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Loon lake Smallmouth Bass

In the cold winter of 2008-2009, Paul and I decided we needed to create a group for local kayak anglers.  The idea was to plan float trips, share stories and tips, and make a few new friends.

10 months later, we have 42 members.  I’ve managed to meet quite a few of them, and we had a handful of successful group outings this spring and summer.  To take it to the next level, we decided it was necessary to go beyond simple email campaigns to let folks know what was going on.  So, our freshwater kayak fishing social network was born this past week.

While designed to support the Western New York Kayak Fishing Association, all kayak fisher persons are encouraged to join.  We can easily (and for free) set up a forum for any group of paddlers.

Our network supports:

Loon lake Smallmouth Bass

Loon Lake Smallmouth Bass

  • Private Groups
  • Forums
  • Event planning, registration, and RSVPs
  • Photo uploads
  • Video uploads
  • Blogging

So for the WNYKFA, it’s a simple platform to plan trips either officially or unofficially, and to get to know each other a little better.

For kayak fishermen around the country, it’s an opportunity to share, learn and discuss, as well as potentially get your own groups going.

The first year of the WNYKFA has been fun, rewarding, and more hard work than I anticipated.  We believe that our new website will make the 2010 season even more enjoyable.

So join today!  We’d love to have you aboard.

You might think by this photo, taken this morning, and that by looking at the calendar (it should say December now if you’re keeping up), that kayak fishing season is over in Rochester.

Au contraire, my friends. The pike and trout are still hitting regularly, and there’s still NOTHING but open water.

Let’s hit the beach!

It’s the time of year I’ve been waiting for. Football season is upon us, there’s a distinct sharp chill in the evening air, and the trout and salmon of the Great Lakes are preparing to make their runs. My kayak and I are ready. We wait for the perfect wind, and perfect skies. And we wait for the sleigh ride.

Taking a 12′ kayak out into the Great Lakes might seem crazy to some anglers, but I can attest to the fact that my Liquid Logic Manta Ray is up to the test (now made by Native Watercraft). I’ve bested 2 foot swells with little or no difficulty, and I can paddle into headwinds with relative ease if need be. So with winds around 5 mph, preferably from the South for where we fish on Lake Ontario, I feel as safe a mile out as I do when I’m in a small farm pond.

You’ll want a GPS with you, either a handheld or mounted as part of a fish finder. Just in case you lose sight of the shore. Or better yet, if you’ve already marked your hot spots in it. Or even better yet, if your BUDDY that’s with you has marked his. :)

As for buddies, I always recommend kayaking with a friend. If there’s a considerable amount of wind, it’s easy to lose track of things if you’re alone. If you are out with 2 or 3 kayakers, you have a better chance of making sound decisions as a group. And someone can always have an eye on that all important North sky… the sky that tends to trun black every now and again, and then sneak up on you.

Trout and Salmon Tactics from a Kayak on Lake Ontario

I plan on fleshing this idea out this season, as it will be my first full Fall of targeting steelhead, salmon, and browns on the open water of Lake Ontario from my kayak. When I read up on some fishing reports the first weekend of September, fish were being taken in 100 feet of water, usually about 60 to 80 feet down.

That’s a tough spot to get to for the novice kayaker. You’re going to be over a mile out, and that might be unsettling to some.

Kayak and Trout Fishing Lake Ontario From a Kayak

So my plan is to wait til they are false running, and get to them closer to shore. We should be getting close.

Tactics are going to be jigging egg sacs, and some artificials towards the bottom, or fly casting to cruising fish in the really shallow water. I’ll get into more specifics as I find out what works in the coming weeks.

Suffice to say I am excited. Catching a 40 pound king salmon from a kayak less than 45 minutes from my house is an event that can’t happen too many places on this great planet of ours. Here’s hoping that Lake Ontario and its tributaries are good to you all this year. And if you see us out in our kayaks, give a wave. And tell us where they are, ok?

Fishing among friends on Hemlock Lake.

2 really… First off, we had our largest event so far at Hemlock Lake this weekend, with a total of 9 boats in the water. A special thanks to everyone who came. The fishing was a little off that day, and the cotton wood was jamming everyones guides and reels pretty frequently.

But, we had a lot of fun, a few laughs, and a few bass here and there. And we were kayaking, which is always a plus.

Secondly, I’m happy to announce that our “membership” has grown to 25. It’s a sport on the grow, and I’m hoping we will be excellent stewards while we are together, and while we’re alone.

Big thanks, all. Looking forward to seeing you on the water!

And, be sure to sign up for the mailing list. It’s free, it’s fun, and you don’t even need to own a kayak! Click here!

Fishing among friends on Hemlock Lake.

Fishing among friends on Hemlock Lake.

Bass: 7 pound Largemouth
Lure: 5 inch black Senko worm
Rod: Spinning
Line: 6 lb Berkley Trilene Maxx
Kayak: 12 foot Liquid Logic Manta Ray

There are some bass fishing situations that require a kayak. On June 4th, I ran into just such a situation.

While Paul and I were debating how to deal with a wind that was pushing us around, I pitched a 6 inch black Senko up into some REALLY heavy cover. The rod tip bent the second it hit the water. I had landed hooked a good fish.

Well, this particular lake is ringed by marshes, with heavy lily pad and gnarly twig cover (so much twig and roots that we actually believe the pike live in the woods here). Since I was foolishly using a light spinning rod with 6 pound Trilene, I was outmatched from the get go. The fish dove straight down, then doubled back into the brush. And then everything went still.

7 Pound Largemouth Bass - New York State

I paddled up towards shore, one handed, while trying to keep the rod tip high so I could keep as much pressure on the fish as possible. If in fact she was still there. There were several moments when I thought she had come off, but every once in a while there was a little tug that kept my hopes up.

Paul noticed what I had gotten myself into and paddled over. I was leaning over into the lilies, slowly unwrapping line that had been tangled up in there good. I was holding the line, and Paul was breaking twigs. That’s when I first saw the thick tail, and knew we had to get this fish in. And quickly, since she wasn’t really able to move.
Another view of the Largemouth.  And its large mouth.

At one point, Paul actually grabbed onto my Manta Ray, and was pulling me back out of the woods so we could get this all done. But as you can see, we were able to land her.

I’m positive that had we been in a bass boat or a canoe, I never would have caught this fish. The bass boat wouldn’t have been able to get in close enough, and a canoe would have dumped with all the leaning I had to do.

This is why I swear by kayak fishing. The ability to move freely, go anywhere, remain stable, and get to big fish is unsurpassed in any other iteration of our sport.

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