Tag Archives: Bass Fishing

NSKA River Road Runner Recap

Predictions prior to this year’s river focused event said that there would be a lot of fish caught, and some big limits turned in. These predictions were mostly correct regarding the Natural State Kayak Angler’s River Road Runner from the weekend. Due to the heavy canoe and tube traffic on some area rivers in June this should be called the “Ya’ll catching anything?” event. For the most part, NSKA fishermen were able to say “Heck, yeah!”

None of the groups of floaters on the river that day looked like this.

In the tournament preview article, Jeff Malott and Sam Philip almost hit big bass on the nose, while Sam was ultimately the closest in predicting the winning length.

On a sunny, breezy, day in June, 26 of 38 (64%) anglers were credited with a limit. Although there were some big fish caught, there weren’t very many.  Only five fish 17″ or larger were caught, by a total of four anglers. Having a good kicker was key to placing near the top in this event.

I was lucky enough to finish 1st for this event with 81.5″, Dwain Batey 2nd with 78.75″ and Jonathan Brewer 3rd with a solid 76.25″ limit. Big Bass was won by John Evans with a 20.25″ largemouth, while I won runner-up Big Bass with a 20″ largemouth.

The Top 10 looked like this:

  1.  Jason Kincy
  2.  Dwain Batey
  3.  Jonathan Brewer
  4.  Jeriamy Vann
  5.  Faron Davidson
  6.  Tim Hotchkin
  7.  Jose Rodriguez
  8.  Roy Roberts
  9.  Josh Sherrill
  10.  John Evans

Angler Recaps

Jason – Not knowing hardly any rivers in the area at all, I went to the Elk River, the one with which I had at least some experience. Started out throwing my favorite baits (topwater) but only caught a few small ones. After switching to a squarebill I caught a 17″ off a log, and was catching some others off wood with a ned rig. One of these bass had a large craw claw (2.75 inches! Who knew they had crawdads that big in the Elk?) in its throat that had a blue/green color to it. This clued me in to what they were feeding on, so at this point I pulled out a YUM worm in blue laminate with a claw-like tail. From that point forward I spent most of the rest of the day dragging that worm slowly around logs and wood.

Another large crawfish claw shows from the throat of my 20″ bass.

My biggest fish, a 20″ largemouth bass came off some submerged brush and when I hooked it I was sure it was a gar or catfish or something because it just would not surface. Once I caught this fish a bit after noon, I knew it might be possible to contend. About 30 minutes before the end of regulation I hooked a 15.25″ to cull a 13″ and was hoping at that point that I had enough to place a top three. Four of my top five fish came from that worm imitating the craw claw, so I was very fortunate to spot that and have a great YUM bait to turn to. The rest of that rig setup was a 3/8 oz Reins slip sinker, Owner all-purpose worm hook, 12lb P-Line CXX Floro, Shimano Curado70 and Dobyns rod.

Dwain – Last year was my first year to fish kayak tournaments and the River Road Runner event last year was by far my worst finish, so this year I really wanted to make a better showing. I had intended to pre-fish some rivers in the year between these events, but never did. So I got on trusty Google Earth and tried to find an area within bounds that looked like it was deep enough to use my pedal drive and might hold larger fish. I settled on an area of the Illinois River in Oklahoma near Watts that looked like it would be a good fit.

I started off the morning throwing a buzz bait, and it paid off quickly with a limit of fish, including my best of the day a 17.75 inch largemouth. I milked the buzz bait bite most of the day, but shortly after catching my best Smallmouth bass of the day on it I discovered an area that I could catch fish on a crankbait. It was an area about 200 yards long that was around 4 or 5 feet deep from the shore out to about 10 feet from the bank, and then also had a flat where the water became shallow between two pools. I first found the fish in the shallow area, and then followed this area up the bank. I was cranking the Skirmish Baits MP7 (a small squarebill), and it was producing both Smallmouth and Spotted Bass. I caught about 10 fish on my first pass, and one of them was a nice Smallmouth that gave me a decent cull. A second pass produced more fish but no culls, so I switched to an M9 squarebill which is a larger profile, and caught a very nice Spotted Bass on the same run with the larger bait. That was my final cull of the day, and I was more than happy to get a 2nd place finish in a river event since 99% of my fishing is on lakes. The area I found happens to be really close to my house, and I’ll probably go back during the year and refine my knowledge of the area, and up my river fishing game.

Jonathan – I chose the Elk River to fish this event this year, and started off fishing a topwater bait.  Caught a limit within the first 30 minutes and two of those I was able to use for my best five. After that they were still busting the topwater but I think they were seeing it too well so I switched to my personal go-to bait on rivers and creeks (the Wiggle Wart). I was able to add three more decent fish to my limit on that bait.  Overall, I couldn’t tell you how many fish I caught – it was a blast.

River Valley – Lee Creek

On the same day as the NWA event, those in the River Valley had an NSKA river event on Lee Creek. I’ve fished there twice now, one time was good, one time was really bad. Looks like they had a tough day out there, with only four of 16 entrants turning in a limit. The winners were:

  1.  Toby Bogart 74. 75″ (Plus Big Bass at 18″)
  2.  Scott Accord 70.25″
  3.  Lloyd Mize 66″

Congrats to these kayak anglers!


Read recent articles: Lake Wilson Fishing, Reins Slip Sinker Review

 

Spring Buzzbait Bass Fishing Setup

Beaver Lake Spotted Bass on a Booyah Buzzbait
Chunky Beaver Lake Spotted Bass on a Booyah Buzzbait

This time of year is when to pursue the spring buzzbait bite early and late to catch bass who are cruising the shallows searching for spawning areas, defending nests or just entering post-spawn, which makes spring and fall key timeframes for buzzin’ the bass. (This previous article for Booyah talks about fall buzzbait fishing)

Because a buzzbait can trigger big bites and reeling in the bass from a long distance, it’s important to me to have the right setup. As a kayak angler I’ve got to have the right equipment to cast the buzzbait long distances with accuracy and then the power to get that fish in the boat quickly. Being closer to the water in a kayak creates a problem of leverage that you have to solve with a few simple keys.

Gear Setup

My primary spring buzzbait setup starts with a 7’3″ medium-heavy rod with a fast action tip.  The tip gives me the ability to zing the bait long distances, and the medium-heavy rod allows for a powerful hookset. To ensure I can retrieve all types of buzzbaits and keep them moving with ease, I use a 7:2:1 gear ratio reel.

Next comes one of the most important factors for spring buzzbait fishing – the line. I’ve been using PowerPro #50lb braid in moss green tied directly to the buzzbait. Because of long casts involved, braid allows for a strong hookset and the ability to reel the fish in quickly. In Northwest Arkansas, ask for PowerPro braid at Southtown Sporting Goods in Springdale and Hook Line and Sinker in Rogers and Bella Vista.

For spring buzzbaits, Booyah is my primary brand of baits. Try the Booyah Buzz, which comes with a clacker in addition to the blade. I will use some with clackers and will cut the clacker off some others for a different sound. I’ve not tried the Pond Magic buzz, but they look interesting for smaller bodies of water.

Good luck and catch some bass this spring on a buzzbait!

 

YUM Thumpn’ Dinger Scores at Night

First round of night fishing for the year and hit a jackpot with this FAT 21.25″ largemouth. Caught in transition from deep water to spawning areas by hopping the YUM Thumpn’ Dinger along the bottom.  Gear setup: 3/0 Owner Worm Hook, 1/4 oz Reins tungsten weight, 15 lb P-Line CSX, Dobyns worm rod, Shimano Citica reel.

Bass are moving up for spawn, caught this tank just after dark on a YUM Thumpn' Dinger rigged Texas style.
Bass are moving up for spawn, caught this tank just after dark on a YUM Thumpn’ Dinger rigged Texas style.

Summertime Kayak Night Fishing for Bass

Here is an article from Lurenet.com describing kayak night fishing during the dog days of summer. This article explains my I always use YUM soft plastics when kayak night fishing.approach to find night-time bass. I’ll use a YUM Thumpn’ Dinger or YUM Ribbontail on a Texas rig with a 3/8 Gambler weight and a 4/0 hook. On the weight I’ll add a Fish Allure scented tab to help trigger the bite. My full rigging setup is an 8:3:1 reel on a Dobyns Fury 7’0″ 704C rod with 14 lb line.

Here’s the article from Lurenet.com:

The dog days of summer are neither comfortable for fishermen nor fish. But while anglers have the option of retreating to the air conditioned indoors, largemouth bass can only seek deeper water or thicker cover. In either case, it makes them more difficult to find and catch during the heat of the day.

Jason Kincy, YUM brand ambassador and diehard kayak angler, solves both problems by fishing at night on the lakes near his Bentonville, Ark., home. “It’s hot and muggy and water temps are running at around 94-degrees right now,” he said, “so I’ve been starting my fishing day at about 8 p.m.”

Angling after dark isn’t particularly unusual on southern waters during the summer, but for Kincy, who hosts the Kayak Fishing Focus website, it means first pinpointing the most promising spots to make his 3 or 4 hours on the water as productive as possible.

“The ideal is a rock bank, or a bank that has some rocks on it, that’s fairly steep and close to deep water,” he said.

When kayak night fishing, Kincy targets depths from 15 feet up to the shoreline at night and a steep bank, he explained, often means the fish will simply get there earlier in the evening. “If there’s sunken brush in that 8-to-12 foot range, so much the better.”

When his kayak is sitting a good, strong cast from the shoreline and in 20 feet of water, Kincy knows he’s in the right spot for a YUM Thump’N Dinger Texas-rigged behind a 3/8-ounce bullet sinker. “It’s a good nighttime lure because the U-shaped tail adds vibration bass can zero in on after dark. I usually start with Watermelon/Red Flake and Black/Blue Flake as it gets darker.”

A 7½-inch Texas-rigged YUM Ribbontail, or a Bad Jamma on a Booyah Bankroll Jig, are other solid options for his drag/hop presentation, which is fast, but not too fast, he explained.

“The fish can be anywhere from the shoreline on down,” he said, “so I want to cover water, but at a pace that allows the bass time to react.” 

– See more at: http://www.lurenet.com/blog/fishing-dog-days-at-night/#sthash.m1xuqY1n.dpuf

AKA Members Kayak Fish Shadow Lake

Temperatures were unseasonably high for a weekend in December so a group of kayak fishermen from Arkansas Kayak Anglers hit the water in search of some pre-holiday fish. The destination was where the Elk River turns into Shadow Lake in Noel, Missouri. This is a great little year-round fishery providing good fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass in particular

We had a really enjoyable time on the water due to the weather (overcast and temps at 70 degrees in mid-December!) and pulled in some good fish. Although we couldn’t zero in on a hard pattern, fish were caught numerous ways. I personally hooked good size largemouth bass on a Booyah spinnerbait, Smithwick suspending Rogue, and a Heddon Super Spook, Jr. Some of our other crew had success as well, including a few smallies. Appreciate the great group of kayak fishing friends in the area and thank Charlie, Jason, Mark and Jason for a good day on the Elk.

Hwy 59 bridge where the Elk meets Shadow Lake is a hot spot for bass.
Hwy 59 bridge where the Elk meets Shadow Lake is a hot spot for bass.
Jason and Mark work the river for bass.
Jason and Mark work the river for bass.
Jason shows off a nice largemouth bass caught on a shakey head.
Jason shows off a nice largemouth bass caught on a shaky head.
3.4 lb large mouth bass caught on a crankbait.
17.5″ largemouth bass caught on a crankbait.

 

Jerkbait Time Is Upon Us

Catching bass with jerkbaits begins to heat up as the water temps cool down. This season I have a goal to improve my fishing with jerkbaits in particular. In the past I’ve caught some fish with them but haven’t committed myself to using them as often as I should. Sitting in a kayak makes fishing one very difficult, but I’ll work to get it down. Learning a new bait takes time and research, which led me to a very good article on Smithwick’s website about bass fishing with suspending jerkbaits in the winter.Smithwick-Suspending-Rogue-Black-Orange-Belly The article includes techniques for clear reservoirs and mentions some lakes close to me such as Beaver Lake, Table Rock and Bull Shoals. For some good info on fishing a suspended jerkbait, READ MORE on Smithwicklures.com.

Lake Atkins Lives Up To The Hype

It’s not often that reality matches up with the hype that comes with fishing destinations – but Lake Atkins delivered for me. I’d heard a lot of talk about this up and coming “Big Bass” lake stocked with Lake Atkins Arkansas signFlorida strain bass in Arkansas, but had not fished there until just recently – and it was impressive.

Lake Atkins was recently the site of the 2015 Arkansas Kayak Anglers State Championship, bringing together qualifiers from local trails for a year end event. The lake is made up of expansive flats which vary from 5 to 12 feet deep, with a small deep end being 20-25 feet around the dam. Standing timber, both visible and submerged, litter the lake from end to end which provides underwater structure everywhere. In addition, much of the shoreline is ringed by cypress trees and small coves and cuts, providing excellent cover for bass. Good luck finding ditches or humps or ledges, because there aren’t many and they are subtle.

Big Bass Lake Atkins Arkansas Largemouth
A 24.5″ monster from Atkins.

Pre-fishing was on a Saturday and Atkins was littered with a kayak fishing fleet determined to unlock the lake’s secrets. Almost all those fishing that day were catching good fish, including 7.6lb and 8lb hogs brought in by yak anglers. I did well that day with a Bandit crankbait and Yum plastics. A cold front came in on tournament day, changing the fishing dynamic and resulting in a tougher bite. Even so, one kayak angler hauled in a massive 24.5″ monster that didn’t even look real. What also impressed me was that good fish were being caught on multiple types of baits, which isn’t always the case on a tough, post-front day.

This lake is definitely worth more visits. Use caution and watch for stumps just below the surface when navigating the lake! Many kayaks were high centered and impaled through scuppers and more than one pedal-kayak was damaged from striking submerged timber. If you need a break, order a good burger or grab some tackle at Lucky Landing, located on the south side of the lake.

Kayak Cranking for Bass

Bandit 100 crankbait
Bandit 100 crankbait

This article from Yakfisharkansas.com has some good tops on shallow water crankbait fishing from a kayak.

Bass boat fishermen benefit from the ability to motor long distances quickly to find water and structure to match how they want to fish. Kayak fishermen on the other hand must find a way to catch fish wherever they are, and this requires an array of versatile go-to baits and techniques. Yak anglers can rely on using shallow crank baits…READ MORE