A serene and thoroughly enjoyable experience, canoe fishing is a tradition that boasts thousands of years of history. From ancient fishing practices in the far east and the Americas, to the pioneers of the upper Midwest, to the millions of people who partake in the practice today for personal or professional reasons, canoe fishing is a one-of-a-kind experience that is all at once both novel and universal.
The following tips can help promote the safest and most enjoyable canoe fishing experience possible.
Get the proper permissions to fish. Entry to many state and national parks grants you the right to fish--but this is not always the case, so be sure to confirm. In other locations, you will need a fishing license. Regardless, you should always ensure that fishing is permitted in the exact zone that you choose. These precautions help with important preservation efforts--and they also help protect you against a pleasant fishing trip turning into a headache.
Ask for advice. If you are at a state or nationally park, ask a ranger for advice as to where and when to fish. Asking people with experience in your location of choice is always a good choice, either way.
Choose the right canoe. Choosing a canoe that has been specially designed and optimized for fishing will make your experience more enjoyable--and maybe even help you enjoy more success.
Come equipped. Planning ahead matters. There’s nothing worse than getting out on the water only to realize that you have forgotten fishing materials, that you have no water, etc. Make a list of everything you need to bring with you out on the boat, and double check it before heading out.
Drift when possible. From time to time you may need to paddle in order to bring yourself to the places you want to go, but in general it is always better to drift and move silently, as fish can be quite skittish upon sensing the slightest of movement.
Have a plan for storing catches. A hanging net can be a perfectly fine solution in some cases, though it is important to recognize the fact that the smell of dripping blood which may arise could pose a danger in the ocean (sharks) and in certain freshwater zones, especially in the south (alligators.) For this reason, as well as for sanitation’s sake, most experienced canoe fishers will recommend bringing along a cooler, which can help minimize risk while maximizing the amount of time you can stay out on the water without spoiling your catches.
Take reasonable safety precautions. The last paragraph notwithstanding, the main risks associated with canoeing are not animal attacks; they are related to water and weather conditions. Make sure to check the forecast before hitting the water. Make sure to stay aware of shallow waters, fast moving waters, and extreme temperatures. Make sure to bring life preservers and other basic safety equipment. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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