Safety is one of the more important elements to consider when kayak fishing. Kayaks will sit low to the water often resulting in the angler sitting mere inches above the surface. Add some swell to the equation and it can be very difficult at times to spot a kayak angler from a larger, moving fishing vessel. Kayaks, generally being small plastic boats, will not stand up to an altercation with a larger vessel. Visibility on the water had always been in the back of my mind and this concern was compounded in the early days by a couple of near-misses with inattentive boat users; a scary situation to be thrust into.
I started to look into options to make myself more visible and I kept coming back to the Visicarbon Pro produced by American company Yakattack. The product is essentially a brightly coloured flag that sits atop a carbon pole that can be mounted to any part of the kayak. What sets this product apart from other similar products is the thought that has gone into the design. Weighing in at fourteen ounces including the three batteries that power it, the pole is forty eight inches when assembled and fourteen when folded making it lightweight and very portable.
Starting at the bottom of the assembled pole we first see the base that is customisable to suit the preference of the paddler when it comes to mounting to the kayak with the option of ‘RAM’ mounts, ‘Mightybolts’ or ‘Scotty’ mounts. You can also opt to slide the unit into a flush mounted rod holder, the foam at the base keeping it tight to the rod holder when fishing or paddling. Just above this base is an elastic bungee which can be used as a tether for extra security.
Moving upwards we next come to the carbon fibre tubing that supports the flag. Breaking into two sections, the pole is strong, lightweight and very slim in profile which helps to cut down on drag when paddling. There is flex in the pole and it will bend and spring back into shape whenever it comes into contact with overhead items like low hanging branches or the underside of bridges. A length of elastic runs through the length of the product to keep the pieces together when packing and storing, much like the way tent poles are constructed.
The top of the product features a cylindrical section for the placement of batteries which is covered with a couple of wraps of SOLAS tape. Above this is the light that the batteries are powering which is fully waterproof. A very useful attachment, the light is emitted from LED’s and is designed in a manner to give out light through the full 360 degrees making you more visible from any angle in low light conditions or even if you fish at night. Just below the light are a couple of elastic loops to which the bright flag can be attached, another very clever design feature that allows the flag to be removed to double up as a storage pouch for the whole kit when you are off the water.
I have been using this product for close on five years now and I am still as impressed by its simplicity and functionality as I was when I first bought it. I feel that I am more visible on the water because of this product and really like the 360 degree visibility that it offers. The light is fantastic when night falls and not only does it show people my position, it provides ample light for baiting up, changing rigs, tying knots and any other small job that requires light at night. I am still using the original batteries that came included with the product. One concern I did have when first using the product was the potential of snagging the flag when casting lures. When mounted to the rear of the kayak I have never once encountered this problem, even when fly fishing.
At £75 the Visicarbon Pro is a product that will not only raise your visibility, it will shine a light during the night fishing sessions and is very much a product that has been built to stand up to the rigours of kayak fishing.
The Yakattack Visicarbon Pro is available in Ireland through the Canoe Centre.
Review seen in Sea Angler