5 Reasons You Need To Take A Paddling Class Right Now | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
Skills
A real paddling class will teach you the skills you need to become a better angler and paddler. A real paddling class will teach you the skills you need to become a better angler and paddler. Photos: Courtesy Juan Veruete

If there was a class that would make you safer and a better angler at the same time, would you take it? (Good, here it is).

In the paddling world taking classes is part of being a paddler, something every one does without even thinking. Why wouldn't you want to be a better paddler? What kayak anglers don't realize is that by taking a paddling class, especially one by the American Canoe Association (ACA) or ACA instructor, will not only make you a better paddler, but also help you catch more fish. Understanding how water moves and how it interacts with its environment will help you understand how fish orient and react to structure and help you start hooking up more often. Even better, it'll help you become safer on the water. Kayak Fish PA owner/guide Juan Veruete shares some facts about how an ACA class will help you and where to find one. 

Kayak Angler: When/where is the class and how can people sign up?

Juan Veruete: Right now the River Kayak Fishing class is in "in development" with the ACA.  As I refine the curriculum, I'm working on it with Ben Lawry who is an ITE with the ACA . The goal is to make the River Kayak Fishing Class an official endorsement within the River Kayaking discipline. There are two ways that someone can get involved with the River Kayak Fishing course. You can become an ACA certified instructor to teach the course or you can just take the River Kayak Fishing skills course as a "student".
 
To obtain the River Kayak Fishing Endorsement to teach the course, kayak anglers will need to achieve ACA River Kayaking Instructor Certification at level 2 as a prerequisite and then they can pursue obtaining the endorsement. The path to obtaining the River Kayak Fishing Endorsement is still being worked out. Ben Lawry and I held a special class in May on the Juniata River, Pennsylvania with the help of the ACA and Confluence Watersports giving interested kayak anglers a chance to earn River Kayaking Level 2 Instructor Certification and also prepare them to receive the River Fishing Endorsement if it passes in November. It was an successful endevour and several kayak anglers were able to earn instructor certification. 
 
Take an ACA paddling class and meet some new kayak fishing friends.
Photo: Take an ACA paddling class and meet some new kayak fishing friends.

KA: Why do you think it's important for kayak anglers to take a paddling class?

JV: I developed and started teaching kayak anglers a "river kayak fishing class"about 7 years ago when I became an ACA certified kayak instructor. I saw a need for kayak anglers to have a paddling class that spanned both the paddling sport and the sport of fishing.
 
There are specific skills related to boat control, positioning, fishing and safety that are unique to kayak anglers. In addition becoming a better paddler will make you a better angler on moving water. Many kayak anglers are "floaters" at the whim of the currents. If you want to up your game you need to become a "boater" that can zero in on a specific piece of water and make a perfect presentation from the kayak.  

KA: How important is loading your fishing gear in an organized way to your efficiency and safety while kayak fishing?

JV: In the river fishing class we talk about eliminating loops and reducing weight. Loops are anything like a leash etc, that you can get hung up on if you dump your kayak in a rapid. Weight can be an issue on two levels for a kayak angler. The lighter your kayak the more maneuverable it will be. I'm a tackle junky at heart so it's hard for me to leave tackle behind but in the world of river kayak fishing a lighter boat is your friend so you should be judicious with the amount of gear that you bring.
 
You've also got to distribute your weight in the kayak evenly. That's call "trimming" your kayak. Your kayak should sit level on the water with your gear and you in it. If the kayak is bow heavy or stern heavy, it will effect the hull performance resulting in a slower and less maneuverable kayak. We cover topics like this and more in the River Kayak Fishing class. This is especially true on more technical rivers.
 
By taking a class to learn to paddle you'll be able to start catching more fish, especially in moving water.
Photo: By taking a class to learn to paddle you'll be able to start catching more fish, especially in moving water.

KA: Should all anglers know how to read moving water, even if they don't fish rivers regularly? 

JV: All kayak anglers who paddle moving water should have at least a basic knowledge of reading water and running rapids. That knowledge will actually make you a better angler because locating fish is highly dependent on river features and current. It's also a safety factor. Anglers taking the ACA River Kayak Fishing Class will have an understanding of river hazards and how to avoid them. In the class we cover scouting rapids and portaging. A kayak angler should never hesitate to portage a rapid. Portaging can help you avoid a dangerous situation or at a minimum can save you some lost gear! 

KA: How big is the conservation component in your class? What ideas or practices to you talk about?  

JV: All ACA paddling classes have a conservation component to them. Typical topics revolve around being a good stewards of the river and "leave no trace". The River Kayak Fishing class in no exception. It has those components as well as fishing specific topics The beauty of the River Kayak Fishing  curriculum is that it's written in such a way to allow instructors to tailor their talks about fish conservation to the the river that they are teaching on. For example instructors will cover topics such as catch and release, selective harvest, and even how to get a grip and grin of a fish without putting undue stress on the fish. 
 
Learn to paddle during an ACA paddling course and you can have fun in rapids, not avoid them.
Photo: Learn to paddle during an ACA paddling course and you can have fun in rapids, not avoid them.

KA: Anything else people should know about your class? 

JV: I'm excited about the ACA River Kayak Fishing Endorsement. I've been teaching kayak anglers for years and from my perspective there is a need for a paddling class like this. It will help kayak anglers be safe on moving water and through developing fishing specific kayak techniques it will make them better anglers. I'm looking forward to the continued development of this curriculum and possibly more fishing focused ACA courses.

Related items

Popular Articles

FREE NEWSLETTER

Join 47 000+ fellow anglers! Get the latest fishing news and special offers delivered straight to your inbox.  

 

 

CUSTOMER CARE
FAQs

CONTACT US
1 (613) 706-0677
Contacts