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Extra safety gear for bass fishing kayaks

Staying safe while fishing from your kayak can mean more than just making sure your PFD is zipped. Having gear to get you out of harm’s way, help you be seen and, in worst-case scenarios, help rescuers find you, can make a life-or-death difference.

You’re anchored on a reservoir ledge in deep water, and a tugboat pushing a barge appears out of nowhere. Your anchor is hopelessly stuck; with one hand you pull Outdoor Edge’s LeDuck knife from its sheath and slice through your anchor line. The knife clips to a PFD or can be worn with a neck lanyard. $38.45; outdooredge.com

A thunderstorm blows you to the middle of Lake St. Clair with a broken drive or no paddle. Your phone has no service, but your handheld, floating Cobra 6W VHF Radio enables you to hail a friend or the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance. $119.95; cobra.com
Heavy waves puts your kayak belly-up. An Orion Kayak & Paddle Sport Signaling Kit with a couple of aerial flares, a whistle and a signal mirror can alert distant vessels that you could use some help. $24.99; orionsignals.com
You are stranded after dark but able to call for help via your VHF radio or cellphone. The Petzl Tikka XP headlamp features various degrees of brightness to conserve battery power and shine brightly when help is in the vicinity. Strobe functions and the ability to change to a red light help rescuers find you. $49.95; petzl.com
A personal locator beacon such as the ACR ResQLink 400 alerts rescue agencies via satellite transmission that you need help. Small enough for a PFD pocket, this electronic marvel also works for emergency situations if you’re hunting the backcountry. $329.95; acrartex.com