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by Padillac Geardo In the age of big box store power houses such as Bass Pro Shop or Academy Sports + Outdoors filled with isles of fairly priced fishing tackle, I still find myself using baits you don’t find in all stores. Yet! I had the opportunity to review some Kanan Lures from the folks at https://www. Kanan Lures is a Florida based company ran by innovative anglers. Their claim to fame is studying live fish in order to develop realistic fish patterns on their lures, and I tell you they are doing something right. I specifically tested the Aqua Relic Fatty Baby Bass, Aqua Relic Minnow Goldfish, Alosa Minor Fire Tiger, and the Dante VIB Flash Shad. Those who know me, know that I do not use a lot of swimbaits, but the Aqua Relic Fatty Baby Bass may convert me. It has a realistic action and look that was my go to during cold spells when other lures didn’t seem to work. The Dante VIB Flash Shad proved itself useful catching river largemouth. The Flash Shad did show some slight wear on the nose after countless trips banging it across river rocks, but nothing of

concern or that impacted the performance. I never did catch anything on the Alosa Minor Fire Tiger, but to be fair I never got to water optimal for the color pattern and 3-10ft depth sweet spot. It has solid construction and an aggressive action I imagine will be successful. Lastly the Aqua Relic Minnow Goldfish. This lure brought some nostalgia to this Florida boy. It reminded me of all the old timers catching monster bass on Goldfish growing up. We will leave that to another discussion. The Goldfish produced about 50% of the time for me, but I did identify a flaw in the design. I notified Kanan Lures and they immediately worked out the kink I identified staying true to their commitment in quality. All in all, great lures from my home state. Keep it up boys!


Top Left: Kanan Lures Alosa Minor Crankbait in Fire Tiger Bottom Left: Kanan Lures Aqua Relic Minnow Goldfish Right: Aqua Relic Fatty Baby Bass 11

Fishing Down



“I said I HAD a plan. Isaidnever it was a GOOD ONE.


n a small country store, over coffee, pancakes and country ham, Matt Cunningham told us the plan. We were to hit a small stream that was way out in the boonies and we were sworn to secrecy as to its location. The secrecy part was a moot point; after following him for 45 minutes through the beautiful back roads of Tennessee my crew was lost as a ribeye at a vegan buffet.

at Matt with the “you have lost your mind” look and murmured about how much work would come with just getting to the water. He quipped “I said I had a plan, I never said it was a real good one”; then he tried to calm us down by saying that the takeout was marginally better than the put in. With the trusted guide in the lead we were soon hauling gear down the hill in a way that would make any Sherpa proud.

We pulled off the road at a remote bridge and the first part of the adventure was We finally got everything to unveiled; a steep, rocky, goat the creek bank and the rest of path down to the so called launch. Every one of us looked the party started rigging while KBFMAG SUMMER 2017

Matt and I ran the trucks and trailers to the takeout. He was correct, it was better than the put in, but not by much! Just to add to the difficulty; an armadillo had decided to make the takeout his place of earthly departure. The stench from that putrid “possum on the half shell” was enough to make eyes water and stomachs turn. It was just another part of the adventure with this small water explorer. We got back to the crew soon we were drifting down the creek. As we rounded the corner away from the bridge it was easy to see why Matt was drawn to this place. Tall

ridges covered with beautiful hardwoods lined the banks and the creek itself was rocky riffles interspersed with deep pools. This was tailor made for kayak fishing and we had it all to ourselves.

some of the strongest critters that swim. A 12� bronzeback on light line is a blast to fight in current!

We would float a while then hit a stretch where it was too shallow and have to get out A very nice largemouth cruised and drag the boats. The rocks on this creek were long and through the clear water but flat and covered in green algae it paid no attention to the crawfish imitation that hopped and were unbelievably slippery even with high tech wading in front of it. It took shelter in a pile of rocks in the center shoes. This was advanced slick; like motor oil on banana peel of the river and a couple smallmouth scooted around or owl snot on a wet limb kind of slick. Just about everyone when it swam past. It was in our party slipped and fell these rock piles in the deeper pools that began to produce a through the day with my son few fish. Those fish, born and Ethan taking the worst of it. He hit hard and came up with raised in moving water, are


a cut across his palm and a snail shell stuck in his hand. It was a good reminder to keep a small first aid kit handy and always tell someone where you are going and when to expect you to return. You never know when a minor accident could turn into a serious one. We got him doctored up quickly and he was back at it again. We noticed a few minnows jumping in a deep spot as an unseen predator chased them. Ethan decided to tie on a shallow diving crankbait to see if that would get any attention. He made a long cast towards the area and it was as if the fish was watching

regularly it was a beauty! At the very next pool a long cast produced a 15” smallie for me. In that shallow run it gave an awesome fight on my light rod. Reaching down to land the fish my kayak crunched into the gravel; it was time to drag again. The cool water felt great under the warmth of the afternoon sun and we had already been blessed with an incredible day. The scenery alone was worth the trip, if you add the camaraderie of friends and a pile of fish to the trip it was one for the record books. After a long but eventful float Matt told us we were nearing the takeout. Not one of us was ready to quit fishing though. Ethan cruised by on my left and skipped a weightless worm up under a tree and let it sink. He the bait hit the water. The splash from the cast had not even hit the surface when the water around the bait erupted. He set the hook and it was obvious that this was a little better fish. The fish jumped trying to shake the hook and the bronze color was shining through the spray. If he could land it this would be his personal best smallie without a doubt. The fish ran toward the deeper water and he backed off

the drag to keep from pulling the hooks. When it tried to jump again he forced the rod down to thwart the effort. We love to see fish jump but Ethan didn’t want any chance of it throwing the crankbait. When he put the net under it he just looked at me and smiled. It was a great fight and at a tad over 15” it was his personal best. Not a monster to some, but to those of us who don’t get to chase smallmouth

made one or 2 reel revolutions and then his rod doubled over. The fish jumped and tangled him up in the tree branch and it was easy to see that it was a good fish. He looked over at me with frustration and worry on his face.

a brace of rods and enough tackle to stock a small bait shop. We were all ready to leave some of it at the bottom of that trail. Every time we crested the ridge with gear our legs were burning and our lungs were begging for fresh oxygen but the only air we could breathe hung heavy with the scent of rotten armadillo.

with a big smile and said with a laugh “I know exactly what to call this place now.”

The exact location will not be revealed by us but if you are ever in central Tennessee, ride 45 minutes out in the middle of nowhere with your window down. As soon as the As my kayak floated closer I sky blackens with vultures and jumped out of it to help him your truck fills with the smell clear the tangle. As soon as the fish was free it looped around A little of that goes a long way of putrid armadillo; break out I can promise you. We relived a light spinning rod and go to another rod he had dangling work! 2 off of his boat. This critter did the day’s stories as we tied not want to be caught, that is boats to trailers and loaded the rest of our gear. This little for sure! Once Ethan cleared creek was hard to find, hard to that rod he was able to slide the net under a fish that beat launch in and hard to get out of but worth every bit of the his earlier personal best by a solid inch. What a way to end trouble. the day on this beautiful creek. I turned to Matt as we were tightening the last strap We made multiple trips up and thanked him for taking the ragged takeout hill to get us down “Dead Armadillo our gear to the top and were lamenting the amount of stuff Creek.” He looked down at the we had taken. Each angler had stinky carcass and back at me





ne uncharacteristically warm February day I was creeping into a backwater that was shallow with Cypress roots and fallen timber. A creek off a creek, this water was almost wide enough for my arms to span and not even 4’ deep. Pausing between casts of my topwater frog to inch along the root bank with my fingers, I casted to the very back of the draw and my frog landed inches out of the clear water on a root, and with the slightest tug I plopped it down into the drink. With a steady but tempered pace I brought the frog parallel to the only bit of cover, a straight and submerged tree limb which only protruded from the water a few inches. As the frog approached this small protruding stub, just a few feet from my bow, I stop the frog cold and time stood still‌

… and as the frogs momentum pushes his nose down in the water a white bucket appears around it and sucks my lure into its mouth, following with a tarpon like tail dance. With a bass that close I had to dip my rod tip towards her for a hookset and as I loaded that rod with her weight, the double hook sunk in good and she knew she’d been fooled. Imagine a large bass ducking under your boat and trying to pull your 12’ kayak sideways in a 6’ wide creek. Luckily I got the rod around my bow as she darted for the main channel and my fishing partner witnessed the drag screaming and the aerobatic display as she fought hard to spit the frog, but to no avail. As she came to hand we both agreed that big bass often love skinny water. Creeks and inlets are bass havens, and depending on their characteristics can hold bass year round.

a sliver of water intersects a waterway (like a river or lake), and for the sake of this article we’ll say they’re 50’ or less at the mouth and have little or no current flow in comparison to the larger waterway. Dissecting creeks is probably my favorite aspect of river bass fishing. It gives me a chance to get out of the current and really concentrate on pinpointing bass. As I started to just paddle from creek to creek, down the river, I started noticing trends and saw that I’d often scare a big fish away just entering the still water from the current… and I began to realize that bass like creeks and still water because they can wait in water that’s turn around and approach typically cleaner and less from the downstream side. turbulent than the waterway.

They often position themselves predictably and taking advantage of knowing their likely position has helped me formulate a game plan for approaching One thing that draws many of and dissecting creeks. us to kayaking is being able to stealthily glide into creeks and First, I learned that bass love hanging just inside the other shallow water fingers corner of the creek as you’re that other watercraft just can’t access… and while some approaching, in the slack water outside the first eddy, may be accessible by bank, usually hugged up against the approach and position of the bank and either facing a kayak in the water allows the creek or facing the eddy so many more opportunities and advantages to target creek coming off the river. I scared many of these bass off before bass. What some call a creek, others may call a draw, finger, I learned the sure way to not spook them was to actually inlet, stream or brook- but paddle downstream on the I’m simply referring to a opposite side of the river, then geographical feature where KBFMAG SUMMER 2017

My first cast is always parallel to the bank, cast well upstream of the creek mouth, so the lure is as realistic as possible as it passes the edge of the mouth and the first eddy. Typically a shallow crankbait, swim bait or baitfish imitation works well here. As the bass lie outside this eddy they watch the main current and will pounce on a fast moving presentation. My next few casts I land on the bank and drag into the water, for those who are parallel to the bank and facing the main channel, and often use creatures and craws, usually Texas rigged because my banks are loaded with debris. From there I keep

“... the approach

and position of a kayak in the water allows so many more opportunities and advantages to target creek bass.


edging my kayak forward and just inside the main river current, facing upstream. The reason I keep in the main current (even though it takes some work) and not entering the calmer waters of the inlet is for just that reason. I believe old, smart bass are tipped off by the presence of an unusual ripple or disturbance, so being in the current helps muffle my sounds and conceals my wake better. As I focus on casting structure on the upstream bank of the creek (in relation to the current of the river), I work the bank, edges of any cover, parallel to cover, grass lines, pad lines, etc… The typical stream offers many scenarios and should require many casts to effectively break down. If I’m using loud presentations I like to give a longer break between casts, I often favor weightless worms when hitting spots in the creek center to keep from spooking any fish that can see from a few yards away.

point where you’d enter the downstream end of the creek from the current, you should be ready to immediately cast as far as you can down the bank and bring it parallel and back to your kayak. Then focus on the points of cover along that bank.

surely scared a few… this loop technique allows you to continue targeting those bass that remain in the creek even after you’ve scared them.

Most likely if you spooked any and they didn’t jet for the river, they’re hanging out just inside the creek’s first Hopefully by this point you’ve eddies of either bank and maybe hit another piece of located a few fish… now keep working along the bank, close cover on your way out. keeping arm’s length away and As you inch your way back start working a loop along in to the current to find your the backside and towards the upstream bank and your first next creek, try to remember cast. Spend time hitting every where the bass were located as you caught them or got piece of cover and working missed strikes, you’ll start parallel to all edges and to notice trends also and banks back towards where I hope this downstream your first few casts landed. By this time you’ve hopefully loop method shortens the caught a few, but if not you’ve learning curve for you. 2

If I catch one fish I can guarantee there are more in there. By the time I cast to every possible place on the far bank I work towards the center, keeping just behind the edge of the downstream bank, and typically pulling myself along the bank with my hand. Staying parallel and as close to the bank as you can is a huge advantage and by the time you come to the KBFMAG SUMMER 2017


Shallow Water

Cranking Words and Photos by Brad Wiegmann Featuring Angler Wesley STrader


t’s downright scary how shallow anglers can catch bass out of a kayak. Truth is as long as a bass has water over its back they could be up in little or no water. For kayak anglers in hot pursuit of shallow bass nothing is better than a crankbait. One angler not afraid to get in skinny water and fish shallow diving crankbaits is Wesley Strader. “Everyone knows I love to fish shallow water and getting in those hard to reach places where bass thrive. Some of those bass never see a lure,” said Strader. Strader loves fishing a balsa wood plug. His favorite style is a squarebill crankbait or the new PH Flat P by PH Hunt Custom Lures (www. Even though it’s a flat sided balsa wood crankbait, the PH Flat P has a round bill Strader believes that it deflects as well as a squarebill crankbait with its 3/8-inch wide body. Deflecting a crankbait off the stumps or laydowns and a wide wobble entices strikes from bass when fishing shallow. Of course, Strader believes there is a time to fish stumps and a time when to fish laydowns.

“I like to fish stumps early in the year on a flat. Bass like to pull out of the deeper water and get next to a stump where they will warm and sun. I talk about it all the time where a dog likes to get out in the sun and warm up on a cold day; bass are no different, they are pulling out of the deeper water and get up shallow next to a stump that radiates heat to warm up,” said Strader.

year; if the water is muddy I will fish a brown back/ chartreuse body or black back/ chartreuse body. If there is any shad around, I like fishing a shad pattern crankbait like PH Custom Lures color called Something Special and it just mimics a shad,” said Strader. For Strader fishing out of a kayak takes him back to his younger days of fishing

“After that later in the spring and summer, bass like to be around laydowns more. However, I go back to fishing stumps during the fall in creeks where bass use them to ambush baitfish. Many of the reservoirs or rivers the laydowns will be out of the water as the water level drops, but stumps are still underwater,” said Strader. When in a kayak, Strader can quietly approach stumps or laydowns in even the shallowest of water. He owns a Jackson Kayak Coosa HD (www.jacksonkayak. com) designed by anglers to fish comfortably and silently even in shallow water. It also features an elevated comfortable seat for sitting and fishing or a stable platform when standing up to fish. As for color patterns when shallow diving crankbaits, Strader keeps his lure colors simple. “I like to use four different color patterns. I like red or chartreuse early in the KBFMAG SUMMER 2017

shallow and ponds. Back then he would fish every rock or stump from the shore or boat with his brother. Now with his kayak, Strader enjoys a shallow drafting kayak that’s comfortable and even stable enough allowing him to stand up and fish, however, it’s only has one seat so there is no fighting over who has to paddle. 2





addling is a full body movement incorporating multiple muscle groups and isolating none. Core strength and stability is vital to the transfer of energy through the kinetic chain and into the paddle blades. The “core” of the body not only includes the abdomen but the shoulders and the hips. The “plank” is a fantastic exercise for building core strength and stability. Adding a rotation to the plank takes it to the next level - giving the kayaker more bang for their buck. KBFMAG SUMMER 2017


ROTATING PLANK 1. Start in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your head in a neutral position facing the floor - as opposed to looking forward or down.

2. Pull your shoulders back and down into the “packed” position - away from your ear. Feel as though you are pulling your right shoulder to your left hip and your left shoulder to your right hip.

Fit to KayakFish

3. Roll your hips into a neutral position - as opposed to arching or hunching your lower back. 4. Slowly lift your right hand off the floor and with a straight right arm, rotate your shoulders 90 degrees until your right hand is pointing toward the ceiling. Hold for a 3 count. 5. Slowly return to the plank position and repeat on the opposite side. Bonus - to take it to the next level, keep your feet together throughout the movement. When you reach the top of the movement, separate your feet to shoulder width and hold for a 3 count. 2 KBFMAG SUMMER 2017



Like a Champion

•••••••••••••••••• •••••





et’s take a quick poll. Raise your hand if you are a fisherman first and a kayaker second. Yep, that’s what I thought. The majority of kayak anglers are anglers first and many of us come from fishing on shore or a boat where stability and balance is not a concern. However, as soon we took up fishing from our plastic

tubs, stability and balance quickly rose in importance. If you like to sight fish or stretch you’ll want to stand up in your kayak. While many kayak companies boast about their yaks stability eventually it comes down to you. How good can you balance? Obviously some kayaks are more stable than KBFMAG SUMMER 2017

others but one can stand up in almost any kayak depending on their level of balance. The more confident you are in your ability to balance the longer, easier, and more comfortable you can stand and fish. Give these three balance moves a try once a day for a week and watch your balance improve!

BALANCE PADDLE PICK-UPS Place your paddle a couple inches in front of your feet. Stand on your right leg lifting your left leg slightly off the ground. Keeping your core engaged and back straight bend over and pick up your paddle. Raise yourself back up so your are standing on your right leg and bring your hips forward slightly. Then lower yourself back down, keeping your back straight and put your paddle back down. Come back up. Your right knee can bend slightly if needed. Take it slow and concentrate on using your hamstrings when coming back up. Also, your left leg can move back if needed and try to keep your shoulders back. Pick up and put down your paddle eight times and then repeat the exercise while balancing on your left foot.

HERO SHOT SQUAT AND RAISE Congratulations! You just won the biggest kayak bass fishing tournament! Now time to get those hero shots with your biggest catch. Ok, so you probably don’t want to hold an actual fish when doing this move, hopefully you released them to play tug of war another day, but imagine lipping your hawg and putting your other hand on it’s belly supporting its massive weight. Set your legs just a bit wider than your hips and imagine looking at the camera in the front of your kayak. Squat down keep your eye on the camera making sure the weight is on the heel and ball of your foot. When lowering yourself be sure to keep your back straight and start sending your hips back a little before your bend your knees. Smile all big and pretty and raise yourself back up. When you near your full standing position keep going up and onto your toes. As you move upward bring your monster bass above your head showing it off to the entire world! Repeat this hero shot squat and raise 15 times. Now don’t let that hero shot go to waste, we’d love to see it! Share your favorite bass picture with us at Kayak Bass Fishing Magazine!

KNEELING SUPERMAN While on solid ground imagine that you are in your kayak and need to get into your front hatch area. To do this you’d probably be on all fours with your hands and knees in the foot wells. So while you’re on firm ground get on all fours. Your shoulders should be over your wrists and your knees under your hips. Extend your right arm forward and your left leg back until they are straight and hopefully parallel with your body. Put them back in the starting position and extend your left arm and right leg. Keep your core engaged and try to keep your hips straight and not tilting one way or another. Do this a total of thirty times. (15 per side) Bonus Tips: To help you feel super confident when standing in your kayak keep your feet as wide as possible. This will help you control your weight distribution a little more. Also, using a stand-up bar or assist strap can and will make a world of difference! It’s something you can pull on when getting yourself up and down!

Want even more? Practice casting on shore or in your backyard on one leg. Heck, do random tasks while balancing on leg. Like washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, respooling a reel, reading this magazine, etc. There are countless options! Give these moves a try every day for a week and let us know if you feel more comfortable standing in your kayak by tagging Kayak Bass Fishing Magazine and Jonesintogetfit!







eople love short cuts. They want to know where to fish, and what color to throw when they get there. The subject of this article is not a short cut. It isn’t sexy. It doesn’t make you a better angler with the purchase of a single product. It has many pitfalls, requires discipline and hard work. But it will take your fishing to a level you’ve not thought possible.


Fisheries that you thought to be mediocre suddenly come alive to you. Tactics that you’ve seen others employ successfully, but have never clicked for you all of the sudden become your new “go-to”. The long path to true angling success is Pattern Development. I’ll explain the simple, straight forward process, then illustrate it by telling the tale of a tournament, and the prefishing day that preceded it. Follow these steps:

1. Catch a fish. 2. Go to the spot where the fish was caught. 3. Make observations about that LOCATION. 4. Make observations about the PRESENTATION you used to catch that fish. 5. Catch another fish. 6. Repeat LOCATION and PRESENTATION observations.

Go find similar location types and fish them with similar presentations. The biggest pitfall in this process is trying to explain why the fish are located where they are, or why they respond to certain presentations. Who cares why, so long as you can replicate it? Believing that you can “think like a fish” will get you into trouble. You are not a fish. I’ll illustrate that later. Before jumping into the example, let’s further define the parameters of both location observations and presentation observations. Here’s a list of things that you can observe about the location where the fish hit the lure you presented.

LOCATION PARAMETERS Depth – A depth finder is

an asset in asking yourself, “What was the depth where

7. Analyze: What commonalities did you find between the LOCATION type and PRESENTATION of both catches? 8. Catch another fish, make further observations and refine the pattern that you’ve started to develop. Once you have a pattern, you try to replicate that success. 43

the fish hit?” Some depth finders have side scan, require a battery and cost over $1,000. Other depth finders are tied onto the end of your line. I routinely count how long it takes for my jig to hit bottom. The fact that I know how many seconds it took for the line to stop, as opposed to knowing that it’s 23.4 feet from the surface is irrelevant. Use your paddle as a depth finder. If it’s clear, just look down through a set of polarized sunglasses.

Structure and Cover – I

am grouping these together on purpose. They are different, even though many anglers make the mistake of using them interchangeably. Structure is the permanent bottom contour. Cover is the temporary thing that fish can hang out near. Examples of structure include rock ledges, creek channels in a reservoir, humps, drop

offs, tail outs or taper ups in a river, shipping channels in tidal water, and so on. Cover examples include vegetation, a mud line at the mouth of a creek, shade, brush or a floating dock. Ask yourself, “What cover or structure was near the site of the attack?”

Current – All waters have

current. Lakes have mild wind driven current. Tidal waters have tidal currents. Reservoirs that have dam releases have current related to the evacuation of water from the reservoir. Rivers and streams have current tied to recent precipitation. Points on a reservoir, narrow sections of tidal water where bridges are built pinch or bottleneck

the water all increase current. Ledges on a river or stream are obstructions that increase current. Generally, if fish are in an actively feeding mode, they move to where there is a good current gradient, or area of strong current next to an area of calm water. This forms an eddy line that may or may not be visible to the angler looking at the surface of the water. Judge the current speed by how your lure falls through it, or by watching the speed of foam bubbles or other objects on the surface. You’ll need to be in a fixed, or anchored position in order to do this accurately. In colder temperatures, fish move to areas with less current. When you catch a fish, ask yourself,


“How much current was this fish in, and was it near an eddy line?” You can also ask, “How close to the eddy line was the fish when it hit?” This second follow up question is critical to patterning river fish.

Bottom Substrate – This

could be lumped in with cover and structure, but requires more scrutiny. On the river, I rarely find sizable bass over a soft mucky bottom. They might hold on pea gravel, chunk rock, sand, shale, bedrock or boulders. On the Chesapeake, when fishing for stripers, finding a hard bottom usually means the presence of oysters. These hard bottom areas are magnets for all sorts of life. Pay attention to what

your jig felt like when it hit bottom. Drag it a few feet and guess the bottom substrate. Look at your depthfinder screen. Is it a wide or narrow line where water ends and the bottom begins? Catch a fish, go to that spot and ask yourself, “What is the bottom substrate here?”

Forage – This observation

can be associated with bottom substrate, current differential, cover or any other location based observation. But think of it as a stand alone observation and let it serve as a bridge to the location observations coming next. Forage assessment is an investment in your time on the water that can pay amazing

dividends. Go to where you caught the fish and look for living things that the fish might have been feeding on. Flip rocks. Paddle circles around the spot looking for schools of baitfish on the depth finder screen. Scoop the grass bed with a net. Look in the fish’s gullet for things like crawfish antennae. As you are reeling the fish in, did it cough up a baitfish? If so, how big and what color was it?

ourselves on ledge rocks with whitewater. The amount of life we observe on the underwater level is astounding.

My favorite method of forage assessment comes in the summer when I can get down into the water with my kids, wearing a snorkel and scuba mask. We flip rocks, root around at the base of grass beds and try to hold

Temperature – All fish have


We emerge from that fun activity knowing exactly where to cast, and where to not bother casting. Ask yourself, “Were there any organisms the fish might eat at this location?” If the answer is yes, follow up with “What does that organism look and move like?” a preferred temperature. Don’t view temperature through the lens of a warm blooded human. Because fish are cold blooded, they can crank up or slow down their metabolism by going to warmer or cooler

water temperature rises and the oxygen saturation levels drop. Reservoir anglers who maintain success beyond the fun days of beating the bank in the spring understand that a thermocline develops in summer, and the fish move down to the deepest layer of cooler water before the thermocline changes the oxygen saturation. Thermoclines are different in each reservoir and can be found visually, by adjusting the sensitivity of your depth finder until a false bottom appears over deep water. Just above that depth, which ranges from 25 to 33 feet in my local reservoirs, is where the summer bass like to hang out until fall.

water. For instance, in the spring, with the spawning ritual on the horizon, they will go to sun warmed shallows. Is it because they feel the urge to get their metabolism kick started, or because the warm water is where other organisms have become active and are easier to locate to forage on? I honestly don’t know, or care to know why. But I pay attention to the temperature

gauge, and the trends I see as I move through different areas with different temperatures. Moving into summer, many fish will go to deeper water, where the cool water allows them to slow down their metabolism. They come shallow at night and during low light periods to feed, but in the shallows, with the sun beating down, the KBFMAG SUMMER 2017

The point is that water temperature needs to be one of the parameters of location that you make note of. It’s easy to do with surface temperature. Unless you invest in a water thermometer with a 50 foot cord, you’ll just have to understand that deep water is cooler in summer and warmer in early winter. Shade, amount of sun exposure, warming or cooling effects of tributaries, warm water discharges, springs, wind and recent precipitation temperature all play into the thermodynamics of water. Pay attention to water temperature and plug it into your pattern development set of observations.

PRESENTATION PARAMETERS Now that you’ve locked into a set of effective location observations, common to the catch of many fish, it’s time to refine your presentation. Anglers can easily get stuck on employing the same retrieval speed, depth and lure once they’ve caught a single good fish. Varying your presentation can carry from having a good day of fishing to one that wins tournaments. This is where effective prefishing comes into play. I am often teased at the boat launch by other anglers who see nine fishing rods in rod holders and one in my lap, asking with a chuckle, “You got enough rods there bud?” While it’s true that I can only use one at a time unless trolling, having the ability to quickly switch from one size, color, noise, shape and speed lure to another by simply grabbing another rod speeds up this presentation refinement.

can come shooting out of the water when pursued? Have you ever flipped a rock, stared down into the settling muddy water and realized that after a minute of searching that you’ve been looking directly at a crawfish or sculpin that has remained motionless and simply blended into the bottom substrate? Yet most anglers present their lures somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Employing a deadstick presentation requires a great deal of faith and patience. Employing a full speed fan cast as you go presentation covers a lot of water quickly, catching the active fish. Each has it’s place, depending on the day, and the observations you make on effective presentation speed.

When I troll hard jerkbaits for striped bass on the Speed – This is without a Chesapeake Bay, I doubt the most important pay close attention to the component of the presentation speed displayed on the depth observation of pattern finder monitor. Keying in development. The two on the speed that gets bit extremes are my favorite. more often isn’t always the Forage has two basic plans for same as the speed that gets how to not be consumed by a bit by the biggest fish. predator fish: 1. Don’t move at all and hope the bass keeps I believe that trolling isn’t as popular for largemouth and moving, or 2. Run like hell. Have you seen how fast a shad smallmouth anglers because 47

of the culture of bass fishing. Namely, that bass fishing tournaments prohibit the practice in competition. You shouldn’t wonder why. It’s effective, and keying in

The Two Choices

of Forage:

Stay Completely

Still Run Like or


on the right presentation speed is part of how to make the most of the tactic. Casting and retrieving a lure makes quantifying retrieval speed more difficult. We catch a big fish at a certain speed. We get excited, our adrenaline pumps through our bodies

and our presentation speed is suddenly much faster than it was when we caught the fish. If you caught it on a suspending jerkbait, how many seconds did you pause it when it got hit?

you’ll need to put something down there and bang into some branches.

Size and Profile – I’ll lump these

two parameters together, as they both relate to forage assessment. If you were slowly dragging a tube across Taking a close look at what they the bottom, how many inches did it are eating means flipping rocks and cover inside of 60 seconds? Think about scooping up what tries to scoot out. it. Quantify it. When you catch a good fish, ask yourself, “How fast (or slow) It means looking at your depth was the bait moving when it got bit?” finder and deciding if the marks you see are menhanden, white Collision/Evasive Maneuver – How perch or some other baitfish. often have you smashed a crankbait into In the location parameters part a rock, then immediately had a bass of this article, we looked at where smash the hardbait in response? Cast a spinnerbait over a laydown, intentionally the most prevalent forage lived. In the presentation part of pattern bump it up and over the trunk, development, we look at what is it and WHAM! – a big bucketmouth and what size of that organism is inhales it on the other side. most prevalent at that time of year. Cast a buzzbait over an exposed ledge Choose lures that “match the hatch” rock and the river smallmouth who’s in terms of the profile or shape, been tailing without committing color, size and most importantly to the attack suddenly rounds the how that organism moves. corner to blast the gurgling target. Collision quickly changes the direction of your bait. In my eyes, the movement must look like the representation of a baitfish, craw or other critter trying to escape capture with an evasive maneuver.

When we tie a string of catches together, making location and presentation observations along the way, we can start to see similarities and differences in how and where the fish were caught.

Take note of if your crankbait was grinding. If you are only getting bit when that’s the case, and you’re feeling a medium diving crank wobble freely in deep, open water, it’s time to change to a deep diving crank. We are risk averse when it comes to losing lures, but this works against us in terms of catching fish.

These similarities form the basis of a replicable pattern that may last a day, a week or a season. So the process should begin again each day.

Nobody wants to throw a $17 suspending jerkbait across a brushy laydown, sure to snag in underwater limbs. But if that’s where the fish are,

Writing the patterns down in a journal or trip report can help you recall the pattern a year from now. A record of seasonal patterns provides a short cut to the process. I record all of mine in video format on Tight Line Junkie Journal. 2




TRUCK Stewart Venable

“How can I get the most out of my truck when hauling kayaks and fishing gear?” This is a question I get asked at almost every kayak tournament, show, demo or event I attend. As someone who has invested a lot of time, and money, into my kayak “hauler” I’d like to share the things I’ve learned and share some insight into what I call my “kayak fishing support vehicle”.

As someone who spends much more time on the water than the average kayak fisherman, my needs are probably a little different than yours. What I hope to be able to do with this article is shed some light on question many of us have, and maybe even provide an answer or two. So here’s the rundown of what’s on/in my truck and why I NEED it.

WHAT’S ON IT Theres are a few things you’ll notice I’ve added to the exterior of my truck that are important tools to help me be as efficient as possible when getting to the water, and on and off of it safely. I have added an enhanced roof rack system to help me transport kayaks, rods and extra gear safely. I have trusted (and tortured) Yakima products for years and they have yet to ever let me down.

I have spent quite a few years paddling and fishing out of quite a few different kayaks. I have transported kayaks from nine to fifteen feet on everything from a small car up to a huge bus. Let me go ahead and say this…the best kayak transport is the one in your driveway. Unless you have a convertible. But after all this time I have found that a pickup truck is my preferred way to go. I currently utilize a late model full size pickup for my needs. KBFMAG SUMMER 2017

I use towers, cross bars, cargo baskets, cradles and load assist bars to make sure my gear stays safe and secure during the tens of thousands of miles I travel in a year. You’ll also notice I utilize a rod storage tube on my roof rack as well. This is a homemade adaptation of the popular options that are commercially available. Being a DIY kayak angler, as many of us had to be in the years past, helped me create this accessory out of a necessity. I needed a place to securely store my rods while I was on the road, and away from my vehicle. If I’m being honest, my wife also hated riding for hours on end having share the passenger seat with my fishing rods… thus the rod tube was built. Probably the most obvious add on to my truck has been my DECKED truck bed system. This a product solely designed

to help you maximize the storage of your truck bed. Unlike conventional tool boxes, this system allows me to utilize the full length of the truck bed for storage of items such as paddles, nets, tackle, first aid, measuring devices, tents, sleeping bags, rod holders, tie down straps, hitch balls, cable locks, dry boxes, safety lights, hardware, tools, camera gear and literally tons of other small items. The system is waterproof, lockable and adaptable for several configurations. It also means a lot to me that it’s a product that’s made in the USA. My only “customization” to the system is that I chose

to add some YakAttack Geartrac to the top so that I could secure my coolers and other accessories during long trips. The DECKED system is certainly the most valuable investment I’ve made regarding my kayak fishing modifications to my truck. Another small addition is my tube steps on the truck. Though these may come with your vehicle, not all have these steps from the get go. Let me go ahead and tell you that you’ll need them! Yes, they look “cool” but the first time you need to grab a cam strap to secure the kayak and are an inch to short from being able to easily grab ahold of it…you’ll thank me. 53

Finally, and maybe the least visible addition to my truck, is my LED light bar. I’m sure you’ve seen tons of trucks around with these long light bars drilled into the roof of the truck. This is NOT that. I have installed a small single row 20” light bar into the front bumper of my truck. The sole purpose of the light is to be able to have plenty of light to safely unload and rig up my kayak in the early morning or late at night. Most people don’t even know it’s there until I turn it on. Though it’s a small addition, it has saved me from more than a few slick boat ramp mishaps and hooks in the hand because I couldn’t see what I was doing.

WHAT’S IN IT There’s really only a few (but important) things I’ve done to the interior of my truck that specifically pertain to kayak fishing. The first thing I added was a full set of seat covers and floor liners. As much as we’re all around water it is a solid investment to preserve the overall interior of your vehicle. A sturdy

set of mats and seat covers go a very long way, both functionally, and aesthetically.

out of a single product, the better of an investment it is!

Again, this is a small item, but the more uses you can get

I’ve had several times where my phone had very little juice left and I was only a short drive from heading out on the kayak. In case you didn’t know, it’s never a good idea to head out on the water without a well charged phone.

And lastly was a simply power converter. We kayak anglers Next was RAM X-Grip on my dash. This small accessory usually travel with lights, cameras, phones and a litany has been a huge benefit for of other items that usually my travels. Not only does it need to be charged before hold my cell phone, GPS, radar detector (not that I ever and after a day on the water. speed) and camera…it also is This inexpensive tool is pretty simple to transfer to my kayak convenient to have, and also can really save your bacon. for hero shots of big fish.

IT’S NEVER FINISHED They say a good work is never done. And my work on this truck and my kayak trailer (which I’ll share more about in another issue) is far from over. I’m sure there’s a thing or two I’ve yet to discover and a need I’ve yet to realize. Anything that works today, may not work tomorrow. With all the time spent on the water, on the road and loading up kayaks I do believe these modifications and additions will help you make the most out of your kayak support vehicle. If you’ve found something to be incredibly valuable in or on your kayak fishing hauler make sure to share KBFMAG SUMMER 2017

it with the rest of family. After all, the DIY spirit that IS kayak fishing can apply to so many aspects of what we all love to do. 2







































othing in bass fishing is more pleasurable than topwater fishing. The anticipation of the strike plus the rush of pure adrenaline when a bass goes shark week on a walk-the-dog bait is beyond addictive.

When it comes to bass fishing, topwater has long been my first love, but my regular spooks and sammies have taken a permanent backseat to newer, larger offerings. The big swimbait craze has heavily influenced the way we fish and it has completely revolutionized the way we use topwater lures. Floating swimbaits and repurposed musky baits are now the new normal in bass fishing circles, but you may still be missing the boat and left standing on the bank with your regular sized baits.


MODEL AND COLOR CHOICE: size 40 and 50 in Ninja (50 size black) morning I interviewed three of my peers dawn (40 size purple) for stained water and then brown who each spends much of in both sizes for clear water. their time on the water with an oversized top water tied SETUP: Dobyns 795 & on. They each describe their Lexa 300 with 65lb braid favorite oversized topwater and the important details HOW TO FISH IT: needed to fish it properly. Normally, I use a simple 67

slow retrieve. Some people twitch the bait or make it walk the dog, but I find it best to simply wind it just fast enough to get it waking with tail moving and the joints clacking. Toss it around thick timber or other visible cover around bank and work it slowly back to kayak. The 40 size seems to get the most consistent strikes, but don’t be afraid to toss the big 50 size.


it past structure in the middle of the river. Throw it up towards the bank and pull it off slowly to imitate shad being pushed up on the bank by feeding bass.

MODEL AND COLOR CHOICE: bone and shad in the 130 size SETUP: Dobyns 734 with 30 lb braid. HOW TO FISH IT: Eric says the main tactic he uses is a straight retrieve, running

Don’t be afraid to run it against the current and pull it up through the rapids. You can even work it with short twitches and jerks like a popper.


MARK EASTERLING AND THE FLOATING BULL SHAD SETUP: Shimano Curado 300’s and Shimano round reel GTB200’s, as well as Curado 200E reels work just fine. For rods, I mostly use the Dobyns 785SB Fury and IROD Large Swimbait. I have a few of both and they work well for topwater swimbaits. LINE: the mighty Berkley Big Game (green)mono 25 pound test on every reel. Never fails, low memory and super abrasion resistant. HOW TO FISH IT: Cast out and let it sit for about 15-20 seconds, but don’t be surprised if a bass destroys it the minute it splashes down. I shake the rod tip and let it rip and jerk along the surface, then pause and repeat. A straight retrieve can be used, but shake the rod tip whole way in to give it extra action. I rarely fish any water over 5ft and I never overlook shallow water regardless the time of day. Get out there before daybreak and blind cast to open water. When the sun comes up, target man made docks, riprap, and never pass up any small or large wooden object at the bank or out in the open. Finally, I will leave you a few indispensable tips. Always, always retrieve Bull Shad all

the way back to your boat or yak on every cast. Don’t get me started telling you about jolting strikes the second I lift bait out of the water. As hard as it is, you have to be patient when a bass hits your topwater Bull Shad and wait until you feel the weight of the fish on your line if you 69

want her to get hooked. This also applies when they hit right by the boat or yak. Finally, bass miss the bait, a lot. When they slam your bait, I feel it’s because they have their mouth closed, trying to stun the prey. The best thing to do is to keep working the bait so she will come back.

Great Day






PHOTOS BY MARK CISNEROS Robert Traver once said, “The best time to go fishing is when you can get away.”

makes figuring out the Northeast spawn a bit crazy. By breaking down some of the many variables you can narrow in on key times, locations and tactics that will increase your spawn fishing success.


The spawn in the Northeast can begin in mid-to-late April and last until mid-June. When it comes to the spawn That being said, the weather in the Northeast you may want in the spring is turbulent, to use up some personal days... flipping the heat on and off with temperatures changing If you are from the Northeast dramaticaly and daily, but you know that we can have an when the calendar switches 80 degree St. Patrick’s Day and to April things begin to heat follow it up with a Mother’s up. One of the big factors is Day snow storm. This fact when the water temperature KBFMAG SUMMER 2017

will rise enough to switch the bass into the feeding and breeding mentality. Snow begins to melt and flow downhill into our many favorite bodies of water. The amount of snow determines the amount of cold runoff. The more runoff there is slower the temperatures of the lakes and rivers will rise. When the thermometer has been hitting in the 50s for about two weeks and the water heats up to the mid 40 to low 50s the bass will begin staging in 10-15 feet of water near their bedding flats. Soon the bucks will start making their way to the bedding

areas to prep them for the females arrival. Three to five days after that, if the weather cooperates, the females will start heading to the beds.


Find the beds: Now is the time to be sneaky, quiet and stealthy. Get your polarized glasses on and Once the bedding begins, and begin searching shallow bays, the males have met up with creeks, downed trees and the females, keep an eye on the stumps. Paddle quietly and moon phase. Bass are much spot fish that are bedding. more agressive and likely to bite near a full or new moon. Drop waypoints where you spot beds and watch to see After the female lays her what the fish do as you go by. eggs she will leave the bed. Search an entire area, marking This is your chance to catch as you go. Now back out and the big females, as they are circle around to your 20-30 drained and very hungry. feet from your first waypoint. They are looking to rest and feed before heading back into From a distance: Give any deeper water. At this point, I spooked bass time to calm like to fish shaded areas and down and return to the bed docks in four to eight feet of if they swam away when water while always keeping they saw you. After about an eye open for bait fish. 10-20 minutes, and well

out of sight of the bass, cast just over the bed and use a slow retreive with pauses. For this stage I like to use short soft plastic worm with no more that a quarterounce sinker on eight to ten pound test. I send out about five to ten casts at this step before moving on. Moving in: If I don’t get results fron a distance, I paddle in to where I can just see the bass on the bed and drop my stakeout pole. Now I want to see if I can irritate the bass into a strike. I switch my bait to a red soft craw with black fleck or green pumpkin tube on a weighted hook one-quarter to onehalf ounce. Again, I cast just

over the bed and drag and jerk the bait until it is in the bed then stop. I let it rest and then begin to pop my line to get the bait moving around while staying in the bed. Think of the bait as a mosquito buzzing in your face, you just want to swat it away...this is the reaction strike we want to encourage out of the bass. Double trouble: If the strike hasn’t happened yet I like to break out a second rod. With the craw lure still in the bed and the rod in the holder, I will throw out a second bait. I like to throw out a soft frog and swim it around the bed, darting it through the bed

past the bass. This makes the bass have to protect the bed from two possible predators. Whle swimming the frog near the bass remember to pop the craw line every so often to keep movement in the mind of the bass. Mental process: Always keep in mind how much noise travels through your kayak! A simple movement of your water bottle, setting down a lure or bumping your paddle can cause a bass to swim off. Be aware of your kayak cockpit, have items stowed, and once anchored, be as quiet as possible. If your target does swim off, head to one of the other waypoints


you marked when you were searching for beds. Setting the hook: If the bite is not aggressive remember to let the fish eat the bait before setting the hook. This is easier said than done, but patience will be rewarded.

GEAR The Line: For spawn fishing I stick with eight to ten pound test line. Fluorocarbon with the lighter weights makes the line sink, be less visible to the fish and more sensitive. Monofilament is used when the bedding is in more cover or under overhanging branches. With mono the line has a bit of stretch to absorb strong hits and it floats to

help keep you out of some tangles. However, after every good fight on monofilament, I cut and re-tie my bait (monofilament weakens faster than fluorocarbon.)

Z-Man Floating Wormz

The Hooks:

Prichard Baits – Bladed Swim Jig

Gamakatsu Weighted Superline Spring Lock Hooks Gamakatsu EWG Monster Hooks Baits - Calm to Mild wind: Tricky Phish Baits – Kilted Scout Strike King KVD ProModel Tube

Strike King Rage Tail Toad Baits - Windy with Chopped surface:

Z-Man Chatterbait – Black and Blue Trick Phish Baits – Cray Phish Trailer

RESULTS Fishing the spawn can be some of the best fishing of your season and can produce great tournament

numbers. For bass the spawn is critical for their existence. During the spawn practice catch, photograph and release. Do so in a timely and gentle manner as to disturb the spawning process as little as possible. This will ensure bass growth in both size and numbers. Fishing, on the best and worst days, is fun, relaxing and an all around amazing sport... so don’t forget to get children involved. Teach them, mentor them and let them carry on the sport for their lifetime. Good luck and tight lines! 2



f it is preparing for a tournament, Heroes on the Water or just a casual day of fishing, I typically load out the same way. I pre-tie on all the lures I want to start the day and take between four and six rods out on the water. I place extra lures in my YakAttack Blackpak, grab my paddle, and ensure I have my PFD. The last thing I always make sure to have is my Ol’ faithful Ugly Stik spinning rod. I have had the same one for 11 years.

behind in tournaments and have my hopes of grandeur crushed by disinterested fish. When all hope is lost I turn to Ol’ faithful. I like to have it set up with a finesse weedless worm for my time of need. I am not sure if it is the concentration while using the finesse, the sensitive composite construction, timeless cork handle, or if it is all in my head, but the fish cannot resist the Ugly Stik.

Ol’ faithful pulls fish out of the water, and me out of a funk. Those who fish with me, and the countless GoPro Over those same years I also acquired Shimano, G-Loomis, shots can attest to the fact that my Ugly Stik is in my hands Lew’s, and Diawa set ups to name a few. Though I caught more than any other rods. For fish on all those rods, the Ugly me it has proven itself over the years on the water consistently Stik IS the most consistent producing fish. I say this producer in my arsenal. Ol’ without being a staffer of faithful is old, but I do have any kind for Ugly Stik. True some newer models, like the Ugly Stik Tiger in the lineup. to form, I use and represent what works for me giving. I start a fishing trip with Ol’ faithful is truly an “ugly” what I think will work based rod now showing its age. on pre-fishing, previous experience, or information gleaned from a local angler I interrogated at a nearby store. Depending on the water color, local hatch etc., I may have a square bill on a cranking rod or a top water on my frog rod. I then ATAK (see what I did there) the “fishy” spots of shade, structure, depth, or schools on the fish finder methodically covering ever angle. No matter how prepared I think I am, I get

The rubber on the handle is coming off due to an improper cleaning after a salt water trip, and I have had to reseal the cork a couple times. Other than that, and some paint chips the rod still works just fine. If you do regular cleaning and lubricating these rods last. Though pulling monster bass out of the water and into my kayak is amazing, my favorite thing about Ugly Stik is the production of models for the whole family. My kids all have Ugly Stiks I hope will be their future Ol’ faithfuls and the joy on their faces when pulling out the smallest of fish is what it is all about for me. The price point is a plus also. I am all about fishing in your budget. So, whether you are a bass chasing pro, a child wrangling father or both, what are you waiting for? Join #UglyStikNation. You will not regret it! 2



BUG SLINGERS from the mind of




ell here we are on yet another issue of the KBF mag, time flies by these days. (no pun intended there) As promised the panel of fly junkies decided to talk about our favorite fly to tie and what makes it so great to us. We truly hope you enjoy going down the rabbit hole of our fly addiction with us and learning bits and pieces of our methods that may help provoke some sort of primal urge to swing a fly rod yourself or give you some new weapons for your arsenal. Between the true river rats, the fly tying madman, and the canal / saltwater scientist we hope you are able to learn enough bad habits and cool info to fall right on the fly bum wagon with us. It’s a whole different perspective of fishing for those of you that haven’t tried it yet. Some of us mix it up between conventional and fly and some are die hard fly only. Either way each of us share a love of something that feeds the soul which is simply chasing gilled greatness every chance we get. My personal favorite little fly started with a trip to the local fly shop to grab some new materials for something different to sling on the vise. I love to bug Conner Jones and Garner Reid down at Cohutta Fishing Company in Cartersville Ga. and get them to feed me a little info on something they like to fish and then learn to tie it so I can see for myself what it’s about. The owner Andy Bowen is no slouch for info himself and they are glad to help feed the madness all they can. Like any good fly guide these guys always have some badass patterns they are willing to

share and a whole lot more they aren’t. But on this day I was informed about this little jig head Pine Squirrel Leech pattern which is tied on a 32th ounce jig head and a little zonker of pine squirrel for tail and palmered for the body. You can church this pattern up for a little more flash or action but in it’s raw form it is a dirty little creek / river fly. I have tried adding flash and other crazy things to see if the species interest changed and it did. I have caught everything from bass to suckers and drum on this fly and it produces every trip out so if the big fish are being a bit on the snobby side or want something a little smaller, this little fly is the cure for those skunk blues. It is the most simple pattern in the world to tie and has been one of the most effective little flies anyone has ever told me about. Funny thing is after I started playing around with the jig heads Brandon Bailes let me in on like 5 other patterns to tie on them. These little jig heads are really sweet I must say, but enough on the creek meat secrets. The Pine Squirrel Leech is a neat imitation of a few different food sources creek / river fish look for. Depending on how you fish it you can cover the whole menu. The first being the obvious ( leech) but depending on material color, baby crawfish, worms, hellgrammites or tiny baitfish species such as dace or minnows. I highly recommend this pattern to anyone who fishes skinny water or small ponds. It’s a fly that I will never leave the house without a minimum of a pair in each color I tie. 79



huck Kraft’s Clawdad is hands down my favorite fly to tie and fish for moving water. It is an easy tie, wrap some lead onto a stout hook and wind on some chenille, round rubber legs, and claws. Essentially, you are putting together the fly rod equivalent of a finesse bass jig; one of the most effective tactics in gear fishing.

soak down in the water column and let it drift past their faces. The Clawdad is the first fly I tie on when the popping bug bite dies off.

The thing I love about fishing the Clawdad is that you can fish it just about any way you want. Much of the time, I let it sink to the bottom and creep it along with slow, deliberate strips waiting for that heavy feeling that means My usually preference in fly fishing is topwater a bass has swallowed it. Aside from that, bugging. Watching toilet flushes when big bass you can swing it in current, swim it around suck down a resting popper is magical, but the cover, jig it around laydowns, or my favorite tactic, sight-cast to cruising bass. This fly is topwater bite is usually far from consistent in deadly on cruisers. If they don’t bull-rush it between the lowlight, golden hours. Unless on the fall, let it settle on the bottom and there is a specific shade line or pre-frontal pattern where the fish are destroying anything give it a short, quick hop and let it stroke up off the bottom. River bass can’t stand it! that slaps the water, I want a fly that I can




f this question came up about four months ago I would probably sit there for a week going back and forth on what my favorite fly to tie is. There are several things in my opinion that go into a fly. That is its ease of tying, is it going to have good action in the water, how long will it take to tie one, is it expensive to tie, and does it look good in the box. A couple of months ago I would have said that the Cinnamon Toast Crunch was my favorite pattern to tie.

pattern to tie, it can be extremely cheap to tie and it catches everything in the water. When I say everything I truly mean everything, with slight modifications in color and maybe a new material here and there the pattern will hunt. I’ve brought to hand Redfish, Snook, Seatrout, Peacock bass, Largemouth, two species of Tilapia, Mayan Cichlids, Florida Gar, Ladyfish, and Jacks all on this one pattern.

I mainly tie the fly in two color patterns, a purple variant and a sand variant. The basis of the fly is a marabou tail on a sz 4 to 1 B10S Mainly for the fact that it looked sexy when with a palmered zonker strip up to a set of finished. Don’t get me wrong, the action on either dumbbell or bead chain eyes. I’ve tied it that fly was killer and the fish couldn’t resist with a small length of tarantula brush to give it but it wasn’t cost friendly. So, I started it some extra flash and profile or even swapped exploring other flies and branching off those the marabou for polar flash. So, with a quick patterns to create a super simple leech like trip to your local fly shop you could be out pattern. I couldn’t give you a name or even the door for less than fifteen dollars’ worth come up with one because of its simplicity of material (including hooks) and easily tie and the fact it works for everything. yourself up half a dozen to a dozen. That all So, let’s get into the greatness of this leech/ being said the only time I throw a different shrimp/baitfish/everything that lives in the pattern is if I’m throwing top water, otherwise water pattern. First off, it’s an extremely simple it’s some variant of this killer pattern.




eing a Fly designer, it’s extremely tough for me to pick only one fly as my favorite but I do have one in particular that sticks out as it works in pretty much all waters I have fished. Most that know me, know that I love fishing small water with lighter gear( micro streamers) these days and I have taken flies that work for me with heavier gear and downsized to match the forage of small streams.

blend of profile, weight, and castability. I tie them on a size 6 hook and use the Flymen Micro-size helmets, which makes it easy to cast on 3-4wt rods. The helmets also have a keel built in to keep the bug riding hook point up.

The body and pectoral fins are micro rabbit zonker, which has an amazing lifelike movement in the water. The entire bug measures out to around 2.25” and has a moderate sink rate once saturated. I have The baby sculpin was one of the first streamers fished it in every conceivable way from dead drifting, swinging in the current, I tied to target predatory fish in skinny strip retrieving, even suspending under water and as of right now it has worked on an indicator and it always works in some everything from high elevation brookies, form or fashion….so I can truthfully tell tailwater trout, creek spots, smallmouth, guys “ there’s no wrong way to fish it”. panfish, and even carp. To me, it’s the perfect






ou know how KFC has their secret recipe and McDonald’s has their secret sauce? Both closely guarded and the foundation of their companies. Well, this is nothing like that. I’m going to share with you six proven ways to immediately take your videos to the next level without spending a penny. Some of these come from hours of research and watching HowTo videos on YouTube, while others came from my own trial and error. But they all work, they are widely used, and they are all free.

Yes, I used the F-word...Free, but I’m not suggesting they come without a cost. Not at all. I will also tell you upfront that not all of them are fun or sexy. However, the more you can incorporate them into your creative process the more successful your videos will be and the higher your average watch time will be.

know. I have an extra kayak with their name on it. Being fishermen first, it’s inevitable that the cameras, the angles, and the time we spend filming are afterthoughts. So my first piece of advice for you is... 1. FILM WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT

You’ve heard the expression, I’ve said it before, we are “The Devil is in the details”? anglers first, and video creators Well, when it comes to second. I have yet to meet filming, “The story is in the the fisherman that got into mundane.” I recently released fishing because they were a a video called “The Chad YouTube creator looking for Hoover Bass” where I took the something to film. If you meet audience along on one of my that person, please let me fishing trips to Lake Athens KBFMAG SUMMER 2017

south of Dallas. Overall, it was a rather unimpressive trip where I spent 5 hours beating the banks and following all the advice I had picked up from YouTube and fishing articles. Unfortunately, none of it worked, so I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of targeting the water that “should” be holding the bass, I simply stood up in my kayak and started slowly, quietly, paddling down the grass line looking for bass on the beds. Within about 20 minutes I found what looked like a 4-5 pounder circling a bed behind some weeds. Long story short,

I spent an hour fishing that one bed for that one bass. Obviously, I caught the bass or it wouldn’t be much of a video, but you’ll have to watch the episode to find out what it took to land her. That day started with five hours of frustration but turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my fishing career. If I had just opted for a “Hero” video of me catching a bass, the story of how I got there and what it took to catch it would have been lost. The back story enhanced the overall video by telling the 87

audience why they should care about one random bass. It also, hopefully, encouraged other anglers to stick with it when they are facing similar situations on the water. Admittedly, one of the more difficult things for an angler to do is to stop fishing and focus on filming for a moment. After all, we are fishermen first. On that particular day, I had to make myself take the time to change camera angles. I can tell you that the last thing I wanted to do was to lay down my fishing rod, but that simple step added depth and a sense of momentum

the one that never falls out of to the video that allowed the viewer to experience that catch their kayak or drops a rod in the water. But, chances are, in a condensed time frame. you’re not the perfect host So whether you’re forcing nor the expert fisherman. yourself to slow down and I know I’m certainly not. film during the early morning So don’t try to be. Doing hours, or after landing that so results in a superficial hog, you’ll find that those connection to your audience. brief 3-5 seconds of b-roll Think about your relationships that you took the time to with people in your everyday capture will help you tell life. Those closest to you are the story in ways that you the ones who accept you for never could without them. who you really are, flaws and 2. SHOW THE UGLY! all. Now think about the flip side of the coin? Ever heard If you are a YouTube creator, of someone referred to as it’s natural to want to be the “Little Miss Perfect”? That’s expert, the one that others not a term of endearment. should come to for advice,

Showing the ugly will do two things for you. First, it will help the audience connect with you as a real person. In 2016, ComScore reported 35% of millennials site YouTube as their primary destination for consuming entertainment of all forms. And 62% of them were highly likely to take action after watching a video or advertisement. Now ask yourself this: Why are millennials gravitating towards YouTube rather than traditional T.V.? It’s because YouTube is a community that they feel they can be a part of and contribute to. Whether they are creating content for YouTube or simply commenting on videos, they have something to offer and they want to contribute. So how does that have anything to do with your video? It’s simple. They need to be able to connect to you in a real way and contribute to the community that you’re (hopefully) creating. We are more loyal to people we are connected to, and YouTube subscribers are no different. Allowing the viewer to see the real you builds authentic connections, which in turn builds a loyal subscriber base, which builds a successful channel. Secondly, bad days on the water make for great content. Whether you hook yourself


in the hand or fall out of the kayak, the things that you consider to be negative events in your day on the water are content gold! There’s a small show on The Discovery Channel that you may have heard of where they take crab boats out on the Bearing Sea and risk their lives to catch crab…. Deadliest catch. Like I said…. small show. Think about what makes that show so popular. Is it the beautiful day on a calm sea catching tons of crab with happy crab boat captains? No! It’s the rogue waves knocking the boat on its side. It’s the guy getting hit in the head with the picking hook, and the guy tieing the crab pots together in 60 mile an hour winds. It’s the “ugly’ situations that they get themselves into that the viewers are drawn to. But let’s be clear. I’m in no way suggesting that you should put yourself in danger, or intentionally do something stupid, just for the sake of views. But, if it happens, and you get it on film…show it! Not only is it good content, but you may help someone else avoid the same situation in the future. Quick story about one of the toughest anglers I know and her monster musky. Kristine Fischer is an avid angler and hunter out of Lincoln, Nebraska. If you don’t follow her on Facebook you should look her up immediately…

well, after you finish reading Kayak Bass Fishing Magazine. On a recent fishing trip, she hooked a monster 46-inch musky. Not having her net, like she normally would, she decided to lift it out of the water by its gills, which turned out to be a very bad idea. When she posed for a picture, it thrashed its head and buried a treble hook in two of her fingers. So picture this: Kristine is sitting in her kayak holding a 46-inch monster that has one of the treble hooks buried in its jaw. The other treble hook has one hook in her right ring finger and the other hook in her left hand, tieing them together. The hooks are buried so deeply in her hands that she can feel the points grinding on the bones. I don’t know about you but that’s about the point in the trip where I would have started asking for my mommy. Not Kristine! 89

She told her friend Nicole that the fishing was way too good and there was no way she as going to the E.R. Since none of them had a knife on hand, she had Nicole take one of the very large treble hooks from another lure and used it to “cut slits” into her hand. Fifteen minutes later they had freed both hooks from her hands and she kept fishing. Country girl don’t play! You know what she said at the end of the whole ordeal? “I wish I had filmed it.” Why? Because she understands that not only is it good content, but there is a possibility she could help someone else avoid the same situation. 3. CANDLE LIGHT AND BARRY WHITE What in the world does that mean? It means that as a YouTube creator, it’s your

job to set the mood. It’s no secret that music is one of the biggest tools movie producers use to create tension and set the mood, but very few YouTube creators put much effort into this at all. I believe the primary reason for this is because most YouTube anglers don’t know where to get royalty free music. It’s much easier to grab a Top 40 song, drop it on top of your video, and hit “publish.” The problem with this approach is that the song overwhelms the video, not compliments it. (It also prevents you from monetizing your video, but that’s another article). So where do you get royalty free music? YouTube has a

section in the Creators Studio called Audio Library. In fact, it has its own YouTube channel that you can subscribe to which will alert you when they release a new song. The Audio Library is very easy to use. Simply search for the type of song you’re looking for (mood or genre) and download the ones you like. You’ll want to check the description for each song as some of them have usage requirements. These requirements are always simple things such as: “Please use the following phrase in your video description when using this song.” Pro-Tip: Incorporate the natural ambient sounds from your video into your

background music. (Birds, frogs, children) This helps tie the video and music together into one cohesive presentation. 4. ONCE UPON A TIME No, I’m not suggesting you should create some story worthy of The Brothers Grimm, although there seems to be a fine line between fishing tales and fairy tales. What I’m suggesting is that you should introduce and wrap up your videos, whenever possible. Every fairy tale starts with “Once upon a time” and ends with some version of “lived happily ever after.” The concept is simple enough, but in our excitement to get on the water, or our fatigue at the end of the day, it’s very easy to overlook. The introduction and wrap up not only serve the obvious purposes of opening and closing the video, but it also allows you to introduce that one thing you possess that no one else does: your personality. Remember, on YouTube, one of the defining qualities of a successful channel is the host’s ability to connect with the audience. If you’re skipping this step in the process, you’re losing out on one of your best opportunities to connect with the viewer.


5. MOTION SHOTS A motion shot, for purposes of this article, is defined as the camera moving in relation to the subject matter. What does that mean? Simple. Instead of sitting still and filming your buddy paddling by, point the camera at him and paddle along with him. You’ll capture a much more dynamic shot while adding an element to your video that most anglers never even consider – motion. While this may sound like it takes time away from your fishing, it really doesn’t. All it requires is awareness of the opportunity, and about 30 seconds to readjust the camera. You have to paddle to the fishing hole anyway, right? Why not get some useable content out of it? Here’s a quick list of some basic gear that will help you catch those motion shots. • Window Mounts: Ram makes excellent suction cup mounts that allow you to mount a camera to any slick surface, like the hood of your truck or back window. • Selfie Stick: While these are the bane of theme parks worldwide, they are very useful when filming portions of your fishing trip. Don’t discount them. For land use only – they don’t float. • Mounted to the Kayak: The key to making this work

is that the camera should be facing away from you and the kayak should be moving. • Hand Held: When all else fails, you can always hold the camera in your hand while walking and filming. 6. LEARN THE BORING STUFF This is one of the things that truly separates the bass from the bait. Invest the time in learning how to use your editing software. Whether you are using a free app on your Ipad or one of the more professional programs. Learn how to use the software to the best of your capability. I’m not suggesting you should be able to teach a course on the software or be able to edit like a professional, but I am suggesting that you should be able to do some basic edits. Down and dirty list of basic edits every YouTube creator should know how to do. • Trim: Most of the video you capture is boring and should be left on the cutting room floor. • Overlay: this is where you lay a short clip over the main video. An example of this would be when the main perspective is from the bow of the kayak and you drop in a 3-second clip from your chest mount. • Pan / Zoom / Slide: Each 91

of these are intended to artificially create a “motion shot” where the camera moves independently of the subject matter. At the beginning of the article, we acknowledged that while all six of these “tricks” are free, they still come at a cost. The truth is that it will likely affect your fishing in small ways throughout the day. You may be the last one on the water because you’re taking the time to get your cameras set up properly. Your focus has to be split between fishing and filming. You may lose some T.V. time in the evenings because you’re watching YouTube videos on how to use your software more effectively. You may have to swallow your pride and “show the ugly.” But the reality is that for those of us who love sharing our passion with others through YouTube almost as much as we love fishing, these are small sacrifices. While I’m encouraging you to incorporate all of these techniques into your videos, I’m not suggesting you should do all of them in the next episode. Pick one that appeals to you and start there. Before long it will become second nature and you’ll be ready for the next one. Be sure to look for part 3 in the next issue of Kayak Bass Fishing Magazine, and don’t forget to check us out on YouTube – River Ratz Fishing.









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This is my go-to nymph for any and all warmwater fish. It can be tied in endless colors and can be upsized to work as a carp bug. The wiggle legs provides great movement, while the Frankenfly dub creates a prominent thorax profile. The size 10 is perfect for panfish and the occasional bass that wants a taste. Tie some up and be sure to share the photos! MATERIALS: GAMA B10S SIZE 10 HOOK BEADCHAIN EYES SIZE SMALL UTC WIRE SIZE SMALL PHEASANT TAIL MFC SKINNY SKIN FRANKENFLY / WIGGLE DUB BLEND UTC 140 THREAD STEPS 1. Attach beadchain eyes on top of hook shank. (spacing- one hook eye length back) 2. Wrap thread back into the bend, right above the barb and tie in a healthy clump of pheasant tail fibers. ( tail should be one shank length long) 3. Tie in small wire for ribbing and then tie in another clump of PT fibers. 4. Palmer fibers toward beadchain eyes and tie off, counter wrap wire ribbing and tie off as well. 5. Tie in an 1/8� strip of skinny skin behind eyes. 6. Create a dubbing loop, fill the loop with a premixed blend of Frankenfly nymph dub and wiggle dub( mainly the tiny rubber legs), and spin up to form a rope. Pick out and brush the dubbing to get maximum movement. 7. Palmer a thick thorax behind the eyes and then take any leftover dubbing and wrap around and in front of the beadchain eyes. 8. Finally tie down the skin behind the eyes and then lift the skin and advance forward, tying down the skin in front of the hook eye. 97





n the spring of 1998, I loaded up a 17 foot aluminum Grumman canoe into the back of my pickup truck and headed to the Potomac River. I launched at Swain’s Lock, shoved off and started paddling upstream. The early April wind blustered hard in the direction that I was heading, but once I tried to start fishing, the struggle began. As soon as I put down the paddle to pick up the rod, a gust would push the big boat sideways, upstream into a rapid. I couldn’t get a cast in before needing to employ another powerful J stroke. I thought, “There has to be a better way!”


There was. I had it a month later, an Old Town Loon 138. It’s low profile on the water meant that the wind bothered me much less. I could slide through the skinniest water, and found myself exploring places that I just wouldn’t have reached in my canoe. Within a year, I switched to a much more agile Perception Axcess kayak. The whitewater creek boat gave me the ability to fish sections of the river with up to class 3 rapids. I enrolled in whitewater classes, furthering my abilities and eventually earned American Canoe Association Instructor certification. The first several years I kayak fished, I did so without encountering anyone else who did the same. I got some funny looks and lots of questions at the ramp. “What are you doing?!” one angler would ask. “Aren’t you afraid of flipping?” was another common question. There were a lot of erroneous assumptions. “Kayak Fishing” wasn’t a phrase or recognized thing back then, at least not in the world of river smallmouth fishing in the Mid-Atlantic states. There were canoes, there were jet boats and there were those who waded. The kayak was seen as something that you did dangerous things with in whitewater, and you needed a helmet to do them. It didn’t mesh well with most people’s concept of fishing.

It’s been almost two decades, and I’m seeing the same kind of cognitive dissonance, except that this time it’s kayak fishing being the status quo. Responses to seeing an electric motor on a kayak range from, “Whoa that’s cool!” to accusations of moral corruption like “You’re ruining kayak fishing! Why not just get a bass boat!” People are truly offended by it. It’s almost on a religious level, like I’ve desecrated the holy shrine of kayakfishingdom. I’m OK with people deciding that my kayak is no longer a kayak because it is powered KBFMAG SUMMER 2017

by a lithium battery. I’m OK with folks not agreeing with my use of an unconventional approach to doing something that they also do. My motivation is simply to find “the better way” for me to fish. Almost twenty years ago, that meant that I left behind the time honored tradition of paddling a canoe to fish a river. I left behind the J stroke and the need to bail water out following a particularly raucous set of haystack waves. I’m not saying that I’m going to leave behind the enjoyment I feel when I crisply insert a paddle blade into the water

Why not just get

a bass


then apply myself fully to make a sleekly designed kayak glide across the water. It feels good to paddle. But other things feel good too - things like catching so many fish that your forearms ache at the end of the day from handling them. The paddle still has it’s place in my kayak, or whatever you prefer to call the plastic thing that I fish out of. It allows for fine tuning of position and an extra boost in power in conjunction with the motor, reaching speeds up to 8 miles per hour. Whatever discomfort someone else has with my motor use is their own. I won’t carry it for them, but I will continue to carry a paddle.

It’s the kind of all day exercise that you don’t even realize that you’re doing, because it’s fun. I had a sustained high heart rate for almost 6 hours of that day on the water because with the motor on a steady slow speed, I was constantly casting for hours. It’s like being on a treadmill for your upper body.

It turns out that CastCastCastCastCastCast burns more calories over the course of a day than PaddlePaddlePaddleCastRest. I looked at a day using the pedal drive for comparison a week later, and it showed up somewhere near half the amount of physical activity that I had constantly casting with the Torqeedo on a low setting. The motor force The erroneous assumptions feeds you the activity, and the about motorized kayak fishing action is good enough that brings on another wave of you just don’t put it down. Deja Vu. People assume that One assumption that is not because you’re moving under power of a battery, that you’ll erroneous is that it provides an unfair advantage in not be physically active. The opposite is true. I didn’t fully tournament kayak fishing. realize this until I looked back That’s only partially true. If power fishing fits the at a weekly display of active conditions and the fish are minutes on my FitBit. I had active, you can do more completed two training runs for an upcoming 5K that week damage than someone who paddles or pedals. I’m sure and was curious to see my that someone who is more weekly activity trend. Several days had around or a little over experienced with a pedal drive will effectively argue the 60 minutes of exercise. Then pedal versus motor case. But there was a tower of almost it’s a matter of mathematics. 360 minutes of exercise. It was the day that I sat on my butt all day in my kayak under power of the motor. Yep, I was lazying it up alright. 101

The more casts you make, the more your line is in the water. Trolling tactics magnify this. If you cover more water

“fishing fast” and other do not. to be able to decide when to power fish, and when to slow A huge potential pitfall of down and pick them apart. motored kayak fishing is that Tournament kayak fishing Motors will change the power fishing isn’t always largely establishes the battle sport. I believe that it’s for the best approach. Finesse lines between pro and anti the better. My catch rate and motor sentiment. Many kayak fishing, or fishing in a very understanding of my local fishing tournaments prohibit slow methodical way in a specific spot, with say a jig or fisheries has vastly changed for the use of motors on kayaks the better. Some will feel more during competition. But many weightless soft plastic wins tournaments all the time and comfortable creating a new anglers, myself included use has nothing to do with going category for it in their mind, the motor during prefishing and that’s OK. Whatever zooming around the lake. to cover a lot of water, see But zooming to and from the people think of it now will not what a fishery has to offer, spot where you employ finesse be what people collectively then knuckle down and think of it in twenty years. tactics does give you more establish some patterns that For now, I’m enjoying it will work on tournament day time with your line in the and inviting others to let it under power of the paddle or water. The bottom line here improve their experience too. pedal. Some patterns play into is that you, the angler needs when the fish are actively feeding, you catch more fish.



Summer 2017 Kayak Bass Fishing Magazine  

Summer is back and so is KBFMAG for its Summer 2017 Issue packed full of how to articles, adventures , and even fly fishing! Make sure to sh...

Summer 2017 Kayak Bass Fishing Magazine  

Summer is back and so is KBFMAG for its Summer 2017 Issue packed full of how to articles, adventures , and even fly fishing! Make sure to sh...