Sunday, February 8, 2015

The most important gear we (should) own

Ride 115 Loaded down for a trip
This article is brought to you courtesy of Garett VanWie of the Kayak Bass Anglers of Central Arkansas

I have been Kayak fishing for a couple of years now, and one of the things I have learned is that sometime the gear we never use is the most important. Most of us have hundreds if not thousands of dollars’ worth of rods and reels, baits, fish finders, and fancy crates, but how much have do we have invested into safety/survival gear?

First off I would like to state that I am C.P.R certified, I have taken several courses in Emergency Preparedness, and have responded to several “Critical” emergencies (severe bleeding, heart attack, strokes), and unfortunately some of these the folks did not survive. Some of the ways people can give themselves, or others, a better chance of survival in emergency situations is to train and prepare for different scenarios both mentally and physically. This article will focus on proper preparation before hitting the water. 

Get yourself ready 
  1. Think ahead.
    1. Create a “Survival” pack and keep it with you while on the water. This could be something simple stashed away in your life jacket. A lighter, some small fish hooks with line, some high calorie snacks, etc. can make a big difference if you are lost.
  2. Training
    1. Many local agencies offer First-aid and CPR training. It consists of a few hours or a few days of really useful training that could prepare you to face an emergency with confidence.
    2. Many local outfitters also offer survival skill classes
  3. Become Mentally Prepared
    1. Some of the situations I have responded to have been UGLY. I was able to control my emotions and handle the issue due to my training and my mindset.
    2. Think about what kind of emergencies you might face while on the water and how you would address each one. Have a plan in place to better prepare yourself to handle a problem if/when it arises. 
My survival set up
  1. In the boat
    1. All these items float, in case of a capsize.
    2. Roll of duct tape
    3. Several bottles of water
    4. Rain gear
    5. Dry box with matches, bandages, AA Batteries, small strips of aluminum foil, and small flashlight. The batteries and foil can be used to create fire. YouTube it, very cool.
    6. Gallon Sized Ziploc bag with snacks
    7. Para cord/Rope
    8. Super Glue
  2. In my life vest. 
    1. I use a life jacket with a bunch of storage. Not the most comfortable, but it is what’s inside that counts.
    2. Knife
    3. Small Ziploc with small fish hooks and fishing line.
    4. About 100 feet of 10lb braided line. Used for snare making.
    5. Sugar snacks. Peppermints, atomic fire balls, butterscotch, etc.
    6. A lighter. The most important item.
  3. In the vehicle
    1. A change of clothes.
    2. Flammable items. Paper, napkins, fast food bags. My wife calls it a mess, I call it survival preparation.
    3. A Phone charger
I really hope that nobody reading this ever has to face a survival situation, but if you do I hope this will help you prepare for it. If you have any questions, please send me a message on facebook and I will try to help you out.

Thanks and happy fishing.


  1. Excellent reminder for all of us Kayak anglers. I keep part of those things in my boat but not all. Will have to update my go bag. Thanks for the post.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the article, thanks for the feedback