Use the best motorized kayak for kayak fishing on shallow and moving water. Fishing kayaks are equally useful for angling on still water and moving water. Ultralight kayak allow fishermen to float down shallow rivers where drift boats can’t go. Add the right tackle and lure for the location, and fishing success just has to follow.
Kayak Tracker – Check Water Depth
A scouting expedition to the river helps the angler plan a successful fishing trip. Smallmouth, like other bass species, like edges. These can be edges of submerged rock or other structure, or the edges of deeper pools next to shallow, fast moving water. Estimating river depth at various points will give fishermen a good idea where to find fish.
Examine Insect and Aquatic Life
Walking the bank and wading the shallows reveal much information about what the bass are eating. When crawfish are scuttling about the gravel surface of a river, it’s a good bet that they are a part of the smallmouth’s diet. In deeper, murkier water, minnow lures are a good choice. The idea is to mimic something that the fish already consider a food source.
Ultralight Kayak Control is Vital in a Current
Maneuvering an ultralight kayak on moving water requires more frequent use of the paddle than does drifting slowly along a lake bank. Casting a fly rod is too much of a juggling act in this situation. Something is nearly certain to land in the river. Anchoring the craft is always an option and wading would be another possibility. Kayak fishermen must stay aware of the proximity of fast water. Unless the angler is prepared to carry the kayak back upriver, constant vigilance is required.
Line, Lures, and Other Tackle
For working the riverbank while moving along the current in a ultralight kayak, basic spin casting tackle works fine. A 6-lb. line is heavy enough for smallmouth fishing in shallow rivers. Lures that can be worked across the river bottom, such as crawfish and tube baits, provide attractive motion when brought in with a stop-and-go rhythm. Crawfish lures can be hard or soft, and there are even crawfish flies tied from light, feathery materials. Catching on rocks as it is pulled along causes the lure to pop up and sink down with a realistic swimming movement. A small sinker may be required to pull the lure down to the river bottom.
Hooking and Landing the Fish
Smallmouth strike with a definite, quick attack, much like largemouth. When the angler feels the smallmouth take the bait, it is best not to try to set the hook too soon. This can result in the disappointment of losing a fish when the lure is pulled away. Waiting just an additional instant can make all the difference. Once hooked, smallmouth are strong fighters. Fish intended for release should be handled as little as possible, and then with wet hands. Often, the fish can be brought to the side of the boat and released without ever lifting it completely out of the water.
Keep or Release?
A bass usually will be hooked in the lip. Occasionally, the lure will be deep in the fish’s throat or caught in the gills. Gently probing with forceps may free the hook. When this is unsuccessful, cutting the line and leaving the lure in place gives the fish the best chance for survival. A fish that is bleeding more than a little from the throat or gills is one for the frying pan.
Whether fishing for a camp dinner, for photographs, or just for fun, catching smallmouth bass in a river is exciting angling.
A Shallow-Draft Boat has Advantages over Wading or Shore Fishing
Fishing from a kayak has its own unique rewards – it’s green boating at its best for one thing; no motor to emit greenhouse gases. Also, it only draws an inch or two of water so its easy to fish the skinny water on the flats or the wetland estuaries when the tide goes out bringing the bait fish to tailing reds or trout.
It’s got limitations as trade offs, though. Having a narrow beam, it’s hard to fish from a kayak standing up, limiting visibility for sighting. And with the boat’s geometry, it’s difficult to access any part of the boat that’s not right in the cockpit whether it’s a sit on top kayak (SOT) or not.
So what’s the Limitation with an Ultralight Kayak Anchor?
If the paddler is bird-watching, wade-fishing, or diving, there’s really not much of an issue. Just tie off next to the cockpit on the side opposite the paddle-keeper. But for fishing, it’s different. After weighing anchor, the watercraft will drift with the current or the prevailing breeze.
This will put the boat perpendicular to current or breeze. The angler only has only two choices:
The first is casting over the bow (side wind).
The second is casting to the side (uncomfortable).
The Stern is the Right place to Tie Off the Anchor
This puts the kayak parallel to the wind or current and is beneficial for two reasons:
The fisherman has more casting options: casting downwind or to either side (great for fly fishing).
More importantly, since the stern anchor line is angled away from either three of the casting directions, the chance of the fishing line fouling in the anchor line is minimized.
As mentioned above, movement out of the cockpit is limited, especially when it comes to a task like getting over the fishing tackle and ice chest in the stern well. The obvious solution is a trolley from the cockpit to the stern.
The angler can let out as much anchor line as needed for the water depth and tie off to the trolley. Then it’s simply a matter of transferring the anchor line to the stern and securing it. When it’s time to move on, the procedure is the opposite.
Material Needed for Rigging
The rigging is fairly straight forward. It consists of:
Two stainless steel pulleys, or “U” shaped hardware
The appropriate size and strength braided nylon or polyester rope
Some kind of float
Hardware for attaching the pulleys or “U” hardware
A stainless steel cleat (optional)
Rigging the Kayak Anchoring System
Attach the pulleys or “U” shaped harware, one on the side of the cockpit on the side opposite the paddle-keeper, the other close to the stern where it’s most convenient. For example, the Heritage Redfish uses heavy-duty pop rivets for everything else, so that’s what’s appropriate for that model.
Run the rope through the pulleys and connect with a secure knot. Be sure to fashion a loop to attach the anchor line to. Feel free to experiment with stainless steel hardware if desired.
Attach the cleat near the cockpit if desired, or not, if a minimalist approach is desired.
Attach the carabiner to the float.
Using the Anchor Trolley
After arriving at the sweet spot, drop anchor playing out the appropriate length of line.
Tie the line to the carabiner that’s attached to the float.
Clip the carabiner to the loop on the trolley line.
Pull the line until the anchor line reaches the stern and secure it with the method of choice (with the cleat or some kind of clamp on either side of the trolley).
Hook the fish.
If it’s a big one, it’s going to take the kayak for a sleigh ride. Quickly pull the trolley line to the cockpit and release the carabiner; the float will make it possible to return and pull up the anchor.
Catch and release or stow the catch in the ice chest.
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