When thinking about kayaking, fishing and kayak fishing accessories, some of the things that many people overlook are safety accessories. Over the last decade I’ve come to rely on three safety tools that have proven worthwhile in emergent and less than desirable conditions.
Safety Knife for Kayak Fishing
A knife is one of the most vital tools a kayaker would need on the water or on land to survive some situations. It can help you free yourself from tangled ropes and preparing animals and plants for food or constructing a shelter and campfire. Safety knives come in varying shapes, sizes and prices. Choosing one can be confusing. Which one should I get? Is one going to work better than another? Which one is not too heavy?
First off, it’s in the name: safety knife. They’re for use in safety situations like this one I experienced a few years back.
A Scary Situation
I was testing a new kayak in pretty deep water and it was summer. I wanted to see how easy it was to get back into this kayak if it were to capsize by using a technique often called deep water re-entry. You start by completely flipping the kayak over and while swimming you turn the kayak back upright. This technique should be one of the first safety steps you learn as a kayaker. It gives you the ability to rescue yourself or others in a capsized situation.
I had my normal life jacket on with my safety knife attached and I was glad. It was pretty windy that day and as I flipped the kayak on purpose, I went overboard. In doing so a paddle leash wrapped around my leg. Since I had my life jacket on I was able to float near the top of the water but the kayak was separating from me quickly because of the windy weather. As the wind blew the kayak, the paddle leash tightened around my leg cutting off circulation.
I was quickly losing the feeling in my leg and knew I had to act fast as I was unable to swim fast enough to catch up to the kayak. I took my knife off of my life jacket cut the paddle leash that had wrapped around my leg and quickly swam for the kayak catching up to it only because I was untethered. This is a key example of a safety or rescue situation where a knife saved me from a pretty serious problem.
A safety knife I really like is the NRS CoPilot. I’ve been using this knife for several years and it’s a good one. The one hand assist, textured grip, blunt tip for puncture free use, and multi-edged blade design all make it a great choice, especially for under $50.
Safety at Night with Lights
It sounds like a rather odd question but anytime you are on a small watercraft like a kayak, not only should you be able to see but you should be seen. Power boats, moving quickly across the water need ample warning that you are near. A couple of things to help with that are lights and flags. I have two favorites which will make sure you can be seen in low light conditions.
1. You can light up your kayak with a kayak lighting like the Yak-Power Complete LED Kayak Light Kit. LED lights provide the right amount of light for both safety and functionality allowing for easy visibility at dusk and dawn.
2. A 360 degree light is a need for night time fishing, so why not combine a light and a flag? A few companies make exactly that. The YakAttack Visicarbon Pro offers everything you’ll need. With a rigid, meter long pole, fluorescent flag, bright 360 degree light and mounting port, this battery powered pole will make sure you are seen day or night.
First Aid Kits
You’ve probably heard the old phrase, “It’s not if but when,” and fishing proves this true time and again. It isn’t if you ever get cut or if you ever hang a hook in your leg, it’s correctly thought of as when. Knowing that you’ll eventually shed some blood, are you properly preparing? Most outdoors enthusiasts are not. Having a first aid kit robust enough to handle most situations has more than once saved a day on the water for me.
I look for several different things in a first aid kit.
Medications are always a good thing to have on hand. Having an antihistamine for allergic reactions, some ibuprofen for swelling, and some aspirin for blood thinning during heart attack events are an excellent spread to cover most situations where medicine will help.
Antiseptic wipes, sterile gauze, a variety of adhesive bandages, and some butterfly closures will help deal with most situations that aren’t life threatening involving cuts and blood.
Bandages and wraps for aches and sprains are a nice addition. Pair that with some tweezers, split ring pliers for removing hooks from embedded baits, and a good set of snips. This will round out a pretty decent kit.
If you need a recommendation, check out the Sportsman Series Bighorn Medical Kit. It’s got nearly everything you’ll need. Another first aid kit that can work is the Bass Pro Shops Weekender First Aid Kit.
When you’re looking at kayak accessories, don’t skip on a safety accessory that so many people are missing out on.