Probably the oldest recorded use of kayaks for fishing is the Inuit People who used the predecessor to our modern sea kayaks for hunting and fishing. Today there are 3 main types of boat that can be used for fishing. Canoe (open boat single blade paddle), Closed Cockpit Kayaks and SOTs (sit on tops), the latter is by far the most popular. The main advantages of the SOT over the other two are its inherent stability, ease of paddling and, should you happen to fall off, with the proper practice and training you can get back on board easily without the need to empty out any water.
There are several things you need to consider prior to parting with your hard earned cash. The type of fishing you want to do, your size and build and where you intend to use the SOT.
The best advice we can give is to find a good quality outlet that can give appropriate advice and, quite often, even let you try out a few different models before you buy. Most people neglect one of the most important pieces of equipment - the paddle! You could do several thousand paddle strokes through the course of a day so a heavy or wrong sizes paddle could be a real disadvantage, leading to excess fatigue and even injury.
You should also never forget your own safety and a correctly sized and fitted buoyancy aid is a must. These come in many forms, from the very basic to one with loads of pockets for all your gear. Depending on where you are paddling you should also consider taking further safety kit appropriate to the environment. It’s best not to paddle alone but if you must then make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you should be back.
So you have all the gear so where can you go fishing?
In the South West we are surrounded by the sea and generally there is no restriction to taking you kayak afloat and going fishing. At some locations you may be required to pay a launch fee but usually this is a fairly modest amount.
Within the South West there are numerous inland lakes and reservoirs, most of which allow fishing and a lot also now allow kayak fishing. One of the more proactive ones, South West Lakes Trust (www.swlakestrust.org.uk), have organised Flyyak (Fly fishing from kayaks) events which have proved a great success. Access to inland rivers is much more restricted and you would need to gain the permission of the relevant owner/authority prior to kayak fishing on these waters.
If you require further advice there are several places you could turn to:
For advice on training and safety visit Canoe England at www.canoe-england.org.uk
A useful forum at: www.anglersafloat.co.uk
The Angling Trust now provides a kayak - specific membership which includes insurance and much more at www.anglingtrust.net