Review - Discover Kayak Fishing

To buy a copy, please click the small image below.

Discover Kayak Fishing

Published by Pesda Press £11.99

Kayak fishing is big business in the United State of America. There are books, magazines, DVDs and even web-based TV channels.

While still a long way behind the US, the sport is growing here and Discover Kayak Fishing by Andy Benham is a major contribution. However, it seems aimed more at the angler wanting to leave the safety of the shore, rather than the kayaker wanting to start fishing. Why do I say that? Because in its 135 pages this book only starts talking fishing technique on page 92.

Many things initially seem the same, yet on closer inspection, are revealed as being very different. One minute you’re flicking through familiar material about PFDs, whistles and paddle leashes, and then on the turn of a page you’re confronted by RAM mounts, bait choice and anchors.

That GPS is actually a fish-finder which, rather oddly, does not find fish. Rather it shows the shape of the seabed so you can deduce where the fish will be. Oh, and you can kayak without a paddle as they now sell them with pedals.

The author clearly knows his stuff, although Andy Benham freely admits his sport is so new ‘the rules have still to be written’. Andy is a journalist whose by-line has appeared in Angling Times, Sea Angler, Trout & Salmon, Boat Angler and Improve your Coarse Fishing. He also worked for the BBC’s Countryfile before heading to South Devon to spend more time fishing from his kayak, where he’s now Sea Angler’s regular kayak fishing correspondent.

Since this review is appearing in a sea kayaking blog, rather than a blog for anglers, is there anything here for us? The answer is yes, but only with careful filleting of the contents. If you only want to cast a line from your existing sea kayak, then those first ninety-two pages are wasted. However, when the fishing sections start they are genuinely fascinating.

You can learn about down tiding and up tiding; how to fit, deploy and recover an anchor (from a kayak!); different types of rod, reel and tackle.

And then there are the fish. I’ve only ever caught mackerel, an obligingly suicidal species that searches the sea for an angler’s hook and then struggles to impale itself. Not a tough catch. For me, it was fresh and new to read about hard and soft lures, and I was delighted to read sensible policies on leaving no trace and sustainable fishing. I wanted more.

Most readers of this blog will probably know more about the kayaking aspect than the fishing, and while there’s less for them in this book, it’s probably worth taking a look at a copy before deciding whether or not to buy. However, for an angler seeking a fresh challenge, this book could help open up a whole new world. It’s probably pitched correctly, because I suspect there are more anglers keen to try kayaking than there are kayakers wanting to fish seriously.

Which is why the end of this book is either slightly depressing. I’ll quote the author: ‘On an Anglers Afloat training day I attended in September 2009, the instructor sadly announced that it was to be the last such day that the course could run. The dreaded health and safety concerns had made running any more of these free events too risky.’

Now this is something I really did want to know more about. Does this mean there are no formal training sessions around? Why is the sport so dangerous? And if the right person is reading, could this open up a business opportunity?

Finally, here's a trailer for that DVD listed above.

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