Lighting definitely should be on top of the list for kayak fishing safety. Or is lighting truly not that important when fishing at night or in the early morning hours? On a recent kayak fishing excursion, I noticed first hand that it definitely is important to have lighting on your kayak during the early morning hours.It had been several weeks since I’d actually had the opportunity to get some time out on my kayak. We all go through these little mini slumps, as life sometimes gets in the way. With me it had been a series of different things, from family obligations to weather to simply being too overworked and no energy. I knew I had to break out of this funk, get away, and test some new gear out on the water. Besides, I had some new kayak fishing gear that I wanted to test out.
Mainly among those items were the Sport LED lights from NOCQUA that I’d had for a few months. I also wanted to check out this new EX230 headlamp from Olympia Products, and what better way to test some lighting gear than with an early morning kayak fishing trip. I’d planned the trip perfectly, even got up when my alarm went off at zero dark thirty. I’d rigged and loaded everything up the evening before so I was ready to get up, get dressed, and hit the road.
I arrive at the kayak launch, and was immediately surprised to see that I wasn’t the only one crazy enough to hit the water that early in the morning. There were several trucks at the parking area, and there were about 4 kayak anglers about to set off already as well. I backed in, and started unloading my gear, and that’s when it hit me. 4 kayak anglers ready to push off and not a single one of them had any sort of lighting. Before I could say anything, 2 of the kayak anglers pushed off, one of them with a small child on the front of the kayak. I quickly turned my attention to the 2 kayak anglers remaining, and asked politely if they had any sort of signaling or lighting device. That’s when it donned on them.
Their answer was a simple “no”, and that they didn’t expect to see any boats in the shallow creeks they were planning on fishing. I informed them that it’s actually required to have a way to signal their presence with a light for oncoming boaters, but even more important, it’s a safety issue to protect them. I agreed that there might not be any boaters in the shallow creeks, but they still had to venture out into open water just to get to those creeks. I was pleased with their understanding and appreciation of sharing such simple knowledge. Fortunately, they had a flashlight in their vehicle, and went to retrieve it before launching their kayaks.
What truly surprised me is the lack of knowledge about lighting, or being safe on the water. Could it simply be an oversight, one of those things that is so deep in simplicity that we overlook it? Perhaps we get so excited about the opportunity to get on the water for that early morning bite that we simply don’t think about being smart on the water? Regardless of the reasoning, however simple or not, it’s important to always be cognizant of what we’re doing and also of what we can do to protect ourselves while out on the water kayak fishing. Something as simple as lighting can definitely be important when it comes to avoiding a scary situation or worse, an accident.
As our sport grows, it’s important for newcomers to be aware of not only what’s required equipment for a kayak angler, but also what can help keep you out of a tricky situation. There are several lighting options available these days from a simple headlamp to tons of LED lighting options that can light up your kayak like a Christmas tree. Below are some kayak lighting options that can help make you seen the next time you’re out on the water.
YakAttack VISICarbon Pro
- Dims: 48″Lg X 1″Wd X 2″Ht
- Weight: ~1 lb
- Construction: Carbon Fiber
- Included: Two Carbon Tubes, T-Bolt, Light, Flag, Bungee
- MSRP: $85
Olympia EX230 Headlamp
The EX230 Headlamp from Olympia Products is a great tool when kayak fishing. Not only does it help illuminate your path, but it also aids when rigging lures, etc.
- Water resistant IPX-4
- 230 Lumens
- Luxeon Rebel White LED
- Beam distance: 140 Meters
- MSRP: $49.99
NOCQUA Adventure Gear
NOCQUA Adventure Gear is a great tool for kayak fishing at night or the early morning hours. Super bright and easily installed, the NOCQUA Sport LED lighting system is perfect for kayak or SUP anglers. Another great feature of the NOCQUA Sport is it allows you to switch over to different yak or SUPs and eliminates the need for drilling into your gear.
- Bar Length: 22 inches
- Light Color: White
- Modes: On/Off and S.O.S. strobe
- Lumens: 36 LED lights producing 600 lumens per bar
- Battery: 4400 mAh 12V lithium ion
- MSRPL $199.99
Again, these are simply a small sample of the wide array of lighting products available for your kayak or SUP. There are several different brands of lighting systems and accessories from a wide variety of manufacturers. The importance falls in the kayak or SUP angler actually using these tools properly to ensure your safety when out on the water.