Spring is in full swing and back on the water I go....my happy place! But not without some of my kayak must-haves!! Here are my top necessities for kayak fishing.
PFD (Personal Floatation Device)
This past season I heard about a number of tragedies and accidents on the water, more than I can ever remember in the past. They seemed to be getting closer to home and it has been a wake-up call for me. Being from New Hampshire, it’s not a LAW for me to wear a PFD on the water, however, I AM required to have one on my kayak/boat. Over the years, the majority of the time on the water, I did not have a PFD on. My reason? I don’t like to feel restrained. I don’t like the bulky feeling of how it feels when I cast or try to turn my body when I need to reach behind for more tackle or to switch rods or grab my net quickly etc. With that being said, I made a promise to myself that this season I am going to change that. Accidents and things happen that are unexpected and I want to take every precaution to make sure I get home safely to my family. So, I did some asking around and a little research and I picked up the MUSTANG Elite 28 inflatable PFD. It's lightweight, very sleek and it won’t be in my way when I’m trying to make the perfect cast.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor)
Soooo important! I’ve spent full days on the lake without properly covering up from the harmful rays of the sun. Keep in mind, even on the cloudiest days, the sun still can be very dangerous. I’ve regretted it by the end of the day on a number of occasions, and even more so when I hopped into the hot shower, the water touches my skin and I feel like a live lobster being dropped into the boiling pot! Not only is sunscreen important, but you really need to find proper attire! My favorite fishing shirts to wear on the water by far are the new long sleeve Bamboo shirts put out from Filthy Anglers. With UPF 50+ sun protection the bamboo fabric makes these shirts super soft and moisture wicking. The best advice I can give you, dedicate one bottle/lotion of sunscreen for your kayak – let it live in your kayak! As we all know, when you’re getting on the water at 7 am and the last thing on my mind is sun protection. All I’m thinking about…..where the fish are at! The worst case scenario, its 10 am you realize that you are going to fry today if you don’t load up on the sunscreen, and it forces you off the water early. Not only will it protect your skin from the harmful sun rays, but it will also help keep that red face with white tan lines from your shades to a minimum so your boss doesn’t notice that your “sick day” was spent on the lake!
FILTHY POLARIZED SHADES (Sunglasses)
Speaking of sunglasses.... the Filthy Anglers Polarized shades, amazing! Have you checked them out yet? The entire line-up is incredible and there are so many styles to choose from. They are ALL polarized and now they offer several of them with their new EP mirror lens technology. I personally went with the Tahoe EP green lenses. They might look like ordinary sunglasses but unlike the other big name brands, the EP Lenses protects the mirror and polarization by encapsulating them INSIDE of the lenses, meaning the mirror and polarization will not scratch or fade, especially if you are dealing with saltwater. Not only do these shades help me see things in the water like depth, fish or previously hidden structures they also protect my eyes from flying objects such as missed hook sets from myself or friends nearby.
As many of you have seen on Shark Tank, on social media, and probably on your buddies kayak or boats, the Linecutterz mount is a lifesaver and a time saver! Having my mount right in hands reach helps me get my line cut quick, clean, fast and in a hurry. This allows me to get in a few more extra casts than I would have if I was fumbling around looking for my other cutting tools (that I usually forget or misplace). My Linecutterz mount is always right where I left it!
Here’s another favorite from Linecutterz, the Lunker Snatcher. I’ve had several nets in the boat and as they all got the job done, this one gets it done a little bit easier. It’s perfect for the kayak as it can fit right into the built-in rod holders for quick access. It has a hook proof mesh which is ideal for any anglers. There’s nothing more frustrating than a treble hook in a fish’s lip but also having it caught and tangled in the net, forget about it! My favorite feature, however, is that this net also floats! How many nets have slipped off the side of your boat and go bye-bye? Not this one!! The color’s super bright so if you start to paddle off and realize it’s gone, you’ll see it floating, waiting patiently for you to come back for it right where you left it. (This May or May not have happened to me a time or 2... 3...)
Getting out for the nighttime bite is one of my favorite times to fish. Forget some bug spray, it’s not going to be a good time I can guarantee you that, and will often end in calling it quits much earlier than expected. I’ve endured many nights of getting eaten alive and swatting at mosquitos and smacking myself in the face the whole time and I’m sure it might look pretty funny if you’re watching me... but I’d rather be fishin’, not itchin’! Just like sunscreen, dedicate some bug spray to live in your kayak!
How many times have you said “damn, I wish I brought some pliers!” or had to ask your buddy to borrow some. It's one tool that we often overlook but it’s so necessary. From removing hooks (especially a treble hook from a toothy pickerel, bending a hook back to shape, cutting fishing line (that is if you don’t have a linecutterz ring or mount) or even changing split rings in a pinch, you never realize how much you NEED a pair of pliers until you forget them at home.
Yak Stick by YakGear
The Yak Stick has been one of my biggest saviors on the water. We all know how hard it is to get on a good spot and be able to stay on it when the wind starts blowing. Even the smallest breeze can send you cruising and away from the fish and there nothing worse! With the Yak Stick, I have a long paracord tied to it and the other end latched on to my kayak and when I’m in shallower water I can just stick it straight down into the mud to keep where I need to be to get on those fish!!