The simple answer is no! But if you're doing it for the first time or without any fishing experience - its definitely worth getting a guide. That little extra that you pay is a small price when you consider how much safer the experience will be, and the knowledge you will gain on your first tour - which you may apply to subsequent kayak rentals. Here are the top 3 reasons why you need a guide for your first time kayak fishing in Singapore:
- Safety: Your guide will be well equipped with the knowledge of the waters, as well as basic first aid and capsize rescue should any emergencies occur. Moreover, he has the experience of how to deal with various situations which you may not have encountered on your first time kayak fishing on your own - i.e. what do i do when my feet pedal drive fails? What do i do if a hook gets stuck in my finger? What do i do if i get stung by a stingray or catfish and the stinger won’t come out? What do i do if the current is so strong and i can’t move? What do i do if my rudder is not able to steer the craft properly? And the list goes on..
- Restricted/unsafe zones: Your guide will also be familiar about which areas are restricted and you should not fish - i.e. protected nature reserve areas, near army camps and high boat traffic areas, Dams, etc. This may not be apparent to you on the first time kayak fishing. Check out the list of restricted zones here.
- Fishing spots: your guide will also be very familiar with which spots are productive and which are not - treat him as your own personal fish finder (which comes with an actual fish finder! To double the chances of getting you fish)
last but not least - whilst it is not compulsory to get a 1,2-star cert, it is definitely beneficial. I found that certain strokes such as sculling and sweep strokes are useful in situations where the rudder isn't strong enough to turn the craft, or in instances where the water is too shallow to use the pedal drive, or near ropes - especially when the water is strong. Also the capsize drills are absolutely essential to any kayak fisherman!