Can The Color Of A Fishing Kayak Scare Fish?

When you’re out fishing and trying to get the catch of the day, any little detail can be significant. And if you’re looking to choose a new fishing kayak, you might be wondering, “can the color of a fishing kayak scare fish?” Could a bright object in the water warn fish that there is something to be afraid of?

Can The Color Of A Fishing Kayak Scare Fish?

The answer is no. The color of the kayak does not appear to matter to the fish. Bear in mind that your kayak will look like a dark shadow from under the water even if it is a bright color – so you don’t need to worry about scaring away fish with a bright kayak.

What Color Should My Kayak Be?

You might then be wondering whether it matters what color your kayak is. After all, what difference does it make if it doesn’t bother the fish? 

There is a good reason to think about the color of your kayak, and the color you choose will depend on whether you want to be very visible or to blend into your environment.

Both of these options have pros and cons. Being visible reduces the chance of being bumped into by a powered boat that isn’t paying attention and increases your likelihood of being rescued if something goes wrong while you’re out on the water.

Being concealed may help you to hide a great fishing spot from others or just give you some peace and quiet out on the water. You may feel more at home in nature if your kayak isn’t bright and bold.

Secondly, if you are hunting other things from your kayak, such as waterfowl, you may want the concealment offered by greens and browns. If this is the case, you may want to consider choosing a camouflaged kayak.

What Colors Should I Choose For Safety?

When it comes to safety, visibility is essential. The fish don’t care about a kayak’s color, but a bright kayak will be far more visible to other people, which is crucial to safety for many reasons.

Firstly, it makes it much easier for people to avoid crashing into you as they paddle about on the lake. If you’re fishing and therefore stationary, they may not be able to hear you, but they should see a bright orange or yellow kayak in the water. This can help to prevent collisions, especially when visibility is poor.

Secondly, if something goes wrong and you are stranded, washed out to sea, or stuck out on the lake for any reason, you will be far easier to spot from both the land and the air if you have a bright kayak.

For a visible, safe kayak, choose one that is red or orange. These colors rarely occur in nature (at least not at the size of a kayak), so they will stand out very well against water and land. In addition, there is little chance of these kayaks blending with a rock, mud, reeds, or anywhere else that you might be stuck.

If you frequently kayak where there is white water, you should not choose a yellow kayak. While a yellow kayak might look bright in a shop, it can blend surprisingly well with the whiteness of waves and may be hard to see, especially from the air. Instead, stick to reds or oranges for the best visibility.

If you need rescuing, a big, colorful kayak will be far easier to spot than anything else you are likely to have. So having a bright one is a great way to increase your safety when you are out on the water.

What Colors Should I Choose For Concealment?

What about if you would prefer to be inconspicuous? 

You may only kayak in places where you feel very safe, or you might have other solutions to the visibility problem. You may want to choose a green, brown, tan, or sandy-colored kayak in this case.

The exact choice will depend a bit on the sort of environment you usually kayak in, but any of these should offer you decent concealment in the water. Some kayaks even have camouflage colors, allowing you to blend with almost any environment.

This won’t help you sneak up on fish, but it will help you stay inconspicuous on the lake and may keep you hidden from other animals. These kayaks are also gentler on your eyes if you’re sitting for long hours fishing.

If you opt for a muted kayak, make sure you have something visible in the boat so you can use it if you need to be seen by rescuers or other boaters. Reflective strips may also be an excellent addition to the boat; you can cover them when you want to be inconspicuous.

Why Aren’t Fish Afraid Of Bright Kayaks?

You might be wondering why fish ignore bright kayaks drifting above them. 

After all, bright colors are probably relatively rare in a fish’s world, so it seems like this should alert them to potential danger.

From below the surface, all a fish is going to see is the shadow of the kayak, not the color. The shadow is likely to scare them away, but the color will probably not do so.

Fish are wary of large, shadowy objects moving above them, of course.

Many fish are vulnerable to attacks from birds of prey, so they are generally afraid of shapes above or on the surface. However, this fear is in response to the absence of light, not the hue that they see.

Some kayakers believe that the kayak’s color can spook fish, and some, therefore, choose to paint their kayaks blue on the bottom to hide better. 

Nevertheless, the consensus seems to be that the kayak’s color is irrelevant to your fishing success.

ReelFM does mention the slight possibility that a white kayak might frighten fish more than other colors. This is because many fish have pale undersides, so the fish might think another, much larger fish is drifting above them.

However, this is still pretty unlikely. Fish have white undersides to make themselves less visible against the surface, and we have no way of knowing whether other fish recognize/respond to this sort of thing or not.

What is clear is that casting a shadow in the water will frighten the fish away, so if you’re close enough that the color could be a problem, you have likely already scared the fish off with movement, noise, etc.

How Can I Avoid Scaring Fish?

The best way to avoid scaring fish while kayaking is to fish a reasonable distance from your favorite fishing spot.

Don’t try and fish directly under or around your kayak. Instead, cast your line further away, where the fish haven’t been disturbed by the noise of your kayak. The movement of the paddles or the shadows you are casting.

Try to keep your voice down if you’re speaking, and move slowly through the water. A lot of sound and splashing will scare all nearby fish away, so minimize the disruption that you cause.

Final Word

The color of your fishing kayak does not matter to the fish. Choose based on safety vs concealment and personal preference, and instead use quietness and a slow approach to avoid frightening fish.

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