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.

catch more bass fishing app banner 1

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.  

Jerkbait Fishing(1)

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.

bass fishing blog cta equation

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.

Jerkbait Fishing(2)

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.

Kayak Fishing Tip(1)

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.

Kayak Fishing Tip(2)

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.

Kayak Fishing Tip(3)

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.

Kayak Fishing Tip(4)

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.  

Sit on Top Kayak(1)

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.

Sit on Top Kayak(2)

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.

Kayak Fishing PFD(1)

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.

Kayak Fishing PFD(2)

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.

Kayak Fishing PFD(3)

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!

Shark Fishing From Shore with Guide Tyler Barnes

Tyler has been shark fishing for 14-years on the banks of North Carolina. After basically being raised on the shore fishing for whatever would bite, he picked up shark fishing as a bit of an adrenaline rush. When he first started, all he had was a 50-wide reel and a kayak, now it’s an entire setup he lugs to the shoreline.

Cast baits, kayaks, and on an average day he takes about 6 spinning rods (Spinning reels offer better line capacity). 80-Wide 2 speed reels with 1000 yards of line 80-pound braid up to 130-pound braid. Spliced to 100-pound monofilament from that to 400 to 600-pound monofilament which is about the size of weed eater line. He will even run 1200-pound (¼-inch thick monofilament) every once in a while for big tiger sharks. When Tyler rolls up to the shoreline for some shark fishing, he’s got an isle of a tackle shop in tow!

Another thing he never leaves home without? His shoulder harness so that he can be strapped in at the waist to his rod. Some of these sharks will pull so hard that without that harness, you’d lose the rod. Tyler has even had sharks pull him 5-10 yards down the beach during the duration of a fight!

Shark Fishing From Shore – Areas to Focus On

When looking for new locations, Tyler will survey the beaches using Google Earth and ANGLR for imagery. He’s trying to pick out different areas with depth changes. His favorites are areas with a long sandbar that comes back into a big pocket.

Shark Fishing (3)

Also, he puts his focus on areas around piers since sharks will be nearby as the bait and smaller fish feed and thrive near the piers.

Water depth is key. In North Carolina, there is a double bar from the currents which keep the sharks in the trenches looking for all of the bait species stuck in those small currents avoiding the deep water. Mullet, croaker, and other pinfish. The first trough is within about 30 yards of the beach, so to get out to that second bar, his average cast is 60-75 yards off the beach. It’s farther than you’d think about fishing upon first glance.

Tyler likes to get his bait out to the “danger zone” on the backside of the second bar, where all of your pelagics like to hunt. Spanish Mackerel, Speckled Trout, King Mackerel, and even Redfish. They will pull up to first trough to feed, but for the most part, the bigger ones stay by second bar.

Shark Fishing From Shore – Seasonality

Shark fishing in North Carolina usually kicks off around the beginning to middle of May depending on water temperature. Usually right around 67-70 degrees is when the majority of your species start to roll in. Dusky’s are the colder weather species which can be caught October through November. Those are also the bigger of the sharks out there ranging from 8-12 foot.

In the spring, The dogfish come first right when the water temperatures get right. From there, the blacktips and sandbar sharks will come right after the dogfish. Bull sharks, lemon sharks, and tiger sharks, begin to roll in towards the end of May.

From then, the shark fishing stays solid until right around the end of September. Then it rolls back to targeting blacktips, sandbars, and dusky’s for the most part.

Shark Fishing From Shore – Gear

Shark Fishing Rods and Reels

Kayak Bait Setup:

130 to 250-pound class rods – 6’6” to 7 foot

Daiwa Tournament sealine 80 wide

Avet 50 wide conventional style

Shimano Tiagra

Penn international 80’s and 130’s

22 to 24 OT Circle Hooks

With the kayak bait setup, Tyler and a buddy take turns paddling the bait offshore to the second bar before dropping it down to let it sit. For bait on these rigs, Tyler runs big stingray chunks or even whole stingrays! His preferred size is about a foot and a half chunk. He will also run a lot of tarpon chunks (25-30 pounds). With a Tarpon, he will cut it into three sections, head, middle, and tail. When using these massive chunks, he seems to get the bigger sharks for the year. He will also use amberjacks, and even grouper heads.

Cast Bait Spinning Rods

6000 or 8000 series spinning reels like the Penn Spinfisher V and Daiwa BG.

He will then use a 50-pound braid spliced to 50 to 60-pound shock leader with monofilament. He prefers Powerpro Braid spliced to a BillFisher or Bullbuster Monofilament.

Shark Fishing (4)

Tyler’s favorite gear to shark fish with is his spinning rods.

This allows him to go out on the shore alone and still get the bait out deep where he can expect to get bit. These aren’t your normal spinning rods by any stretch, but when he doesn’t have someone to run the bait in the kayak, these will put in the work for him!

With his spinning rods, he will use bloody chunk baits from pelagics and pinfish. These chunks are normally much smaller than his kayak baits, but still large enough to cover the massive circle hooks he is using.

Shark Fishing Circle Hooks

14-16 OT Mustad Circle Hooks

14-16 OT Owner Circle Hooks

Anyone doing some shark fishing needs to be using a circle hook. You do not want to cause a bad internal laceration once they swallow it. Also, a circle hook will set itself and then there’s no need to really set the hook and reef on them.

Shark Fishing (1)

Let the shark set the hook for you, then saddle up and prepare for the battle.

Shark Fishing Line

50-pound Powerpro Braid

50 to 60-pound BillFisher or Bullbuster Monofilament.

Shark Fishing Bait

If you’re looking for the best bait, your best bet is to match your shark bait to the bait in the area for that day and for the season. Tyler’s favorite bait is Spanish Mackerel heads. He also likes chunk baits from pelagics. The next best baits are little pompano or Jack crevalle and pinfish if you can find them big enough.

For his big bait rigs, Tyler runs big stingray chunks or even whole stingrays! His preferred size is about a foot and a half chunk. He will also run a lot of tarpon chunks.

No matter what bait you chose to throw, fresh and bloody is the best recommendation along with matching the bait to your area and seasonality.

Shark Fishing – Tagging for NOAA

Tyler’s been tagging for NOAA for 7 years now. The tagging research is through the APEX predator program. They register where the fish is caught, caught again, where they migrate to, breeding areas, and where they go to have their pups. They also track whether the shark is Male or Female.

Shark Fishing (6)

With each catch, Tyler tags the shark and records length and sex.

The farthest place a shark that Tyler has caught and tagged traveled is Florida. It wagged 6-8 months prior to it showing up in Fort Lauderdale. However, some sharks that have been satellite tagged from University of Miami have traveled all the way up to Massachusetts.

Tyler decided to join the tagging program to see if he could catch the same shark again. Since he began shark fishing and tagging, he has caught the same fish he named “Local”, 6 times now. When he originally caught her, she had 23 hooks in her mouth from living around the pier. 2-weeks later he caught her again and she had about 14 hooks in her mouth. He then went quite a while without catching her. Now, the last time he caught her again, he actually caught her by hooking his own rig that he had snapped off earlier that week.

Shark Fishing (2)

He caught her hook to hook which is an impressive feat!

To book a shark fishing trip with Tyler, you can email him at Finsonthebeachfishing@gmail.com or visit his Facebook Page

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.

Kayak Fishing Accessories(1)

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.

Kayak Fishing Accessories(2)

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.

Kayak Fishing Accessories(3)

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.

Kayak Fishing Accessories(4)

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.

Kayak Fishing Accessories(5)

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.

catch more bass fishing app banner 1

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.

Bass Pro Tour Stage 7(1)

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.

Bass Pro Tour Stage 7(2)

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.

catch more bass fishing app banner 1

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+

Kayak Lights Installation | Installing the Yak Power Button LED Lights with Adam Rourke

When it comes to safety, there are few modifications that can have a larger impact than adding lights to your kayak. Over the years, options for kayak lights have become more and more advanced. If the idea of drilling holes into your new kayak scares you, you’re not alone.

Companies that produce kayak accessories have been hard at work trying to find innovative solutions that make adding lights and other electronic accessories easy and less intimidating. Companies like Yak Power have come up with easy to install, fool-proof accessories that anyone with a basic understanding of hand tools can handle.

Kayak Lights Installation: Basic Items

To add lights to your kayak, you’ll need a few basic items:

  • A power source (battery)
  • A Fuse block
  • Wire
  • Wire connectors
  • Wire stripper/crimper
  • Quick connect battery adapter
  • Lights
  • A switch

Kayak Lights Installation: Installing Yak Power Button Style LED Lights

In this article, I’ll be sharing the process of installing button style LED lights from Yak Power. These lights are a great option for folks who want to minimize drilling and still get a super bright LED. For the install on my kayak, I decided to go with the Green lights. I wanted to put two on the outside of the hull and two on the inside so that I could see inside the kayak while fishing at night or during the early morning hours.

To power my lights, I’m using a 12-volt 15 mah LFP Bioenno Power battery with a marine grade fuse block. Yak Power does offer their own fuse block accessory but if you’re familiar with basic wiring, you can save yourself some money by building your own. As you can see in the photo below, the fuse block is attached to the waterproof container where the battery is stored. By no means am I a master with wiring but this option works great and has room to expand if I decide to add more electronics.

Kayak Lights Installation(4)

This battery is also used to power my fish finder.

To get power to the fuse block, you’ll need to run a wire from the positive and negative terminals on the battery to the appropriate terminals on the fuse block. While you’re working on this, be sure to remove a fuse from the slot you’re looking to add to, otherwise you’ll be going through a lot of fuses while you get your connections set up.

Once the battery and fuse block are set up, determine where on your kayak you want to install your lights. If you’re looking to use the button lights from Yak Power, you’ll need everything in the photo below.

Kayak Lights Installation(3)

One of the best features of the Yak Power button lights is that they are threaded and do not require a backing plate to securely fasten to your kayak’s hull. This makes installation in some of the harder to reach areas of you kayak possible and take a fraction of the time. Connected to the light is 12-feet of wire which should be more than enough to make it to your power source. The Yak Power products use an auxiliary style connector, similar to headphones, to plug into the included adapter. A drill bit is also included in the kit to ensure the proper size hole is drilled.Kayak Lights Installation(5)

Once you have a hole drilled and the lights securely in place, you’ll need to connect the lights to the included adapter.

This adapter is great and ensures that two lights will be powered on at the same time and controlled with a single switch. A big piece of advice for anyone attempting this install, the wiring on these quick connect adapters was reversed for me. When I connected the Yak Power adapter to another, the polarity was reversed meaning the red wire was actually negative and the black was positive. It took me about three blown fuses to figure this out. I’m not sure if this is done intentionally but I hope sharing this helps save you the headache.

Once the quick connect adapter is attached to the lights, use a wire stripper/crimper to strip and attach battery connections to the end of the wire and fasten the negative to the fuse block and the positive to your switch. Once the positive wire is run to the switch, run an additional wire from the switch to the fuse block. This switch should be in between the wire from the lights and the fuse block, which allows it to cut power to the lights and function as a switch. Once connected to the fuse block, add the appropriate fuse and press your light switch. Hopefully your lights turn on and look like this.

Kayak Lights Installation(2)

These lights look small but they are extremely bright and are plenty for early mornings and late nights.

Kayak Lights Installation(1)

KBF Central Regional Trail and Pro Series at Lake St. Clair

The KBF Central Region Trail and Pro Division event on Lake St. Clair was held May 25, 2019 out of the St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township, Michigan. It did not take over ninety inches to make the top twenty like it did in 2018, but it didn’t disappoint. The winning lengths fell short of the popular guess of over one hundred inches, but only by one and three quarters of an inch; all of this as anglers fought wet weather and high winds.

KBF Central Event at Lake St. Clair: Weather Conditions

The wind was definitely a factor during pre-fishing and the event. One angler lost his kayak to the wind when he got out for a minute but it was eventually found, and another rolled trying to ride the waves back to the jet ski launch. A few even learned the feeling of being sick due to the rolling waves (myself included).

It was quite the ride coming off the lake on Saturday.

Eric Siddiqi, the winner of the trail event, had to cut the top off a water bottle to bail water after the waves kept coming over the bow.  The lack of a seal on his older Hobie’s hatch had allowed enough water to cause the boat to start listing to one side. The day was further complicated by the fact that a bolt had come out of his Torqueedo mount due to the continuous waves. Taking on water and losing the use of his motor forced a need to start drifting back early to make sure he made it with his kayak on top of the water.

Jeremy Baker, the winner of the Pro division, was fighting the same conditions on his home lake.  His plan to sight fish was affected by the unusually high water and the size of the waves, they made it difficult to see deep enough into the water and attack the beds from the right angle to trigger strikes. This was not helped by high boat traffic in the area he had chosen to target. While he did have some struggles during the day, it was not due to the weather.

KBF Central Event at Lake St. Clair: Tale of the Two Winning Anglers

KBF Central Event at Lake St. Clair: Eric Siddiqi’s Event Recap

ANGLR team member, Eric Siddiqi, headed to St. Clair just off a third place finish in the Hobie Open on Kentucky Lake the week before, and having won the Hobie Battle on the Border there last year; earning him a trip to Sweden for the Hobie Worlds in Australia. So it was with a bit of confidence he began his pre-fishing.

The days before the event didn’t allow for the best pre-fishing conditions, but they were representative of what the anglers would experience. I personally arrived on the only good day to pre-fish and met an angler at the Metroplex, Robert Moss, who said he had waited out the waves on Thursday while talking with Siddiqi before deciding to bail; as Eric headed out to fish.  “That dude is nuts!” he told me. But Eric credits fishing in those conditions as part of his success on St. Clair. KBF Central Regional(1)

“I knew if I could fish in that wind, I had a chance. Thursday really helped because I knew the conditions already. When the wind picked up, I started culling up!”

The fish had been there on Friday, and even though he knew people were catching them deeper, a 20.5 inch smallmouth early on Saturday let him know that his bite was there. The drop shot with a 12” trailing leader and a 3/8 ounce tungsten weight fished on a St. Croix rod with a Shimano C14 spinning reel was the key that helped him land 98-inches and the win. He had tubes, ned rigs, swimbaits, and heavier weighted options rigged for the day but “the drop shot was all they wanted”.

Talking with Eric at the ramp, you may not see the dedication he has for fishing. He seems a bit laid back for an angler that intensely studies maps, spends hours watching videos finding all the info he can find about bass fishing and learns all the new baits and techniques. You will not find him to be the first guy on the water during pre-fishing, but you will see him searching for places to eat at the end of the day; often leaving the water too late to find open restaurants on the road because he was covering miles of water searching for bass. He has lost 18-20 pounds this season alone by being so focused on fishing and missing a meal or two.

In his fourth full year of kayak angling, he credits this effort with the consistency he has been showing at the KBF and Hobie events. He looks for the bait, and the current flow; not dying by the luck he had during pre-fishing, but being open minded.

“I ran 12 miles chasing ledges on Kentucky Lake but they were not there, so I moved to a different bite. I prefer deep fish for their consistency.”  

“They are like us, they are always going to stay close to the fridge so they don’t move far.”

Eric plans to keep doing this as long as he can and will be back at St. Clair at the end of June. He gives credit to Cal Coast, ANGLR, Fishing Online, YakAttack, Torqeedo and Lowrance for being behind him. He is also hoping to get a nod from Hobie one day (just in case they are reading).

KBF Central Event at Lake St. Clair: Jeremy Baker’s Event Recap

Jeremy Baker on the other hand was relatively unknown in the kayak bass world. He spends his weeks like most folks in the kayak tournament world doing their day job, his is installing gas services. The St. Clair win was only his second KBF event, his third kayak tournament event. His previous experience had come in bass boats in FLW BFL events and as a co-angler for over 20 years.

When asked why he jumped straight to the Pro Division he will tell you that is where he wants to fish because the “quality of anglers is not different in the kayak, most of these guys could compete on any level”. He likes “the simplicity and newness of it.  It feels like you can still be a part of it all.”

Jeremy had left tournament fishing for a while (giving up the dream of being a pro), but bought a pontoon boat to carry his daughter out swimming. He started seeing “all of these fishing kayaks” on the water and started thinking it would be a way to get him back into tournament fishing. He bought an Ascend and started testing the waters, but later traded it and some cash to a young boy trying to get rid of a Hobie PA14.  

The transition to kayak fishing has been less than smooth. Like anyone new to kayak tournaments you have to learn how to manage the fish after the catch. In his first KBF event last year, he finished 7th but had a 22-inch smallmouth jump off the board that may have given him the win, but he also had deductions. Jeremy seemed to know what he had to work on to win and was focused on getting better at the catch management side of kayak fishing.

KBF Central Regional(2)

“It is very different than throwing them in the live well! You have to hold the fish on the board with your oversized phone in one hand and get a pic!”  

This year, he figured it out. Fishing on a spot he knows to be a spawning flat that produces every year, he found 98.25 inches of bass by throwing a St. Clair Crayfish made by Wayne Carpenter of Xtreme Bait and Tackle on St. Croix rods with Quantum reels. He fished these after trimming the tails to keep the fish from just picking them up and dropping them. He bet on this for the tournament, leaving tubes and drop shots alone as he targeted spots where he had found mostly males during pre-fishing.

You can listen to Jeremy’s interview of the event on Scott Beutjer’s Weigh In.

KBF Central Event at Lake St. Clair: Why the tale of two anglers?

“I had been watching the pro side on TourneyX all day and knew I was leading. But when I got back, I looked at the trail side and wasn’t on it.”

As they announced the winners Jeremy felt his “Happy Gilmore moment” fade, the crowd was a bit confused too. In order to compete in the Pro Division, an angler has to sign up for the trail event also. Siddiqi had won the trail event, but finished second in the Pro Division behind Baker.  

KBF requires that you have a separate identifier for the trail vs pro event, and these must also be submitted to two events in TourneyX. Eric and several others had been bitten by this rule during an event on Guntersville earlier in the year. It is stated on the KBF pages, but there had been some communication trying to clarify before the event. Some discussions are following, but Jeremy is looking for the good in it all.

“The hardest thing was this is my home town lake. It is hard enough to get a win on this lake, then you get it, and there may be an asterisk on it.”

Jeremy may be an unknown at this point, but he doesn’t intend to stay that way. He is determined to follow the kayak tournament trails and be competitive. He is going to fish with the Michigan-Ohio kayak anglers and KBF.

“I plan to fish as many events as I can. I’m looking forward to the FLW championship in August.”

Both Eric and Jeremy plan to be in the Hobie BOS event at the end of June on St. Clair. If you are able, this will be an event to attend.

KBF Central Regional(3) KBF Central Regional(4)

ANGLR Premium Maps: How USGS Paper Contours Help You Catch More Fish

Long before the days of down imaging sonar and mapping chips, anglers relied on a variety of tools to find depth change and contour lines. Whether it was using visual topographical cues or simply counting down a weight to the bottom, these old school tricks and tactics could only get them so far.

bass fishing on a budget

When the technology finally advanced far enough for anglers to map out bodies of water, a whole new breed of fishing emerged. Underwater humps, ledges, and channels that were once hidden under the surface now came to life in the form of paper maps. USGS paper contour maps are one of the most commonly used maps by anglers as they allow you to map out depth changes and locate high-percentage areas to fish.

USGS Paper Contours(1)

How Anglers Use Paper Contour Maps

With the ability to find a specific depth range, channels, and points by simply looking at a map of the body of water, you’ll be able to hone in on where fish should be staging for a certain time of year.

See Under the Water’s Surface

For example, in the springtime, bass tend to congregate around main lake points. With the use of contour maps, you can easily find those long underwater points and target those areas heavily. Before contour maps, it was much more of a guessing game as to which points actually extended under the water column.

Quickly Identify Areas to Target.

During the late spring, finding flats where bass and brim congregate to spawn is the key to having a successful day on the water. With contour maps, you can see exactly where those key areas are and target those areas exclusively during your day on the water.

Fish More Efficiently

In short, contour maps simply make you a more proficient angler. These maps give you insight to a body of water that our ancestors only dreamed of.

The best part? You’re one step closer to deleting that fishing app folder!

Now you can have contour maps at your fingertips! With the release of the brand new Premium Map, USGS Paper Contours, the ANGLR app now offers you the ability to check contour on the fly from your phone! Whether you’re on the bank, in a kayak, or on a boat, these maps will help you find those key areas so you can catch more fish!

Learn more and start your free trial today here!

USGS Paper Contours(2)

Download the app today and try it out for yourself!