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Safety is something that can’t be taken for granted while kayak fishing. I have made a habit of practicing self rescue techniques since I bought my first sit on top kayak. You can never be completely sure that something won’t go wrong while on the water, and you definitely do not want to be inexperienced with how to save yourself or others when something does happen.

The key to being prepared is to practice, and that is what you need to do. I should mention that I don’t recommend going out to practice without somebody nearby to assist you if needed. The first step is to get out and try the techniques that I demonstrate in the video below. Once you are comfortable with the technique then I recommend rigging your boat out like you would on a normal fishing day and make sure everything is secured properly. Then I would go through the practice again since a lot changes when you load your boat down with gear. Shifting weight, tackle boxes and fishing rods that come loose, anchor ropes, and many other things make a simple rescue much more complicated. Once you have mastered the technique then you will be much more confident while on the water and much safer too.

In the video I did not have my paddle attached to a lanyard, but usually I always have it attached for two very important reasons.

I don’t lose my paddle if it drops in the water while I am fighting a fish, or if I do capsize my kayak.
If I capsize while in windy conditions I make sure that I keep hold of my paddle so that my boat can’t get away on me.
Stay safe out there. Your loved ones are counting on you returning home.

Special thanks to Nikki Rekman of Nikki Rekman Sales & Kokatat Watersports Wear for keeping me warm and dry in the new Hydrus 3L SuperNova Angler suit.

-Len Zilkowsky