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Dan B.

Open water boating/fishing safety

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Just wondering about how safe it is to paddle and fish in the big, open water areas of the Chesapeake and the Atlantic. I have been kayaking (whitewater) for over 25 years but have only limited experience in the salt. I have only paddled the Chesapeake once and the Atlantic a few times and was curious about other kayaker's thoughts and experiences regarding this type of environment. I am mostly concerned about boat traffic, jet skis, ships/wakes, etc. I have a yellow Tarpon 140 and my fishing partner has a red boat. We are also thinking of flying some type of flag from a pole or rod to enhance our visibility. Any advice or comments would be appreciated.

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yellow good, red bad(blends in quick and easy), but not the worst. No problems in the ocean, pay attention to your situation and keep your eyes open. It's agreat place for a yak, especially along the surf zone and also the shallow areas where others can't tread. S

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Thanks Scott & BluesCruiser. Have you guys had much experience bustin through the surf at AI, OC or OBX? Do you need pretty flat surf to get out past the surf zone? I have gotten through pretty big surf (4-6 ft) in a whitewater kayak but don't know how a 14 ft SOT would do. And in the Chesapeake, have you paddled out in to the open, deep water areas and if so what have been your experiences in regard to safety?

Thanks Again,

Dan

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HeDan, 3-5 foot from the beach will be a hoot, fortunatley the yak has holes in it that allow the water to drain right through. So point right into them and paddle like heck. You may even want to use your WW paddle for this part then use a toruer when out past the surf zone. Scott

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I fish the open ocean in a WS T120. This is my feelings, if the ocean has sea swells, uniformed and spread apart, no problem. If the ocean is rough with choppy caps, stay ashore. The sloppy stuff makes fishing miserable. Launching and landing is the hardest part. Stow as much as possible below if the surf is up. A friend flipped in the surf and snapped rods and broke his flush mount rod holder, rendering his yak unsafe. Going out pick your spot and paddle like hell dead on. Coming in, wait and follow a wave as far as possible and then paddle like hell, if a wave catches you from behind try to surf it, steering like a canoe, then jump off and quickly pull your yak onto the beach.

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Less is more if you are bringing fishing gear on the Ocean. Be more concearned w/ safety your first few times on the ocean. After a few shots, you get more confident, but don't underestimate the sea, nor overestimate the ability of the boaters. Weekends are out, unless you know some good flat or shallow spots that the yahoos can't get their boats into.

 

Air Horn, Whistle are a must.

An old bicycle flag will work fine for visibility.

 

Plenty of fresh water.

 

Don't forget to leave a float plan with someone back on land.

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Thanks to all who offered their comments and suggestions. I already have a whistle, air horn, VHF radio, compass and GPS and just found a 6-foot bike flag at the department store. I have some shallow spots and areas with sheltered water close by in mind but still want to be able to paddle in the open water of the bay and ocean. It seems like some of the guidebooks I have read warn against this so I was just wondering about other people's thoughts and advice. My biggest concern is other boats; particularly racing types and others that travel at near warp speed.

Thanks again,

Dan

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IT is the paddle blades moving that people see long before thry see the yak. If your that concerned use bright blades or paint yours. I fish almost exclusivly after dark. I applied 4 large pieces of reflective tape on the four corners and carry a blinding flaslight which I only use if a boat is on course for me and doesnt seem to be slowing down. He slows down real good when I blind him for 30 seconds.

barrell

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That's a good Point Barrell. I have an aquabound w/yellow blades. Also, in my experience on the river, even wooden blades are often highly visible when light glints off the wet blades. Don't know how much night boating I will do but I was thinking of using some reflective tape on my boat for early morning and late evening fishing. Didn't think about putting it on my blades but that's not a bad idea. Could really come in handy if you get separated from your paddle and you are trying to locate it in the dark. Thanks for your comments.

Dan

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