A motor is not required to be successful on the kayak trails but many of the anglers are finding it very helpful for events like Nickajack where storms, wind, and rain are factors. A lot of guys are using them to cover more water and hold them in place while fishing under rougher conditions. Cody credited it for a part of his success; while Sam Jones commented on the issues of fishing without one in the wind.
“I am in a Bonafide kayak and spent too much time paddling.” Sam was fishing a spot, catching fish, when a local angler pulled up and started casting into his spot. At that point, he was in a position to win the event and talked with the guy.
“I am fishing for almost thirteen thousand dollars (with the Bonafide and DeeZee bonuses), are you fishing a tournament?” His reply, “OK, I am just fishing.”
Yet, the guy didn’t move on, so Sam had to move to a location that would be affected by the wind. His technique had been casting up shallow and parallel to the bank, but now the wind was pinning him on the rocks.
“…when you catch them, they were running straight to the rocks. I hooked the biggest fish I had all year and it went straight to the rocks…a twenty-inch class fish…and broke me off on a jagged boulder! I took some deep breaths…made another cast, had a 17-18 inch fish spit the hook. Another breath…. another 17-18…spits the hook.”
This is a story that was echoed during day one and two when the wind picked up. Kayaks are light and efficient fishing boats, but in the wind they can lose the battle. There were more than a few kayaks huddled under bridges, some tied to each other to hold still while the storms blasted the lake. More than one angler could be seen paddling against the wind with very little movement forward.
Sam seems to share the position of many anglers.
“I enjoy paddling and have been committed to paddling the kayak. I have been fishing since I was a kid and was a boat fisherman. I wouldn’t buy another bass boat. Since stepping into a kayak, my dream has been to do this professionally….why do I keep handicapping myself… putting myself out of contention because I like to paddle? I am adding a motor!”
He like many others has already or plans to add a motor in order to give himself every advantage possible.
There were also great moments for some anglers. Ron Champion’s move from 61st place on day one to land in the top ten, Jim Clark smashing them in the back of a creek on day two after moving where no one else had gone, myself catching limits for two days for the first time in months! But there was also a lot of challenges for many on the water. Jody Queen had his depth finder go dark, losing all the waypoints he had set during pre-fishing. Sam Jones returned to camp to find his tent collapsed, forcing him to stay on the ramp during the night; his phone had also played out on day one. Eric Siddiqi lost a tire after check in. That’s the fun of kayak fishing, you never know if you’ll get the ups or the downs.