Q&A

KAYAK AN­GLING

Sea Angler (UK) - - SEA SCHOOL -

Q: What ad­vice would you give on judg­ing whether or not it might be too rough? CHRIS PECK, BY EMAIL

MC says: I made a very sim­ple de­ci­sion when I first started us­ing a kayak. If I have to ask my­self if I should launch or not, the an­swer is not.

Over time, I got bet­ter and pushed my bound­aries, and there’s very lit­tle weather now that I’ll not ven­ture out and fish in, and I’ve yet to come a crop­per.

There is no sub­sti­tute for prac­tice, and you should never blindly fol­low some­one else if you’re con­cerned. I have more than a thou­sand launches un­der my belt now, in all con­di­tions and in many dif­fer­ent kayaks over the last dozen years, and there are still times when I just say no.

Q: I’ve read about out­rig­gers that can be at­tached to help sta­bilise a kayak. Are these worth buy­ing, or should I change my kayak for a wider one? GRANT STEVEN­SON, BY EMAIL

MC says: No to both. The sta­bil­ity of a kayak is a com­pro­mise be­tween how it sits on flat water and how it han­dles in rough water.

Time spent us­ing and prac­tis­ing will in­crease your own con­nec­tiv­ity with your kayak and in­crease your sta­bil­ity through com­pen­sat­ing in­stinc­tively to all move­ments.

It’s sim­i­lar to get­ting used to walk­ing on a ship. You would soon negate the need for any ac­ces­sories that can get in the way, in­creas­ing water and wind re­sis­tance, so they will be­come su­per­flu­ous over time.

I reg­u­larly fish in rough con­di­tions, and all my kayaks are slim with hull shapes more in­clined to speed through the water with their flat water sta­bil­ity re­duced. When I'm an­chored in con­di­tions that are less than ideal, I put my feet over the side, (as above) act­ing like out­rig­gers, with the added bonus of be­ing in­stantly ad­justable just by mov­ing.

The dan­ger with fixed ones is that they can con­trib­ute to an in­creased chance of flip­ping you over when hit broad­side by a steep wave; they can get caught around the an­chor and fish­ing lines; and they also slow you down con­sid­er­ably when pad­dling.

With prac­tice and con­fi­dence you will soon find that you can stand up (ab­voe left) on your kayak if you ever feel the need.

Q: Can you sug­gest a good un­der­suit for my dry­suit for win­ter fish­ing? I use fleece or ther­mal trousers and tops, lay­ered. Is a one-piece suit bet­ter? PETER TUCKER, BY EMAIL

MC says: Def­i­nitely! Many dry­suits come with a thin, one-piece base layer, but this of­ten isn’t enough for pe­ri­ods spent at an­chor rather than pad­dling.

I turned to the scuba div­ing com­pa­nies for a so­lu­tion, and the one I chose is my one-piece Wee­zle Ex­treme. It’s flex­i­ble, com­fort­able and warm and hasn’t re­quired the use of other lay­ers, even in the mid­dle of win­ter. I also have the bootees, which are very good, but do re­quire larger than nor­mal boots to go over them, and you need to make sure that they fit in­side the dry­suit socks.

There are other brands mak­ing sim­i­lar prod­ucts, so visit a dive shop to check for fit and com­pare qual­ity and prices.

In spring and au­tumn, I use the lighter Palm Tsangpo one-piece suit.

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