Today’s fishing kayaks are built for stability, but, at some point, the inevitable will occur, and you will find yourself in the water with a capsized kayak. The same attributes providing stability — width, volume and pontoon-shaped hulls — also make them difficult to flip and climb back into. Re-entry though, also known as self-rescue, is a skill every paddler should have at their disposal. In this video, Chad Hoover shows us a deep water re-entry technique most kayak anglers can use.
Deep Water Re-Entry Method
Hoover opens the instructional video by acknowledging the difficulties of flipping a modern fishing kayak over and re-entering. Also noting that while he has emptied the kayak of rods and tackle these items will increase the difficulty or awkwardness of the task.
Hoover walks through some key points to the technique he is using. First, when you enter the water remain calm. Be sure your PFD straps are tightened properly and it isn’t sliding over your head. Next, maintain contact with your kayak so it doesn’t drift away.
To flip the kayak back over Hoover uses a brilliant method with a simple piece of equipment we often carry. He takes his Rogue Fishing Co. Adjustable Drag Strap from the bow of his Bonafide RS117 and brings it to the side of the kayak. Where he attaches it and tosses it across the bottom of the kayak. From here he swims to the other side, puts his foot in the handle of the strap, and pulls the line until the kayak flips upright.
Other tie-down straps like NRS straps will work as well. You just wouldn’t have the handle to stand in for extra leverage. Hoover has now completed the first task in a deep water re-entry.
Here’s The Tricky Part
Now that Hoover has flipped the kayak over the work isn’t done yet. The trickiest part is how to actually get back into the kayak.
The first tip Hoover has for kayak anglers with a folding seat is to articulate it back until it is flat. Next he narrates the steps of getting your bodies in the boat, then sliding your backside into the kayak and swinging your legs around.
On Hoover’s first attempt he himself capsizes the kayak again, illustrating how tricky a deep water re-entry can be. Then, he attempts again and completes the self-rescue. Practicing the technique in flat water as Hoover has done is the best way to build confidence in the ability to perform this deep water re-entry and have one more skill in safely enjoying the sport.