Have you ever skillfully maneuvered your boat across a flat only to churn up mud or bottom out with plenty of "fishy" water extending back into the timber? How many creeks have quickly narrowed and become impassable? In each situation, a quick glance at the GPS reveals acres of inaccessible water, an isolated oxbow or a small lake just a little further back. Some determined souls continue to press with chainsaws, machetes, paddles and push poles only to find tight quarters or submerged stump fields and other shallow cover that limits maneuverability.
As sportsmen, we have a predisposition to think the grass is always greener on the other side. Stories of forbidden cities and faraway places have intrigued adventure seekers for centuries. We daydream of fishing famed lunker factories such as Amistad, Fork, Toho or Santee Cooper while overlooking the treasures right under our nose. The notion of finding that elusive honey hole is one that is endearing to anyone who has ever flung a lure.
Some of the best fishing can be found in small bodies of water that are inaccessible by boat, too overgrown to fish from the shore or with depth or bottom compositions that make it impossible to wade. These factors combine to produce secluded, unpressured fisheries. Do a little homework using aerial photography, online services and maps to begin your search, and access is much simpler than you would assume. Golf courses, retention ponds, borrow pits, oxbows, drainage or diversion canals and flooded backwaters all offer exciting opportunities with serious trophy potential or the excitement of catching good numbers. All of these rich ecosystems are capable of sustaining impressive fisheries.
Kayaks offer a practical means to explore these locations and overcome the obstacles associated with fishing them effectively. Generally, getting to the water is as simple as dragging, carting or carrying the kayak a short distance. Another option is to use your boat to mother ship the kayak to the fishing grounds and reach the least pressured waters anywhere. By using the boat and kayak together, you can overcome the range limitation and find bass in places where they have eluded anglers and have seldom (or never) seen a lure.
This concept isn't new or revolutionary. Modern fishing kayaks simply make it easier, more comfortable and affordable. We've all seen infomercials and back-of-the-magazine ads claiming something so effective that it "outfishes live bait" or has been "banned from tournaments" for being too effective. Unfortunately, the technique, strategy or scenario didn't live up to the hype.
I assure you, this is not the case when choosing to fish from a kayak. Don't expect to paddle out and have the biggest fish of your life struggling at the end of the line on your first cast, but, when used effectively, a kayak can improve your overall fishing experience, provide invaluable insights and increase your success in very short order.
Next week we'll discuss fishing unpressured, remote waters and the special techniques, equipment and considerations required to remain undetected and maximize your effectiveness using this approach.
Editor's Note: Chad Hoover is originally from Louisiana and is currently on active duty in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Norfolk, Va. He is the owner of www.KayakBassFishing.com and author of Kayak Bass Fishing ($24.95 on his site). He also serves as the kayak Pro Staff Director for Wilderness Systems kayaks, Torqeedo motors and Secret Weapon Lures.