Based out of Houston, Texas, our paddling season is year round. From the scorching summer season to the moderate 50⁰ F winters, our “cold weather safety checklist” hasn’t historically been very long.
Wow, wow, wow. These guys are going to talk to me about how to be safe while heading out kayak fishing in cold weather?
Yeah, we sure are. This winter has been an uncharacteristically cold winter for us. This has forced us to do a little research, talk to our team of Brand Ambassadors, and develop a little longer checklist for staying safe while kayak fishing in this cold weather. Here is some of what we learned:
1) Choose Your Location with Safety in Mind
Paddling down a remote river to your honey hole might be a no brainer in the warmer summer months, however, this location can present different safety problems in the winter months. How easily can you get to dry land, dry off, and drain your kayak if you flip? Steep river banks and long beyond the breakers (offshore) trips can be risky.
2) Be Ready for a Quick Escape
Once you have chosen a good location that allows for a quick escape, having an escape plan relevant to the location can be helpful in a worst case scenario. The C-Tug Trolley, stored in/on your kayak, can be quickly assembled and used on any terrain to make transporting yourself, your gear, and your kayak to the warm car. Once you get to the car, your Hood Loops or EZ Loops can make getting your kayak secured with tie down straps or utility leashes a much easier process. After all, the less time waster in the cold temperatures…the better.
3) Wear the Right Clothing
When rigging, a comfortable reach for gear is much further in your garage than it is on the water. Likewise, clothing always seems to keep you warmer on land than it does on the water. When preparing for your kayak fishing trip, you to have the appropriate paddling apparel. The recent technological advances in clothing has made this increasingly easier for cold weather paddlers. With this being said, the general principle remains the same: LAYERS, LAYERS, LAYERS!
Some of our suggested clothing items that we have purchased this winter are things like dry suits, neoprene socks, paddling gloves, and winter headwear.
4) Bring and Secure the Proper Safety Gear
Well, what safety gear do you need? The amount of safety gear that you bring on kayak fishing trips should be based on your comfort level, not the weather. The most undervalued piece of safety gear is always a buddy. By not paddling alone, your chances of remaining safe are that much higher.
On top of this, we recommend always having:
– A cell phone, GPS, VHF, EPIRB or other mobile device for both communication and navigation.
– A dry bag full of first aid equipment, snacks, and hydrating fluids.
– A quick change of clothes
But what good are these safety tools if you flip and they are not properly secured? Your mobile devices can be easily secured on a mobile device holder and your dry bag can be stored inside of any accessible deck hatch or deck bungee system.
5) Give Yourself the Proper Energy
Well, it’s cold and you’re not sweating. You must be hydrated, right? Wrong! Staying hydrated is just as important in cold weather as it is in warm weather! Here’s a commonly overlooked hydration tip for cold weather paddling – Coffee and Whiskey don’t count!
Want to see how our friend Bridgette Howard fairs in the cold weather? Watch this short Yaktastic Adventures trailer of this Jackson Kayak team member fishing the Tennessee River in Signal Mountain, TN!
We want to know what other tips you have learned from past good and cold weather kayak fishing trips! Tell us what you think at [email protected] or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the #YakGear hashtag!