Preparedness and organization will greatly determine the success of your kayak fishing trip. Bringing the right gear will not only make your experience more enjoyable, it will also make it safer. Although kayaks are limited in the amount of space they provide, many items are essential to bring along.
This kayak fishing checklist is separated into three categories- safety, fishing gear, and extras. Be sure to print this list out and use it as a checklist before every kayak fishing trip.
Since safety is the first priority let’s begin with the safety checklist. The following items should not be considered optional. And remember to keep these items dry and secure!
Life jacket (or PFD)
First aid kit
Water and food
Paddle leash or extra paddle secured to kayak
GPS, compass, and a map
Extra batteries (for radio, flashlight, and GPS)
Cell phone (kept in a dry bag)
Once you have your safety items ready to go, it’s time to pack up your fishing equipment. Each kayak fishing angler will require different equipment based on the area and fish present, but the following list can be used as a general guideline.
Tackle box with tackle
Needle nose pliers
Crate or bait tank
Gaff and/or net
Here are some additional items you should consider bringing along on your kayak fishing trip:
12v battery (to power the fish finder)
Bungees and/or tie downs
Drift chute (drift sock)
Hat or visor
Stake out pole
Depending on your state requirements, you will probably have to bring your fishing license and boat registration along with you as well. Make sure these are current. And remember to keep these in a waterproof bag that is secured to your kayak.
Before you go out on the water always prepare a float plan. A float plan will simply lay out where you’ll be paddling, and how long you expect to be gone. Share this plan with your spouse, family member, friend, or neighbor. They should know who to contact if you’re more than a couple hours late, and of course have your cell phone number.
There is more to preparedness than just checking off a few items on a list. Equally if not more important than some of the safety items, if your ability to handle dangerous situations. What would you do if you lost your paddle and were a mile away from shore? What would you do if the wind suddenly picked up and created violent waves, causing your kayak to flip?
Kayaking fishing is a safe sport, as long as you can handle tough situations if they arise. Have a plan for emergency situations, and always have the right safety gear with you. When you’re confident you can handle emergency situations, and have all the fishing gear you need, you can focus on what’s really important to you- fishing!