Saturday, August 17, 2013

First Kayak Bass

I made plans with Chunsum to kayak fish today.  We were going to meet at Lake Patterson when the gates opened, be the first on the lake, and get me on my first kayak bass.

A few weeks ago I turned 41.  For my birthday present to myself I took advantage of a great deal on a decent sit on top (SOT) fishing kayak. The Lifetime Tamarack Angler Kayak was a quality SOT priced well below the other SOT kayaks available.

Back to fishing this morning; It stunk.  I have spotty luck at Patterson and today I had no luck at Patterson.  Chunsum caught one 12" largemouth bass but he had to work his tail off to get anything to bite.  I got off the water at 11 to wait out the heat of the day and head home for some lunch.  

I was back on the water in the 6 o'clock hour but in a different pond a bit farther west.  I started out throwing a swim-jig with a plastic-chunk trailer on my custom casting rod.  The weeds grabbed on to my jig and my line and made it impossible to throw this lure.  I put the rod back behind me in the flush mount rod holder.  I reached behind me on the other side to pull out the first rod I made; a 6'6" MH Spinning rod.

I was already rigged with a Gamakatsu #4 Octopus Circle hook and a single split shot 12" up the 4# mono fishing line.  My finesse bait of choice for this rig is the 4" Berkley Power Worm.  I flipped my rig next to a weed clump and let the worm sink a count of at least 5 before lifting the rod tip up two or three feet then dropping it back down while reeling in your slack line.  On the next raise of my rod tip I felt tightness and a wiggle, then my line swam sideways.  I was going to catch my first kayak bass!!!

Or was I was going to catch my first kayak fish but it was a nice big bluegill!  I'll take that! A nice solid fish that fought well.  My next three casts I caught bluegill roughly this size.  That was nice but if I knew I'd only be catching bluegill I'd have brought my ultra-light rod to make it that much more fun.

I changed spots on the pond, paddling until I saw a feature that looked interesting.  In this case I saw the weeds that had been a foot or two below my kayak had dropped off to a darker bottom deeper than I could see.  I pitched my Power Worm into the water along the depth transition.  

Hooray!  A bass!  Not huge but fun to catch.  After lipping and unhooking I released the bass back to the pond, adjusted my worm and pitched it back at the depth transition.

A better bass!  I didn't think to weigh this one but it was worthy of a picture with me! 

Back to the transition and back to catching bass.  The 4" Power Worm is the perfect size when the bite is a bit finicky.  Daniel Byrne (aka Pondboy) taught me this technique.  I think it's like humans saying I don't want that plate of food but this cookie is just perfect for my appetite right now.

I paddled back to a weed line since I had drifted away from the area I was fishing.  I cast right by the weeds and let the worm fall for a 6 count.  One-onethosand, Two-onethousand, Three-one...hey, why is my line swimming away from me.  

Slack reeled in the circle hook found lip and then a nifty thing happened.  The bass started pulling my kayak.  I took my time and finally got my thumb in the mouth of this lovely largemouth that weighed in at 3# on my Boga Grip .

I would catch more fish but this was the best size wise of them all today.  When the sun started to set I paddled my way back to the launch area, dismounted and pulled my kayak up onto the grass and then a quick drag later I was beside my car.  Gear and kayak were loaded in and I was on my way home.  

The sun set behind me as I drove back to my house.  I'm excited to say I enjoy kayak fishing as much as I thought I would.  I'm happy to be stealthy and human powered.  I'm always happy to catch fish but today I was happy to catch my first kayak bass.