Fishing at night has its benefits! You can beat the heat through the cover of darkness, the good fishing spots are usually less crowded, and a lot of different types of fish tend to be more active at night. With that being said, have you ever wondered if it’s safe to go kayak fishing at night?
In short, it’s perfectly safe to go kayak fishing at night! As long as you plan your trip wisely and take along all the safety gear needed and use a little common sense, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
If you are not sure how to plan your trip and what essential safety gear that you’ll not only need to keep you safe, but to also ensure that you’re obeying the law, then follow along as I discuss each one in depth below.
Follow The Laws in Your State
The most important thing to remember when going kayak fishing at night is that safety always comes first! This includes following the laws in your state as laws are usually put into place in order to keep us safe.
When it comes to kayak fishing at night, most states require at minimum that you have a PFD on board, a whistle, and a white light that shines at 360 deg.
While the law doesn’t require that you wear your PFD, I highly recommend that you do, especially when fishing from a kayak at night.
Always Wear Your PFD When Kayak Fishing at Night
A lot of kayak fishermen choose to not wear their PFDs when they’re out fishing during the daytime. I have to admit I was once one of those men!
My excuse (which is no excuse) was that it was uncomfortable. After a few close calls, I finally broke down and bought me one of those inflatable PFDs.
It was one of the best decisions that I have ever made!
If you find that your current life jacket limits your range of motion and is just plain uncomfortable, you might want to check into buying an inflatable PFD.
There are a bunch of different brands on the market, ranging in price from around $60 and up to several hundred dollars.
I chose to go with the Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket. It’s mid-range price made it affordable, yet I felt that I wasn’t buying a cheap knock-off.
Lucky for me, I haven’t had to use it yet, but it seems as though it’s made of good quality materials and best of all, I can barely tell that I even have it on.
If you would like to check out the Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable Life Jacket, you can click on this link to Amazon.
Kayak Lights for Night Fishing
As I mentioned above, most states require that you have a 360 deg light when fishing on the water at night. This includes boats as well as kayaks.
YakAttack makes a good light specifically for kayak fishing! It’s called the VISICarbon Pro (this link is to Amazon). It’s 48” long but collapses down to just 14”. It runs for 100 hours on 3AA batteries and is USCG approved.
If you’re are DIY type of guy, then you could always make your own.
Here is a video to help get you started.
Keep in mind that most states require that you have at a minimum a 360 deg shining light. This doesn’t mean that it’s the only light you should have.
I personally always take a flashlight and also a headlamp with me. I even know a few guys who have their kayaks decked out with running lights.
Basically, the more light that you have, the easier that you can see and be seen by other boaters who are still out on the water.
Know The Area That You’ll Be Fishing
Knowing the area that you’ll be fishing can help to prevent accidents from happening.
When fishing at night whether it be from a kayak or boat, it’s always a good idea to know the area that you’ll be fishing. This is also a good idea even when fishing during the day. However, it becomes extremely important at night.
If you don’t know the area that your fishing, it can be easy to get disoriented and lose your way back to your launch site.
Also by knowing the area, you’ll know if there is debris in the water, whether or not there’s a strong current, or dangerous critters around such as alligators and snakes.
Something else that you may have to deal with if you fish in saltwater is the changing of the tides.
Although kayaks will float in extremely shallow water, if you were to get caught at low tide on a sandbar that you had no idea was there, you could be stranded for a bit before the tide comes back in.
Sure, you could always get out and portage your kayak to deeper water, but who wants to do that in the middle of the night?
Invest in a GPS/Fish Finder
Even if you know the area that you’ll be fishing like the back of your hand, when darkness falls, it can still affect your sense of where you are.
This is when having a GPS can really come in handy!
A GPS device will allow you to mark the spot where you launch your kayak, so when you are ready to head in, you will know exactly where to go.
There are numerous GPS devices on the market today. This includes handheld GPS units and also GPS fishfinder combos.
I personally prefer the GPS combo!
Most serious kayak fishermen will have some type of fish finder already mounted to their kayaks. Why not go ahead and opt for one that also includes a GPS? After all, they really don’t cost too much extra.
By combining the two devices, can scratch off one less thing to have to bring with you when kayak fishing at night.
If you want a recommendation for good GPS/Fish finder combo, I personally like the Garmin Striker 4cv with Transducer (this link is to Amazon).
This particular fish finder combo isn’t necessarily built extensively for kayaks, but its small size makes it a great fit.
The Striker has a GPS unit, as well as a traditional CHIRP and ClearVu scanning sonar transducer. It also comes with a built in contour mapping software.
This unit will not only ensure that you can find your way to and from the fishing grounds, but it will also show you where the fish are.
Tell Someone Where You Will Be Fishing
On most days/nights, I usually go fishing by myself, whether I’m kayak fishing or I’m out on my boat. If this sounds like you, then I highly recommend that you do what I do and let someone know the area that you’ll be fishing.
While it’s pretty easy to flag another boater down during the day if you need assistance, there’s not many people out on the water in the wee hours of the night.
Regardless of whether or not it’s night or day, I always tell my wife where I’m going to be fishing.
When fishing during the day, I tend to move around a lot in search of fish, so I’ll give her a general area that I’ll be in.
If I’m going out at night, I’ll limit where I’ll be fishing to just a couple of spots, that way I can be specific as to where I’ll be at.
I’ll also give my wife a time in which I should be back at the launch site. If I don’t check in within 20 minutes of this predetermined time, she knows that something may be wrong.
Kayak fishing at night is a great way to have the best fishing spots all to yourself as well as a way to beat the heat during the dog days of summer.
As far as being safe, it can be as safe or as dangerous as you make it!