Have kayak, Will Fish.

12 05 2012

A short time ago in a campground not too far away I had a thought. I wonder if the fishing is better on the other side of the lake. I thought about this as I watched people catch 5 inch bluegills from a fishing pier at a State Park. I looked out across the lake and on the other side I could see cattails, lily pads, blow downs and even a stream flowing into the lake. I knew there had to be something better then what was being caught in this vicinity. Problem was how to get to the other side; I couldn’t just “cross the road”. Nope, it was at this point that I decided it was time to break down and finally buy myself a kayak.
The last few years have seen a boom in kayak fishing. Just go on to “You Tube” and type in kayak fishing and you will see videos of fishermen catching everything from bluegills on small ponds to bull sharks in the ocean. This boom has led to the development of all kinds of different kayaks designed just for fishing. Add some creative rigging and these boats rival my aluminum boat that I use for walleye fishing. Fortunately for me I didn’t need to go that extreme so my choice was relatively easy. Something small, inexpensive and easy for me to store and transport. If a kayak was going to be my primary fishing vessel I would have gone with a sit in style that is designed for fishing. I was thinking along the lines of a part time fishing/rec/touring kayak so I went with the more traditional sit in style. I ended up buying a Patriot, seemed fitting since I also own a Jeep Patriot.

The Jeep always looks better with the kayaks on top.

It’s not the most ideal set up for fishing but it works. After one trip I quickly learned that you have to be organized and all fishing rods better be attached to the kayak or have a float on them. On 3 different occasions my rod went for a swim that first trip. Thankfully I had a float.
I have learned a lot since that first trip down the Gibraltar canals. Since most of my kayak fishing is for bass and panfish I scaled down my tackle to 2 rods, my custom kayak rod and my fly rod. I even scaled back on the lures. I never realized just how versatile a tube bait is until I started this. Of course you can catch just about anything on a fly rod but I have a new found respect for a tube bait and what it catches and where I can use it. I have caught both Largemouth and Smallmouth bass along with many other species of fish on ponds, lakes, impoundments and rivers all with simple tube bait. I still keep some crank baits and spinners handy but my go to lure is a white tube.
On this day my girlfriend Kelly and I decided to make a quick trip to Kent Lake which is in the Kensington Metro Park. I haven’t fished this lake in probably 20 years so I was pretty much going in blind. The catch and release bass season is open now so I was hoping to catch a few to enter into the Kayak Fish the Great Lakes Season Long Online Tournament. I had yet to enter any fish and it was bothering me so I was going to remedy that today. I had heard the Kent Lake was having a problem with invasive weeds and it was quite evident that what I heard was true. Here it is the beginning of May and already the weeds were at the surface and just about everywhere. I made the most of it and was able to catch one small Largemouth.

A little later on I found a sandy gravel area on the south side of the lake that looked like it might hold a few bluegills. I broke out the fly rod and on the first cast I pulled an 8 inch gill. After a quick pic he was released and I was in search of another.

Just about that time the wind picked up and it started to rain. Kayaks, fly rods and wind don’t mix and I was soon blown out of the area I wanted to fish. Kelly and I were running out of time anyways so we headed back towards the ramp. Besides, I was going camping at Sterling State Park next weekend and Houghton Lake on Memorial Day weekend. I would have other opportunities. It was still nice to get out though and paddle around. The quiet that comes from kayak fishing is a pleasant change from my noisy outboard and hand lining.
One other thing, this is for those guys that ignore the DNR signs at boat ramps about cleaning out your intake to prevent the spread of invasive species. I snagged a stick that was covered with zebra mussels today. It doesn’t take much to spread those things around and it only takes a few minutes to prevent it from happening.




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