How Do You Kayak Fish for Bass?
Bass are one of the most popular species to catch when it comes to fishing in Ontario. They are found in many of our lakes all over the province, they offer a great fight, and they are relatively easy to catch (if you know what you’re doing).
It’s for these reasons kayak anglers are targeting the bull-dogging smallies and the bucket-mouth largies to keep their lines tight; not-to-mention, the benefit over powerboats as a fishing kayak gets into the shallows, conservation areas, and other hot spots where gas-powered engines and deep hulls can’t access. For those new to kayak fishing, it means getting to those previously inaccessible spots on your local lake or finally getting admittance to that lake you’ve always wanted to dip your line into.
Kayak fishing may prove challenging at first given your freedom of movement is limited, but the tactics remain much the same. The proven techniques used from a tournament angler’s bass boat work just as well in kayak, or better.
- Pitching your lure into the unspoiled action found in the thick stuff (dense weeds, lily pads, and deadheads) – wacky rig, Texas rig, and other soft plastic techniques offer great success for large mouth bass
- Drop-shotting around deep water humps or rock shoals – small mouth bass are prone to these areas and have a hard time resisting the subtle touch drop-shotting provides
- Aggressively working a shoreline, weed bed, or shoal with a crankbait or spinner bait – when all else fails, sometimes a little noise and vibration is all it takes to turn the bite on (just be wary as a predatory pike might also be encouraged to strike)
Fishing from a kayak has plenty of advantages, but it does require a little more forethought than when fishing from a larger boat. Some of the bigger, wider options from Jackson Kayak or Blue Sky Boatworks provide more room than the sleeker boats from Wilderness Systems or Perception Kayaks, but for the most part, space is at a premium.
It’s important to downsize how much gear you bring along, and it’s wise to come up with an efficient layout to accommodate the items you can’t leave on shore. For some, this might be difficult (I have multiple tackleboxes and a variety of rod and reel combos that I typically bring along on fishing trips), which is where the accessories come in handy.
- There are plenty of different options out there, but the products from Ram Mounts are arguably the best available
- Straight, tube-style holders such as the Ram Tube Rod Holder are great for staging rods with different sets-ups, and if you position them behind the seat, your additional poles are out of the way but in easy reach if you need to switch it up – think of it like pulling arrows out of a quiver
- Ram’s Tube Jr. Rod Holder with revolving base is the go-to for storing both a spin-caster or bait-caster depending on which technique you’re using – one or two are ideal to have in front of you (within reach) for quick storage or hands-free trolling when you’re actively paddling
- Trays with organizer tabs allow you to bring what you need without lugging around a massive tacklebox (or two) – Plano trays are the most common and typically are included within a tacklebox itself. They can also be purchased separately in a variety of sizes
- Sometimes all you need is one – crankbaits, soft plastics, and spinner baits can all fit into one tray, so narrow down to your most effective lures and leave the rest at home
- Trays can be stored beneath your seat, behind the backrest, and some fishing kayaks are designed with slotted areas specifically for tray storage – they take up virtually no space in comparison to a tacklebox
- Rod leashes, retractable plier teethers, and electronic holders keep things in check without creating clutter on the deck of your kayak
- Power Poles, Park ‘n’ Poles, Anchors, and Anchor Trollies keep you on top of the fish and reduce how often you move back and forth from where the bite is
- Crates, tankwell coolers, and other gear storage items are great for making use of the space at the bow and stern
Now that you’ve got your tactics planned out and your kayak set up with an efficient layout, it’s time to get out on the water and catch some bass! Don’t forget your safety gear, PFD, and paddle (if you’re rig includes a pedal / motor drive unit) and be sure to follow the regulations wherever you’re fishing.
Thanks for reading, and we encourage you to share your comments and personal tips on how you get the most out of your kayak fishing experience!
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