It wasn’t the best day of fishing, and I was letting a light breeze push me down the shoreline.
I tossed a wacky rigged plastic worm near a submerged log and finally had a strike. But I missed landing the fish. A second cast turned up nothing. I let the kayak drift and continued fishing along shore with no further action. When 15 minutes had passed, I quickly paddled back to the log and tossed a different colored bait. Bingo! In seconds, I had a 15-inch bass in my boat.
A few years ago, I was fishing in a motor-less boat tournament on another small pond that had a second pond accessible only by going through a culvert. Both the culvert and the second pond were very shallow. Of the 30 anglers in this tournament, only two of us were able to access this pond, although a few did fish it from shore. We both caught bass there, but neither of us had a lunker good enough for a prize. However, a pickerel I caught did net me a first place check in that division!
I love kayak fishing, Adirondack-style. With a few exceptions, I’ll take a kayak or solo canoe over any other boat when fishing the waters of our region. Kayak anglers need to be in a boat that is both large enough for their size (especially weight) and stable enough to fish from. Plastic, recreational-style boats are fine for cart-top access lakes, but if you are packing into a pond, a lightweight boat is the way to go.
As for gear, rod holders are handy, and I use the inexpensive clamp-on types. If the coaming around the cockpit of your kayak doesn’t support them, just drill a hole and run the screw through that instead of using the base. This is much easier than cutting two-inch holes for inset-style rod holders.
Many anglers like to bring their entire tackle box, but that’s impossible in a kayak. I put what I need in a small tackle bag and carry important items in a sealed, dry bag. Sometimes I use a work-deck with mesh pockets, which is actually a half-skirt that covers part of the cockpit and keeps some of the elements out.
Personally, I can cast more accurately from a kayak than any other boat. Perhaps it’s because I’ve done a lot of it, but I like to believe it’s because I’m nearly level with the water. A big plus for kayak anglers is the ability to navigate extremely shallow waters, as I did in the aforementioned tournament. This advantage gets me to places where other anglers can’t go, and I’m often amazed at the number of fish I catch in the shallows.
Being able to maneuver a kayak quickly into a better casting position is another positive. Wind can be a deterrent, but you can also use it to your advantage. Still, high winds of 10 mph or more are the enemy.
Another advantage I enjoy as a kayak angler is when I go paddling with my wife. She doesn’t fish much but is a strong paddler and will leave me in the dust if I stop to fish. As a rule, I bring only one fishing rod when paddling with her and pick the spots I’m going to fish before we launch. I’ll then race ahead and do my fishing just as she catches up to me.
A few weeks ago, we were on a local lake when I stopped to fish some rip-rap near an island. A big small-mouth crushed by bait and literally dragged my boat toward shore (that’s fun too). I wound up losing the fish. An hour later, I pulled ahead of her and up into a shady area where there is a stone wall with low hanging tree branches. There, I landed a fat large-mouth bass that turned out to be my biggest from this lake to date. I was giddish the whole time we paddled back to the launch. Did I mention how much I love kayak fishing?
Dan Ladd is the author of “Deer Hunting in the Adirondacks,” outdoors editor for the Glens Falls Chronicle, columnist for Outdoors Magazine and contributor to New York Outdoor News. Contact him at www.adkhunter.com.