Fishing has its dangers and they come in many different ways. Some of them are minor, others can be serious. What is universal for every angler is to know how to prevent them or at least how to protect yourself against them. Safety is prevalent and everybody should take into account dangerous stuff that can happen while away from civilization, in the wilderness.
Being out in nature is always challenging, especially when you are doing it in an area for the first time. Finding yourself in unfamiliar territory and having to find your own way is an adventure on its own, but since you came there to fish there are certain things that need to take place.
Things become a lot more demanding and difficult when the night starts setting in, particularly when your go-to way of fishing involves a kayak.
Kayaking and fishing have been gaining in popularity in recent years as more and more fishermen are deciding to leave the shore and try their luck catching fish from the water. Since fishing as an activity is something that is usually done early in the morning, often too early for the sun to come up, nighttime kayak fishing is a legitimate scenario.
If you are a fan of fishing and want to start doing it from a paddling vessel in the future, you must first know how to stay safe. Doing it at night is obviously more dangerous than during the day and in the following sections, we tell you how to stay safe.
A first aid kit alongside some usual survival gear like a knife and fire fuel goes without saying, but it is hardly enough. Make sure to include these tips in the planning stages of your next nighttime kayak fishing trip.
1. Do not go alone
One of the best pieces of advice for any fisherman, especially when the day is ending, is not to do it alone. Fishing is more fun with a friend or two anyway, regardless of the time of day. When it is night, however, you need a buddy to watch your back and they will benefit from you being there too.
It does not take long to get lost as it can get pitch black very quickly. Finding your way and getting assistance is crucial in conditions like this.
2. Let people know you are going
If you are not able or willing to go with someone and are bound to make it a solo trip, let people in your life know that you are going kayak fishing in the nighttime. If something goes bad and you need help, they will already have the key piece of information and could send help, or come themselves.
Tell them where you are going, what you are bringing, and when you plan to come back. This is the basis of remaining safe and having others find you in a dire situation.
3. Stay Warm
It gets pretty cold on the water when the night starts setting in, often colder than what you expect. Even in summertime, the nights can get chilly. To remain safe and not risk unnecessary suffering and dangers, bring extra layers of clothing if you plan to spend hours kayaking fishing after dark.
A jacket or a windbreaker, depending on the season, is crucial. A cap and a scarf could be of great use, and a pair of warm gloves or hand warmers must be close by.
However, the best thing you can do to stay warm (and dry) in a kayak is to have a kayak spray skirt. Your legs and waist will be much warmer and completely dry even if some water splashes inside. You can tuck your hands in as well when you are taking a break, and it will be a lot cozier than having another pair of pants or some kind of blanket over your body.
4. Bring lights
Obviously, you will need some proper lighting if you mean to go kayak fishing during the night. Nothing can really prepare you for the level of darkness in the wild. If you are used to nighttime in your city and have never been outside where there is no artificial lighting, you are in for an experience.
It literally gets pitch black out there as there is no light pollution. And if the sky is not clear enough for some moonlight to come down, you could be in trouble.
This is why you need at least a few different light sources with you. First of all, a waterproof torch is crucial, something to keep by your side in the kayak. You should also think about a strap light that can be worn on your head or attached to clothes.
Better yet, fit your kayak with a proper marine light that can be seen from afar. A bright white light should do the trick for general visibility, but your vessel also needs a green and a red light to alert others of your paddling direction.
5. Life vest and helmet
This is a no-brainer but nonetheless, it is an important tip for those that are in two minds about it. Your number one piece of safety gear is a life vest and there is no question about it. Modern life vests, or life jackets, serve multiple purposes.
First of all, it will save you if you fall into the water. Secondly, it is another layer over your chest that will keep you warm. It has pockets for some of your gear and you can put in some crack light sticks to find your way if you are capsized.
The helmet may seem unnecessary in the water, but you never know what can be floating and how volatile a stream or a river can get. Protecting your dome from the rocks and timber in the water is crucial, and besides, modern helmets are much cooler and more comfortable than before.
Attaching a light to it is a breeze and you have the best chance to capture great videos if your adventure camera is high up on the helmet.
Meet Maria Alexander, the fearless adventurer steering the ship at KayakPaddling.net. Her mission? To convince you that life’s too short for dry land and that the best stories always start with “So there I was in my kayak…”