Health and Safety Whilst Fishing


When fly fishing it is always advisable to consider yours and other fly fisher’s safety, whether it be on the bank or in a boat. There is nothing worse to spoil a good days fishing by injuring yourself or falling and getting soaking wet.

If you follow the 14 safety hints below it will enhance your days fishing and you will return safely to your loved ones and to fish another day.

1. In the event of an accidental slip while wading - always wear a wading belt with waist or chest waders to avoid filling up with water. If you do fall in whilst wading always try to try to make sure you feet are facing down stream if you can’t get up straight away or are swept away down stream. This is to ensure that you do not obtain a head injury, it is easier to repair a broken leg than a split head or worse a broken heart.

2. When crossing fast currents, make your way by wading downstream at an angle across the river.

3. Always carry a wading staff if fishing in unfamiliar or fast moving water

4. Always dress for inclement weather, it is advisable to multi lair your clothing as it is easier to take off clothes than trying to find extra clothing to put on when the weather changes.

5. Wear non slip shoes that are appropriate for the type of fishing you are doing. Rubber soles for sand, gravel or silt. Felt soles for rocky river bottoms, and cleated soles for swift water.

6. When fishing in fast moving water, always have an exit strategy. Water levels, especially in the mountains, can rise quickly.

7. A Personal Floatation Device is recommended when fishing on a boat or wading in deep water, it’s better to float than to sink even when wet.

8. If travelling far by foot, I always wear or bring extra food and water with me just in case the weather changes drastically and you’re stranded till it clears, a good Kelly Kettle for boiling up water is perfect as it not only gives you plenty of hot water, but it can also be a good source of heat if you hit inclement weather.

9. If you're hiking a long distance, maps, compass, and a GPS system are recommended to avoid getting lost.

10. Sunscreen and bug spray, I always wear Skin so Soft by Avon as the midges in Scotland don’t just bite they come at you with knifes and forks ready for a feast.

11. If possible carry a full first aid kit with you if you can, before every trip inspect and restock your first aid kit. Make sure that your container is waterproof and durable. It is important to know how to use everything and advisable to take a first aid and CPR course.

12. Before you go, make sure that you know about the hazards of the area that you are visiting. Poisonous plants, poisonous or dangerous animals, fire conditions and a weather report.

13. If possible, go fishing with a minimum of two people.

14. Always tell people where you are going and when they should expect your return.

When fly fishing from either the bank or within a boat always think of safety first. In addition to the above information and safety tips,

I would highly recommend that you wear sun glasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun which would spoil your enjoyment of fishing. The wearing of the glasses is also to avoid getting a hook in your eye, it is better to have the hook bounce off your glasses and hook you nose than to loose your eye. Did you know that when casting a fly can be travelling up to 90mph, imaging the damage to your body if hit by a car at 45mph then imagine the damage a fly/lure can do to your eyes at 90mph.

Polarised glasses are the best type to wear in addition to protecting your eyes from the glare of the sun they will help you to see through the water levels a lot better.

There are 3 types of polarised glass lenses for each type of condition you will be fishing in.

When wearing the glasses always wear a lanyard attached to the glasses, its not the first time I have lost a pair of glasses in the lake/reservoir when being caught by a flying fly/lure.

Always wear a good fishing hat or baseball cap to protect you from the glare of the sun, there is nothing worse than getting both sun burn and sun stroke when fishing. You might not believe it but whilst fly fishing during even a slightly sunny day you get more of a tan from fishing that you would from sun bathing on the beach or your back garden as the water bounces back the rays and magnifies their effect. So put on your cap/hat and plenty of high factor sun tan cream to lessen the effects.

A good fishing hat/baseball cap also helps to protect your head from any untoward fly/lure that might go adrift when casting by yourself or your boat partner especially if it gets really windy. It’s not the first time and I doubt it will be the last time either when I have been hit on the back of the head by a missed cast lure either by myself or my boat partners.

As recommended by the author, an all in one Fly Fishing Waistcoat and Automatic Inflatable Fly Vest is the ideal life vest whether you’re wading in a large salmon river or boat fishing on a reservoir or lake. The Airflo Wavehopper as shown above gives you the peace of mind and functionality of both a normal fly fishing vest and a life jacket. The Waistcoat/Life Vest provides ample storage for all your tackle needs when travelling light along the rivers and streams, also for all your spare spools, leader material, snips, priests and other tools required when boat fishing.

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