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How to Pack Your Kayak for a Fishing and Camping Trip

How to Pack Your Kayak for a Fishing and Camping Trip

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Are you going on a fishing kayak expedition? Use these tips to pack your fishing kayak gear.

Kayaking can be quite an addictive sport to indulge in. It can be attributed to the thrill of adventures in the water or the fact that it is an inexpensive sport. Either way, the sport has wormed its way into the hearts of many water lovers.

Kayaks can be used for touring, surfing, and fishing. Proper preparation before your kayak fishing adventures should help elevate your chances of enjoying the experience. This article will help you pack your fishing kayak to ensure you are prepared for any situation.

Choose an Appropriate Kayak

Kayaks come in different sizes and designs to suit different uses. Short kayaks are the most recommended for fishing as they are easier to maneuver. They are, however, much slower than their larger counterparts. 

Additionally, the color of your kayak also matters. Choose a brightly-colored kayak that reflects light and thus makes it easy to spot. Since you are on the lookout for fishies, let the bottom of your kayak blend in with the water’s color. It may be blue or green.

It is also wise to choose your fishing kayak as per the weather conditions. Sit-on-top kayaks are more appropriate for warmer conditions than sit-in kayaks as there is better airflow. Choose a kayak with sufficient storage space, as it will dictate how much you can pack in your fishing kayak.

Pack Fishing Gear

Since you are going on a fishing and camping trip, a quality landing net is essential to bring in the fish that you catch, especially if you want to catch large fish. Fishing rods are also at the heart of your fishing experience. 

It is vital to carry multiple rods of different sizes to help your fishing. Another creative thing you can do is carry a two-piece fishing rod that can be broken down into smaller pieces and easily stored. The cockpit can be a great storage spot for the two-piece rod.

Pack Safety Gear

Safety in kayaking is of utmost importance. You should invest in personal safety gear such as a helmet and a life jacket, also known as a personal floatation device. It is also essential to pack extra helmets and jackets to help any fellow kayakers who are in trouble. Remember to pack a compass and whistle just in case you get lost. Anchors, lightweight paddles, and paddle leashes are essential gear to have for when tide winds get too intense.

As most of this gear is lightweight, it is recommended to pack them in the front hatch of your toy. Do not worry about over-packing safety gear. It is better to have extra than not enough. Take note of these kayaking safety tips on your next adventure.

Have Extra Storage

Most kayaks have space to pack your essentials. They have rod holders to store your paddles. There should also be tank well storage at the rear of your kayak. This space is especially great for scuba divers as they store their tanks in this spot. Another essential storage is the crate system. The extra storage helps ensure space for your fishing gear, tackle, rods, and fishing nets.

The crate system can be divided into a hard-side crate and a soft-side crate. The hard side is tough and is not easy to crush under the harshest conditions. The soft side system is easier to install and fits better than the rigid system, thus it is preferred by fishermen. The milk crate system is also a great storage option if you are cash-strapped. Milk crates are pretty flexible and can be DIY’d. 

Gear bags are another great alternative to crate systems. They are built to be compact to fit in any space available. These bags have many pockets to help you be as organized as possible, unlike the crates that may not have compartments. Keep in mind as you pack using gear bags to have the kayak balanced, which helps in steering. An example is the Duluth bag, which has extensive storage. This backpack can house all the gear you need for your kayak fishing trip.

Pack Personal Items

Pack some extra clothes in case you get wet or the weather changes. Put your clothes in a dry bag to prevent them from getting wet. Strap the bag to the side of your kayak or the front hatch if there is enough space. Do not forget to put your phone, identification, wallet, and fishing license in a smaller dry bag at the cockpit for easy accessibility.

Fishing hats and sunscreen are essential personal effects that make the experience memorable.

Packing Food and Water

It can be easy to mess up when packing food for your fishing trip. Most fishermen use the old-fashioned stuff sack, a nylon water-proof sack that allows them to store similar foods in the same sack. Other fishermen opt to use either soft-sided or hard-sided containers, which have their share of disadvantages. Rigid containers are not easy to pack, while soft containers can mush your food into a no-so-appealing nature.

Remember to carry water to combat thirst as it will most likely be sunny, and chances of being dehydrated are high.

Use Colored Sacks

Colored sacks help in the organization of different essentials for your fishing trip. For instance, you can have a yellow sack for your food and a green sack for your fishing gear. Color patterns are much easier for the human brain to recognize and access on any occasion.

Pack an Emergency Kit

An emergency kit should essentially contain one main thing: the first aid kit. This kit should be fully equipped and easy to access at all times. The kit is essential for minor accidents such as injuries from the fishing rod to other significant injuries.

Your emergency kit should also contain food and water just in case you are stranded. It should also contain a flashlight, a radio device for when you need help, and medicine. Remember to always restock your emergency kit before heading into the water.

If your kayak does not have self-bailing, it cannot automatically remove water that gets in through the scupper holes; as such, it would be wise to carry a sponge pump or any other device that can be used to remove water.

 Pack Camping Gear

Most people want to combine kayak fishing with camping. For car campers, there could be a tendency to over-pack your cookery. This is highly ill-advised in kayak fishing due to the lack of storage space and the need to keep the kayak balanced. Instead of fretting over where to place your Dutch oven and pots and pans, opt to carry packed food in waterproof vinyl bags. These bags will save space and lock in your meal’s scent from wafting away and attracting wild animals such as bears.

How to Pack Different-Sized Items

Packaging various items in your kayak is key to balancing and ultimately contributes to your kayak fishing experience. It is essential to know that heavy items are always packed as close to the middle as possible. Such items are milk crates that house fishing gear and food and drinks, which are packed after the back bulkhead.

Lighter items should go on the back end of your kayak. For accessibility, the cockpit should always be free of load, housing only your personal effects such as phone, fishing license, and identification. This placement ensures that your boat is not overloaded at both ends,  thus enabling outstanding balance and ease in maneuvering.

Trick to Packing Big Items

If you plan to go kayak fishing for a few days, you will probably carry a tent or sleeping bag. The gear, however, may not be the easiest to fit in your hatch. Getting creative with such large items is, however, still part of the adventures of kayak fishing.

For instance, you could take them out of their holding sacks and put the sack in the cargo site by using one hand to keep the sack wide open while still in the hatch and the other hand to fill it back in the sack. This method is excellent when packing into the kayak; pulling out could be another task and frustrating if you are trying to set up camp in a storm or during heavy rains.

Have a Checklist

Always prepare a checklist before you embark out in the waters with a kayak. The checklist will help you ensure you have not forgotten anything in the last-minute rush while staying organized. Things to include in a kayaking expedition checklist include a kayak, paddles, and safety gear such as a helmet and a personal floatation device.

If you go fishing, your checklist must also encompass fishing equipment such as a net, fishing hooks and rods, bait, a fishing license, and a cooling crate to keep your catch fresh. Don’t forget to put personal items such as extra clothes, a phone, and personal identification in the checklist. And if you double up with several days of camping, include your camping gear.

Final Thoughts

People choose kayak fishing for personal meditation and bonding with family and friends. From choosing an appropriate kayak to using crate systems for extra storage, the tips above will help make your kayak fishing experience one to remember.

It is important to remember that safety is essential for an optimal kayaking experience. So wear protective clothing and pack your safety gear.