6 Rules for Fishing Safely in a Kayak - Major League Fishing
6 Rules for Fishing Safely in a Kayak
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6 Rules for Fishing Safely in a Kayak

Brad Knight enjoys recreational fishing from a kayak
Image for 6 Rules for Fishing Safely in a Kayak
Brad Knight learns how to kayak from Eric Jackson in East Tennessee.
November 4, 2015 • Eric Jackson • Angler Columns

There will never be a replacement for the almighty bass boat. It has secured its place as the tool for the trade on so many types of waters. But there are also places where the fishing kayak reigns supreme, and many of the “who’s who” of bass fishing are discovering that a kayak is a great addition to their fishing and fun tools.

I have been lucky enough to personally introduce some of my favorite people and top performers on the Walmart FLW Tour to kayak fishing. Most recently, I had the pleasure of taking out Wesley Strader, Forrest Wood Cup champ Brad Knight and Rayovac FLW Series pro McCoy Borja.

Only a kayak could get Wesley Strader in these backwaters to catch this monster bass.

As I’ve introduced these anglers to a new aspect of the sport of fishing, I’ve also coached them on how to maneuver and use a kayak. Knowing how to maneuver is particularly important in moving water. Getting around obstacles, trees, etc. makes your experience more fun and safe. How to paddle and maneuver are subjects for another blog, but in the meantime, you can learn a lot online at paddleeducation.com.

As for the safety issue, that’s the first step in becoming a kayak angler and the issue I want to address now. There is a physical element to kayaking that includes some balance and a personal conditioning level that will determine safety, agility and comfort. That said, kayaking does not require you to be an athlete, but there are considerations that everyone should make before paddling out into some waters.

6 Safety Rules

1. All boats are not created alike. Some are more stable than others. The bigger you are, the more stable the boat needs to be. Jackson Kayak makes the Big Rig for those wanting/needing a lot of stability.

2. A certain level of physical conditioning and practice are required to be able to get back into a kayak if you fall out. Someone who is very athletic should be able to get back into a kayak easily on his first try. For others, it’s worth practicing to build some confidence. It’s also very important to know, for your own safety, if you can get back into a boat without assistance. If you can’t, you should not fish alone where you are not comfortable having to swim yourself and boat to the shore.

3. I always have a life jacket with me, and it’s critical to wear it at all times if one or more of these scenarios comes into play:

  • You’re alone.
  • You can’t get back in the boat yourself.
  • You’re in cold water.
  • You’re far from shore.
  • You’re not a strong swimmer.
  • You’re in current of any kind.

4. Somebody should know where you are going when you go out in case of emergency.

5. Go out with at least one other person whenever possible.

6. Pack properly. Remember your fishing gear, but also dress for the weather, bring water and bring your phone.

Consider these safety tips, and I’ll see you on the water.

Four-time world champion whitewater kayaker Eric Jackson enjoy's training in Rock Island, Tenn.

– Eric Jackson