Most of us are not fortunate enough to live right beside our favourite fishing venue which means that there will be at least some aspects of kayak transportation that you will need to look at. Methods of transportation are becoming as varied as kayaks themselves but the most popular method employed by kayak anglers is to use roof bars on the car and sit the kayak on top of these. Choose a good brand of roof bars and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when mounting them to your car. When they are properly positioned and installed they are ready for your kayak(s). When placing the kayak on the roof bars, I like to turn the kayak upside down so the hull is pointing towards the sky. Air flow over the hull of the upside down kayak will push it down onto the roof bars when in transit. Before securing your kayak make sure that it is sitting straight on the roof bars.
Securing the kayak should be done across four points. Two straps should be used across the hull of the kayak and used to secure the kayak to the roof bars. Ratchet straps can be used for this job but make sure not to over tighten if using ratchet straps to avoid bending or pulling the hull of the kayak out of shape or damaging any of the kayak’s fixtures and fittings. Cam straps are much better and should help to avoid stressing the hull. The remaining pair of ties should be used at each end of the kayak to secure the bow and stern to the front and rear of the car. The bow and stern lines can be made up from ratchet straps (don’t over tighten) or lengths of rope. Make sure all lines are tight and when properly secured there should be no movement from the kayak on the roof. Any part of the kayak that overhangs the car by more than a few inches should have hi-vis material hanging from it.
When in transit it is the responsibility of the motorist to ensure that the load they carry is safe and secure. Most of us make short trips with our kayaks but there will be times when longer journeys will be completed. The last thing any kayak angler wants to experience is for his kayak to part company with his roof bars on a motorway at 70mph. For longer journeys it makes sense to check all straps and ropes a short distance into your journey. Stopping and checking sporadically is good practice, particularly if you are driving on winding or bumpy roads which can loosen straps and ropes through vibration. Regular checks should become habit and should you notice any movement with the kayak when in transit stop immediately and check all connections for safe travel with your kayaks.
Roof bars are the choice for a lot of kayak anglers but they are not the exclusive method of transport. Some anglers have trouble managing to get a kayak onto a car roof alone. Trolleys can be used to push your kayak onto the roof bars and some companies are now producing lifting systems for an easier solo lift from ground to car roof. In particular, trailers do seem to be growing in popularity and have the added benefit of lower lifting. Many public carparks also feature overhead barriers and a trailer is a great way to get around this. The more practical and enterprising amongst you can build their own trailer to their own specifications. With roof bars, it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that their load is secured and safe. With trailers, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the trailer they are pulling is compliant with all motoring laws. As always, drive responsibly and within the law. Arrive safely at your fishing mark and tight lines!
Article seen in Sea Angler