Ever wanted to hop in your kayak and just leave the land behind? Offshore kayak fishing opens up a whole new world of pelagic species to target, but the open seas leave little room for error. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared with the right safety gear. We join Reelin It With Jake for a rundown of Jake’s top eight essential pieces of safety gear for offshore kayak fishing.
Essential Safety Gear for Offshore Kayak Fishing
Jake begins, appropriately enough, with the most essential piece of safety gear for any paddler—a properly fitted PFD. He prefers a Fisherman model from Stohlquist Waterware, with handy pockets for your wallet and phone, plus clip-on attachments for accessories like an NRS Co-Pilot knife.
What you wear under the PFD is important, too. Be ready for immersion in cold ocean waters with a drysuit, like Kokatat’s SuperNova in Gore-Tex. Jake finds his drysuit more comfortable than a wetsuit, and it offers added protection against the cold. He rounds out his offshore outfit with NRS boots, gaiter, fishing gloves and a pair of polarized sunglasses for protection from the elements.
Other accessories to keep close at hand include a “sound signalling device” (i.e. whistle) and “visual distress signal” (i.e. flare). “Actually it’s required for you to have a flare when you go offshore,” Jake explains, “so pick one up. This one is, as you can see here, U.S. Coast Guard approved.”
Rig Your Boat for Offshore Safety
Jake’s other essential offshore safety items go on your boat. Navigation lights and a visibility flag will help you be seen in low light or foggy conditions. A kayak bilge pump will help you stay afloat in case of a leak.
One alert commenter points out a ninth piece of essential gear—a GPS-equipped device or compass and map to help navigate on the open ocean. Offshore fog is common in early morning, and even in clear conditions you may lack a visual point of reference to help get your bearings. Along with a trusty buddy and an accurate weather forecast this safety gear will serve you well when offshore kayak fishing.