Fishing gear aside, there are a host of useful accessories that the kayak angler can carry with them. Some are essential for safety on the water, some just make a fishing session that little bit easier and some will be little outright indulgences!
Some of the more useful items that I carry on board fall into each of the above categories and some will fall into all three! Starting with electronics, one thing that I am loath to leave the shore without is an echo sounder/chartplotter. These units are not the magic fish catching devices that most think they are; they give you clues about depth, substrate and water temperature and certainly help you to maximise your time on the water by removing some of the guess work. Powered by a 12v battery, this power source can also be used to incorporate other electrical devices.
A flag or light to increase your visibility is always a good idea. I use a Visicarbon Pro pole by Yakattack which I reviewed a in a previous issue. Rod holders and other mounts for items such as cameras can be added to your own preferences. Rod holders can be used for transporting or fishing and there is a wide range to choose from. I think that ‘Scotty’ produces the most secure rod holders and for small items RAM Mounts are perfect.
Whether you use a paddle, pedal or motor driven kayaks, it is always sensible to carry a spare paddle. One that breaks down into two pieces and can be stored in the bow hatch is ideal. If your original method of propulsion fails you do not want to find yourself representing an age old idiom! Some sort of water bottle or drinks bottle is a great idea and, depending on the time of year, one thing I always bring with me is a small petrol stove and brew kit. The power of a hot cup of tea to lift morale and boost your spirits on an icy cold and miserable day cannot be underestimated. It can be the difference when it comes to deciding whether to stay out for the day or go home at lunchtime.
Other items that I find very useful but often overlooked are dry bags. When you are out on the water you need somewhere to keep some of your gear dry. Dry bags are perfect for items like car keys, wallets, phones, lunch or any other item that you would wish to stay dry. There are many on the market and they are all variations of the same thing. Once they keep the gear dry they will serve their purpose and be very useful.
The final thing that I will mention is a chopping board. Some anglers really don’t like the idea of blood and knife marks all over their kayaks and drysuits are certainly not the appropriate surface for cutting bait on. Most kayaks do not have such a surface included in their design so I make my own chopping boards from old kitchen boards. These small rigging projects ensure a longer, cleaner life for the kayak cockpit.
You don’t have to use some of these suggestions, or any of them. Feel free to use them all if you like. What suits some anglers will not suit others and what you carried will be very much determined by where you fish and what you want to catch. The beauty of kayak fishing is that it is such a personal sport and what suits me and my references will not suit everybody. Whatever accessories you do decide to bring, make sure they are fit for purpose and they are coming along to suit YOUR needs.
Article seen in Sea Angler