Merriam-Webster defines common sense as, “the ability to think and behave in a reasonable way and to make good decisions”. That sounds pretty reasonable wouldn’t you think? Of course therein lies why we have common sense, or do we? Obviously this is simply an opinion piece and merely my opinion, but I’ve been observing little things for some time now, and it begs to question if common sense is truly a lost art.Now, I’ll be the first to admit that we all have our moments when common sense isn’t used correctly or even at all. Unfortunately, when it comes to kayak fishing common sense should always be used. As a matter of fact, when going through our packing list for fishing gear, common sense should be on that list as well. When you sit back and look at it, it’s really nothing that ridiculous. Using common sense when out on the water will not only help ensure a better day on the water for you, but also for those around you.
1. Wear Your PFD
Yes, it’s been harped on so many different times, but obviously it’s not sinking in. Yes, we can all be hard headed at times. Yes, sometimes we try to skirt the rules to where we’re getting away with the bare minimum. I’ve seen kayak anglers launch their kayaks with their PFD simply sitting in the rear tankwell. Yes, you’re definitely within your legal rights by doing this, but are we really using common sense in this scenario? I try to impart on newcomers and veterans to go buy a PFD that is comfortable enough to wear on the water. Don’t want a big or bulky PFD, then go get yourself and inflatable PFD. You never know when Murphy’s Law is going to strike, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Common sense can definitely go a long way when it comes to your safety.
2. Use Correct Lighting
A few weeks back I was launching my kayak at my favorite launch in the early morning hours. I arrived and backed my truck down to the launch, where there were a few other kayak anglers launching. They were set to push off and head to their favorite fishing spots in search of that next trophy fish… without a light… pitch dark outside. It really doesn’t take much in the realm of common sense to know this isn’t the brightest of ideas. If you’re going to fish in the early morning hours or at night, get yourself a lighting system. Kayak fishing accessories have come a very long way as kayak fishing has become more and more popular. There’s so many options available like the VisiCarbon Pro from YakAttack or the NaviSafe System from Yak Gear. Heck, you can ever take it to the next level with LED lighting for your kayak from the folks at SuperNova Fishing Lights. The point is, safety and common sense should go hand in hand with each other. Fishing at dark can produce some quality fish, at least make sure you’re visible to oncoming boaters and other vessels/anglers.
3. Fishing Etiquette
This one is a pet peeve of mine and an area where common sense is definitely lacking whether you’re a kayak angler or a boater. I truly believe that if I had a buck for every time I’ve witnessed or fell victim to a lack of fishing etiquette, then I’d be retired and living/fishing on a tropical island. A few trips back, I’d taken my mother-in-law fishing one morning. We were having a great day on the water, fishing a small creek entrance. As a matter of fact, she’d just landed a slob of a 30″ redfish, when it happened. Another kayak angler was heading back to where we were fishing. He actually tried to paddle over our lines (with the entrance only being maybe 6 foot wide) to come to where we were fishing. Mind you it was still around low tide, so he’d had to basically set up camp right next to us. Common sense would have simply told him that he should use etiquette and go fish somewhere else. Is this what happened? Of course not! I had to tell him a few times that he was about to paddle over our lines, and he became a little aggravated over it all. If someone is fishing a spot, use common sense and don’t try to sit on top of them. At the very least, use some common courtesy and ask if you can perhaps fish with them.
You’d like to think that this one is a blatant example of common sense, but if someone is catching fish in a spot, don’t start casting on top of them! I’ve actually witnessed some folks in a boat let enough anchor out to be able to cast right on top of me. I kid you not folks, I seriously cannot make this stuff up. I’d taken a few friends out fishing one day and we were having a pretty great day on the water. Of course, that was until the “not so intelligent” guys in the boat literally sat about 30 feet in front of us and started casting into the same area that we were casting. Right on top of us! It took a few minutes for them to realize that they weren’t exactly using fishing etiquette and I’m sure my putting on a heavier weight and casting on top of their lines aided in the lesson, but come on… Use some common sense!
Simply put, stop and think for a few minutes. Consider your actions and ask yourself if what you’re about to do is something that would annoy the living hell out of you. This my friends is what common sense is all about. Even though we’re living in the “ME” generation, let’s use common sense out on the water, look out for your fellow kayak anglers, and let’s work to make sure we all have a great time out on the water!