Essential Kayak Fishing Gear: Safety First

Lake Brittle frozen solid.
This is a list of the major safety gear I carry at all times on my kayak.

Safety Gear
 360 degree light is required by the coast guard if you are launching at night or before safe light. The diy ones I made were dim and I doubt they provided any increase in visibility at night. The worst part they always gave me problems before I launched. The VISICarbon Pro is built to last and is easy on the batteries.It also includes an orange safety flag for better daytime visibility. I also carry a handheld Waterproof  Flashlight clipped on my seat for signaling boats that are getting a little too close or navigating in the darkness.

PFD There are a couple of different ways you can go with life jackets. The two main choices are the traditional foam and the inflatable style. I own both styles as I feel they both excel in certain conditions. In the winter I prefer the bulkier foam jacket as it provides a nice extra layer of insulation to keep warm. There are a bunch of fishing paddling jackets I prefer a simple no frills one.
Inflatable PFD are comfortable on hot sunny days  and also give you a greater range of motion than the other style pfd. They come in two styles automatic and manual. I prefer a manual  pfd require you to pull a string to inflate. It saves you from replacing cartridges because of accidentally                                                 getting wet.

Don't forget to add a Whistle
 to your PFD.

This is second most important piece/pieces of safety gear to the pfd. Especially in the cold you should never wear cotton clothing. Cotton does not retain its insulation properties when wet therefore if you sweat or fall in you cant stay warm. In the summer the cotton can actually have the opposite effect and keep you warmer. I only wear synthetic fabrics while on my kayak except for my socks in the winter which are wool which retains most of its insulating properties while wet.

Rain Gear I carry rain gear with me at all times in the form of a Frogg Toggs Rain Suit because I don't always check the weather before I decide to take a trip.I don't care if it rains on me in the summer but this suit has saved me a couple of times during spring trips when the rain has snuck up on me. If I know the rain is coming in advance I have a real rain jacket that I will wear in combination with breathable waders or snow pants.

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