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Wednesday, 31 October 2018 02:53

Kayak Fishing Etiquette

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It doesn't matter what your outlook on kayak fishing is, there are a couple of spoken and unspoken rules that apply to everyone.

Kayak angling is fast growing in popularity, but this doesn't mean that everyone who takes part in the hobby feels exactly the same about it. To some, it is great for the occasional break from daily life, while to others, it is something that they plan daily life around.  Some anglers enjoy the experience of being out on the water just as much as the act of catching a fish, while others concentrate all their effort on reeling in the next big catch. However, it doesn't matter what your outlook on kayak fishing is, there are a couple of spoken and unspoken rules that apply to everyone. Maintaining proper kayak fishing etiquette will ensure that this hobby remains pleasant for everyone involved. While failing to adhere to any of the behavior listed here probably won't get you fined or arrested, it will help to ensure that kayak angling remains a safer and more enjoyable experience for you and those around you.

1. Launching Your Kayak

When it comes to launching, kayak anglers tend to have a little more freedom than those with other watercraft. This doesn’t mean you are not allowed to make use of public ramps, but if you do, then make sure it is done in a courteous manner. If the ramp is deserted, then by all means take your time, but if there are other people waiting for their turn to launch, then it is good etiquette to get done as soon as you can. Nobody likes waiting around to launch while someone else is using the ramp to equip their kayak or hang out with their friends.

2. Passing Another Angler

If you are fishing in a large body of open water, then passing another angler shouldn't be much of an issue as you have plenty of room to maneuver. However, if you encounter someone in a narrow creek, then the situation changes slightly. Here it would actually be irresponsible of you to pass on the opposite side of them as you'll be disturbing the spot where they are trying to fish. Instead, communicate with the person and inquire where they would prefer you to pass them in order to cause the least amount of disturbance. Some people may be jerks in this regard, but in most cases the issue can be solved cordially. This courtesy should extend to shore anglers as well if you encounter them. They are far less mobile than you are in your kayak, so give them a wide berth if at all possible. 

3. Encountering Other Anglers

Some kayak anglers enjoy a little company out on the water while others are there precisely because they want to avoid it. If you spot someone else kayak angling, it is not always a good idea to rush up on them and try and start a conversation. If your friendly wave is not returned, then it is probably better to keep your distance. If you are within chatting distance, but all your questions are answered with a "yes" or a "no" then you are more than likely dealing with someone who would prefer to be left alone. Some anglers are eager to talk about the gear they are using, while others treat it as a state secret. You'll quickly notice which camp the person you are talking to falls in, so don't push matters. 

4. Keeping Your Distance

While it is true that nobody has a monopoly on fishing spots, it is still good etiquette to respect the space of other kayak anglers. If someone has found a good fishing spot and they don't mind that you join, then they will wave you in. If not, don't crowd them or fish across their path as this will just cause unnecessary conflict. Getting into an argument with someone over a spot that you consider to be yours just because you fished there before is unlikely to end well. Next time, simply get there earlier if you want to fish the spot. 

5. Don't Cause A Disturbance

Sometimes it is inevitable that you are unable to keep your distance from other anglers, especially in popular fishing spots. However, this doesn't mean that you don't have to be careful about disturbing either the other anglers or the fishes. Some fish are easily spooked and not everyone is going to appreciate your taste in music, so try and keep the amount of noise you make to a minimum. The same goes for causing any time of disturbance to the environment. Make sure that you clean up after yourself and avoid littering at all cost. 

The Bottom Line

Etiquette for kayak angling can basically be summed up as "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Like any outdoor activity where the general public can be encountered, you will inevitably run into some people who are rude and disagreeable. However, for the most part, kayak anglers would much rather enjoy their hobby instead if getting into altercations, so if you behave out on the water you should be fine. 

Let us know what your golden rules for kayak angling etiquette are and what some of your worst encounters on the water have been. 

Read 1035 times Last modified on Wednesday, 31 October 2018 03:27
Naomi Bolton

Yakangler's Community Manager and Editor - in charge of sourcing news and articles for the website. ┬áIf you have any ideas for new content, please do get in touch with me at: [email protected]

More in this category: « River Fishing Tips

Comments  

 
+1 # Racerx 2018-11-06 09:39
I think number 4 could very well be expanded by mentioning that one should ASK if another kayaker minds if you fish a spot he's already occupying. Too many times, I've seen or had someone rather callously come right up into a spot I, or someone else, is already fishing, and just starts lobbing casts into that same spot. It's a very good way to get large heavy lures fired back at you!
Just as bad are boaters who pilot right between you and where you are casting. I've had someone do this, all the while staring right at me the whole time. Apparently, they don't really understand what it means when you throw your hands up in disgust, either.
 

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