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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:03 pm
Posts: 41
I left Anchorage, AK it was minus 7 deg F. Rolled through Sterling, AK and checked the area weather and it read 19 below in Kenai Alaska. Ouch. But my destination Homer another 90 miles down the road is reading 13 degrees so I keep on rolling. I get there and the water looks great. Of course once I am on the water, it starts blowing up to 15knts making for a pretty decent wind chill.

I was amazed how warm I stayed with relatively few layers on. Toes and fingers got a tad nippy, but that's easily fixable.

Spectra line was a bummer. The only saving grace was it was cold enough to freeze the line immediately so the spool on the reel stayed relatively dry,

I had a MAJOR issue zipping up my drysuit. rubber turns to steel even when moderately cold. Even though I could easily zip it when it was off, once I put it on, I could not zip it up. I drove 4 hours one way and I almost gave up because of it. It was inside the vehicle but in a cold spot.

I had greased the rudder lines and they performed fine. Mirage drive worked fine as well. The only other problem I had was as i was coming into land, I yanked on the "down rudder" line to unlock it. Then I yanked on the "up rudder" line...nothing. Huh? The shore is fast approaching and I look at the locking cleat and it is encased in ice. I would have broken something had I kept yanking. So I jump out prematurely into frigid water and bang on the cleat with my fish whacker until finally the line breaks free.

After about three hours I had about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of ice built up on my Outback. I decide to call it a day when the swells get large enough and steep enough that every few minutes I would catch a ride on a swell large enough that it would trip my deep six diver I was using as I surged forward. So discretion being the better part of valor, I call it a day.

I didn't catch any king salmon but I did manage a few pollock. But I will declare victory knowing that I can comfortably fish in 15 deg weather and my equipment will function properly. Basically what that means is that on any given month, I can legitimately get out and catch fish using my Hobie Outback. That's pretty cool when you live in Anchorage, AK!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:56 pm
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Your friggin nuts! All that and you were by yourself? :shock:


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:03 pm
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SeaWeed wrote:
Your friggin nuts! All that and you were by yourself? :shock:


I was by myself. Probably not the safest thing I could do, but I didn't fear for my life either. There are definitely items that will increase survivability that I am working on. But I will say the issue will be with the operator and not the kayak. So The Outback came through with no issues other than the rudder lines locking down due to ice. Keep in mind water temps here are in the 40's even in the summer time. Can't let cold water keep you off the water. Last time I checked these kayaks were designed and used extensively by people living in the arctic. BUT safety first!!!!

I've gotten input from other forums and I think there is no way around doing a full self rescue and water immersion test in these cold temps. it just is going to take a little planning. I have several friends who crab fish in Alaska (ala Deadliest Catch type stuff) and they all don't seem to think its an issue to survive. Now how cold and uncomfortable you are after surviving is something else.

I'm not so worried about the ability to self rescue. The water is 10 to 30 degrees warmer than the air temp. It's what happens once I haul myself back on to the kayak. Frozen fingers and wet hair and head in 0 deg temps could be an issue. I think my body will be fine but I guess you never know. Cold water could cause cramps. But I don't think any of the pain or discomfort will get in the way of survival. So one day I will book a room and at the end of the day give it a go. Self rescue and see how long I can kayak around after the self rescue. Much like Hawaii, the swells get bigger in winter and I have seen surfers out there. Not sure what the difference is. Maybe one day I will take my kayak out and surf the waves and see how it feels to get dumped right on shore in the middle of winter.

Cold weather testing may have to wait. Temperatures increasing to 40 deg this week. HEAT WAVE!!!!!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:48 pm
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Location: Missoula, Montana
I snorkle and spearfish for pike in Montana from an anchored kayak. I start shortly after the ice melts off the lakes, and continue until late October or early November. At the beginning and end of the season, the water temperature is in the high 40's or low 50's. I wear a drysuit to keep warm while snorkeling. On a typical day of spearfishing, I'll spend 4-6 hours in the water with only a break for lunch, although I do get in and out of the kayak periodically to put fish into my cooler. I wear 13-16 pounds of weight on my back in a free-diving backpack, and about 3.5 pounds on each ankle, which makes getting into my kayak more work than if I was only wearing a dry suit and a life vest. I also whitewater kayak in cold weather, sometimes with chunks of ice floating in the water.

If you're wearing a dry suit with enough clothing under it to keep yourself warm in below-freezing conditions, I think you'll find that you aren't going to get cold while doing a self-rescue, which should take less than 30 seconds unless you get tangled up in your fishing gear. If you wear a neophrene hat or hood while kayaking, that will keep your head warm if you end up in the water. When you're fishing, a hat will be more comfortable than a hood, and a thin hood will be more comfortable than a thick hood.

I'd suggest practicing self rescue in warm weather, first in an empty kayak, and then in a kayak with a full load of fishing gear. If your rod holders, fish finder, net, and other gear may make it awkward to right your kayak and get back in it, it would help to have a mental game plan for self rescue. For example, will it be easier to right your kayak if you are towards the bow or towards the stern? Will it be easier to get back in your kayak on the left side or the right side? Practicing self rescue with a full load of fishing gear may encourage you to change your gear, if you lose gear which isn't attached to your kayak with leashes or otherwise, or if you end up with a big snarl of leashed gear hanging down into the water.


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