styk, start with a confortable life jacket and a broad brimmed hat, the basiscs. For long hours fishing in the sun, long pants may not be comfortable but are needed to protect those pearly white legs - i made the mistake of forgetting to roll back down my pant legs after wading out to launch my 'yak on a sunny day at the first of the season...the burn is just fading now! i also add a long sleeve shirt which should have a high collar if the life jacket doesn't have one already... and most don't. i mostly wear sandals for footwear - good for wading out, bad for bug bites between the toes! lol i have seen people wearing waders and boots when kayaking - i can see no sense to this, it seems like a great way to drown to me. (sorry kayak fishing show guy - you are being a bad example (he says to wear them on his show...!!))
if you can find a life jacket with straps that go between your legs you will find this much more comfortable, as regular life jackets ride/climb up your torso while paddling, other wise you have to pause and tug it all back down every once in a while. i have a floater jacket now too - not bad, good for yaking in the rain, but it's a bit of a pain for paddling and worse for casting. easy access pockets help a lot for both.
i almost always wear rain pants now when kayaking. you get wet alot - water dripping from the paddle, the occassional rogue wave rolling over you from behind, little chop sneaking over the side, huge fish being draged into the 'yak or worked on in your lap - all get your pants wet. i have been keeping my wallet in a plastic bag while 'yaking fro years, now having comfortable rain pants helps a lot. it lets you stay warm longer so you can stay out fishing longer. i had a real hard time finding a pair i liked, beware of hunting pants for this, some become anchors!!! they trap the water in the pants - definately a no-no! there is a simple test for this . Walk out into 2 feet of water, walk back. Are your pantlegs still pouring out water? still full of water? get some other pants! lol!
gloves: i've had a number of skin cancers, so gloves seen much more important now. the best i can find for fishing is any heavy cotton glove or gardening glove with the fingers cut off and the ragged edge singed to control the treads from interfering with the line. now if i can just remmember to wear them...it's all a learning proccess i guess.
rain jacket: by wearing rain pants, the rain jacket is much more effective. something with a hood and elastic wrist bands or something similar is a good idea. i have search for years for a full lenght rain jacket to fish in. i have finnaly found some at the dollar stores, look for the full length. these are cheap to buy and cheaply made, but great to use while yaking, lots of room and covers some of the exposed legs and lap.
Add sunglasses both to see the fish and to reduce i strain from the sun....i almost never wear my sunglasses at night...almost never! lol!!!!
I don't wear a wet suit, i generally wear poly or swimming shorts shorts and some sort of synthetic shirt, i have a nylon skirt, keeps most of the drips and stuff off, and can easily be opened for fish and such. I went all out and got a splash jacket for kayaking when i found one on sale. I got an NRS one, if you keep a watch on their website they have different sale items quite often, shipping usually isn't too much (just send it to C&E feeds in main and pick it up, shipping accross the border can cost you a bit more). I like the paddling jacket bacause it's a little bit shorter than a full rain jacket, so you're not sitting on it, and it's got velcro and latex to pull tight around your wrists and neck, only downfall is no hood. I also sprung for a paddling life jacket, it's shorter so it doesn't ride up as much as a regular one. I ganerally don't wear gloves, just lots of sunscreen, i haven't been able to find a pair that is comfortable, easy to grab stuff with and keeps my hands dry when wet.
This is of course for warm weather, if it's early or late season you need to prepare alot more
crocs on my feet, swimsuit type shorts, t-shirt, kayaking pfd, wide brimmed hat and lots and lots of waterproof (or as close to it as I can get) sunblock.
Did I mention sunblock?
So far I have mostly been out in nice weather and on water that I wouldn't mind swimming in temperature wise at least. It makes choices a little easier. Come fall, well things change. I've taken a bit of a lesson from runners. For cooler weather (which I haven't had a lot of experience with yet) I am using clothes that wick the water off of my skin and dry fast. I also have some splash pants to go over the wicking pants. Finally I have some neoprene boots and gloves. I'm not sure how well it will work as it gets colder, but Im sure they will extend my season some.
anybody watch the new kayak fisher on wfn? he basicly knows his stuff, been doing it for years. he lists tips and stuff, most of which i agree with, including this week he mentioned the difficulty of landing fish and working on gear in a yak (didn't mention parabolic but did show you need to allow line to be able to reach) and a couple others that i forget right now. and here's the "but", in the show last week while fishing ontario he almost drown - had to be saved while running a white water section to get to more fishing. the problem was 2 part: first, he found "the hole", a place where you get stuck in the current, in foamy white water, and you basicly don't float down stream, instead you're stuck there; the second problem was the one that made this deadly - the life jacket! he didn't have it tight enough for white water and it was a small style with no leg straps. when he dumped, the straps would have held the life jacket properly in place, instead since it was also lose, it road up his chest and was not keeping his head above water. without a speedy kayak rescue, he would probaley have drown.
this isn't going to happen often when kayak fishing, but goes to show how important the choice and use of life jacket is. my floater coat doesn't have straps...hmm, where did i put the needle and thread?!!!
i striper fish from my yak, so i fish into the cold season. there are only a few differances on what to wear. footwear gets a little tricky - heavy boots aren't a good idea, so i mostly still wear sandals or something similar, just with wool socks. neoprene boots like Bobd memtions would be better still. you can get toe cramps from the cold while kayaking.
the other thing to keep in mind is your coat. of course you will need one, the only thing to remember is to zip/button it up at the bottom at least. if you don't, the coat tails/corners get wet easily. it's a bit disheartening to get cold after a long paddle, then go to zip up the coat...and the bottom few inches are wet and certainly not going to keep you very warm now. same problem with open front sweaters. no big deal, but just connecting them together at the bottom will stop this from happening.
splash/rain pants are good idea, the gloves come in handy too!
(i'll confess i'm looking forward to the fall with splash pants, i haven't had usefull ones until this season)
i was about to get into my kayak to fish the lower Hammond when 3 'yakers came ashore, saying they had been driven off the water by big flies. OH Oh, i'm alleric to one of the big deer/blow flies! so back to the kayak carrier (better known as my car...) and time to open up a new bug jacket and put it on. i also put socks on.
the fishing was good, no big size but plenty of numbers.
the only exposed skin was my fingers...and i still got bit!! left index finger, the bug landed and bit in one motion, dieing for the deed. unfortunatly, the finger swelled immediatly, canceling my plans to fish through to the night for stripers. instead i hung around the cover bridge area, checking occassionaly to see if the rest of the hand, arm etc. blew up, which could be a drive to hospital time...
it ended up i did have a bit more swelling with that hand and called it a day. rotten bugs!
depending on weather conditions and if the bugs are bad it varies....I like the tanktop, shorts and sandle method for hot balmy days on the SJR but as it gets cooler or if the bugs are bad in a certian area I'l dress to suit the elements.
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