Kayak fishing is one of my true passions, it’s an amazing sport which is rapidly growing in popularity. There is however some dangerous elements to kayak fishing, If you have recently purchased a fishing kayak, or thinking of taking up this sport take please take some time to consider these basic safety tips. It will ensure that your kayak fishing adventures are fun and safe. Here are 15 Kayak fishing safety tips to get you started.

Check out the video below which runs you through the essential steps of kayak fishing safety. I then take out a beginner on his first kayak fishing adventure and we happen to stumble upon a huge school of salmon. It’s a great watch so make sure to subscribe to the channel if you enjoy the content.

What to do when you first start kayak fishing

The best way to learn and fast track your own skills when you first starting kayak fishing is to go out with other experienced kayak anglers. This is by far the best thing you can do. An experienced kayak fisherman can give you key tips to help get you started. They can also be on the water with you to guide you through your first few sessions to build up your confidence and skills.

If you don’t have any close friends with their own fishing kayak then look to social media fishing or kayaking groups. You’re not alone, there are lots of other people in your area who are also just starting their kayak fishing journey as well. Use social media as a mechanism to connect with other kayak anglers in your area. This is also a great opportunity to make some new friends who share the same passion in your local area.

Good weather is essential to kayak fishing safety

Plain and simple never go out in poor weather conditions!!. Use weather apps to carefully study the weather forecast before planning your trip. Learn to read the wind and swell patterns and how it impacts the area your fishing. There are also very good websites such as Meteye ( Bureau of Meteorology forecast of wind and swell ) and willysweather are good basic weather predicting website. These are great starting spots to get you started. Use some common sense and know when not to launch. If you turn up to your destination and the conditions look unsafe then don’t go out in the water. You will learn this more with experience but never take unnecessary risks.

Basic safety gear is essential for kayak fishing safety

Life jackets are an essential item when kayak fishing, it could save your life from many unpredictable situations. Always wear a life jacket regardless of what system you’re fishing either out in the bay or lake. If you purchase one of the more comfortable inflatable life jackets then remember to have it serviced regularly or replaced as per manufacturers instructions. These life jackets have canisters that inflate the jacket when they sense you are in water and these need to be tested and replaced.

Going out into the bay or lake and losing your paddle isn’t a safe situation to be found in. I have seen several people do this and can attest to how scared they were when stuck in that vulnerable situation. Make sure you buy a paddle leash for your paddles. Most retail shops sell them for about $30 a small item but an essential one. Whilst you’re at it buy a couple of rod leashes. This may prevent you from losing a rod or two. I would know I had to learn the hard way.

Be organised on your kayak

The temptation when kayak fishing is to load up your yak full of rods. The reality is by doing this you’re making it a lot more challenging to navigate and remain organised on the water. Don’t take too many rods, and create a secure spot for sharp items such as knives, pliers and scissors. Also ensure your kayak has storage for your tackle boxes, bait and catches which will help you to remain organised. Many of my best days on the water have simple been with 1 rod and a packet of soft plastics.  Its a lot less chaotic and keeps you in constant contact with the lure without distractions.

Communicate with others

Buy a walkie talkie and communicate with your buddies frequently. They are very affordable and can also be a lot of fun. But they’re a great way to let others know that you need assistance. I bought an Oricom walkie talkie set from Big W for only $39. This very basic PMR780 UHF2-Way Radio worked a treat and had a range up to 3 kilometres. Sure they’re not waterproof or prone to salt but they worked a treat.

Also, remember before you venture out to let friends and family know where you’re going. Make sure they know where your launching from, who you’re going with and what time you’re expected back.

Kayak Safety

Key tips when fishing on your kayak

When fishing on your kayaking and using baits instead of lures remember to keep the drag on your fishing reels set nice and loose. We have seen kayakers go overboard after hooking stingrays, banjo sharks or other large fish and not having enough time to react and loosen the drag.

Be sun smart on your kayak

UV rays reflect strongly of the water and its easy to get sunburnt, so be sun smart. Start with a hat, a couple of UV shields for your face and neck, UV gloves, 50+ sunscreen, and a bottle of water. Try to keep as much of your skin covered as possible at all times. Often Kayakers go out and do this but then forget to cover there legs or feet when wearing shorts and end up very sunburnt.

Slowly build up your capability

When beginning start slowly to build up your confidence and skillsets. Perhaps start in lakes, rivers and estuaries on calm days. Then build-up towards the bay. Practice getting back on your kayak. Even putting aside a few days in the shallows in a safe spot to pretend you have accidentally fallen off so you can practice getting yourself back on the kayak. This is a skill that takes practice., but may save your life if you capsize in cold or deep conditions. Know your own physical limitations. There is no use paddle way out if you don’t have the stamina to come back in, this is just putting yourself at risk.  Always make sure you’re not to exhausted to get back to your original location or that you cant paddle through currents and tidal flows.

Be visible to others on your kayak

Wear high visibility clothing and if possible a flag mounted on your kayak. This will help others know where you are on the water. Keep space between you and others. Especially boats and powered vessel which will give you time to react and ensure you’re not placed in unnecessarily dangerous situations.

Additions or Corrections

If you feel this article on kayak safety for beginners is missing key information or needs any corrections made. Then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. There are more key safety ideas that you can look into, these 15 tips will get you started. Your skills and awareness will improve with experience, so get out there, stay safe and learn of others.