Tag Archives: Fish

Yakking for Bass: Pros and Cons for Kayak Bass Fishing

Contributed by Alex Vail, The Flying Kayak

With kayak fishing’s popularity on the rise, many anglers find themselves leaving the power boat at home and hopping into a small plastic boat instead. Perhaps you’re thinking about giving kayak fishing a try, too. Or maybe the thought has yet to even cross your mind. Either way, as an avid kayak angler myself, I’ve thrown together a list of pros and cons for kayak fishing for largemouth bass. This list is intended to neither persuade nor dissuade someone from giving kayak fishing a try. Its sole purpose is to inform.

Pros:

Stealth– Let’s face it—kayaks are the stealthiest watercrafts available. Their lack of motor and low profile makes them incredibly sneaky. Fish simply don’t know a kayak is nearby. I’ve had fish strike lures just mere inches away from the kayak solely because they didn’t know I was there. With no motor noise, the only sound that should be coming from the kayak is the swishing of the paddle and you, as the angler, are in control of exactly how loud you want to be. In addition, sitting down low in a kayak means that there’s a much smaller chance that a fish is going to see you skylined from below. These things combined means that an angler is going to have a MUCH better chance of catching those fish.

Kayaking for bass

Shallow Water– Kayaks are known for being able to handle skinny water with ease. Usually only drafting a couple of inches, they make those impossible-to-reach places for power boats a real possibility. Also, many of those shallow, weed-choked areas that lunkers like to hang out in suddenly become accessible. With no prop to get stuck, an angler can glide right into the vegetation with little to no trouble.

Fishing for bass

Cost- Aside from the initial cost, kayaks are extremely easy on the wallet. Now, I understand we’re all fisherman, and we love to have our gadgets, but as far as everything else goes, kayaks are cheap. Since you’re the primary means of propulsion, the only fuel needed is food for yourself. There will never be that cringe at the gas pump when you’re done filling up. In addition, maintenance is extremely low. Wash the kayak off if it gets muddy and…that’s about it. No flushing the engine. No fiddling with bow lights. They’re cheap to use. You’ve just got to get them to the water; the same as you would with any boat.

 

Kayak-on-a-truck

 

Cons:

Range/speed– This one is a big one and has probably crossed your mind already. Your fishing areas are limited to exactly how much you want to paddle. I personally wouldn’t suggest trying to fish something beyond 4-5 miles away for a half day trip. Power boats have that awesome ability to crank the motor and go. Thirty to forty mph sounds a lot better than 3-4 mph doesn’t it?

Room- Probably the most limiting factor aside from range is the amount of room available in a kayak. An angler constantly finds himself struggling to make things fit. Now, if you fish bare bones like I often do, this isn’t much of an issue. A tackle box, seat, couple of rods, paddle, and water all fit in the kayak with room to spare. It’s when you start tossing in things like fish finders, live wells, coolers, etc, that space quickly becomes an issue. There’s simply more room to comfortably fit things on a boat. Plus there’s the luxury of being able to walk around without the threat of capsizing.

Inclement Weather- Though all boaters have to consider the possibility of foul weather, kayakers have to take special note. When you’re 1-2 hours away from the dock in the kayak and a huge storm brews up, it’s not as if you can suddenly put the motor in the water and run. You’re forced to paddle away at what always feels like a snail’s pace. Though foul weather doesn’t take as big of a toll in protected waters, it becomes a real issue in big open water. High winds and waves can turn a pleasant day of kayaking into a real chore. Even though today’s fishing kayaks are extremely stable, one still runs the risk of capsizing when faced with extremely rough water on big open lakes.

 

Bass-on-a-kayak

 

So, if you’re considering giving kayak fishing for bass a try, be sure to really think about these pros and cons. These are, of course, just a few of the many things one must take into account when deciding if kayak fishing is something to get into. But if these pros outweigh the cons, seriously give kayak fishing a shot. Talk to local kayak dealers and test different paddle styles before deciding on what’s right for you. Also, try talking to fellow fisherman who already kayak fish. There’s a wealth of knowledge that’s ready to be shared by experienced paddlers, and they’re almost always more than willing to help another angler take his first steps into buying one of those plastic boats. Just be ready; kayak bass fishing can be a blast!

Taking A Stunning Trophy Photo

Contributed by Bill Howard, of Bill Howard’s Outdoors

The saying goes: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Many of us have learned to take a camera whenever we are out on our hunting and fishing trips, so as to not miss that golden photo that will memorialize a great adventure. Especially with not only the advent of cameras embedded in our cell phones, but cameras and software on our cell phones that can exceed even professional equipment from just a few years back, we all have the opportunity to enhance the memories of our excursions.

ParksByNature released the Trophy Case app for Android-based phones in September, so I figured this would be an ideal time to discuss how to take photos that make a statement.

Last year I came across a photo of Emily Anderson of Colorado after a successful out-of-state deer hunt. The image consisted of the deer in sharp focus in the foreground with Emily slightly blurred and standing several yards away with her hands and bow outstretched above her head. That image said everything. It had the deer stand out as the main subject. It also captured Emily’s exhilaration yet showed she was not the main focus of the photo.

Bill Kohls, of Bill Kohls Media in Winston-Salem, NC, has a penchant for catching some of these types of moments. I spoke with Bill about some tips he could share so we could put together a shot of a lifetime. Here are a few he pointed out:

Unique point of view:

The number one mistake I see new photographers make is that they always take their shots from a standing, straight-on position. This is boring and brings nothing new to the eye of the viewer. I am always moving around in the boat or yak to get a cool angle that you don’t normally see.

Angles:

This can be a huge friend to me in the field. By trying a few different angles you may be able to show the off the size of the trophy. Another tip for angles is always having something in your photos to show the size of the subject relative to something smaller. This will exaggerate the size of the trophy. For example, if I have an angler with a large fish I try to focus on the fish’s larger features like its poked out eyes, wide mouth or gut. For a large animal I would aim at its rack, shoulders or tail—something that would set the animal apart from the average ones. Also, put something else in the photo like the lure or the gun to show the size of the animal.

Trophy Case Photo

Time of Day:

If you can help it, shoot your photos during lower light times of the day. Sunrise-11:00 am/3:00 pm-Sunset. This is the best light for natural light photography. Shooting during lunch time can be hard due to the intense light rays.

Poses:

Everyone knows the “hold the fish out as far as you can trick”. Instead of having the same pose as everyone out there, hold the fish differently. Use two hands and hold the fish with its mouth open at the camera, or have the angler be down on one knee—anything to set the photo apart.

Sun:

Use the sun to light your subject. Always have your back to the sun when photographing a trophy to catch all the detail.

Trophy Case Photo

By following these tips you can take a photo from a “that’s a nice fish” comment to a “Wow!” reaction. After all, once the season begins and you bring down that trophy of a lifetime, your epic photo will look great along with the story I submit to the editor. You can reach Bill at bill@billkohlsmedia.com or on Facebook by searching Bill Kohls Media.