Checklist for bowriders

Where we build checklists to email out to new volunteers, or bowriders on their first time out. Others may propose and/or begin checklists here, too.
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Checklist for bowriders

Post by PaddleBear » Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:30 pm

Bowriders sit in the front seat of a tandem kayak. This is where the action is. The back seat guy moves the boat around and puts the bowrider into a position where s/he can get the line. It is a very effective team operation and you can get a lot of line this way. We often take new volunteers out for training in the bow position. It is a great place to do this because they will get lots of practice and will benefit from the experience of the back seater.

This is the checklist that I send to new bowriders at Lake Hodges. I usually go through and modify it a little bit for each person, adding dates, times, and at the end I might add notes particular to that person or to that day. I would like to turn this into a generic one that anyone can use, anywhere, or at least adapt easily to their own location. So feel free to reply with comments, suggestions, or a copy of the one you use.
Hi (Name),
Here's my standard first-time-out message, as promised. Please feel free to ask questions or for clarification. I'll tell you all about the program, etc., on Wednesday.


I have you down for Wednesday the 14th at 7AM.

Are you familiar with the kayak launching beach at Lake Hodges? If so, we can meet there at 7:00 AM or so. Sometimes I am a bit late if the dog takes too long on our morning walk, but not more than 5-10 minutes. If you need coordinates for your GPS, the gate is at

33° 4'40.99"N, 117° 6'58.09"W

My cell phone is XXX-XXX-XXXX. Please call if anything arises that prevents you from coming. I will need your cell number sometime before Wednesday in case of problems.

Here's a list of things to bring:

1. Sun hat with chin strap in case the wind comes up. I have one of those straw lifeguard hats. They provide a lot of shade, don't cost much, and mine has a chin strap. Ball caps don't shade your ears - or have a chin strap. My uncle lost part of an ear to skin cancer and I remember everyone talking about it behind his back. It's better to shade everything you can.

2. Sunglasses. Both for UV and for eye safety in case a fishing line breaks and snaps towards you. (It happens.) Photochromic prescription eyeglasses are fine. You must wear them when we are pulling line in case of snap-backs.

3. Shoes that you can wade in and get muddy. You will wade when getting in and out of the kayak and may have to get out at other locations as well. Water shoes, WaterSox, sandals that strap on, old athletic shoes are all fine. It's best if they have some traction on the soles. Flip flops are a bad idea - you may need to get out of the boat someplace other than the launch site. They are too likely to come off and then you are barefoot on the rocks.

4. SUNSCREEN. The sun is getting pretty high by the time we are finished, so use a high SPF sunscreen and put it on thick. I heard a story on the radio, just the other day, where a researcher said that almost nobody puts on enough sunscreen to reach the published SPF. Mohs surgery is not fun (I've had it twice.) Please protect yourself. If you are young, now is the most important time to protect your skin. The burn you get today is the cancer you get tomorrow.

5. Flexible clothing or shorts so you can pedal (the pedals are out in front of you, not below you like on a bicycle), and so you can reach up easily to pull line from the brush. Expect to get dirty.

6. A fleece sweater or something flexible and warm like that might be nice in the cool of the morning. Don't wear your nice one, though. It will probably get damp and/or dirty.

7. We'll be out for around 4 +/- hours, so you might bring a snack. But don't go overboard, just a nutrient bar you can fit in your pocket or something. You should bring water, but it will likely get in the way if you bring it in the boat - the front seat area gets very cluttered when we work. Bladders fill up and become uncomfortable in 3 or 4 hours on the water, so it might be smarter to leave the water in your car and drink it when we return.

8. I have two life jackets for you to choose from, so don't worry about that unless you are really big. Life jackets must be worn at all times while in the boat. It's both the law and our rule.

9. Please make sure your Tetanus shot is up-to-date. We do handle rusty fishhooks and we cannot wear gloves, so it's best to be prepared. You can get one from a drugstore with only a few minutes' wait if you have not already had one within the last few years.

If you have any other questions call or email. Please check with me sometime on Tuesday just to make sure we're both still able to go. Email is fine, my phone is off after 7PM. If I don't hear from you I will text you in the evening.


--Brian M. Godfrey
Kayaking For The Birds - Hands-on environmental conservation.
--Brian Godfrey
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