This past Sunday I was out fishing and broke the tip off of one of my key rods which I will need for the Arkansas State Championship less than a week later. Oh no! I contacted Dobyns on Monday and explained the situation. Their staff was great in taking care of me and getting a new rod out immediately so I could have it for Lake Dardanelle. Sure enough, the replacement arrived on Thursday and is ready to go.
Kayak anglers need a reliable and quality rod that won’t break the bank. I cannot more highly recommend the Fury series for affordable quality!
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!”
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:
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.
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 GoogleEarth 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:
Was doing some Lake Wilson fishing at the local Thursday night yakpot and caught this 5.5 lb largemouth bass on a Rebel Pop-R to win Big Bass for the evening. I was fishing back in the flat where the creeks run in and was throwing a Heddon Zara Spook when this giant blew up on it but missed. Grabbed the Pop-R and threw it in there letting it sit with a couple of small twitches and then it was pulled under.
My full gear setup on the Zara Spook rod included 12 lb P-Line Floroclear, Owner Stinger Trebles, Dobyns crankbait rod and Fish Allure scented tab. For the Pop-R I had 10 lb P-Line Floroclear, Owner Stinger Trebles, Dobyns crankbait rod and my awesome Shimano Citica baitcast reel. Like always, I had my MTI life jacket on board and on my body – wear a life jacket!
Was tough that night with Lake Wilson Fishing, but this big bite made it worth the trip.
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.
I want to share a technique I used this past December on a power plant lake in Arkansas to catch a large number of big bass, probably my most fun month of fishing this year. Almost all of them were caught using a Norman Lures DD22 or Deep Little N crankbait.
At Swepco Lake in Gentry, Arkansas, bass boat and kayak anglers fill the parking lots and storm the water when winter arrives. This year is no different, with a chill in the air and ice on the banks, the “hot tub” was a nice 74-76 degrees near the plant discharge. There are a lot of ways to catch good fish at a lake like this, particularly when the bite is on.
For me, the most effective and consistent method for bigger bass this time was to do some deep cranking, going after bass which were herding shad and then feeding. A second key was identifying the depth of the bass and then choosing the correct crankbait to use so that it would run just a few feet above the bass. A Norman DD22 runs as deep as 17 feet and a Deep Little N runs as deep as 12 feet.
When a school was identified and depth determined, I’d simply deploy the crankbait and repeatedly retrieve it in the vecinity of the bass. To keep things moving slowly, my setup was a 5:4:1 Lews reel on a Dobyns FR 705CB crankbait rod. To get the bait as deep as possible, I used a light 8 lb mono and thumbed the reel instead of setting my drag. Finally, for some extra persuasion, I used a Fish Allure scented tab (shad) on the baits, on the body, just behind the front treble.
This technique netted dozens of bass and was a fun combination of electronics, crankbaits and gear that all came together at this power plant lake. Hopefully this gives you some insight or ideas on something to try on your next trip.
Packing my gear for the upcoming trip to Lake Fork for the Yak4It Tournament of Champions is giving me a chance to once again use a great Lindy rod bag that a friend recommended to me a few months ago.
I had been looking for a way to efficiently carry multiple rods in my truck while on kayak bass fishing road trips and the Lindy Elite Rod Bag has been a great and inexpensive solution. I love my Dobyns fishing rods and want to keep them protected and make them easy to carry. Lindy says on the package it is for 4-6 fishing rods, but I’ve been able to put as many as eight in the bag at once, although six seems to be the best fit with baitcasters.
When placing rods in the bag I prefer to have them in rod sleeves, which just makes them easy to handle and gives some extra protection. Once inserted into place, there are two velcro straps that help secure the reels/handles so they don’t slide around. Having them all in the bag makes it easy to carry to and from the truck and it fits great in the cab. I also like the security of having my nice rods and reels covered up in the bag instead of exposed to someone walking by the vehicle.
The area around the rod handle end has a bit of extra padding to help protect your reels and thankfully the zipper performs flawlessly when opening or closing. Many times zippers are cheap and get hung up and difficult to use…very annoying and not a problem with the Lindy rod bag. The handles on the bag are placed at a perfect spot for balance and the rod bag stays parallel to the floor while being carried.
This bag is made of a very thin but tough material that makes it very lightweight and easy to fold up into a small profile for easy storage. The nylon for the bag is also quick drying, so no worry about moisture issues. I also have a couple of longer fishing rods and was worried they wouldn’t fit – but Lindy added a small velcro opening at the end of the bag to let a rod tip through if needed. Each end of the bag also has a cord loop you can use to hang up the bag if necessary.
The Lindy rod bag is good quality and was a good price, at just over $30. You can order one from Lurenet.com directly.
This recent spotlight features one of the most exclusive kayak bass fishing tournaments in the country, a product feature, tips for fishing with kids and one of my favorite tackle sources:
The Yak4It Tournament of Champions at Lake Fork, Texas, is coming up in November and I’m excited to have qualified again this year to compete. This tournament is by invitation only and qualifiers are selected from tournament circuits or events around the country based on how the anglers have performed in those events. This is the second year in a row I will be competing representing Arkansas along with other qualifiers from the state. The tournament is held at famous Lake Fork and Lake Fork Marina and Motel serves as the epicenter of the event. Last year was my first time on the lake, am hoping for a better finish this year.
Heddon is an old school fishing brand that I love to throw because I simply catch fish with these lures. Here is a nice video from Heddon showing off some pond fishin’ with a Pop’n Image.
Kayak Fishing Blog is my favorite website for reading about kayak fishing topics and once again they have a great article, this one on 15 Tips for Kayaking with Kids. Taking kids out on the water is a great way to create a legacy and grow the sport. Make it a great trip by using the tips in their handy infographic.
If your local big box store doesn’t carry some of the plastics or lure variations you need, check out Lurenet.com for baits. This site carries only certain product lines (including some big ones like YUM and Booyah) but has the deepest selection from within their offerings. For example, I like to use the YUM 10″ Ribbontail worm in Black/Blue flake, but this is a hard one to find. Lurenet.com has it and a lot more.
Fishing with a topwater bait from a kayak may require a different technique than from a bass boat. Check out this video for a quick tip on working a ‘walk the dog’ style bait like a Heddon Zara Spook.
Bass fishing with a topwater lure is some of the most fun you can have as a kayak angler. Lures like a walking bait, jerkbaits and flukes must be worked with the rod tip parallel to the water. This can be a bit difficult at first, but with a little practice you can tune in your presentation to catch some big bass.
Here’s a roundup of some of the things that caught my eye this week that are worth a look from fellow kayak bass fishing anglers:
Tim Hotchkin is once again back with a solid video, this time he is breaking down his approach with drop shot fishing. He’s an excellent drop shot fisherman and I’ve learned a lot from him on the water about this topic. Golden’s Baitsis featured – they make some great plastic bait options. Check out this video for some insider tips:
I’ve recently written a Dobyns Rods review here on this blog, but here is a more comprehensive breakdown on the Dobyns Fury Series by Justin Brouillard that identifies five of the best rod options in this new rod set. I’ve been using a 734C version and like it so much I am currently adding more to my arsenal. This article has been very helpful in reviewing options – hopefully it helps you as well. For value-minded kayak fishing shoppers, Dobyns Fury series is a quality option at a really nice price point.
Safety is always a paramount concern when kayaking, kayak fishing or just paddling. Increased danger emerges in winter when water temps start dropping and flipping your kayak can put you in a life-threatening situation. With the recent news of multiple fatal accidents, I’m hoping people will take extra caution when hitting the water. This article on Dangerous Cold Water Submersion by Chris Payne at Kayak Fishing Blog is a harrowing account of an experience he and his son had in a cold water situation. Additionally, thisarticle and video from Paddling.net are good for anyone who kayaks in the winter to see. Be safe out there!
On a local note, this blog article on Yakfisharkansas.com is a touching story by Katrina DeGraff about why she joined the Arkansas Kayak Anglers and really illustrates the community aspect of kayak fishing. Katrina is a great person and I look forward to continue to get to know her and Luke better at future events.
As mentioned in a previous post, I have been wanting to try out a new Dobyns Rod I’d picked up recently while on the road at a tournament event. Then I wanted to do a Dobyns Rods review.
A friend had told my about Dobyns Rods and suggested I try one out, so I did – and he was right, I’m impressed. My Dobyns is a Fury Series 734C, one of their more affordable rods with a suggested retail price of $109.99, but it is balanced and has the feel to me of a higher end casting rod. The 734C is 7’3″ long and is geared toward techniques including buzzbaits, horny toads, jigs, senkos, swimbaits and spinnerbaits. The Fury Series hasn’t been around long, just been since May of 2015.
For the Dobyns rods review I was able to get out and use the rod extensively on a fishing trip to the Elk River and it performed very well. The first thing you notice is how comfortable the grip is with a nice cork main handle and then a butt covered in a “Hypalon” material, giving you more grip for long casts. Starting out with a Booyah spinnerbait I had a nice bass hooked within the first 30 minutes and the rod performed beautifully. Whether launching long, accurate casts, setting the hook, or reeling in an upset largemouth, it felt silky smooth. Again, feeling in the hand like a higher end rod than the actual price. Later on when switching to a jig, it was no problem for shorter and more accurate casts.
Dobyns does offer four other levels of rods: Champion Extreme, Champion, Savvy, and Savvy Micro Guide. Overall I am very pleased with this Dobyns Fury series rod, a great value for the price and plan to look into more Dobyns rods in the future. Find them at an local dealer or online at sources such as Tackle Warehouse.