Should Women Kayak Fish? Of Course!

4-minute read

Bending Branches ProStaff team member CJ Bennett has been an avid kayak angler since 2014. She encourages other women to get into this sport she loves, too.

Bending Branches' Ambassador CJ Bennett with a fish on her kayak

CJ Bennett, educator by day and kayak angler whenever she can get on the river

We wanted to connect with CJ to learn more about how and why kayak fishing is a great way for women to get on the water, connect with nature and connect with other anglers.

Here’s our conversation with CJ:

Bending Branches: What do you love about kayak fishing?

CJ: I love being outside. I spend 50, sometimes 60 hours each week in front of a computer at work. I'm the Director of Virtual Learning for a large school district, so my day job keeps me indoors. Being able to get outside and spend time on the water is how I de-stress.

As far as why I like fishing from a kayak, I honestly love to see the fish. I practice catch-and-release only, but to be able to hold a fish for a few seconds and admire its beauty—that’s what keeps me going back to the river.

BB: Why is kayak fishing a great sport for women to get into?

CJ: I think women are naturally inclined to be great anglers. Most women I know or work with have a keen eye for detail. That comes in handy when scouting out places in the riffles where the fish might like to hide.

Fishing could be a way for women to relax and reconnect with nature. For me, it's a way to take my mind off the stress I encounter at work. When I fish, I’m totally focused on the moment at hand. I'm not thinking about anything else.

I have also found a lot of opportunities for camaraderie with other female anglers. There are more of us out there than one might realize, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet several like-minded lady anglers through social media.

I formed a Facebook group during the pandemic to help connect women in Tennessee who wanted to learn more about kayak fishing. The group is still going today and serves as a platform to ask questions and offer support for women just starting out.

BB: Do you have any specific gear tips for women?

CJ: Most of my gear is the same gear that a male angler would use. My husband and I oftentimes share reels, rods and fishing lures. Really, the only difference in gear I use is my clothes.

CJ kayaks a rec kayak with her Navigator paddle

CJ enjoys recreational kayaking, too

(NOTE: Be aware of the weight of any fishing kayak you consider buying. Weight can vary greatly, especially if you add pedals or a motor. No matter your gender, if you will handle your kayak alone, you’ll want one light enough to make that possible for you.)

BB: What are your favorite species to fish for?

CJ: My favorite species to fish for is smallmouth bass—they are absolutely gorgeous. I also like to catch what some people refer to as "panfish." I especially like to catch rock bass. Crappie are always fun, and such pretty fish with their iridescent colors!

BB: What are your go-to paddles?

CJ: I really enjoy my Bending Branches Angler Pro. It's so versatile and lightweight. My second choice is the Bending Branches Angler Navigator. If I'm just paddling for pleasure, I enjoy the Navigator so much. It's a whole different experience using that paddle. It seems to lend itself to being a bit more buoyant and that really helps with keeping a proper cadence.

BB: Is there anything else you'd like women to know about kayak fishing?

CJ: I think sometimes women can be slightly intimidated when it comes to fishing with male counterparts. Luckily, all of the men I’ve fished with have been amazing. They’ve been really helpful but not in a way where I've felt they are just placating me. I've fished with my former boss multiple times and smoked him. He was always a great sport.

CJ Bennett with husband, James

CJ and her husband James often fish together

Thanks so much to CJ for her time in answering our questions!

If you live in Tennessee, look up the Facebook group she started: Tennessee Women Kayak Anglers. It’s a great way to connect with other women anglers to ask questions and share know-how.

You can follow CJ on Instagram at cjbennettoutdoors.
Photos courtesy of CJ Bennett.

Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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