Monday, June 25, 2012

Tangled in fishing line on the Riviere Rouge in Mont Tremblant. This is why I wear a kayak knife!

Well, it finally happened. I needed to cut myself loose from a tangled mess of fishing line. And I did, when I hobbled over to my Maelstrom Vital 166 sea kayak to fetch my kayak knife out of a hatch!

I had just stopped wearing my kayak knife in my PFD a week earlier. It was a bit bulky when I Cowboy Scrambled up the back deck of my kayaks. And some people kept telling me for years, "You don't need to wear a kayak knife. It's more likely to get in your way. Just stick it in a hatch." So I did.

Then, just before launching from a sandy, rocky shoreline along the Riviere Rouge (Red River) in Mont Tremblant, Quebec (Canada) one fine day, I stepped into my spray skirt and started to pull it up like I usually do. But this time, I felt something wrapped around my ankle and leg and tightening more and more as I pulled my skirt up to my thighs.

I looked down and saw a tangled mess of fishing line all around my ankle and wrapped around my spray skirt.

I was alarmed. How did that happen? I didn't see the fishing line at all. "Was there a lure and barbed fish hooks in there too?!" No - not this time. Lucky me. Trust me, only a paddle blogger would grab the camera and try to take a picture of this mess before grabbing a knife and cutting themselves free. I don't really want to tell you that my camera was handier than my kayak knife that day. But I wanted at least one image as proof. This stuff happens and it could be much worse.
I thought it would be as simple as pulling down my spray skirt and freeing myself. But no. Pulling the skirt back down only made it worse. The tangled mess of fishing line just got tighter and tighter around my leg.

Another, "Oh crap kayaking moment".

I wasn't wearing my kayak knife. I had to hop over to my kayak, open a hatch, fish it out, and then I was able to easily cut the fishing line in several places and I was free. You can't cut this stuff with your teeth.

I couldn't see the fishing line hiding in the soft, white sand and some of it was hidden under a little bush along the shore of the Riviere Rouge in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. Someone had left it behind, or lost it and it blew ashore. I stepped right into it.

So, I'm back to wearing my kayak knife on my PFD.

Soon after, someone rewarded me by stealing my Stohlquist Squeeze Lock Blunt Tip Kayak Knife off my life jacket at a boat launch when my back was turned. They just snapped the plastic knife holder off in two from the knife holder on my PFD and took the entire knife sheath holder and knife. So be vigilant. Your kayak knife is a valuable little thing!

Fishing Issues

More and more people are fishing these days, on the water from boats and from shorelines on lakes and rivers. And those agile, inexpensive, little sit-on-top fishing kayaks have become really popular, making it easier for more fishermen to get into the sport and into a lot more spots.

As a paddler, I'm bumping into more and more issues from stuff fishermen (and women) leave behind, or leave loose and dangling from their boats at boat launches, or just plain lose. Like fishing line and lures with barbed hooks!

I've even come across unattended fishing poles propped up on shore with fishing line attached to baited hooks strung halfway across small rivers while the fishermen go into the cabin for lunch hoping to get a bite while they get a bite to eat - and you can't always see the fine fishing line as you paddle into it with the sun glare.

So, I'm preparing myself and upping my gear bag to be ready for more "fishing issues". More on that later!

Now back to the fun stuff! 

Like padding the beautiful Riviere Rouge in Mont Tremblant,
catching some sun on many of its sandy beaches with my kayak and paddle buddies,
and going for a swim in a little bit of the Riviere Rouge's current without being tangled in fishing line!
Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler


  1. Yep, always carry your kayak knife (or in my case, a multipurpose tool, in your PFD pocket. I tend to come across lots of discarded fishing line, complete with floaters and fish hooks, that are hazards to wildlife. I try to cut and remove such hazards as I see them. Thankfully, I've not had a close encounter like yours!

  2. Yes, that's another good point. Thanks Mike. All that stuff is a real hazard to wildlife as well.