The Perfect Position
The Perfect Position
There are certain advantages to fishing in a kayak. There are also sacrifices made. Learning to fully use the benefits you have in the kayak is key for consistently catching big fish. One of the most obvious advantages is the stealth factor. It is easy to slip up quietly to an area without spooking fish. Still, everybody makes mistakes that cost fish while trying to be stealthy or position their kayak. Personally, I tend to be less aware than I should be of noise inside the kayak. I'm always messing with rods and paddles and sending out bad vibrations. It is also important to be aware of movement and silhouette. I like to wear colors that will blend with the sky. While fishing clear water on sunny days, I like to look for wind action to help break up my silhouette. On calm days try to make long casts and be aware of shadows. Sight-fisherman basically hunt their fish making slow movements and keeping a low profile. Keeping small details in mind will help you better utilize the stealth factor in a kayak.
Another advantage of a kayak is being able to access almost any area of a water body. However, recognizing areas that will hold big fish (based on habitat/seasonal patterns/weather) and positioning on them correctly will make a big difference with having such accessibility. Like most anglers, I like to break down a lake or river and identify areas that are most likely to hold the species I'm after. I then decide what area will be most efficient for time based on how much fishing verse paddling I will be doing. One thing is sure, you won't catch fish without a lure in the water. The larger an area the more time I can spend and often areas with the largest amounts of habitat or food will hold the largest fish.Breaking down a lake will you give the confidence to work an area instead of having doubts and spending a bunch of time paddling. There are times when moving around is beneficial. However, when possible I take advantage of the ability to fish slow in a kayak. I go bass fishing quite often and fishing slow is a great way to catch the big fish. Even working a shoreline in a bass boat there is a tendency to move much too quickly. The truth is every stump, rock, brush pile etc....could be holding a fish or multiple fish. Big bass especially like isolated pieces of cover. Take advantage of the shoreline, use tie offs, anchors and stake-out poles to stay in place and fan cast a likely looking spot. Figure out what gear you need to efficiently and effectively position your kayak. Fishing fast doesn't always equate to finding more lunkers. Catching the big ones you do encounter should be the focus.
In open water, rivers, etc...positioning is just as important. If you troll, then you understand the need for attention to detail when positioning. Wind and current direction, the speed of your kayak and your position to the fish are key. If you are fishing over a school of baitfish or deep habitat make sure your casting angle is properly allowing your lure to move through the strike zone. All the while, keeping your kayak at a distance that allows for stealth. In some situations, I will work a spot in a circular motion, making different casts that might elicit a strike. On a river, these things are even more important. If I'm going to anchor and fish a stationary bait, I always give the spot a wide berth as I move into position. If I'm casting, I generally take the best position for casting range and the current's effect on lure action. Most of it is common sense, yet being aware and thinking on the water always is important. Combine careful positioning with stealth and the ability to thoroughly work a chosen spot and you've fully taken advantage of some of the most obvious benefits of fishing from a kayak.
As I wrote in my last post, I like to fish for the big fish...I chase a variety of species but I'm always after the "big ones". I've only briefly brushed on a few of the factors that contribute to catching big fish from a kayak but they hold true for most species and on almost every body of water. It is important to recognize how to rig your kayak for your personal fishing adventures. With the proper gear to help you position for stealth and maximum fishing opportunity you will catch more fish and enjoy your time in a kayak even more. It is easy to focus on things like what lure to use...but focusing just as much on the details of your whole approach in a kayak will make a huge difference. The best lure will only catch a fish if the fish is there and the lure correctly presented to it. On the water, I'm always learning new things about how to position myself for big fish. It is one of the most valuable tools for successful kayak fishing.
In these waning last few weeks of winter I've been preparing my gear for when the ice finally melts. Here in Nebraska, the winters can really start to drag. Part of my preparation has been mental as well. I read fishing books and magazines, do product research, drink a little beer and think about ways to improve my fishing. One of the best ways to improve is by learning to use your tools wisely. Own your kayak, make it a body part. Take full advantage of stealth and position. In the near future, I'll be writing about specific species and techniques. There are many more presentations allowed by wisely planned positioning. Paying attention to the details of your approach and position is very important for anyone trying to catch a big fish, anytime they are on the water.