Stay safe while kayak fishing by wearing a lifejacket!
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 safely. Treat this as the basics and always plan your trips around your needs.
1. Wear a lifejacket:
Your lifejacket 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 lifejacket on will give you reassurance that you will be okay.
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
Before you go fishing, check out the SharkSmartWA app or Sharksmart website to stay up to date with current alerts, warnings and the latest reported sightings. The app and website provides beach users with near ‘real time’ information on shark activity, including current alerts and warnings issued by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, as well as access to Surf Life Saving WA’s beach safety information. Remember the map shows available information – not all sharks are tagged, or sightings reported, so be Sharksmart when using the water.
BEN (Beach Emergency Numbers) signs:
In an emergency situation, please dial 000 and quote the unique code and location information on the nearest BEN sign. These signs are primarily located at beach access points and use a coding system which helps to improve emergency response times when deployed in the event of a shark sighting, attack or other beach emergencies. More information can be found be clicking here.