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"Calling All Kayak Anglers"

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In recent months, the kayak fishing community has been saddened by multiple stories, some of which gained national coverage, about kayak anglers that have died. In many cases, it has been speculated their deaths could have been prevented had they been wearing a PFD. The kayak fishing community tends to be rather tight knit and so these stories usually have a big impact in it and raise awareness of the dangers that exist. My local community recently experienced this first hand. I cannot totally explain the great impact it had on our community. When the news story first came out, fellow kayak anglers were scrambling on social media and by any other means in an attempt to identify the kayak and inevitably the missing kayaker. On our local kayak fishing club page, people were checking in and checking with others to confirm if they were okay. There was a general sentiment of panic and fear that: “it may be someone I know.”
 
These incidents have brought much discussion about the importance of wearing a PFD and have even generated debate on PFD laws as related to kayaks. Recently, my fellow YakAngler Pro Staffer, Chris Payne, wrote a great article entitled: “PFD: New Laws Needed?” This article asks the question if laws should or should not be imposed requiring kayakers to wear a PFD. As you can imagine, there were some for and some against laws requiring this. Although, I believe most agreed that wearing a PFD while kayak fishing is something which should be done. My intention for this article is not to re-visit this aspect but to simply make a call to all kayak anglers.

Someone commented that as kayak fishing grows, these types of incidents will increase also. It is my opinion that we as kayak anglers should use the fact kayak fishing is growing to our advantage to prevent future incidents. Allow me to explain. Without a doubt the number of people joining the kayak fishing community has and continues to increase. I have seen it in my local area and I am reminded of this daily as I receive questions or see posts requesting information on what kayak to buy or what is a good starter kayak, etc. I believe it is our duty to take every opportunity to educate new people about the importance of wearing a PFD. It is my opinion we should inform them of the importance of purchasing a PFD which they will wear, even if it means digging deeper in the pockets. Another important aspect is to make sure we ourselves are wearing our PFDs and exhibiting safe kayak fishing practices. In this way, we will be putting a positive peer pressure on newbies. Even if it means that others begin to wear their PFDs because “everyone else is doing it”, to me it is worth the life that may be saved. It is my opinion that if we do all of these things we will form a culture of kayak anglers which will see wearing a PFD as a must. Remember, the kayak fishing community is forming and growing; all of us will play a role in this. It is exciting to think that each and everyone of us can have an effect on the formation of kayak fishing. We are at a point where we can establish trends in the community. My hope is that we all become aware of the role we play in setting these trends and that we make every effort to establish positive ones. Once these are in place, they are hard to change. Maybe one day, all kayak anglers will choose to wear their PFDs because that is just “what we do.” After creating this fledgling kayak fishing culture, maybe anything other than wearing a PFD will be seen as unacceptable. I expect there may be some that disagree. In the end, I am only wanting to save a life by simply “calling all kayak anglers” to practice and promote safe kayak fishing.
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Shane has been kayak fishing since 2009 and is passionate about it. Inshore saltwater kayak fishing is his addiction of choice, however, he enjoys the occasional offshore and freshwater trip as well. He mainly fishes the inshore lakes, bayous, and marshes of Southwest Louisiana but does venture into other territories. Shane is a member of the Hobie Fishing Team and holds Pro Staff positions with YakAngler, Lucid Fishing, and Ship To Shore Co. He was also the founding president of the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club. "My simple goal for this blog is to promote kayak fishing as it is something I love. I will post articles, reviews, videos, photos, and basically all things kayak fishing." ~Shane [Shane Coleman] (https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-2NDpawIFmAk/VXTdW7z-51I/AAAAAAAABBk/bENRfktWrpA/s539-no/df12fc81-bf77-4b88-8326-f65980b08dca)