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Excellent find, Straps!
I'm a little concerned even about the little bit of water that got in when the air bubble escaped in his first illustration. He's in 54-degree water, he said, which I'm sure is frigid by San Diego standards, but nowhere near as low as the water gets around here. I'm concerned about hypothermia more than buoyancy. Not sure just what to make of that part...
 

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Jim is a god guy, and also crazy.....in a good way.....you should see some of the fishing videos they have for offshore kayak fishing.

I always wear waders when I fish in the winter. I haven't yet fished here, so that may change. But I don't typically fish in areas where falling out of a kayak would cause life threatening situations. Plus in nine years, I have tipped my boat once....and that was the first day I took out my first ever kayak. I also learned where to properly mount flush mount rod holders on a Pungo after that!

There seems to be more concern about tipping over in other areas outside of Florida. Why is that? I admit that my kayak fishing experience is only Florida (that includes the West Coast (Gulf), East Coast and Panhandle) and Texas. I primarily fished flats, rivers and creeks. But there was never anything that would alarm me about paddling/fishing those types of areas where I should be overly concerned about tipping over. We had swells, boat traffic, currents, etc.

Now cold weather fishing and hypothermia is a different subject. I have made a mistep on a cold day in cold water fly fishing a river, where I fell into a rut that caused rushing water to fill my waders soaking me head to toe. I was fortunate there was a big dry rock where I could take off the waders, thaw out and make it back home with all my toes still in place....although I was shivering for another hour. But are the areas fished in NC that much different. Where getting back to shore, or to your launch would be impossible if you fell from your kayak, even in winter?
 

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But are the areas fished in NC that much different. Where getting back to shore, or to your launch would be impossible if you fell from your kayak, even in winter?
(somebody keep me honest)
My impression is that it is a little different. Lots of areas in NC where salt isn't as ready an option as Florida, which can force you onto a large body of cold and deep freshwater. Most of our "lakes" are reservoirs with narrow channels - I think its impossible in our state to not have a view of the shoreline from anyplace on any lake. For the most part you're going to be within 100yds from shore. In 45 degree water, with wind or current, that could prove impossible to get back to.

Inshore saltwater is probably more similar to Florida. You're going to be targeting flats, weedlines, oyster beds, etc... in shallow water within a cast or two of some kind of elevated ground. Lots of places where you cross the ICW or a bay, but a larger pct of your time is spent in 1-2 feet of water. Fort Fisher is maybe the most popular spot for inshore saltwater kayak fishing and its a very large bay, but I think most of the fishing is done along the jetty and islands on the way out and back with the tide.
 

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Cold water is the entire reason I consider for wearing waders or drysuit while yak-fishing. The American Canoe Association recommends taking protective measures against hypothermia any time the water temperature is less than 60 degrees F. And even in cases when you don't expect to get dunked, accidents happen, that's why they're called "accidents".

American Canoe Association ACA

Anyone who's interested in testing their cold-water clothing and re-entry skills, Great Outdoor Provision Company hosts pool sessions in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Burlington, and Raleigh. Cost is usually under $10 and seems to be simply the fee charged by the public pools. The Triangle Flatwater Paddling meetup.com group has met for wet-exit practice on several occasions.
 
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Excellent find, Straps!
I'm a little concerned even about the little bit of water that got in when the air bubble escaped in his first illustration. He's in 54-degree water, he said, which I'm sure is frigid by San Diego standards, but nowhere near as low as the water gets around here. I'm concerned about hypothermia more than buoyancy. Not sure just what to make of that part...
Actually, in San Diego, in the ocean, it would likely be colder than that 54 degrees. Even tho SD is further south than NC, the Pacific is far colder there than the Gulf warmed waters off our coast. If you are thinking about lake waters, then you would probably be more correct that the SD temps are more moderate than here in winter time.
 

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I think that this is excellent information. I have one probelm with the experiment: Jim uses an Ocean Kayak, without any fishing gear. A rigged boat may be harder to get into.

I also disagree that even getting just a bit wet would lead to hypothermia.

Getting wet, whether it is 54 or 35 degrees will definitely be a shock to your system. But if you got mildly wet, as Jim did in all siutations except without any PFD or top, you should be okay, even in something like 35 degree weather. Not that you should hang out and fish for 2 more hours, and then find your way back to shore. That water will detract some from your body heat, but your body will still keep producing heat and the waders and other clothing will still provide some protection and paddling back to shore will provide more heat. You will not necessarily be comfy, but you do still have some protection. Not being an EMT or doc, if there is an injury or shock involved, all bets are off since your thermostat is affected in shock.

I base this opinion not on my many years of experience with waders and winter fishing. I have only been in my new waders like twice. It is based on scuba diving in the near frigid Pacific and other cold places in a wet suit. A DRY suit keeps you dry and warm. A wet suit lets in water, but will provide enough protection that your body temp can warm that water up. As long as there isn't continual exchange of water- cold water perpetually runnning in and replacing the warm, you should keep relatively warm. And same with waders that have gotten a fill. The water will heat to a degree and provide some temp. protection.

All this said, maybe it would be a good idea to try some water rescues in the pool with waders. Good idea Lefty.
 

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I don't know how much wet it takes to accelerate hypothermia -- that was just a concern, not an objection of any kind. Thanks for your insight - you've got mo' better experience there than I do.

I agree that a rigged boat is probably a different beast than unrigged. Practice like you're gonna perform, my band director always used to say...
 

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I never thought about the fact in high school we used to surf with wetsuits in February for hours. Of course, that was a situation where you made the determination in advance that you were going to subject yourself to cold water and you always could get out to some where warm if needed......I dont think most actually decide in advance to fall out of the kayak!!! So that could be somewhat "shocking".

And actually the only time I fell out was in early March on an abnormally cold day in Florida, and in my waders. I was wet and I was cold, however I kept on fishing. It was the first time out in my kayak and at the NMZ which is famous for extremely large fish and very long paddles. There was no way I was missing out on that.
 

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Wetsuits are a whole different "ballgame" over waders and clothes beneath them. Wetsuits work on the principle of providing insulation between a thin layer of water inside your wetsuit and the vast amount of water on the outside. That way your body heat actually warms the water in the suit and helps keep heat loss to a minimum. This of course is not true for waders & clothes. Wetsuits work best when they are well fitted and allow only a small amount of water to get inside (if the warmed water is easily exchanged with new water it defeats the purpose).

I'm not advocating kayakers wear wetsuits as when exposed to the sun and not submerged in water they can make you awfully hot. Just wanted point out the difference in swimming in a wetsuit versus getting submerged in waders and clothes.
 

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Good info from all. Gotta know your own situation. Nobody I know wears any kind of suit or waders. We will still go when it is in the teens.I`ve seen people go in during winter. Several keys to me. I have never seen anybody go in that wasn`t getting in or out. lot of times this means you are at the dock.We are never far from shore anytime, and never far from launch in winter. I always have a towel in a dry bag, sometimes clothes, and always lighter and fluid. Getting to the shore and building a big fire, fast is key. We are not out in the "big pond".I always remind everyone to watch out for that first handful of seconds. Don`t lock up. (body or mind). Most fishermen probably go in without their head even going under, but that first initial shock can cause a gasp. That may be all it takes to do you in. More than a few experienced yakkers (tourers) have been found upside down, skirt on.Never let your hands get so cold you lose dexterity. Read "to build a fire "if you never have. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. I`ll be on Moss lake in the am.:)
 

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i think it's a great idea to test out your gear like this in a pool or other safe water area -- esp. for cold-water kayaking. when i turned my kayak over in jordan back in december (water temps were prob 48-50F), i didn't realize how much protection the 2.5mm farmer john wetsuit gave me. so when i first hit the water -- and got that first rush of *very* cold water -- i panicked, thinking i had only a few minutes to get back in the boat and paddle back to shore. once i got back on the boat -- and got my heart rate down, i realized i was fine, reasonably comfortable -- and that i was never in any serious danger from hypothermia. wish i had taken a dunk in a friend's pool beforehand; it would have given me more confidence in the suit and made me less tempted to panic.

// joel
 
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