I know what you are thinking: “why would anyone want to catch a rock?” Well, I have to admit that the sudden, solid hook up of an immovable force after countless casts of nothingness sure does get the heart racing. But this is not the type of rock fishing I am talking about here. I’m addressing fishing safety while casting from or around rocks.
Perhaps the best rock fishing safety tip involves an awareness of traction, or lack thereof. Exposed rocks on or near shore are tempting platforms for better casting anglers or to reach greater distances. However, these rocks are often wet, rounded, and covered with algae making them slick. This evidently is such a worthy enough concern in my neck of the woods that a small, western Pennsylvania university even bears the warning advisory name: Slippery Rock.
Rock fishing shoes are chosen for ability to grip, which is important because one slip can put you in the drink and bring a quick ending to a fishing trip. In fact, a rock fishing life jacket would be wise, especially if you are fishing alone. There is a variety of suitable hiking/wading/rock climbing cross-over shoes on the market but I usually make do with repurposed old sneakers. If reaching your casting targets involves wading over slick rocks in cool streams, different types of wader soles are available too. However, when renewing your fishing license be sure to check the regulations regarding felt soles as there is some debate about the possible transfer of invasive microscopic organisms from one water source to another.
Rocks vary greatly by location, water, and weather conditions. Relatively “new” rock like the hardened lava flows of Hawaii are sharp and will shred thin soles. Rocks that were easy to hop around on during the last trip to the river can turn dicey with a brief shower. Even perfectly dry, flat slate can be greasy. Small cautious steps must be included among any list of rock fishing safety tips.
And polarized sunglasses are a must. Not only do they help you see fish in the water, but when that big ol’ rock does bite, but the hook frees and comes rifling back at your face, the eyes have some protection for rock fishing safety. Check for more fishing safety tips and have a save and sound time with your family.
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.