It's hot out there! Even though you're kayak fishing only inches above the water, often the heat can get to you. If you don't regulate your body's heat gain you will suffer a heat injury such as exhaustion or possibly a stroke. How do you fish in the summertime and not get cooked? Experienced kayakers will tell you these five tips are must-dos to stay safe and healthy while on the water.
1. Fish Early and Late
I like to plan a trip in the morning from about 5 a.m to 9 a.m. or an evening trip from about 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.. These times will be more active feeding times for the fish and also the coolest parts of the day. Some of my biggest fish from a kayak have come between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m..
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Make sure you plan in advance at least 10 ounces of water or sports drink per hour you are on the water. If you have been out several hours, have been drinking fluids, but have not urinated, you need to drink more water. If your urine turns dark, you need to hydrate more.
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3. Light Colored & Loose Fitting Clothes
Dress in light colored clothing that is 'semi-fitted' or loose enough to allow for adequate air circulation like the World Wide Sportsman Nylon Angler Shirt for men and ladies found at Bass Pro Shops. You can also wear loose fitting clothes that have venting. Light colored clothes reflect the sun's light away from your body. Also, more and more outdoor clothing now carry a UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor rating. This rating is similar to SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and indicates how effectively fabrics shield skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. The higher the UPF number, the greater degree of UV protection a garment offers. Be sure to wear a hat or cap to shade your eyes and face.
4. When Things Get Shady
The best plan is to drink plenty of water a few hours before the trip and then continue. Summertime kayak fishing is hard on the kidneys so a little assist in the fluids department can help make a better experience.
If you are out during the heat of the day, try to find shade to fish in. The shade is likely where the fish will be hanging out so look for boat houses, docks, large trees, and bluffs to spend the hottest part of the day around.
5. Fish With a Buddy
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are nothing to take a chance with. Should something go wrong however, having someone there to assist will be a big help. When your body gets overheated a lot of things happen like going into shock.
A person in shock gets disoriented, can’t make proper decisions, and can be a danger to themselves while on the water. Taking a First Aid/CPR class might be a good idea as well.
6. Wear Your Life Vest
Summertime heat causes kayak anglers to sweat, especially when they are paddling a lot. The temptation is to remove your lifejacket or not wear it all. This is a bad idea. Too many things can go wrong, especially if you suffer heat exhaustion.
To avoid this, look at purchasing an inflatable PFD like the top rated Bass Pro Shops A/M 24 Auto/Manual Inflatable Life Vest. Inflatables don’t have any back padding to make you sweat and have little coverage in the front so sweating is greatly reduced. Find a pfd you will wear, even in the heat, and keep it on.
Fish very early and very late.