Night Time Kayak Fishing Safety Tips

People are often shocked when they find out I fish from my kayak at night. The first question they usually ask is: "Isn't that really dangerous?". While kayak fishing has the potential to be dangerous at any hour, I actually feel going out at night can be safer than during the day. For one thing, there are far less boaters on the water after dark. Some nights when I go out, I don't see a single boat the entire night. The other reason I feel more comfortable is that I can make myself more visible to boaters at night than I can during the day. With the low profile of our kayaks, we often times blend in with the background during the daylight hours. This is especially true when fishing from a kayak that is a neutral or camo color or when the sun is coming up or going down over the horizon. At night, this isn't a problem. By having some led lights rigged on your kayak, if a boater is coming toward you, a simple flip of a switch can make your yak visible from a long distance away.

Here are some other suggestions and safety tips to make your night time kayak fishing trips successful:

1. Regardless of what hour of the day or night you fish, always wear your PFD. If something goes wrong, it may save your life.

2. Check your local laws to determine what your required to have on our kayak at night. Here in Tennessee, we are required to have a single white light that is visible from 360 degrees. I use the Yak Attack VisiCarbon Pro.

3. Add some reflective tape to your kayak. This will help you stand out at night. Yak Attack makes a product called Nite Stripe which is affordable and works really well.

4. Install some led lights on your kayak. Personally, I think this is the single biggest thing you can do to make yourself more visible at night. There are several companies that sell ready made kits and even some sporting goods stores now carry cheaper led strip lights for kayaks. In addition to making yourself more visible to boaters, these lights are also very helpful when its time to load up your kayak and gear at the end of the night.

5. GPS. If your fish finder doesn't have a GPS in it, it is a good idea to carry a small handheld device. It is very easy to get disoriented in the dark. A GPS unit will help you navigate back to your vehicle if you get turned around.

6. Fish with a partner. This is a good idea at any hour but especially true at night. As the old saying goes, there is safety in numbers.

7. Keep a dry bag in your kayak with a change of clothes, fire starter kit, water, and food in the event something goes wrong and you get stranded.

8. Tell a friend or loved one where you will be fishing and what time they can expect you back.

9. Use public and well lit launch sites. There are some evil people in this world. Don't put yourself in a bad situation.

10. Be organized on the water. Know where all of your gear is at in the kayak. You don't want to be fumbling around in the dark looking for pliers or fish grips while trying to land a fish.

Fishing at night is a great way to beat the heat of summer and avoid the pleasure boater crowds. There is also some great fishing to be had after dark as well. The most important thing to always remember when kayak fishing is that no fish is worth risking your life over. Safety should always be your top priority any time you are in a kayak. Use these tips above along with some common sense while you are out at night to make sure you stay safe out there.

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