By Ron Strauss, President Of The Minnesota Kayak Fishing Association
You can spend money on items that keep you safe while kayak fishing and you can spend money on items that will improve your fishing success. There's one item that will do BOTH! Sunglasses are an important consideration for any kayak angler, here's why.
#1 Protect your eyes from damage caused by bright light
A blue bird sky sunny day is a wonderful time to be on the water kayak fishing. But extended exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays (UV) can cause cataracts, macular degeneration and blurred vision over time. A good pair of sunglasses will block harmful UV rays. Many times you'll see sport sunglasses with frames that wrap around the sides of your face. These offer the best protection and limit the amount of UV exposure to your eyes.
#2 You'll be able to see fish and target them
Polarized sunglasses allow you see past the glare of sunlight shining off the surface of the water. Your kayak is a stealthy fishing machine. Take advantage of the fact you can quietly sneak up on fish that you can see in the water. Polarized sunglasses give you that vision. Catching fish is fun, seeing them and knowing they are there really gets your heart pumping!
#3 SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY!
This really is the reason I'm writing this article. As kayak anglers, we are close to the water. We are close to fish we land in our kayaks. It's a large part of the THRILL! It's also a large part of the danger. I like to use lures that have a lot of resistance and action as I pull them through the water. You can sense when a fish attacks or interrupts the retrieve. Many times a fish will strike within feet of your kayak. It's a thrill...but if you miss, there's a good chance that lure is heading straight at you! Getting a treble hook in a soft, fleshy part of your body is one thing, getting a hook in your eye is a horrible situation. Sunglasses can prevent this.
I was talking with my friend Todd this past season. We both like to wrestle with big pike. Todd caught a good size pike from his Hobie Pro Angler 14. He got the pike in the kayak and was working on removing the lure. The pike thrashed and the hook wound up embedded in his finger. When you bring a fish on board your kayak, you are within 2 feet of that fish with a hook stuck in it. I really encourage you to have eye protection!
If you fish long enough, you or someone you're with WILL get hooked. I was on a remote northern MN lake with my son and his dog Lucy (that's her in the image at the top of this story). My son was retrieving a lure when a fish struck at boat side. He went to set the hook and the lure came flying at the boat and embedded in Lucy's nose! It was mere inches from her eyes. Panic set in. We were 45 minutes from the landing and another hour from the nearest veterinarian. I always carry a tool for cutting hooks away from lures. If the hook barbs get embedded in flesh, you need to consider having a medical pro remove the barbed hook(s). We cut the hooks away from the lure that was attached to Lucy's nose so she wouldn't thrash and cause more damage and got her to the vet to safely to remove the hook. We had the right tools to handle the situation and Lucy recovered in no time.
Protect your eyes, see and catch more fish from your kayak!
We all LOVE the sport of kayak fishing! Being safe is important. If you have any questions, contact me or the experts at Hi Tempo.