Tips

Kayak Rod Holders

I did a little DIY on one of my kayaks this weekend. I fish a little lake that is full of crappies and catfish and one of the best ways I know to catch these species in the summer is to drift fish. Trying to drift with no rod holders from a kayak is very challenging, not to mention it’s a good way to lose a rod when a big catfish strikes. They will literally pull your rod in the water. See what happened to me in the post here.

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Here is how I went about it.

I mounted the rod holders to a Perception Swifty 9.5 DLX. Check out my post about purchasing a kayak here. This kayak has a flat surface that is an ideal mounting location for a rod holder or two. I decided to use the Cannon Exclusive 3-position Rod Holder. This holder is very versatile. It allows me to use bait casting or spinning tackle while having a base that swivels 360 degrees.

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Mounting these were very easy. I put the bases where I thought they would work the best and used a drill bit to make a hole through the kayak. I decided to only use 2 bolts through the bases (using all 4 holes is recommended). I thought two provided enough support and I didn’t want to put more holes in the kayak than I had to.  I suggest playing around with where you want to mount your rod holders first. You may want to stagger them more than I did. Do what works best for your fishing rods and style of fishing.

One other thing I like about these Cannon rod holders is the bases are fairly low and do not stick high up on the kayak. This way when I am not using rod holders and I’m casting, they will not get in my way.

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I am excited to get out and try these. I know it is going to make my drift fishing much easier and hopefully will allow me to put a few more fish in the boat.

 

Fishing Trips · Tips

Swift Current Lure Options

My dad and I recently floated the White River near Brookville, Indiana in a canoe. This is the fastest flowing stretch of river in Indiana. There were definitely some areas of very swift current. The river is very scenic and offers some great water to fish. We even saw a bald eagle on this trip.

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Picking the right lure is critical for success when you are floating at such a quick pace.  Fishing with fast moving lures is by far the easiest and most productive way to cover water in these situations. Sure, you can anchor, fish the pockets and deep areas slowly, but these lures will work for the entire float trip in all current speeds.

I like to choose fast moving topwater lures such as a buzzbait or a fast working “walk the dog” style lure.  This river is very clear and the smallmouth bass love to hit these speedy topwater lures. Choosing smaller baits is a great choice. There are a lot of small bass in rivers like this and bigger baits will not get as many bites. Don’t worry, big bass will hit these smaller lures too.

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A shallow diving crankbait in a crawdad pattern is also a great option. These lures dive fast and deflect off most rock and wood cover making them very efficient. Not to mention, crawdads are very prominent in rivers and stream making them a regular meal for most fish. In the shallow stretches I hold the rod tip high which helps the bait run much shallower. When I come to deeper water in the river I will hold the rod tip low to the water, making the bait dive deeper.

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Another option I like to throw is a small swimbait. Picking the right jig head is very important. If you choose too light of a head the lure will just be swept down stream with no action. If you go too heavy, it will sink and get stuck in the rocks and boulders. A good rule of thumb is to start with 1/4 ounce head and see how that works.

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If you haven’t floated a stream or river in the summer months, you should give it a try. You can catch a wide variety of fish and will usually have the entire water to yourself.

Fishing Trips · Tips

Muddy Water

My first kayak trip this year was met with some very muddy water. We have had record level floods, which made the lake look more like chocolate milk than water!

I fished a small lake at winter pool. You couldn’t launch a boat in the lake because the only boat ramp is still on dry ground.

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In muddy cold water, I like to use bright lures that make a lot of vibration so the fish can find the bait. I used a Berkley Flicker Shad on this trip. This crankbait has a tight wobbling action that I like. It also has rattles, so the fish can hear the bait coming through the water.

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I only managed a few bites on this trip, but with the water conditions the way they were I was very happy with that. If all the fish I catch are this big, I will have a great year!

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Tips

Purchasing a Kayak

Need a boat, but can’t afford one? Have you thought about using a kayak?

Kayaks range anywhere from $200-$4,000, but the upper end of the price point is like buying a new boat.  $4000 kayaks are probably more than most of us need for fishing purposes.

Kayak fishing is a growing activity, but many people are not sure what they need in a kayak. There are a couple basic questions you need to answer when starting your search for a kayak.

Kayak 1

Future Beach Trophy 126 DLX Angler Kayak

First there are two models you can choose from that fit in the typical price range. Sit on top kayaks or and sit inside are the two styles.
A sit inside model offers a dryer ride for beginners and also allows the user to be little more protected from the sun and wind. I have found that sit inside models are also easier to carry and transport to the lake. These models also offer dry storage areas where you can put a wallet, cell phone, or change of clothes. However, sit inside models will fill with water if tipped over, where as sit on top models will not.

Sit Inside Models

Sit on top models offer less restriction of movement because you are sitting on top and have no sidewalls against your legs. They offer a little bit easier access for your paddle to reach the water. They also cannot sink.  They all have built in “scupper holes” that allow the water to escape. The water does not come in these holes, they are there only to release water back into the lake. No dry storage is built into a sit on top, so you will have to purchase a dry storage bag to take with you on the water.

Sit on Top Models

I have found that both models are almost identical with stability, but sit on top models are easier to get on and off. People think kayaks are less stable than a canoe, but this is false. In a canoe you are sitting higher up, usually on a seat. This brings your center of gravity much higher in the canoe, thus making tipping easier. In a kayak, you are sitting less than an inch off the water. This makes tipping very hard to do when kayaking in most lake, stream, and pond settings.

Kayak 3

Be careful not to choose a kayak that is too heavy for you. You want to be able to carry the kayak down to the water or load it into your vehicle. They do make kayak dolly’s that help you transport the kayak, but they are kind of a hassle to deal with and it’s just one more thing to bring with you. It is much easier to select a kayak that you are comfortable carrying.

When fishing small lakes, ponds, or streams you need a shorter kayak less than 10 feet long. These shorter kayaks are much more maneuverable and allow you to navigate in narrow waterways. These shorter kayaks also work better when fishing around boat docks, because you can squeeze into places that bigger boats simply cannot. The down fall is they are very responsive to your paddling, so they go left and right quickly. This is not good for long distance paddling.

Kayak 2

Couple last things to look for in a kayak. Does the kayak offer rod holders? These are the 2 holes behind the seat that allow the rods to sit vertically.  Also, many fishing kayaks come with a small tackle tray and a shelf in front of you to sit lures on while fishing. There are countless different models and brands to choose from. Don’t be afraid to sit inside both styles and imagine you are fishing while you are at the store.