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Kayak Fly Fishing - Planning and Preparedness Equals Safety

Updated on April 13, 2013
A simple, nonmetal signaling whistle.
A simple, nonmetal signaling whistle.

Mishaps in outdoor adventures often times can be traced to an accumulation of errors that result in fatalities. Before you go off to fly fish a particular body of water in a kayak, plan and prepare for the trip as follows:

  1. Check the weather forecast a day ahead of time and evaluate where you are going. Obviously you should dress for the weather, but you might also reconsider where you are going. If the weather looks poor, especially windy conditions, you might select a different body of water – one that is smaller or more protected. Winds greater than seven miles an hour make for rough water and are difficult for fly fishing from a kayak. Winds at twelve miles an hour or greater make for white caps on larger water bodies and are hazardous to be on. Selecting smaller water bodies can mitigate against high winds. On a windy day, try fishing that creek protected by trees rather than the large reservoir in an open park.
  2. Consider other hazards that are seasonal and avoid them until that season passes. For example, avoid scheduled water releases from dams or foregoing a certain lake in the spring when the bull alligators are trying to establish their territories.
  3. With the water body selected, leave your plans with another person who is not going on the trip. Include where you are going, when you will arrive, and when you plan to return.
  4. If you are new to kayak fly fishing, mentally run through the trip and gather what you need the day before. Later, when kayak fly fishing becomes routine, keep your items in single location (box, closet, etc…) so that they are easier to gather.
  5. Keep a first aid kit in your car and some rope. The extra rope can be used incase whatever you are using to secure your kayak to your vehicle or trailer breaks. the rope can be used if one of your kayak bungees break, or you forget your anchor.
  6. When you leave your vehicle, leave a note in the car telling who to call if you or your party comes up missing.
  7. Carry with you in the kayak a signaling device (whistle, flare, signal mirror), matches or lighter, flashlight, cell phone, compass, knife, and identification. Obviously some of these items will require dry storage.
  8. Train on what to do if you capsize your kayak.

The following list will minimize being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If something does go wrong, the risks for harm are reduced because you will have the supplies for signaling for help and will have left your plans with a third party who can explain to a rescue crew where you are. Now, lets hit the water with your kayak and fly rod in the last article.

This is the fourth of five articles in a series. The other articles are linked below.


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