By Steve Wall
As the temperatures warm and the snow melts, I am starting to think more and more about open water fishing! I like ice fishing, but that is only a few months out of the year. For a lot of people, summertime fishing means grabbing your lawn chair heading to your favorite spot and casting from shore. Although if you like to fish, I am sure one time or another you have thought about buying a boat to get away from shore. Believe me, I have and even tried to do the whole restoration thing. Well, that didn’t exactly work out!
We didn’t get much further than ripping everything out and decided to piece it out! We made our money back and a little more but that was about it. Still wanting to get away from shore, I looked into other relatively inexpensive ways of doing so. The end result was a Craigslist trade for a fishing kayak!
This kayak was perfect. I wouldn’t need a trailer, I would be able to just load it up in the back of my truck and go! It is a ten foot Lifetime Sport Fisher kayak. The previous owner had already installed various accessories to improve the kayak fishing experience. They added a milk crate with rod holders attached to the outside, as well as a board to attach a trolling motor. I took the kayak out to one of my local fishing spots for panfish and was more than happy with my first experience in the kayak. The kayak allowed me to get out away from shore and access other areas that I wasn’t able to otherwise!
As long as you are careful, kayaks are more than capable of handling larger bodies of open water! This past year I wanted to try a new experience with my kayak. I decided to try trolling for walleyes out on the Bay of Green Bay. After talking with some other local fisherman, I was pointed to an area that was relatively close to shore but also a popular area for trolling walleyes. I picked up one trolling rod and a few lures from Cabela’s and headed out to an access point near this location. I quickly realized some of the difficulties of fishing out of a kayak. As I picked up the rod to get the Berkley Flicker Shad I was using into the water, one of the hooks got on a strap in the front of the kayak. I had to carefully try to get up to the front on my knees and get the hook loose! I was able to safely get the hook loose and the lure in the water! I no more than got started trolling and had my first walleye on! One of the most fun parts of trolling out of a kayak is that it gets turned right around when you get a fish on. The kayak is small and lite that it doesn’t take much to get it turned around. I landed the walleye which was just under the legal size limit. I released the fish and knew I was in for a fun morning! I ended up catching 1 legal sized walleye, lost another walleye at the kayak and caught a few catfish. One of the catfish was all of 20 pounds, what a blast that was to haul into the kayak!
My morning ended with another valuable learning experience. The water was calm when I started fishing in the morning but the waves increased slightly throughout the morning. One thing I didn’t take into account was how long my battery for the trolling motor would last. The trolling motor started to lose power and I was still a good distance from the location I had launched my kayak. With the increased wind and waves, I knew I couldn’t make it back so I grabbed the kayak paddle and paddled straight into shore. Even though I had a little walk ahead of me to get my truck, I was thankful I was able to paddle safely to shore. I learned the limits of my battery and to not stay out to long on large bodies of water as the wind increases.
So if you are looking to expand your available fishing locations, look into getting a kayak! Some kayaks are made more for recreational paddling, but there are others that are made specifically for fishing. Check them out and experience the wonderful world of kayak fishing!
Here are a few links to some fishing kayaks: