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1299 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  JonSS
Since lights are being discussed I thought that I'd share some things that Joey and I have learned.

One thing that I see a lot is that new guys tend to put the cart before the horse. By this I mean that they often have a perception of what kayak fishing is and try to prepare for their preconceived ideas. The reality is often very different. Some stuff isn't going to be learned until you have a yak. Lighting is one such thing.

I don't use front and rear running lights. I'm not a boat and I don't want boats to think that I am. The places that I fish at night with a kayak are places where boats won't venture during the day, let alone at night. The lack of speed and often movement of a kayak might make a boat think that you're a buoy or something stationary and might actually put them in jeopardy. Also I only use a light when I need to, otherwise it ruins my night vision, and it spooks the bass.

I carry a waterproof headlamp which I put on my ballcap. I also carry a 360 degree light that's designed to be seen a couple of miles. I put this in the elastic of my headlamp when I want to be seen. Most of the time I don't. The last item is a red flasher. these can be seen from miles away and are a good item to have. When JOey and I fish at night often we go off in different directions at times for various reasons. Its wasy to know where the other guys you're fishing with are when they have a flashing red Led.
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Coast Guard requirements

here's a good link that lets you know what the Coast Guard requires and suggests:
thanks for the advice

i have been fishing out of the kayak only since last season, but kept it to day light conditions. I will stick to your advice about the lights. thanks for your info and willingness to help. take care.
Jon I feel that all kayaks that go out at night should have running lights.I have been out too many times in windy conditions where I did not hear a boat coming.A flashing light indicates distress and you might have to many people investigate and ruin your fishing.A bow light and stern light indicates that you are a boat/kayak.I believe the coast guard actually requires it.A head lamp turned on is not good from behind and you may end up with a boat coming up from behind.The safest you can be in a yak is at night with running lights.It is far more visible then even that fusia kayak that Magilla Gorilla owns.Having said that I turn off my lights in many areas so that I do not spook the fish.Not safe but stealthy.I always turn them back on near the boat channels
Thanks for the info on the seat...Bummer Doug M
Doug M brings up an important point. We all use our kayaks for fishing differently. I made the mistake of using my personal experience only. there are lots of situations and uses for fishing kayaks other than how I use them. The laws are different too in different states. In NJ a kayak under 16' only needs to carry a flashlight.

A lot depends upon where you're going to paddle. I usually launch near where I'm going to fish and stick near shore and structure. Doug, with what you're doing running lights would be good. You're crossing big open water and to have running lights is a good move. My 360 degree light on top of my head can be seen from all directions and functions as my running light.

What I'm trying to tell beginners is you need to assess where and how you'll be fishing and many things will fall in place once you start participating in the sport. Some things can be learned by reading and some need to be experience.
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