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Monday, 03 October 2011 21:51

Deep Water Re-Entry

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As I sit here thinking about what to write about, the leaves changing color outside remind me about some recent posts I’ve read on some forums concerning YakAngling in colder water and an experience I had during my first season in a kayak.  Where I’m not going to cover specific safety and dry gear except for your PFD, and your better be wearing it. What I’m going to talk about getting back into your kayak when you end up in the water after playing turtle, specifically deep water re-entries or self rescues.

Being able to get back on your kayak when you can’t touch the bottom is a skill every kayaker should have.  And it is something you need to practice regularly to make sure you can do it when you need to.  Here is a video Mark Nelson of the Ocean Kayak Fishing Crew put together this summer of one of his practice sessions.  The results of my practice session were similar, I just didn’t have the guts to have someone video tape and share it.

Mark is a very experienced kayaker and as you saw, in near perfect conditions, he did not get back up on the first try.  Now imagine his kayak was full of fishing gear, was in current or at night, maybe the wind was blowing or there was a good swell.  You can easily see how things could get dangerous in a hurry, which is why you need to practice this skill regularly.  

Now the first year I was YakAngling  I had practiced this enough that I thought I had it down, I had even turtled during the summer in deep water with all my gear and got the kayak up righted, all my gear untangled (leashes on everything), and back on the kayak safely.  However, early that fall I went out and since the temperatures had dropped I had on some light weight waders and wading boots.  Well I ended up turtleing again, but this time I could not get back on and the water was in the low 50’s.  I was wearing my PFD, and after the initial cold water shock and panic I calmed down and realized I was not in grave danger since I was in a small pond, but in other conditions I could have been.  So after dragging my yak to shore I was able to remount it and paddle back to the launch.  At that point I unloaded my fishing gear so nothing would get broke or lost and went back out to figure out what went wrong.

Well after a few tries I figured it out, and no my waders weren’t filling rapidly with water and pulling me down, the problem I had was the wading boots were preventing me from being able to kick to help propel me back on to the kayak.   So after removing the boots I was able to perform a self rescue even though I had quite a bit of water in my waders at that point.  The moral of this story is you not only need to practice the self rescues you need to do it with what you plan on wearing in all conditions, and do it before it gets to cold.  Oh yeah and you better be wearing your PFD!

Read 98105 times Last modified on Thursday, 13 December 2012 10:49
Gregg Crisp

About the Author:

Gregg Crisp has been an avid fisherman all of his life. In 2007 he rented his first kayak and discovered kayak fishing.  A year later a new one was in his driveway and he has never looked back. He frequents the waters around Boston in search of Striped Bass, and also spends plenty of time chasing Black Bass in the sweet water.  As an environmental contractor he has traveled and lived all over the United States, having fished in over 20 states. He currently resides in New Hampshire with his wife and two sons. Gregg authors the Blog YakFish.net, is part of the Yak Angler, Werner PaddlesRat-L-Trap & YakDaddy.net  ProStaff and is a member of the Jackson Kayak Fishing Team.



# cmonkey 2018-08-15 20:46
One thing I found after practicing deep water re entries was a new little trick. I've tried paddle floats with limited success, and are time consuming and iffy. But I use my kayak quite a bit as a snorkeling platform, and just try re entry with a pair of swim fins ON! You literally shoot right up to the middle of the yak with minimum effort. So now, although I still bring the float along, I always have a pair of fins that FLOAT. Keep an eye out at garage sales, they just may save your life!
# cmonkey 2018-08-15 20:50
Oh, and forgot to add, should you NOT be able to gain re entry, having a set of fins will get you to shore or shallow water a heck of a lot quicker! I find them indispensable.

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