Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Preparation is Key

     I'm not a pessimist by nature, but I believe in being prepared for the "what if" situation. My typical kayak fishing trip usually consist of pushing off around sun up and heading back in six or seven hours later. No big deal. I've had one close call since I began kayak fishing, and that was because of my own stupidity and inexperience. I have trolled countless forums, websites, and first person stories about how mother nature can flip the script on you in the blink of an eye. 
     
     I'm not saying that the "perfect storm" will come flying across lake Lewisville or that fishing from you favorite launch spot will heave you stranded miles away from civilization, but I do believe that a careless approach to any outdoor activity can lead to less than desirable situations. 

     A perfect example of what I'm talking about is a story I was told by a close friend in South Carolina. An avid kayak fisherman set out of a simple day trip of five or six hours, like he usually did on the weekends. It was mid February and very cold out side and in the water. After fishing for a few hours he decided to pack it in and head home when he turtled his kayak trying to sit back down from a standing position. He wasn't exactly in the middle of nowhere, but he was five or six miles away from his truck. Hypothermic effects started to set in very quickly he realized and he decided that trying to paddle it out was not his best option. He always kept a dry bag in his front hatch that had dry socks, t-shirt, waterproof matches, and a variety of other handy items. He paddle himself to the nearest shoreline and immediately made a fire and stripped off his wet clothes. He put on dry socks and a dry shirt and warmed himself for an hour or so before trying to paddle back to his launch spot. He made it home just fine with only a scary story to tell. 

     You can find stories just like this, and some even more tragic, that happened close to home when conditions go south in a hurry. You don't have to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, but it doesn't hurt to tuck away a few items that could turn a bad situation around in a pinch. I too carry a dry bag in my front hatch that has dry socks, matches, Life Straw (for dehydration emergencies), emergency blanket, superglue, and a first aid kit. I packed the bag once and never take it out of my kayak. Call me overly cautious, but I believe being prepared for a life threatening situation, or just a bad situation, can make all the difference in the world to me. 

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