How Much Gear Should You Pack?
This has been a question that has been asked over and over from novices to experienced kayak fisherman. Going onto the ocean or river for the first time, you will ask, "how much tackle and gear should we take?" After all, you don't want to lose anything valuable if you capsize in the surf or you don't want to fail to bring enough gear, right? Taking your kayak on vacation? The same questions are asked by every person. I have often thought about the worst possible scenario in the fishing situations I am heading into, but I try not to allow that to affect my decision. That scenario I imagined almost never happens.
It depends a lot on your style, experience, and game fish you are pursuing. Some want to be prepared for any type of situation that could arise, while others take only what they feel they will need and then make do with what they have. After all, we are kayak fishermen and a fishing kayak has only so much space inside. In the end of the day it is a personal choice and a "lot of gear" will always be relative. Below are some examples.
Like many of you, my kayaks are already rigged with fish finders, scotty rod holders, camera mounts, etc. These are permanently mounted gear that are not necessarily included in the, "How much gear should you pack question?" However, if you are taking several kayaks, you may have to remove some of the rod and camera holders so you can stack the kayaks if needed. Remember to always carry and wear a life vest. If you are fishing a tournament, vests are required to be worn when on the water.
Take a look at some of the kayak fishing photos you see online. Some fishermen are geared-up and loaded down with every possible item. Everything from an entire panel of electronic gadgets, gps, satellite phone, rescue gear, drift socks, night fishing gear, catch bags, anchor trolleys, stake-out poles, water and food, ice chest, 6 to 8 rods already prerigged and a mountain of lures or baits. These guys and gals are often extremely dedicated, they know what fish they are seeking and are prepared to stay out all day and into the night.
I have a great amount of respect for those that can handle getting through the surf and beyond the breakers loaded down with a lot of equipment. I often find that many who start out with that much equipment often find ways to streamline their gear. The "how much gear should you pack" question starts to gnaw at them. For example, if you don't use something on a fishing trip, it stays home the next time until its necessity requires it to be taken again.
However, other equally committed
kayak fishermen have a completely different mind set. I would have to
say I fall somewhat into this category. They are more streamlined and
carry gear that will be needed for that trip, but not much else. On
short day trips I will often bring only water, fishing rods, lures, and
sunscreen, fish grabber, first aid kit, stringer or catch bag, leashes
for rods, gear, and paddle, and snacks.
On all day trips I will typically carry three to four rods, milk crate with rod holders attached, rescue throw bag, bait bucket with aerator, sun screen, water and food, one large tackle bag loaded with lures, throw net for catching bait, hooks and line, fish grabber, Hawg Trough fish ruler, first aid kit (for removing fish hooks from hands -ouch!), flashlight (my flashlight has a strobe feature for signaling if needed), drift sock if on the gulf, whistle, phone, SJCamcorder and related gear. For me, this usually answers the question of how much gear you should pack.
Only time and practice will allow you to decide what is absolutely needed for your fishing style and what is just in the way.
Russ James is the owner of Hammerhead Kayak Supply and is a manufacturer of kayak paddle leashes, gear leashes, fishing rod leashes, and 12 tether leashes. He has also designed and assembles crush proof and watertight kayak battery systems for powering fish finders and other electronic equipment.
Kayak Russ <ᵒ)))<
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