth in popularity in recent years and in this post I will share with you some of the things I have learned (usually the hard way) to help make your introduction to this amazing pastime a safer and more pleasurable experience.
First of all be aware that Kayak fishing is a dangerous activity and that it is up to every individual to ensure their own safety by only paddling within their limits and to be prepared for any situation that may arise. The following information should be used in conjunction with extensive research on the subject before attempting any type of Kayak Fishing.
Equipment you will need:
1. A Kayak and Paddle. An obvious statement but this is the single most important purchase and will determine whether your day out on the water is a blast or a disaster. Take your time to do your research and if possible, try before you buy. Most Kayaks come with a recommended carrying capacity that must not be exceeded.
2. PFD or Personal Flotation Device. This is essential and must be worn at all times even in shallow or calm water.
3. Safety Flag. So you can be easily seen.
4. Dry Bag. To keep items such as mobile phones, keys and wallets dry and safe.
5. Clothing. Dress to the conditions and with the intention that you may fall into the water. Light clothing, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
6. Water. Fresh drinking water and a snack for energy as required.
7. Fishing Gear. Rods with shorter butts that are no more than 7ft long are good to start out with, although the main rule here is to use what you are comfortable with. Landing net. Ensure that you have a suitable net for the fish you are targeting. Lip Grippers, Knife, Pliers and Gloves are also useful along with suitable storage for lures, tackle and spare line.
8. Other items that you may want to consider having on board are a First aid kit, White all round light (for those early morning starts) and Lanyards to keep everything attached to the Kayak.
There is an endless supply of Kayak fishing accessories available out there, the trick is to find what works for you. Try to limit how much gear you take with you but never compromise your safety.
Your First Trip
1. Take a buddy with you, I recommend joining a Kayak Fishing Forum online such as AKFF (Australian Kayak Fishing Forum) where you can find like minded individuals in your area that are only too happy to help out new members. These sites are great sources of helpful information.
2. Still Water. Keep your first trip out confined to protected waters with not too much tidal run. Leave the fishing gear at home and just go for a paddle. Ensure the weather conditions are suitable. IF IN DOUBT, DON’T GO OUT!
3. Re-Entry. The ability to get back in or on your kayak after capsize. This is an extremely important aspect of Kayaking in general and must be practised and perfected. There are some good videos online that show the correct re-entry techniques. Before your first trip, try these techniques in a pool or safe waterway with help on hand if you get into trouble.
4. Learn to swim. Do not attempt any form of kayaking unless you are a competent swimmer and do not Kayak under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
5. Let Someone Know Where You Go. Make sure you leave exact details of where you are going and what time you are expected to return.
I hope these tips help anyone starting out on their Yak fishing adventure become better prepared for the journey ahead.
Good Luck and Happy ‘Yakkin’