One of the favorite activities in South Texas is kayaking, or yaking as we say. On any given “nice” day you will see yaks on the shallow waters. As water temperature cools, fewer people spend time on the water. This year, on the first of November, it is warmer than usual with temperatures in the 80’s. Weather just right for a weekend of yaking before colder days are here.
Some things you need to know to make water sports in South Texas most enjoyable:
- At this latitude, you always need sunscreen. Remember the sun reflects off the water to burn your face under your wide brimmed hat. Many here wear cloth face sun shields.
- Nourish yourself. It’s not fun to have to come in from kayaking because you get hungry and thirsty. Plan how long you are going to be out and bring food, water and snacks appropriate to that amount of time.
- Plan to get wet. In warm weather, getting wet is not a problem. On cold days, being wet is miserable. Rain gear properly chosen to keep water out makes the difference between miserable and happy.
- Bring a first aid kit for each kayak. Stuff happens. You can get a great little first aid kit in a water tight container for about $8.00. In one trip I some how managed to gather a collection of three bleeding wounds. The kit came in very handy.
- Check the Coast Guard list of required equipment for the watercraft you are using. Much of this equipment will fit in your tackle box.
- Bring a couple of gallons of tap water for washing your hands and rinsing your feet once back at shore, to avoid getting sand in your food or car.
- Safety first. When crossing the a channel, be aware of your surroundings. Since kayaks are not powered, they are more difficult to maneuver. If there is heavy traffic, you will be dealing with wakes from speeding boats as well as waves from wind and the current.
- Plan to take longer getting back than you did going out. How much longer will be determined by your skill, physical health, and endurance. If the wind or weather changes, so will your return time.
If you are considering new kayaks, the articles “Choosing the Right Yak” and “Native Watercraft Ultimate 14.5 Solo Angler Kayak Review” detail our experiences and our final choice.