Kayak anglers get to play by a different set of rules. The platform is an excellent one, stealthy and deadly when properly employed. It’s also virtually the opposite of the contemporary bass rocket, the pinnacle of chariots forged by decades of competitive fire.
Celebrate the differences. Here are seven steps towards maximizing your kayak bass fishing success:
Fish Where ‘They’ Ain’t
Dense structure is your friend. It strains out the powerboat crowd. Go where they can’t. Shallows, stump fields, grass mats, or straight into the thickest jungle. Add in farm ponds and potholes and other places too small for boats boasting more a couple horses. Not only will you have these places to yourself, they’ll be populated with uneducated fish.
Embrace that Slow Pace
Forget about power fishing like the glitter boat boys. Wipe it clean from your mind. On a kayak you’re going nowhere fast. You might as well embrace that creeping pace. Adopt a deliberate and thorough strategy, scanning the likely structure and planning every cast, hitting the hot spots one after the other. Saturate the area, starting with sneaky finesse techniques such as pitching Senkos, then move on to more aggressive presentations.
Captain that Kayak
Master your craft and how to maneuver it with precision. Bass fishing requires accurate casts to point targets such as pier pilings or into small openings in the weeds. Before you can fire one off, the boat must be in the right launching spot. Use your MirageDrive’s 180 feature for pinpoint maneuvering. Alternatively, practice paddling one-handed, using your body as a fulcrum. Get a hand paddle such as the Backwater Predator and use it where there’s no room to swing the long stick. In the tightest corners, pull yourself through trees and brush hand over hand.
Fight Hard and Dirty
Fishing in the jungle leads to frenzied fights. Remember, with such a lightweight craft, a hooked fish is pulling on you as much as you are pulling on it. If you hesitate or surrender any advantage, that bass is likely to tie knots around any nearby trees or brush. Fish with a tight drag, and be ready to back a surging fish out of trouble.
Outsmart the Wind
For kayak anglers, wind can be the devil, hampering the ability to hold position. There are several countermeasures. A drift chute will slow the boat, possibly just long enough to keep a bait in the strike zone. Hobie MirageDrive kayaks can point into the wind and effortlessly keep station. Stake-out poles and dual anchor set-ups will pull the trick so long as you don’t mind nailing yourself in place. You can also use Ma Nature, by sidling up to downwind structure or a shoreline. When forage is stacking up along a lee shore, this trick is deadly.
Back Off on the Stealth
Kayaks are so quiet, you can often get right on top of the bass. The fish won’t spook, but they’ll see you and develop lockjaw. In times like these it’s better to back off and try again.
The real trick is to maximize the advantages of the platform, while minimizing the downsides. For example, learn to live within your means. On a kayak, storage space is limited. You can’t carry a dozen of everything. Three or four rods are about right, with a couple of tackle packs with a basic coverage of baits (a handful each) depending on the circumstances.