Recommended tools to keep in the boat.

Questions and Answers about the various tools and equipment used to remove fishing line and litter. This might sound like an odd subject, but every skill is accompanied by its tools and ours is no exception.
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Recommended tools to keep in the boat.

Post by PaddleBear » Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:24 pm

This post will be pinned and will be regularly updated from our own experiences and from yours. If you have suggestions for changes or additions to this equipment list, please reply to this post.

These lists include tools and equipment that we have found useful, not just what "might be nice to have in the boat."

Equipment list for tandem kayak or canoe
Our Hobie Oasis is kind of like the SUV of the kayaking world. It's large and can carry a lot of stuff. I think some of the larger fishing kayaks such as the Hobie Pro Angler will have at least as much space. They are large (the 14' is as long as our boat) and wide and made to haul lots of stuff.

You may want to start with some of the more basic items on this list and add as you find the need. Please let me know if you can improve on this list.
  • One kayak paddle. We only take one because the bowrider doesn't paddle in our Mirage drive powered Hobie Oasis kayak. This frees up the front paddle storage bracket for a reaching pole. After many years of owning canoes, I think canoes will benefit from this same arrangement, though there is probably room in most canoes for an extra paddle for the front seat.

    The paddle is likely to be used to push against rocks, gravel, vegetation and needs to be tough. I have used the paddle that came with my Hobie kayak 108 times as of this writing and while scratched up, it shows no sign of serious wear.

    I'm not going to include a link to paddles. Everyone will either already have their own or there are other resources for selecting a good paddle.
  • Pole/boathook. A boat hook is a very useful tool to have aboard. It can be used to pull line down from high branches, reach into dense brush for line or litter, pickup litter from the beach, etc. We use ours many times a day. You can get a boat hook from a marine supply store or you can put together your own.
    • We have a painter's extension pole with a screw-on boat hook. Ours is about 6' long and extends to about 11'. We sometimes wish it was longer, but longer would be very difficult to store in the boat. By a stroke of luck, the extension pole that we use - which was leaning up in a corner of our garage before this - is the same diameter and length of a kayak paddle. So it is stored in the front paddle bracket on our boat.

      You might have to look around, even check out Craigslist, for a good pole. The ones they are currently selling at the Home Depot are too large in diameter and too heavy for fully extended use. Also check out pool supply stores for pool net handles, etc. If you want a non-extendable pole, any painters extension pole, broom or mop handle, etc. will fit on the boat hook I am about to recommend.
    • The boat hook that we use is SeaSense brand. It screws onto the 3/4 Acme threads that are standard on all sorts of extension poles and broom handles. You can get one here:
  • Grabber. You can get "reachers" or "grabbers" all over the place, but make sure it is a sturdy one or you'll be replacing it often. I went in to one large orange store and picked out what looked like the sturdiest one. It didn't grip well and the one behind it was broken - still hanging there in the display. So I did some online searching and found The Grappler. Their industrial strength model is amazing and highly recommended. Yes, it's expensive, but if you put flotation on it you'll only ever buy one.

    We use the 48" one. Like the pole, we often wish it was even longer, but this really is the best compromise we found between reach and the ability to carry it with us in the boat. Plus, any longer and it would begin to be really heavy and unwieldy.
  • Bags or bucket for line and litter. We actually use those "reusable" plastic bags that you can get at the store if you forget your own canvas grocery bag. We find them all the time while picking up litter, so we don't even have to pay the dime apiece. We reuse and reuse and reuse until they get torn. Yes, they get dirty, but this work is dirty and frankly nobody has ever mentioned it to me, much less complained.

    A new volunteer took a bucket out in her boat and said that it worked really well for fishing line. Amazingly we found a perfect bucket our very next time out! Someone just left it on the shore especially for us. It's a butterfly collecting pail with a hinged lid. But we used bags for a year and they work fine. I wouldn't recommend buying anything special. Just take what you've got around the house on your first day and you are likely to find bags as you go along.
  • Scissors on a tether. A decent stainless steel pair so they won't rust. And tether them to something or you will lose them. Ours are on a short tether attached to the bowrider's life jacket.
  • Waterproof cell phone case on a tether. Even if you have a waterproof phone, it would be best to keep it in some sort of case which can attach to a tether. It won't do you much good if it still works while on the bottom of the lake. I use this one:
  • Tethers. I use ones like this: These seem to be very strong and will probably last a lifetime unless you are a whitewater kayaker. We use them for scissors and phone case and such. We don't use a tether for the paddle. If you drop the paddle it will float for a while at least. We are not usually moving fast when paddling, so if it's out of reach, there's always the grabber or the pole.
  • Crate. A crate is extremely useful if you have the type of kayak that can carry one. You can stow some extra trash bags back there and then exchange them when the first ones get full. It's a handy place to toss bulky stuff, too.
    I have one that fits tight and perfect into the cargo well behind my rear seat. It is held down with the stock bungies. It was very easy for me to find: it was sitting just inside of my garage door and I just picked it up and used it. I was incredibly lucky because these crates come in all sizes. I would recommend cutting a piece of cardboard to fit in the bottom of your cargo well and then taking it with you to check crates for size before you buy one.
  • Tow rope with carabiner tied to one end. Once in a while we find something large that we want to tow back with us. I've got a piece of line about 15' long with a sturdy carabiner tied to one end. I can clip it to the front of my crate and drape it over the top of the crate when I need to tow. This keeps it above the rudder. It's actually high enough that I can raise and lower the rudder while towing as long as there is a little tension on the line.
  • Rescue gear. If you intend to rescue any birds you find, here are some additional items you will want to keep aboard.
    • Net. Sometimes we find birds (or once a bat) that need our help. If you've ever tried to catch a bird without a net, then you'll love this. We use a large folding net like this one: We got it after using an identical one to catch a very energetic Snowy Egret with a broken wing. When folded it fits through the round hatch in front of the bow seat of our Oasis and rides nicely in the bottom of the boat. That's nice because you won't use it often and it is really out of the way down there. It is easy to open and close. When open it will catch most birds you are likely to find along the water. Well, I think a Great Blue Heron would be too big, but most birds.
    • Diagonal cutters. A pair of diagonal cutters is useful for removing fish hooks from the mouths of birds (or that bat). It is important that they are "tapered", meaning they come to a fine point that can reach into a small mouth or beak. Hardened steel cutters will corrode, and stainless ones tend to be expensive. This Aven model is stainless steel, about the right size, has the tapered tip and is more affordable than most. It should last forever if we don't lose them. I drilled a hole in one of the handles so we can tether it. That was very difficult in stainless steel, but worth the effort.
    • Large bath towel in plastic bag. Birds tend to calm down if you cover their head. And if you need to capture a bird that is mostly immobile, you can do it by covering it with the towel rather than netting it.
Equipment list for single kayak
We do not have a single kayak and they vary a lot, so this list is harder for me to make. I will need a lot of advice and feedback from single kayakers to do it well. I suspect that some of the serious fishing kayaks like the Hobie Pro Anglers will have plenty of room for the full double kayak equipment list. Smaller kayaks might get pretty crowded with so much stuff.

I am going to leave off here and give it some thought before continuing.
--Brian Godfrey
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