This article was written by forum member Iain Sellors and focuses on kayak fishing for bass using plugs and lures.
What time of year to target bass from a kayak ?
I usually start during the first weeks of June, weather permitting, if we are very lucky and get a settled spring it may be worth trying a little earlier, however I would rather listen or look for reports first rather than just get the odd fish. As soon as I hear reports of fish then it makes sense to have a good go – on the plus side I think we can target them later in the year, even into November if it stays clear.
When plug fishing for bass – Should I cast or troll?
You can use both but it’s the ground your fishing in that dictates what method to use
- You can cover the areas that can not be reached through trolling, for example shallow gullies, close to rocky features etc.
- Once you hook a fish you have a reasonable amount of control over the rod and reel, therefore you can play the fish instantly
- You can alter the lures working depth through speeding up or slowing down the retrieve
- You can cover more ground around you by fanning your casts
- There’s something special when you realize (and the bass realizes), that somethings happened when you get a hit
- You are fishing in a small area
- You have no immediate control over the kayak, and many times you could be near or around breaking waves
- You cover an expansive area, a great way to locate a shoal of feeding bass
- There’s something special when you hear the clutch screaming or see the rod arc over when a bass hits
- You have immediate control of the kayak and get get out of any tricky situation straight away
- Whilst you are covering all that ground, should you have stayed where you started?
- If that fish of a lifetime hits, can you turn around, compose yourself and get control of the fish before it’s history? – there is always a gap between the take and you getting hold of the rod in a comfortable position
- If the ground suddenly rises and you’ve been watching the birds rather than your sonar, you can kiss goodbye to that expensive plug
- You need to stop a lot to make sure your lure has not picked up weed or a condom etc., which will stop the lure working
What is trolling for bass?
The movement of the kayak works the lure not the reel, simply cast out to the stern about 20 yards, place the rod in the holder and paddle forward – I slacken the clutch off and can hear it go when I get a hit (or the bottom), some have a Scotty holder and watch the rod
Do I paddle fast or slow when trolling ?
I paddle quite slow, a very leisurely pace, although I have caught when I’ve gone faster, this also depends on your lure, you will soon see what suits you, paddle like hell if your on that scar and a wave is coming
Does it matter if I use surface plugs in deeper areas or should I buy deeper divers ?
Bass will come up to surface/shallow divers, however I prefer to match the water depth with lure, I suppose as a rule the lure choice would be half the depth of water, so 10 foot X- Rap 4-6 foot, 20 foot J-13 10-12 foot, anything less than 10 foot it would be the Maria kiss 1-2 foot
Everyone has their own views on plugs but I use 4 the sliver and j-13’s for deep, the X-Rap for medium and the Maria kiss for shallow, I won’t buy any more, just duplicate those
What depth of water should I fish ?
There again you have to find your bassy ground and then that will dictate the depth, but in my experience you don’t want to go above 20 foot, most of my good bass have come in 4-6 foot
Do I try close to shore or a mile to sea ?
The great attraction of bass to me is that they are the ultimate shore fish, often caught at your feet, shallow ground is the key to success with the kayak and the yak is the ultimate tool, boats can not go where a yak goes, keep close to the shore, but don’t overlook that shallow reef 400 yards from the shore
A Message From Iain
Ok – That’s my input I’ve probably missed some points but hopefully it will help, I’m no expert but it’s all based on what I would do, if I had a choice I prefer to cast the plug close in rather than troll, one more word of advise is it’s not rocket science and always use your own initiative and don’t be afraid to try something new…good hunting