Ditch Bags aren't just for Ditching E-mail
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 05:41

by; Chris Parson aka SJ Fish Whisperer

Ditch bag ready to go

One item frequently overlooked while gearing up for a day on the water is the Ditch Bag. We rarely launch our kayaks thinking that we could end up in trouble on any specific outing. As such, many of us fail to prepare for even the smallest problem or episode.

The sport of kayak fishing is experiencing explosive growth worldwide. We are all doing our part to push the limits and experience new challenges almost every time we hit the water. Many of you are shaking your heads in agreement at this point. If you are one, you should consider packing and carrying a Ditch Bag.

Ditch bag contents

Most of our planned trips are a localized and specific to a certain area. Usually we know this area and feel comfortable in it. In the past, I would consider this a relatively safe trip. However, as I gain experience, I've learned that when things go sideways, they can do so quickly.

A Ditch Bag should be thought of in a couple of ways, each specific to the person and the area of the adventure. It isn't just for ditching. We all have our war stories and hopefully we learn from them. Briefly, I'll share two of my “I wish I had a Ditch Bag” thought provokers.

Lesson #1 was a couple of years ago I had a bluefish hop into the kayak with me. The fish was attached to a Bomber lure with double treble hooks. Long story short, I ended up with one hook through the palm of my hand and one in my knee. The fish was also still attached and freaking out. My buddy managed to get to me quickly and get the hook out of my hand using pliers. I dropped the fish and now had two hooked knees. (I only use single hooks now and lip grippers are a must) I was in the ICW 3 miles from my launch point. Needless to say, I was dizzy with blood loss by the time I made it back. This prompted me to add a few things to my pre-launch checklist; Gauze, Saline, Medical tape, Duct tape, and CRAZY GLUE.

Lesson #2 came when I was lost in the fog. I didn't have a GPS unit then (I sure do now). Hours had gone by and I absolutely could not find land. ANY land. At the point of borderline panic, I was wishing for GPS. Not having one, I was thinking of throwing the anchor and waiting out the fog. The problem was that it was night, I was wet and cold, and I was just waiting to be run over by someone with a GPS and a motor. So, I've added a few more items to my pre-launch checklist; GPS, extra batteries, flares, a change of clothes, water, power bars, and I am planning to purchase a space blanket.

Ditch bag loaded on kayak

I stuff all of my emergency gear into my waterproof captain’s bag and it sits bungee corded on the stern of my kayak. It is out of the way and a bit hard to get to, but its there! Right where I need it! I haven't weighed it, but its approximately 10lbs. I have no excuse to launch without it. I never will.

Some additional should haves, depending on your outing should include; VHF, EPIRB, medicines or inhaler, small tool kit, and the list goes on and on. Take some time this season and think about what you should be carrying and then pack it. You never know when you or someone with you will run into trouble.

 

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