You know the saying: “When life deals you lemons – make lemonade.”
It couldn’t have rung more true this Spring in the Pacific Northwest. The three lakes I spend the majority of my time on fishing and guiding were abruptly closed due to projected poor salmon returns. Not just for salmon fishing, but for ALL fishing.
I’ve learned when it comes to kayak fishing, it’s always good to have a Plan B. I’ve had situations in the past where weather, wind and even a bad bite have all required me to alter my fishing plans. This was something new. Not being able to legally fish major lakes in my backyard would be a major setback to my bass and trout fishing.
Washington State clearly has no shortage of water. I drive by several urban lakes and ponds daily on the way to my usual haunts. These now started to pique my curiosity. I wondered if these smaller lakes held fish of any size. I scoured the Internet for “local intel” and fishing reports but couldn’t find the answers. I began shortening that list of urban lakes that were tougher to access, had limited bank fishing and ones that had restrictions on motors. After all, that’s what kayak fishing is all about.
This year was also special as it was the first year that I decided to pick up a Hobie® Mirgage® Outback. Don’t get me wrong. I love my Mirage Pro Angler 14 and wouldn’t trade it for the world but the thought of hauling it down a steep embankment or hiking in to a hard to reach location was more doable with the Outback.
First on my list was a lake that I had written off two years prior. There was limited parking, a steep hill and a long narrow path before you could even get to the water. No problem with a scupper wheel cart in getting my Outback to the water’s edge.
I had heard stories of big bass caught by a few shore anglers in this lake. After all, that was the only area one could fish. Three quarters of the lake is surrounded by marshland and is not accessible by foot and there was no way anyone was getting a boat down there. That is where I would be fishing.
I grabbed two rods, a few spare hooks and a handful of Senko worms and crossed the lake into no-man’s land. The water was shallow but clear. The slightest movement of my MirageDrive® was followed by the boil of a large startled largemouth bass making a run for it. I remained still in my kayak and took my first cast at the reeds along the shoreline. The second the worm hit the water I would be into my first of many sleigh rides throughout the day. The action was fast and furious for the next couple hours landing multiple bass over four pounds.
For the next month I would continue fishing a new lake every couple of days. One week into my adventure I landed my personal best largemouth bass. A whopping 8 pounds! I had ventured outside of the comfort zones in both the water I fished and my kayak – and I was successful.
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