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Canoe and Kayak Fishing

The canoe or kayak is an environmentally friendly craft leaving no trace of its passing. It is an ideal craft from which to fish. Both have long been a means of accessing fishing spots and none more so than today.

Canoe and kayak fishing has gained popularity as the Sit on Top (SOT) kayak has been developed. Many fishermen keen to widen their fishing grounds have bought a kayak and found that they get hooked on the kayaking.

While many canoe and kayak anglers undertake plenty of training and ensure they carry all the relevant safety equipment, there has also been a significant increase in more casual users taking up the sport. People that don’t have any previous experience on the water are trying out the sport for the first time.

Membership of British Canoeing and its associated federal bodies provides significant benefits for people taking part in canoe and kayak fishing and gives access to an extensive network of qualified coaches, affiliated clubs and centres.



Be careful, be cautious

Canoe/kayak fishing has inherent risks – getting hooked, falling in slippery rocks, water dangers and others. You must minimise these risks as much as possible, and be aware of the dangers and consequences. You must also have total control over your gear, tackle and boat to avoid accidents.

Start easy and Keep Things Simple

Start easy and build up paddling skills. While you may have been fishing for some time, it is important to let the development of paddling skills dictate early ambition and Keep Things Simple. Don’t take too much gear and make sure you can manage what you have without it compromising your overall safety.

Be sure that everything you do take is stowed in a small container and nothing is loose on the kayak floor.

Safety first

Canoeing and kayaking in sheltered waters e.g. small lakes, canals, slow moving rivers (be aware of weirs) and sheltered harbours, where there is little chance of being blown out to sea, is a great way to gain experience but it’s easy to underestimate the potential hazards.

To ensure you, your family and friends stay safe while enjoying your paddling experience here are some basic top tips and equipment recommendations. Always:

  • Undertake suitable training in how to use all of your equipment.
  • Learn and practise techniques to get back on board your kayak should you capsize.
  • Ensure you are a confident swimmer
  • Ensure your kayak and equipment are well maintained and ready for the water.
  • Check your craft has integral buoyancy fitted, the hatches and drain plugs are secure and watertight, paddle is in good condition, seat is firmly attached, and all gear secured safely.
  • Wear a suitable approved buoyancy aid/personal flotation device (PFD).
  • Ensure your PFD fits correctly and all the straps are done up securely and use crotch straps if fitted.
  • Wear suitable clothing for the season and conditions, such as a wetsuit/drysuit and layered clothing; wear a hat and gloves in cold conditions.
  • On a sit-on-top kayak the paddle should be leashed to your kayak.
  • carry a suitable means of calling for help
  • Take a drink and snack with you (energy bars, dried fruit, nuts and chocolate).
  • Where possible paddle in a group.
  • Tell someone back on land where you are going and what time you will be back.

Check the weather, water levels and tides (if applicable) before you depart, be aware of wind strength, especially offshore winds (where the wind is blowing out to sea)

Advise the local Coastguard of your planned journey. Sign up to HM Coastguard’s Voluntary Safety Identification Scheme (CG66).