Archive for the ‘Kayaks’ Tag

THE LEAN MEAN FISHING MACHINE   1 comment

When man first crossed over the Bering Strait and began to settle North America he brought with him the kayak. It was nothing more than animal skins stretched across a wooden frame.  The fragility of this craft no doubt cost some lives.  But it was portable and could portage ice pressure ridges.

The kayak is no longer a means of transporting people across arctic waters or down raging rivers. Anglers are turning to the kayak as a lean mean fishing machine.

The modern kayak is for all waters and particularly for the angler in search of quality fishing time. They come in a variety of lengths and widths and made of a variety of plastics, nylon and fiberglass.  Some are best for running fast river currents while others will stand the rigors of ocean travel.  The seating also can vary from one placed on the bottom of the hull to those with a mesh armchair like apparatus.

Kayaks will never replace the bass boat for travel and stability. But there are places where the fishing kayak reigns supreme.  This might come in backwater coves, bayous or a farm pond.   In other words they are great for “skinny water.”  Kayaks come in a variety of models with relatively low price tags that make them an affordable option for the crappie angler.

Tournament anglers are turning to kayak divisions in such events. They compete in their own divisions.

Modern kayakers have adapted many of the features of power boat angers to their crafts. There are mini-power pole units just like the normal size ones.  Water tight storage areas, live wells and pole racks can aid in the storage of tackle and rain gear.

Today’s kayak constructed of manmade materials is much safer. Some are even available in inflatable models.  Their crafts are more stable thanks to wider beams and built in floatation systems.  Topside water-tight compartments permit the stowing of gear and rod holders.  Additional gear can be attached using bungee cords.  For the angler there are kayaks with live wells and numerous racks for additional rods.  It is usually heavier than its predecessor and some even have carts that allow one to wheel the craft right up to the shoreline.

The inflatable kayak provides a “luggable” aspect to construction. Usually constructed of PVC-vinyl they have a reinforced underside.  They are ideal for quick trips after work.  Once the fishing trip is over, the inflatable can fold into an easy loading rolling travel bag with a high capacity hand pump or an optional powered one.

The addition of comfortable low profile chairs with mesh seating allow anglers to sit comfortably while fishing skinny water and gliding over brush, weeds, snags, laydowns and rocks. The ones have decks wide enough to allow for the fly anglers to stand up to cast while maintain stability.

Kayaks allow one to have access to bodies of water that hold fish, but do not have boat ramps such as a farm pond or a small creek. It also allows one to access waters beyond small openings in the reeds or that would otherwise require portaging over shallow riffles.  Skinny water is often over-looked by those who do not want to get weeds and junk in the props of their motorized craft.

In addition to the ease in preparation for a day on the water, they are relatively maintenance free and there is no fuel needed. They are easy to transport in the bed of a pick-up.  Anglers find that they end up going fishing more often even if it’s only for a couple of hours after work.

The lack of mechanical power limits the speed and range of the craft. If fish are not biting in one spot it may mean reloading the kayak and driving to the next honey hole.  Another limitation is they do not allow one to carry as much gear as would be the case with a larger craft.  Stability may become an issue.  You will never find one as stable as a bass boat.

Despite the practicality of the modern kayak, one still needs to consider safety precautions on the water. The PFD (life preserver) is mandatory on some waters but essential for all water.  It is important to go out with at least one other person for safety’s sake.  Kayakers need a certain level of physical conditioning and ability to swim with confidence.

It is also advisable to have clothing that dries quickly. A dry bag can be stored on board either in below deck compartments or on deck with the use of bungee cords.  The dry bag also doubles as a storage compartment for valuable electronics.

Regardless of its limitations, the kayak is a lean mean fishing machine.

KAYAKS AND SKINNY WATER   Leave a comment

Scan_Pic0032

 

Perhaps one of the more recent developments in boat fishing is also one of the oldest.  It is fishing from a kayak.

As the water warms from early spring sunshine, phytoplankton and zooplankton begin to appear in the very shallow water.  Be it either a lake or pond, the nutrient rich skinny water attracts hungry bluegills.

Due to water depth ranging in the inches, most anglers disregard this fishery or fish it only a little from shore.  Boats have difficulty reaching the backs of coves where most of the fish are feeding.  Kayaks are an exception to the rule when fishing such water and dropshoting is a productive method of fishing.

When man first crossed over the Bering Strait and began to settle in North America he brought with him a craft made of animal skins stretched over a wooden frame.  This one man craft was fragile and no doubt cost some people their lives.  But it was light and portable.

Today’s kayak is made of manmade materials and is much safer.  Usually constructed of fiberglass they are heavier but still much more portable than other watercraft.  Some even have portable carts that allow for wheeling right up to the launch site.  Some like the Hobie are for fishing, with live wells and rod racks, etc.

Dropshoting is a finesse presentation that is also known as controlled depth fishing.  It is particularly effective for suspended fish like the bluegills found around the boat docks and in coves.

This pattern is particularly effective with light line regardless the type of rod and reel combination.  For flooded brush fishing a long rod with four to 6 pound line is best.  In jigging situations from boats stationed over a brush pile shorter rods can be effective.

Rig the line by tying a Palomar knot in the line, about 18 inches from the end, with a very long tag end.  You tie the Palomar knot doubling the line and form a loop three to four inches in length.  Pass the end of the loop through the hook’s eye.  Hold the standing line between thumb and finger, grasp loop with free hand and form a simple overhand knot.  Pass the hook through the loop and draw line while guiding loop over top of eyelet.  Pull the tag end of the line to tighten the knot snugly.  Do not trim the tag end.

To the end of the line (on the tag end) attach a sinker.  This can be a split shot sinker, but remember to tie a small overhand knot to the very end.  It helps to keep the sinker from slipping off the end when caught in brush or rocks.

Thread a piece of nightcrawler onto the hook.  Once dropped into the water the worm and hook float above the sinker.  Thus as the rod tip is moved, the action is applied to the bait not the sinker.

You can cast, jig or drift this rig.  The key is to move slowly.  The idea is to wiggle the bait, not jerk it.  Cast it out and let the bait sink.  Watch the line float, twitch it and watch it float. Give it a shake occasionally which will cause the worm to twitch.

Bluegills later will relate to vertical structure such as sticks, trees and other vegetation in the water.  On hot, sunny days they will seek out areas shaded from overhead light.  This can be under docks, or a tree hanging over the water.

Kayaks allow anglers to sit comfortably.   In real skinny water, you can move over brush and rocks.

Topside water-tight compartments permit stowing gear and rod holders.  Additional gear can be attached using bungee cords.  Modern craft are stable unlike the old fashioned kayak.

Cruising around coves we may tend to spend more time looking at the wildlife than actually fishing.  But, you can catch a number of nice bluegills or a few crappies.

%d bloggers like this: