In this category on the ANGLR fishing intelligence blog, you’ll find useful articles about bass fishing. Find everything from seasonal patterns, to lures, baits, and techniques. Improve your smallmouth and largemouth tactics and land that bass of a lifetime.

Fishing Kayak Selection | Buy the Right Fishing Kayak for You

Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

Selecting the right fishing kayak is a big decision and can be really intimidating. As kayaks continue to gain popularity, there have never been more options to choose from. If you’ve been looking at kayaks for long, you know that there are all kinds of videos and reviews out there showing how certain kayaks perform, but how do you know what you’ll like?

Looks and brand are definitely important but they aren’t everything. Here are some things to know and consider when finding the right fishing kayak for you.

Fishing Kayak Selection: Anatomy of a Fishing Kayak

Fishing Kayak Selection: The Hull

The very basic element to consider when looking at kayaks is how it’s constructed. Most fishing kayaks are rotomolded which means the hull is one piece made from a mold. There are also Thermoformed kayaks which are two pieces that are plastic welded together. Rotomolded kayaks tend to be heavier but more durable over time. Thermoformed are lighter and typically cheaper.

One of the biggest differences between the two, is the rigidity of the hull. Rotomolded kayaks typically don’t have any give and are much more rigid. Thermoformed do not typically have the same rigidity which makes things like standing up a bit more challenging.

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The width of a hull can make a major difference in how your kayak performs.

If you want a kayak that’s easier to paddle and faster in the water, you’ll want to look for a kayak with a thinner, more streamlined hull. For those looking for more stability, a wider hull is what you’ll want. With many fishing kayaks being designed for anglers to stand and fish, it’s not uncommon to see hulls upwards of 36 inches wide. These kayaks will be slower in the water but offer superior stability as a fishing platform. If you fish moving waters like rivers, you will want to consider avoiding wider kayaks as they are not always as maneuverable or as responsive.

Fishing Kayak Selection: Keel, Skeg, and Pedals

One element of a kayak that plays a major role in maneuverability and responsiveness is the keel. A skeg is located on the bottom side of a kayak hull towards the stern. In most kayaks, this is a rigid part of the kayak that helps keep the kayak straight and provides additional strength for the hull. Some kayaks come with rudders that work alongside a keel to allow a kayak to turn by using your feet rather than a paddle. In the case of a pedal kayak, steering is controlled by a handle rather than your feet. Not all kayaks come with rudders but they are an essential component for fishing in the wind and maintaining position while fishing.

Over the past couple of years, pedal kayaks have emerged as a popular choice for anglers.

These kayaks allow anglers to keep their hands free to fish while moving or holding on a spot. Pedal kayaks tend to perform better than paddle kayaks in high wind situations as the pedals are submerged in the water and not exposed. Like kayaks themselves, pedal-driven kayaks come in a variety of shapes and styles all with their advantages and disadvantages. Pedal-drive kayaks are typically more expensive, but many anglers are willing to pay extra for the advantages.

If you are unsure about pedal-drive kayaks or they’re out of your price range, here are some words of wisdom: no kayak has ever caught a fish. You don’t need the most expensive option to catch fish and have fun.

Fishing Kayak Selection: Sit-In or Sit-On-Top – Try Before You Buy

While most fishing kayaks look to be very similar, there can sometimes be some major differences. The most noticeable is the hull. Different hull design and shapes lend themselves better for certain body types as well as specific conditions. If you’re reading this article, you’ve most likely seen videos and reviews of specific kayaks online. While these kayaks can seem flawless, they are often created by expert fisherman who have a lot of time and experience kayak fishing.

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Just because a certain kayak works for them, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

If you’re wondering if a kayak will work for you, and maybe you don’t have the best balance, you’ll want to consider a sit-on-top kayak. At first glance, they may not look it, but they’re far more stable than sit-inside kayaks. Sit-on-top kayaks are, essentially, a giant pontoon that holds you up in the water while you fish. Now that’s a very basic definition, but it does give a good perspective as to why they tend to be more stable and buoyant. To be fair to sit-inside style kayaks, there are some that are designed to be stable enough for standing.

Sit-inside kayaks offer a great platform to fish from for anglers who are looking to see what the sport is all about. They’re easy to use and are great for folks with limited experience with kayaks. They typically don’t offer as much storage as other types of kayaks, but they’ll get you on the water and on the fish. These kayaks are extremely basic, usually offering a seat and a few rod holders. Every company makes their kayaks slightly differently so be sure to check out different companies and what they have to offer.

Sit-on-top kayaks are becoming the more popular choice amongst anglers for their superior stability and customization options. Most sit-on-top kayaks come with scuppers. Scuppers are holes that are built into the hull of the kayak to drain water out of the hull. On windy or rainy days, rougher water conditions may bring water over the top of your kayak, these scuppers make sure your kayak sheds that water and remains afloat. Scuppers do tend to let water up through them as well so if you’re someone who doesn’t like getting their feet wet while fishing, you may want to consider purchasing scupper plugs.

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During the spring, many outfitters offer demo days or host boat shows.

These shows can be a great way to see and try a variety of kayaks and sometimes purchase them at a discount. These events also offer great opportunities to speak with company representatives who are knowledgeable about specific models and features. Many of these shows also feature local pro anglers who are willing to share and discuss the kayak setups that they use and why they use them. This is a great way to get some tips and tricks that are not always advertised.

Fishing Kayak Selection: Rigging Options

When looking at potential kayak options, be sure to consider what you want for accessories. Different brands offer different options for what can be added to your kayak. YakAttack is a company that offers all kinds of kayak rigging options and many kayaks come with their Gear Tracs preinstalled. The Gear Tracs allow for a variety of different accessories to be attached to your kayak securely, giving you the added convenience of things like rod holders, and mounts for electronics.

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YakAttack is an American company who stands behind their products. There are other companies that offer similar products as well, so get out there and figure out which will serve you best.

Fish finders are a hot topic among kayak anglers, some hate them, others won’t go fishing without them. Most fishing kayaks come designed ready to add fish finders without having to do too much, if any, cutting or modifying. Fish finders offer kayak anglers some great advantages like water depth, temperature, as well as GPS features that can be critical for finding your way on larger bodies of water. There’s a wide range of options when it comes to fish finders, some that are really cheap and others that are not, you don’t have to break the bank to add these features to your setup.

While looking at kayaks, you may notice that some models are labeled with “Angler” or “Fishing” added to the model. Often times this simply means that the kayak has been pre-rigged with rod holders and sometimes comes in a unique color. When this is the case, you can usually save some money by purchasing the non-angler model and adding the rod holders yourself at a lower price. There’s nothing wrong with these kayaks but the companies don’t always know how you want your kayak setup. Rigging a kayak is one of the most enjoyable parts of the process, if you follow kayak anglers on social media, you’ll see it never stops.

Fishing Kayak Selection: Making Your Decision

When the time comes to purchase your kayak, make sure it’s something that you’re happy with. With social media and web videos, it’s hard not to be persuaded one way or another.

Make sure you keep in mind what you like and how you like to fish, at the end of the day, this is what matters most.

There are plenty of local shops and shop owners that can provide you with a stress-free experience, take them up on it. Most anglers get many years out of their kayaks, to make sure that you enjoy those years be sure you select one that you’ll be happy with.

Selecting the right kayak for your fishery with Torqeedo’s Jeff Little.

Megabass Magdraft | Megabass Swimbait Fishing With Chris Zaldain

There are fewer specialists these days touring the larger bass fishing tournament trails than in previous decades. There was a time when the Denny Brauers and Tommy Biffles of the world made a good living with one rod on the deck. In both their cases, a flipping stick. For others it may have been a crankbait or a frog. But now you have to be versatile to even survive on tour, much less thrive.

It seems though that those who win more often than not still have the edge on some technique. Though they can do it all, they still have the upper hand given the right situation. As versatile as Kevin VanDam is, should a crankbait come into play, he can still lock it in his hand and kick in the teeth of the competition. If you can get one blow up on a frog, Dean Rojas can get 10 and bury you with his expertise.

So can be said about Chris Zaldain when it comes to a swimbait, his favored Megabass Magdraft to be exact. As diverse and good of an all-around fisherman as Zaldain is, let the conditions align for his swimbait to leave the deck and enter his hand and you’ll be in for a home run hitting highlight reel. We sat down with Zaldain to discuss the ins and outs of his favorite technique.

Chris, tell us about the Megabass Magdraft swimbait.

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Megabass Magdraft | Selecting the Right Size

“There are 3 sizes to a Magdraft: 6, 8 and 10 inches. Being the tournament fisherman I am, the 6-inch Magdraft gets the most play because you get the most bites on it. It catches big ones still, but it also catches numbers. I catch a lot of 3-to-5-pound bass on that size. The 8-inch I mostly bring out as a tournament fisherman when we go to a fishery that has an abundance of gizzard shad in the system. Places like the Tennessee River or any of the big fish lakes in Texas. Every time I set the hook on the 8-inch Magdraft it’s likely to be in the 4-to-10-pound range.

I typically bring out the 10-inch version only when I’m trophy hunting outside of tournaments. This is my 8th year as a professional tournament fisherman and I may have broken out the 10-inch version a couple of times in a tournament situation.

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The two main colors I throw are the albino in stained water and then the white back shad in clear water.

When most people think of swimbait fishing they think of only clear water. But because of the Magdrafts signature head to tail wiggle it gets a lot of bites in stained water too. The 2019 Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville was a great example of that. The water clarity was maybe 2-1/2 feet but because of that wiggle the fish were able to feel my swimbait and search it out in the water and once they got close they were able to see that albino color and come up and eat it.

Megabass Magdraft | Do Bigger Baits Really Draw Bigger Bites?

Absolutely. We’ve all heard ‘the bigger the bait, the bigger the bass’ and that’s absolutely true. A great example of that happened in the Bull Shoals/Norfork Elite Series a few years ago. I had a really good limit on the 6-inch version and to see if I could get a bigger bite I broke out the 8-inch version and I ended up catching a big one.

I rarely catch a 3-pounder on the 8-inch, those bites are usually over 4. But I do get less bites on the 8-inch for sure. I don’t care what bass lake it is in the country, if I throw the 6-inch Magdraft all day, I think I can get at least 8 bites on it. But if I throw the 8-inch all day, I might get 1 or 2 bites. So there are a lot fewer bites on the 8-inch but they are going to be big.

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Megabass Magdraft | What Are Your Ideal Conditions for Throwing a Magdraft?

The Magdraft light comes on in mind when it’s sunny to partly cloudy and about a 10 mph wind. The more sun penetration I have, the more those fish are going to be able to see it. If a fish is 20 feet away from a swimbait and it’s cloudy, they just don’t see it as well. I don’t care if the water is crystal clear, they just don’t see it as well if it’s cloudy. So the optimal conditions is a 7-to-10 mph wind so it breaks up the light penetration but there’s still plenty of light and sunny with just a couple of clouds in the sky.

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As far as cover, I fish the most obvious stuff in the whole lake.

Yes, a million boats have fished that spot before me, but 99 percent of those anglers fish a spinnerbait or jig or crankbait. Still to this day not a lot of people throw a swimbait. So when I introduce a bait that isn’t thrown often to a spot that is fished often, my chances of catching the big one have gone up tremendously. That obvious spot obviously has fish on it, it’s a community spot for a reason. But you have to show them something different.

I don’t care if it’s spawn, pre-spawn or post-spawn, main lake points are what to look for. I’m a big believer that the biggest fish in the lake relate to the main lake. So I’m always going to start on the main lake then just fish the most visible stuff as possible like I said earlier.

Megabass Magdraft | How Do You Fish the Bait?

Slow and steady retrieve, just enough to keep the head and tail wiggling. I’ll hardly ever burn it. Whenever I can, I like to position my boat close to the bank almost like I’m fishing from the bank. Then I cast my bait out to deeper water and let it sink towards the bottom.

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As I reel my bait in, it stays in that deeper water and in that strike zone longer.

I also have a lot of fish follow the bait when I’m fishing a swimbait. And I get a lot more of those followers to commit when I’m fishing the bait deep to shallow than any other way. I feel like the fish thinks it has trapped that baitfish and a lot of times it will go ahead and commit.

Megabass Magdraft | Do You Ever Modify Your Magdrafts?

One thing I’ll do is weight the swimbait down a little if I want to fish it a little deeper. I don’t weight the 8 inch at all. Never have. But for the 6-inch version I’ll use an Eagle Claw Pagoda Nail Weight in the belly if I want to get the bait just a little deeper.

Straight out of the package, the 6-inch Magdraft works best in 4 to 6 feet of water. I’ll use a 1/16th ounce tungsten nail weight in the belly to get it to go deeper. A 1/16th ounce weight doesn’t sound like much when you’re talking about a bait that weighs more than an ounce but it’s just enough to throw the balance of the bait off and when you do that it will stay down in the 8 to 10 feet range.

Zaldain’s Megabass Magdraft Gear

Megabass Magdraft 6-inch

Megabass Magdraft 6-inch

Seaguar InvisX 15-pound

Orochi XX Perfect Pitch 7’2″

Shimano Metanium 7.4:1

Megabass Magdraft 8-inch

Megabass Magdraft 8-inch

Megabass Destroyer Mark 48

Seaguar InvisX 25-pound

Shimano Curado size 300

Kayak Fishing Paddle | What to Look for in a Kayak Fishing Paddle

Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

Often times when anglers make a kayak purchase, they overlook the second most important accessory, the paddle. Now, paddles aren’t always the most exciting piece of gear to purchase but it can make a major difference while out on the water. When you consider how much you use a paddle on any given trip, it only makes sense to take the time to select a kayak fishing paddle that’ll work best for you.

When I bought my first kayak, I grabbed the cheapest paddle off the shelf thinking it wouldn’t matter. Shortly after that purchase, I was at a paddle sports show looking for a lighter paddle that would provide the best performance. I couldn’t believe how much it changed the way I was able to control my kayak and position myself to fish spots. Over the course of a day, a lighter paddle can save your shoulders. When you think about how heavy cheap paddles can be, a lighter paddle can result in lifting far less weight each trip.

Kayak Fishing Paddle Size

If you’ve ever looked at kayak paddles or even purchased one, you already know that regardless of your selection, it isn’t as straightforward as grabbing one and getting on the water. One of the most overlooked factors in selecting a paddle for your kayak, is size. Paddles are not one-size fits all, far from it actually.

When figuring out what size paddle you need, you’ll need to consider some aspects of your kayak as well as you as the paddler. Essentially the two things to consider is your height, and the width of your kayak. If you get a paddle that’s too short, you’ll find yourself bending over with each paddle, eventually you’ll be in some serious pain. Before you make a purchase, be sure to take note of your kayak, it’s width and your own height.

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Most paddles these days are designed with modern fishing kayaks in mind. Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

This means they’re meant for kayaks that tend to be wider and larger overall. Fishing paddles start off larger than most recreational or other styles. With many fishing kayaks easily measuring over 32 inches in width, you’ll want to select a paddle with a 240cm shaft. This is primarily for sit-on-top kayaks that keep the paddler higher up in the water. If you fish out of a sit-inside, you’ll be closer to the water and won’t require as long of a paddle. A quick search online and you can find charts that make suggestions for paddle sizes based on height and kayak size. These are great in a pinch but if you can, go to a local paddle shop and check out the options and figure out what will work best for you.

Kayak Fishing Paddle Blades

The blades on a kayak fishing paddle play a major role in how effective a paddle will be in moving and maneuvering your kayak from spot to spot. With fishing kayaks being larger in size, you’ll need to make sure you select a blade size and material that will be strong enough.

The two main blade shapes you’ll see are low-angle and high-angle. Low-angle blades are great for flat water paddling, the type that most recreational kayaks are known for. High-angle blades are ideal for getting the most bite out of every paddle stroke. This makes high-angle blades ideal for kayak anglers as it allows them to get the most out of every paddle. High-angle blades are typically designed to have increased strength which is needed for larger fishing kayaks.

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A major advantage to a high-angle blade, is depending on the material its made out of, it can become an effective paddle while standing up. Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

If you like to stand in your kayak, you’ll find yourself reaching for your paddle every so often to adjust your position. High-angle blades are large enough that they can be used as a stand up paddle if anglers find themselves needing one. Typically, these blades are made strong enough to withstand this type of use.

With the popularity of kayak fishing growing rapidly, many companies have began working in features for anglers into their paddles, specifically the blades. Many paddles now come with a notch in their paddles that allows anglers to retrieve a bait that may be hooked up in a tree or some submerged cover. Other paddles come with a ruler on the shaft of the paddle that can be used to measure fish after you catch them. I’m not sure how much these features get used, but it’s great to see companies considering anglers in their new designs.

To steal a phrase from many paddle companies, saving weight raises both performance and price.

Lightweight materials can be critical in preventing fatigue in your shoulders as well has how much energy is transferred to your paddle stroke. You get what you pay for with paddles, the more you spend, the easier your day will be on the water. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune to get a light paddle, but expect to pay between $150 – $200 minimum to get something that’s light and strong.

Kayak Fishing Paddle Shaft

Besides the blade of a kayak fishing paddle, the shaft is the other main component. Shafts for kayak angling are typically straight. Paddle companies do make shafts that are bent, but these are typically designed for whitewater applications. Just like blades, shafts can come in a variety of different materials. Materials ranging from aluminum to carbon fiber.

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Carbon Fiber and fiberglass offer lighter alternatives to aluminum and are efficient options.

Kayak Fishing Paddle: Try Before You Buy

While it sounds simple, try before you by is the best advice I can give. Just like every other accessory for your kayak, go try out paddles before you buy them. Even if you can’t get on the water, go to the local paddle shop and get a feel for how it is in your hands, the weight and the shape. While you’re at the shops, ask questions, get answers and figure out what’s going to work best for you and for your needs.

Kayak Fishing Crate Recommendations | Top 5 Crates for Kayak Anglers

Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

Kayak fishing crate options is one of those areas where I am biased. Having started with a home modified milk crate, moving to an Engel cooler for my Hobie PA14 and finally adding an H-crate on my Outback was a series of personal choices that I feel were best for me. I did a short stint with a BlackPak, but it just didn’t seem to fit my needs, or maybe just my style. That doesn’t mean it is not a good option, just not the right fit for myself. 

When I have definite opinions about gear (and that has been said is too often), and is the case here; I reach out to my kayak family for help. So, in a quest to understand what are the top choices and why, I asked some folks.  Following are the top five (then the honorable mentions).

Kayak Fishing Crate: YakAttack’s BlackPak

I wasn’t totally surprised to find that the number one response was the YakAttack BlackPak.  With its 12”x16”x11” dimensions, this option has plenty of room for tackle and gear storage and will fit on virtually any kayak on the market. It is a highly versatile piece of equipment that allows anglers to modify it for rod holders, GearTrac, a VISIPole or any number of accessories available on the market. There are even limited color options available.

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The BlackPak can be attached to the kayak and transported to and from the water without fear of turning to see it gone.

The included lid makes it possible to keep gear in the crate while moving between locations, tie downs keep the wind from blowing it around or holding gear in case you find yourself upside down in a creek. It will hold several storage boxes, soft tackle bags, your lunch, or about anything you carry on a fishing trip; you cannot go wrong with this choice.  

Kayak Fishing Crate: Homemade/Milk Crate Options

It doesn’t take long hanging around the kayak fishing community to learn that part of its beauty is the simplicity of it all. Many guys are also in kayaks because it is extremely affordable. For these two reasons, a simple old school milk crate is highly popular; just like you see behind grocery stores. They have room for gear, can be tied or strapped down and can be very inexpensive.

These crates can be modified or not, have things attached or not, can be attached to other crates, modified to have lids and locks, painted and they come in multiple sizes. The choices are only limited by imagination. I have seen versions created by anglers that could most likely be marketed and sold in big box stores. These crates are easily “found” (see them on the banks of lakes all the time), purchased online or companies like YakGear make ready to use models.  

Kayak Fishing Crate: Plano’s Soft Crate

This tackle storage system is designed to fit inside a milk crate or sit in the kayak and resembles a tackle bag more than a crate. At 12″L x 17.5″W x 12.5″H, it is comparable in size to the BlackPak or the standard milk crate options. It is configurable with zippers, pockets, and tool holders that give several opportunities to manage your gear.   

Plano’s soft crate comes with two 23650 stowaways, but has the capacity to hold nine, and folds on itself to create a handle that also makes it possible to carry to and from the kayak or on shore trips. Several anglers I surveyed made this their personal choice because of storage capacity and how easily it can be carried.

Kayak Fishing Crate: Hobie H-Crate

A Hobie H-Crate, like the BlackPak, is a highly configurable option.  With inner dimensions of 14.75 in x 11.4 in x 13 in and integrated rod holders, there is no shortage of space to store gear.  It has the H-Rail system that will allow any Hobie accessories to be attached, but also has mounting holes to add additional rod holders or gear tracks.  This crate also has adjustable straps that allow it to be secured in most kayaks.

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There is an H-Crate Jr. available just in case you have limited space.

One shortfall of the Hobie crate is that it doesn’t come with a top, but they do have a soft cover with a zipper that can be purchased separately.  This slightly restricts access to the gear inside, but is still a great way to stow gear in case you roll. But if you chose not to buy the top, this is still a solid option.

Kayak Fishing Crate: Magellan Dry Box & Flambeau Tuff Crate

These two came in tied for fifth in my very unscientific survey. I was a bit hurt that the Engel cooler did not rate as high as the Magellan Dry Box, but the difference in price is most certainly the deciding factor. The Magellan is a dry box/cooler option that has the external dimensions of 18 inches L X 12 inches W X 13.5 inches H and has latches and a carrying strap. This box also has an aerator port for keeping live bait. It has a hard shell and is insulated.

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Personally, I have a dry box option because there are times you just want your stuff dry.

The Flambeau Tuff Crate doesn’t seem to be lacking space at 16.75″ L x 12.8″ W x 15.26″ H, and also has an additional top section to hold even more gear. The crate snaps shut and can hold several tackle boxes. To be honest, had I seen this option when I first started, I may have gone with this one.

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It looks like one of those homemade options; something someone Frankensteined from a few milk crates!   

Kayak Fishing Crate: Honorable Mentions

I am still standing by my Engel Cooler with my lucky duck mounted on the top; and I am sure that Kris Hummel will speak up for his Wilderness System’s crate (also with a duck on top) though they didn’t make the top five. The listings above do not represent all that is available on the market, or that lives in the imagination of future kayak anglers.

As the sport continues to grow, and companies try to market to us… there is no telling what might be available soon. Keep your eyes open, or maybe just create the next best thing yourself and see if you can build the top crate!

Jerkbait Fishing for Post-Spawn Bass with Chris Zaldain

Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Chris Zaldain is one of the most proficient anglers in the world at jerkbait fishing. We sat down with Zaldain to talk about what changes he makes to adapt a jerkbait to post-spawn bass fishing.

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What’s the Difference Between Jerkbait Fishing in the Post-Spawn Versus the Pre-Spawn?

In the pre-spawn when the water temps are in the 50s, it’s a jerk, jerk, pause deal for slow, fat, and lethargic fish. In the post-spawn when you’re dealing with 60 and 70 degree water, you have to speed that joker up. It’s more of a rapid set of jerks followed by a short pause. Jerk, jerk, jerk, jerk, quick pause, jerk, jerk, jerk, pause.

I use the same rod, reel, and line setup but instead of the original Megabass 110 jerkbait I love the 110 Magnum. Basically it’s about an inch longer and has a wider stride to it, a lot like a soft plastic jerkbait. It has a more lateral movement and I believe in the post-spawn that wider, almost underwater walk the dog technique drives those big fish nuts and triggers them into biting.

Post-spawn fish are exhausted and don’t want to go out of their way to track something down. So, this really fast moving jerkbait with real wide glides is moving a lot of water but not moving forward. That quick, lateral movement is what you want.

With that 110 Magnum you stay in the strike zone a lot longer. If you jerk the original 110 10 times, you’ve moved that bait 10 feet or so from whatever you’re targeting. With that Magnum you’re getting twice the lateral movement and only moving the bait maybe 5 feet in 10 jerks.

Jerkbait Fishing the Post-Spawn: What do you Target?

I like to target any windblown bank near where they’ve just finished spawning. I’ll start at the spawning flat and go to the first point coming out and eventually make my way to the main lake points.  

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Docks and shade are also really important in the post-spawn.

These fish have been in the sun for weeks looking for bedding areas and bedding. So, a lot of times they hang on that first big piece of shade like a dock or a laydown for a week or so. If you add a little wind to that then you have the perfect post-spawn scenario to throw that Magnum 110 into.

The bass are also guarding their fry in these shady areas after the spawn and a jerkbait is a great bait for triggering those bass who are trying to protect their fry from bluegill and other predators.

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Do you Relate This Style of Jerkbait Fishing to Fishing a Glide Bait in the Post-Spawn?

Absolutely. I get questions about glide bait fishing a lot. A glide bait is just an oversized jerkbait. The beauty of a glide bait, no matter if it’s the spawn, pre-spawn, or post-spawn is that it triggers those big bites with that super wide glide. It stays in the strike zone two or three times as long a crankbait or spinnerbait.

Do You Use a Jerkbait to Catch Fish Relating to the Shad or Herring Spawns Jerkbait Fishing the Post-Spawn?

For sure. That’s another great way to use a jerkbait in the post-spawn. You hear a lot of people talking about how bad the post-spawn is and how hard the fishing is but there are a lot of things going on in the post-spawn that can really give you an advantage, like targeting that shade or like fishing shad spawns and herring spawns or even a bluegill spawn.

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So, a jerkbait matching the profile of all those bait fish is the perfect choice to capitalize on those baitfish spawns. Photo Credit: Garrick Dixon

Jerkbait Fishing: Zaldain’s Post-Spawn Gear

Megabass Ito Vision 110 Magnum

Shimano Metanium 6.2:1

Seaguar InvisiX 12 or 15 pound

Megabass Destroyer Oneten 6’ 11”

Kayak Fishing Tips | Adam Rourke’s Top 5 Kayak Fishing Tips

As kayak anglers, we’re constantly hearing plenty of kayak fishing tips… but not all of them are in our best interest. A kayak fishing tip may work well for one angler and not for the next, keep that in mind as you read through my top 5 kayak fishing tips!

Kayak Fishing Tip #1: Fish What You Know

If you’ve been fishing for any amount of time, you know that there is no shortage of promotion and advertising for new baits constantly. With fishing growing in popularity, there is no shortage of options for new baits and techniques. This is great for anglers as we always have something new to try. As an angler, it’s essential to constantly be growing and advancing your skills. If you’re just out for a weekend fishing for fun, feel free to try new things but never lose sight of the techniques you’ve had success with.

If you’re someone who’s into tournament fishing, you’ll know that events rarely go the way you planned. I travel a lot during tournament season and often times I don’t get the chance to pre-fish before an event. With tools like Google Maps and ANGLR, we can give ourselves a bit of a sneak peek and anticipate what our plan will be but until we get there we can’t know anything for certain. During tournaments, I strongly recommend avoiding trying new baits or techniques as they can really contribute to the mind games we play with ourselves throughout the day. When fishing places you don’t know, stick to the baits you do and you’ll have much more success.

Kayak Fishing Tip #2: Surround Yourself With Supportive People

There are many local fishing clubs all over the country. One of the things I love about the kayak fishing community is how friendly and supportive people are. Get to know these people, share tips and tricks and you’ll only strengthen that community and group of people. Being involved with a great group of anglers has helped me improve so much. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t share anything that you do and keeps secrets, you’ll find yourself needing some support one day and it won’t be there.

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The community of kayak anglers is one of the things that separate this sport from the traditional bass boat communities.

Kayak Fishing Tip #3: Re-tie Your Knots

Throughout the course of a day spent fishing, it can be easy to get in the groove of catching fish cast after cast. With every cast, fish are fighting the strength of your line and also causing damage to it depending on how their hooked. While bass don’t have teeth, they do have lips that are extremely abrasive and scratch up the end of your line, especially around your knot. A good rule to practice, is to re-tie your knot after every 3 fish caught, more if possible. If you hook into a really large fish, take a second to re-tie, even if your knot still feels strong.

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There’s nothing worse than losing a big fish, so it’s good to do everything within our control to prevent that from happening.

Kayak Fishing Tip #4: Take Care of Your Gear

Now this is an obvious one, and one I need to work on the most. We spend a lot of money on nice gear and tackle and it’s crazy how little time we can spend maintaining. This tip ranges from your kayak or boat to your rods and reels. After each trip, it’s a good idea to take a look at your gear to see if there is any damage from the trip that you may not have noticed while you were out on the water. Doing this, can make sure your gear will last you a long time and is functioning properly.

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At least once a year, break your reels down, clean them and lube them up. You’ll be surprised how much this makes your days on the water easier.

Kayak Fishing Tip #5: Put in the Time

If you follow anglers on social media, it’ll seem like they’re just constantly catching giant fish. For some of them this is true but for others, this is a result of hours and hours spent on the water figuring fish out. Whenever I’m asked what people can do to improve, I always say, “Just get out there and spend time on the water.” If this sounds overly simple, it is. Anglers who have success fishing have spent hours and hours on the water, figuring out where the fish are and what they want. It may seem like some of this stuff comes easy to them but it may not have always been that way.

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We all know that person who’s always out fishing, try to be that guy.

Why Anglers Prefer Kayak Fishing in a Sit on Top Kayak

Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

My first exposure to kayaks was as a young boy in Alaska as they educated us on the lifestyles of the Eskimo hunting for whales. These kayaks were typically constructed by creating a frame from whalebone or lightweight wood, then stretching the skin over this frame and sealing it with whale fat to keep it watertight. These were all custom and built to fit the owners, and were used to hunt and fish for food.  The finished product was what we know as a sit inside design; it was what was known. Fishing in a sit on top kayak wasn’t even considered yet!Sit on Top Kayak(3)

Inuit man and his kayak. Photo Credits: http://collectionscanada.gc.ca

The Beginning of the Sit On Top Kayak Movement

While the initial commercial introductions were geared to the whitewater crowd, this is no longer the case. New markets opened up and the manufacturers adjusted to become more competitive. This changing demand led to better designs for white water, sea kayaks, the occasional kayaker, weekend anglers and tournament anglers. Now, just about any style of kayak is available; sit in, sit on, hybrids.

While you will see a few anglers in sit in kayaks on the tournament trails, especially local events, hardcore tournament anglers will opt for the ‘sit on top’ styles. These sit on top styles are becoming increasingly advanced offering more deck space and storage. The primary reasons to consider a sit on versus a sit in would be the extra storage and accessibility to gear, measuring/photographing fish and comfort.  

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Photo Credits: Caney Fork Outdoors

The newer sit on top kayaks, designed primarily with the angler in mind, allow room for mounting accessories, rod storage and offers tackle storage space. On tournament days, you can find kayakers carrying as many as ten rods and several tackle bags in addition to the newest depth finders and GPS devices; these require rod holders and mounting locations to keep them all easily accessible. With sit in kayaks, there is a lot of room inside, but limited space on the surface. This lack of deck space makes your gear less accessible during a day on the water. You are basically sitting in the entrance to all of your storage locations, blocking access, instead of spreading your equipment across the deck.

The Benefits of a Sit On Top Kayak

I personally find the biggest issue with a sit in kayak is measuring and photographing fish. Once you have finally landed the catch of a lifetime, you want to get it on your measuring board, photographed and released as soon as possible. With a sit on top version, you have the ability to set your board up on one side of the kayak with the fish facing downward.  I also add a net to the side the fish is facing; if you have ever tried to measure a bass in a kayak, you have lost at least one to the same motion…it curls, raises its tail, then ejects itself over the side. I often see guys doing this in their lap (your choice), and with the sit in kayak, you are forced to do this across the opening or on the smaller deck in front of your body.  I have lost too many large fish on tournament days to not take all precautions possible.

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All fish seem to try and escape with the same motion from a measuring device!

Kayak fishing tournaments can be a few hours or all day. Some online events will even find anglers spending the day and most of the night paddling or pedaling across miles of water to find bass. I don’t know about everyone else, but I like to be comfortable. Sitting inside a kayak on a small pad with my legs extended in front of me for hours would leave me unable to get out at the end of the day. The new higher end sit on top kayaks come equipped with seats that are as comfortable as a recliner; adjustable bottom, back and lumbar support. Many can even be removed and used at a campsite to substitute for a lawn chair if needed.

Now, I will tell everyone that before you choose any kayak get out on the water in it. Don’t spend five minutes doing donuts off the end of the ramp or dock; pedal/paddle it for some distance, stand up, move around and think about what you are going to do in it. What will you take with you and where will you place it?  Are you going out for minutes, hours or even days on end?

Think very seriously about what fits you. Maybe you want to hunt seals or whales, maybe you are more of a whitewater enthusiast or just maybe tournaments are your future. Sit in it, on it and beside it; then make the choice.

Kayak Fishing PFD | The Best 3 Options for Kayak Fishing PFD’s

Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

Like many things in kayak fishing, the best choice of a kayak fishing PFD (personal floatation device) is subjective and varies for each angler. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you wear one. Many anglers think that they’ll just swim to shore if they fall in, but you never know how you’ll handle a situation like this so be safe. Here are my thoughts on the best 3 options for a kayak fishing PFD.

Kayak Fishing PFD – Inflatable PFD’s

Inflatable PFD’s are controversial to some as they’re not always viewed as the most reliable. However, when fishing, anglers need as much room to move as possible. Often times when wearing an inflatable PFD, anglers can forget they’re even wearing it.

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I’ve found myself getting into my car to leave a ramp with mine on.

Depending on the model you choose, inflatable PFDs have a cylinder that fills up when it’s exposed to water. Once it fills to a certain point, the PFD automatically inflates to protect the person wearing it. If you’ve used one of these, you know that they are prone to go off unexpectedly during rainy days or in the case of being dropped on a wet surface. It’s a good practice to carry a replacement CO2 cartridge just in case you need to replace it while on the water. These replacements can be expensive over time and this PFD option tends to be more expensive than more traditional PFD styles. Other styles of inflatable PFDs require the angler to pull a cord to inflate the air bladder. This style tends to be less reliable as it relies on the angler to aware enough during an incident to remember to pull the cord.

Kayak Fishing PFD – NRS Chinook

A type III PFD is the official designation given by the US Coast Guard. A type III PFD is one of the most common types on the market, if you have a life jacket that’s intended for fishing, it’s most likely a type III. These PFDs are stuffed with foam and are extremely buoyant. As kayak fishing increases in popularity, more companies are making their PFDs with kayak anglers in mind.

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A great example of this is the NRS Chinook, probably one of the most popular choices for kayak anglers, this PFD is designed with a foam pad that sits high on the back to avoid pressing up against a seat. The Chinook also comes with multiple pockets and attachment points for accessories like the ANGLR Bullseye! This PFD is outfitted with multiple straps and zippers to ensure a custom fit for any angler.

Kayak Fishing PFD – Kokatat Leviathan

Like the Chinook, the Leviathan is a type III style PFD that uses foam to float an angler to the surface in the case of an emergency. This PFD is designed with the angler in mind and offers maximum range of motion for casts, paddling, and landing fish. Also, like the Chinook, this PFD has a high back to avoid interfering with a kayak seat, ensuring comfort while out fishing.

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This PFD has ample storage and accessory space for things like your cell phone or snips. A unique feature to this PFD is fleece lined pockets that keep your hands warm during those cold days out on the water.

No matter what kind of kayak fishing PFD you choose, be sure to wear one! This simple device will save your life in those scenarios we never want to happen or expect to happen! If you have a different PFD you prefer, let us know in the comment section below!

Kayak Fishing Accessories | The Top 5 Accessories You Need

Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing

Choosing your kayak fishing accessories is easily one of the most fun and interesting aspects of the sport. As companies continue to innovate and release new products, there are plenty of kayak fishing accessories on the market that make the life of an angler much easier. Here’s my top 5.

Kayak Fishing Accessories: Cal Coast Donkey Leash

If you’re a kayak angler who competes in tournaments, you’ll understand the importance of being able to manage your fish while you prepare yourself to photograph the catch. Previously, I used fish grips with some paracord attached to my kayak in order to keep my fish in the water.

Overall, fish grips are great, until you make the mistake that I did and grab them by the release handle. During the first hour of a tournament, while I was still waking up, I landed a decent-sized fish and prepared to photograph and measure. When I was ready, I reached down to retrieve the fish but without realizing it, I grabbed the release handle. In that moment, the fish and I made eye contact for about three seconds before it sped off. Now, this isn’t a knock on the product, this was my fault, but this is also when I decided to look for something more foolproof.

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During my search for a product that would protect me from myself, I discovered Cal Coast’s Donkey Leash. At first glance, the clip looks really small, especially compared to the fish grips. I did a quick search online to see how it worked and I was really impressed.

Unlike fish grips, the Donkey Leash is a plastic clip that goes inside of a fish’s lip and locks down. It doesn’t hurt the fish, it closes just enough so that the fish can’t get out of it. To secure the clip, it has plastic teeth that keep the clip closed. This is a huge advantage as it almost entirely eliminates the chance to accidentally release a catch. Ever since I purchased this product, I haven’t lost a fish. This product has completely reduced my anxiety about securing a fish off the side my kayak.

Kayak Fishing Accessories: Lowrance Hook2 7” Fishfinder

When I first started kayak fishing, I resisted having any electronics to keep my setup streamlined and simple. Since then, it’s become extremely easy to add a fishfinder to a kayak with minimal effort and modifications. Admittedly, I don’t know all of the ins and outs of fishfinders. So when I made a selection, I made sure to select a simple unit that was easy to use.

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I ended up with a Hook2 7” with the SplitShot transducer and maps.

This was my first time with anything from Lowrance but I haven’t regretted the decision for a second. The Hook series is really streamlined and user friendly. The model I selected has sonar, maps and down-imaging which is all I need. If you compete in tournaments, you know the value of being able to see what’s going on under the water. On those days where the fish don’t seem to be where you thought, a fishfinder can be your saving grace. The 7-inch screen is extremely clear, easy to read, and tells me everything I need to know about where I’m fishing. The basic features prevent me from overthinking while out on the water. If you’re looking for a reliable fishfinder, consider the Hook2 series.

Along with this great graph, I also use ANGLR’s fishing intelligence software on the water. Being able to track all of the data associated with my catches has changed the game for me! When paired with the ANGLR Bullseye, I gather all of that data with the click of a button. It’s something every kayak angler should look into!

Kayak Fishing Accessories: ForEverlast Generation 2 Net

If you’ve read my previous article on fishing nets, you already know how essential this accessory can be for ensuring you land a majority of your fish. As someone who isn’t the most coordinated, I need equipment that isn’t going to be easily lost should it venture over the side of my kayak.

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Knowing this, I discovered the Foreverlast Generation 2.

This net is really wide and covered in foam allowing it to float if it ends up in the water. The short handle is great for staying out of my way while casting or pedaling to the next spot.

Kayak Fishing Accessories: YakAttack Black Pak

The YakAttack Black Pak is something that I initially wasn’t interested in because of the price. At the time, I was using a basic milk crate to store my tackle and fishing rods. After a day of fishing in the rain, I discovered that all of my plano boxes were full of water. It was that day, that I decided to take the plunge and buy one.

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Right out of the box, it’s clear that this is no ordinary kayak crate.

It’s extremely sturdy and allows for all kinds of add-ons. It isn’t water tight but having a cover is a really effective way to keep all of your tackle stored and mostly dry. Occasionally, I use mine to mount a GoPro camera. It’s much easier to modify a plastic crate instead of modifying the hull of a kayak. While it’s not the most flashy accessory for your kayak, it’s an essential in my eyes.

Kayak Fishing Accessories: Ram Mounts

When it comes to adding accessories to my kayak, I try to avoid drilling at all costs. This was one of the many factors that lead to me purchasing a Hobie Pro Angler. The H-rail provides a really strong and reliable mounting point for a variety of accessories. When it comes to accessories, Ram Mounts cannot be beat. These mounts are extremely simple and strong, I never worry about them breaking. Currently, I use a Ram mount for my fishfinder as well as a mount for my phone. These products are really high quality and are super reliable.

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Bass Pro Tour Stage 7: Recap with James Elam

The Major League Fishing returned to Table Rock for the second time in 3-weeks due to flooding at the previously scheduled Grand Lake for Stage Seven of the Bass Pro Tour. In an effort to mix things up a bit, MLF chose to have the BPT anglers compete in the evenings instead of the traditional morning to mid-afternoon competitions. We caught up with ANGLR Expert and MLF BPT Pro, James Elam, for a recap of his event.

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Bass Pro Tour Stage 7: Elam’s Practice

I’ve never fished an 8-hour tournament that way. I’ve fished a few jackpots in the evening but nothing like this. But it was kind of like one of those jackpots. You just start off fishing slow where they are. You’re starting off during probably the worst part of the day. That’s why the finesse techniques really shined even more this time than when we were there a couple weeks ago fishing in the morning.

I just kind of blocked the shallow bite out from the get-go and just stuck with the dropshot and shaky head. I’d end my day on a point and maybe catch a few on a topwater right at dusk, but I didn’t try to make a call at some point in the day to abandon the deep bite and try to get lucky shallow.

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It was totally different from transitioning from a morning bite to a deep bite.

The spawn had finally wrapped up and that was a significant change from the last time we were there. That showed big time in the lack of largemouth weighed in this time. There were a lot more spots weighed in and very few largemouth. Before it was 50/50 between the largemouth and spots.

The shad spawn was still going on a little bit, but fishing in the afternoon made it irrelevant. I caught them really well one morning in practice on the shad spawn and tried to figure out what those fish were doing after that. I started catching them pretty good on a worm and there were a few guys that caught them in those stretches cranking. But by that time of day, those fish weren’t nearly as aggressive.

Bass Pro Tour Stage 7: Elam’s Tournament

After the Shotgun Round I was in a pretty big hole but I dug myself out early in the Elimination Round and got back to within a pound of the Elimination Line. I got on some right at the end of the Shotgun Round schooled up on the side of a point. I started there during the Elimination Round but couldn’t get them to bite. They were suspended out in 90-feet of water. It was like they weren’t running water and that had them scattered.

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I fished a few of my best points really quick and then decided I had to do something else.  

I immediately went to a dock and caught one. I found that the best docks were in the mouths of the creeks in 17 to 35-feet of water with a lot of shade. I started running those and caught back up really quick. I caught like 14 in an hour or so doing that. I’d pitch my dropshot in and those spotted bass would follow it all the way to the bottom and then bite it within a couple seconds. I’d catch 3 or 4 on each dock.

I did that through the First period and into the Second period but then I just ran out of fish. I think they turned the current on at that point and the guys started catching them out on the points like they did on the first day and I just couldn’t keep up. With as many fish as Table Rock has, if you’re not catching a fish every 5 to 10-minutes, you’re toast. And because you don’t catch a lot of big ones, it’s really hard to catch up once you fall behind.

It was a fun tournament though. I definitely like the aspect of trying something new and it was pretty cool to fish in the afternoons for a change.

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Bass Pro Tour Stage 7: Looking Forward

Major League Fishing heads to Neenah, Wisconsin for the 8th and final stop of the Bass Pro Tour. The field is set to compete on Winnebago as well as two other neighboring fisheries, Lake Butte des Morts and Green Lake.

I have no idea what to expect. It looks like Winnebago is a pretty large lake and probably has smallmouth and largemouth in it but I’m just starting to look at it. The Shotgun and Elimination Rounds are on Winnebago. Then the Knockout Round will be held on a different lake and then the Championship Round will be held on a different lake. So there are three different lakes in play.

It sounds like you just have to worry about Winnebago from the get-go because if you don’t you might never even get to the other lakes. But because of the size of Winnebago, you have to worry about maybe a day getting canceled and MLF moving us to another lake. So there’s a lot to think about.

Elam’s Gear Bass Pro Tour Stage 7

Molix Sidus Worm – Green Pumpkin

Gamakatsu G-Finesse Worm Light Hook 1/0

1/4-ounce weight

Seaguar Smackdown 20-pound

Tatsu leader 8-pound

Shimano Expired 7’ Medium

Shimano Stradic Ci4+