Beginner’s kayak fishing gear checklist

    Fishing Gear

    You have a kayak and fishing gear and have been itching to try something new. Why not combine them and give kayak fishing a try? It’s a great way to spend a sunny weekend while flying solo or with friends.

    For any beginner kayak fishers out there, here is a list of the essential gear you’ll need for a safe and successful fishing trip.



    It goes without saying that you’re going to get wet. Therefore, avoid wearing anything made out of cotton, as it takes ages to dry and you’ll end up cold and miserable (and possibly hypothermic!). Choose polyester or nylon instead, which are more lightweight and will dry faster.



    Your choice of footwear will depend on the weather conditions. For dry and sunny days when you won’t be spending a lot of time out in the water, you can get by with a pair of rubber neoprene slippers. Make sure that they have proper traction and grip, and won’t fall off your feet should you capsize.

    For colder environments, running shoes that can be worn without socks are a great option, as you can drain out the water and keep your feet dry. During winter or frigid climates, invest in a good pair of neoprene boots.


    Personal flotation device (PFD)

    Your PFD should be worn at all times, as it could mean the difference between life and death should your boat capsize. Don’t store any heavy items in the pockets, as they can end up sinking you and defeat the purpose of wearing a PFD.


    Safety gear

    Your safety gear should include a radio, whistle, flares, and knife, and they should be attached to your PFD for easy access in case of emergency.

    • Radio: A portable waterproof radio will give you the chance of sending a distress call to surrounding vessels or local coastguards.
    • Whistle: A loud whistle is a great way of attracting the attention of nearby people or vessels.
    • Flares: The best type of flares are the day/night flares, and you need to be sure they are well protected in proper waterproof storage.
    • Knife: It’s safer if your knife isn’t extremely sharp, it just needs to be sharp enough to cut through lines in case you get tangled up after capsizing.



    A suitable GPS device will let you know where you are, how fast you’re going, where you’re going and how to get back to shore. Your GPS should be waterproof, and you should always keep a pair of extra batteries in a waterproof bag, so you’re never left in the lurch.


    Map and compass

    Technology can fail (even with extra batteries), so it’s always a good idea to carry a map and compass in a waterproof bag. Never head out without the knowledge of which direction you’re coming from and which bearing you need to return to shore.



    Anchors can come in handy as they keep you stable, and in an emergency situation, they can stop you from drifting further out to sea or crashing into rocks.


    Food and drink

    In case you’re delayed for some reason or another, always take more food and drink than you think you’ll need.


    Particularly for your first kayak fishing trips, make sure you’ve had some training when it comes to how to paddle, capsizing, recovering from overturning, and steering, and be familiar with emergency procedures. Another vital skill to have is performing a self-rescue, so be sure to brush up on your knowledge before heading out.

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