Stay safe while kayak fishing by wearing a life jacket!

Kayak fishing is becoming increasingly popular as new technology provides kayaks that are easily paddled (or peddled) and are capable of fishing in areas that would not have traditionally been accessed using this method. As well as traditional calm water fishing, fishers are now using kayaks to head offshore in pursuit of large game fish and bottom fish usually targeted from a boat.

Kayak fishing is a great way to fish. The following is a list of things you can do to make sure you get home safetly. Treat this as the basics and always plan your trips around your needs.

1. Wear a life jacket:

  • Your life jacket is your first and last line of protection. Kayak fishing is physically demanding and exposure to the elements or fatigue can really take their toll. If you lose contact with your kayak, become injured or end up in the water for any reason having your life jacket on will give you reassurance that you will be ok.

2. Check out the paddle safe brochure from Department of Transport, here.

3. Learn to kayak before you learn to kayak fish:

  • Believe it or not, fishing is the easy bit! Learning how to use a paddle properly, how to balance a kayak and how to manoeuvre are key abilities to master. Incorrect paddling technique and poor posture are going to make you tired faster and increase the risk of injury. Finding someone who is willing to teach you how to kayak or take lessons with an instructor will improve your fitness, help you to spend longer periods on the water and give you a skill that will make kayak fishing a lot more enjoyable.

4. Start small:

  • if you're new to kayaking start somewhere comfortable, find a sheltered spot or pick a calm day to make your first run. Keep the trip short and don’t take your fishing gear. Use this trip to get comfortable and learn the characteristics of your kayak before you introduce fishing gear.

5. Learn how to self-recover:

  • Ending up in the water when kayak fishing isn’t fun at the best of times, so learning how to get back into your kayak is a great skill and confidence booster. The best way to learn self-recovery is with a buddy. Go out, take turns capsizing and climbing back into your kayak and  repeat this a few times. It is hard work and you will fatigue, it is important to practice like this because when you capsize and your body starts to produce adrenaline your muscles will begin to tire quickly, the best way to counteract that is confidence and practice.

6. Plan your trips out and pack accordingly:

  • This is important for any trip but if you are planning on heading out into the ocean it is doubly important. Try to consider obstacles and challenges you might encounter and have a plan on how to avoid or overcome them. Weather is the biggest challenge, learning to read forecasts, radar and make decisions on the information available to you is a skill that all fishers develop and for kayak fishers it is crucial. Being caught by rain isn’t fun but being caught in 40-knot winds is just dangerous. Make sure you tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back.

7. Join a Kayak Fishing group:

One of the hardest things to gain is experience, so why not learn from the experiences of other anglers? Western Australia has kayak fishers all along the coast, fishing for different species and in different conditions. These groups are a great place to ask questions, meet fellow fishers and share your stories.

Join 'Kayak Fishing Western Australia' on Facebook to learn from passionate kayak fishers. 

All kayak images courtesy of Kayak Fishing Western Australia

Shark sightings

Please report all shark sightings directly to the Water Police on 9442 8600. This number is staffed 24 hours, seven days a week and will activate any required response.

Keep informed of the latest reported sighting and tagged shark detection information by checking the Shark Activity Map or follow the Surf Life Saving WA twitter feed @SLSWA. The Shark Activity Map provides beach users with 'real time' information on reported sightings and tagged shark detections, as well as access to Surf Life Saving WA's twitter feed and current alerts and warnings issued by the Department of Fisheries. Remember the map shows available information – not all sharks are tagged, or sightings reported, so be Sharksmart when using the water.

People are asked to refrain from phoning rangers direct for updates as these phone lines need to be available to coordinate shark sighting response activities.

For more information about shark sighting response plans and procedures as well as shark safety tips visit the Sharksmart website.