In Australia, anyone who goes channel surfing on a weekend afternoon is sure to find an hour or two of television programming dedicated entirely to fishing. There’s a good reason for that. It is one of the most popular pastimes in the country. In 2003, The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey reported that “An estimated 3.36 million Australians fished at least once in the 12 months prior to May 2000. This represented a national recreational fishing participation rate of 19.5%.” There hasn’t been another survey since but it is hard to imagine that the numbers have declined.
The benefits that can be obtained from fishing are much greater than simply catching a healthy evening meal. A 2011 Curtin University report titled ‘Identifying the health and well being benefits of recreational fishing’ found that people who take part in recreational fishing have improved social support networks, better mental health and reduced stress levels. Fishing is unquestionably a great way to relax and unwind.
Catching fish from kayaks and canoes is nothing new. Fishing for food was one of the primary motivations behind the Inuit invention of the kayak 4,000 years ago and Australian Aborigines are also well known to have used bark canoes to take them closer to their catch. In more recent times, petrol powered tinnies have been the preferred means of transportation to favourite fishing holes but kayaks and canoes have become increasingly angler friendly so there is now a shift back in their direction. Stand up paddleboards (SUPs) are now regarded as pretty handy fishing platforms too.
Many long term anglers report a marked increase in their catch rate soon after they start fishing from a kayak, canoe or SUP. That really isn’t surprising given that land based fishing is restricted to public areas of shoreline that can be reached by car or on foot. Paddlers can access pretty much any area of shoreline they wish and they can also move away from the land. Tinnies can do that as well but when was the last time you saw a tinnie in water less than half a metre deep or anywhere that submerged rocks might be present? Paddle craft are also cheaper to buy and cheaper to run than tinnies. The stealth factor is important too. Paddle strokes are far less likely to scare fish away than noisy petrol motors.
It is possible to fish from pretty much any kayak, canoe or SUP but some craft are better than others and there are a variety of modifications that you can make to improve the effectiveness and enjoyment of the experience. The members only equipment advice section of the Global Paddler website now has heaps of valuable advice for anyone looking to purchase a new fishing platform or modify their existing setup. Every new Global Paddler guide contains details of the fish species that you can land in a particular location and we are in the process of updating all of our existing guides as well.