Harsh winter conditions have finally given way to warm days, sunny skies, and most importantly, upper 60’s water temperatures. Bass this time of year are eager to move shallow to spawn, and kayak bass anglers are just as eager to chase them. With the right tools and techniques, this can be one of the most productive, and fun times of an angler’s season.
One of the best ways to target these spawning fish is to find them by sight fishing. The name says it all, cruise the banks of shallow pockets with clearer water, and locate the fish spawning on the banks. One thing that cannot be stressed enough for this tactic is the use of quality polarized sunglasses, and the use of a quality shallow water paddle. Using a paddle can be the best way to approach these fish stealthily. Try to keep yourself just far enough away, so that you can see the fish, as well as how it reacts to your lure, but not close enough to scare or spook the fish away due to the boat. From here, the next step is agitating the bass into taking the bait. Pay close attention to how the fish reacts to the lure being near its bed. If the fish continues to drift away from the area for long periods of time, or just seems genuinely uninterested, try coming back a few minutes, or hours later and casting from further distances.
As far as gear goes, a pair of your favorite polarized sunglasses is key. Seeing these fish can be tough, especially in the southeast as the pollen coats the surface of the water. A quality pair of polarized lenses can really be a game changer in these situations. A quality Bending Branches paddle is also important. The light weight of the Angler Pro can keep the boat in place while keeping your stamina, especially if wind is a large factor. Line size does not play a large part, so usually a heavier line is best. 15 lb test fluorocarbon, high ratio Lew’s reel, and a 7’3”+ rod rated medium heavy allows the angler the advantage of harder hooksets. It also allows the angler the ability to pull the fish away from any cover that may be present. Texas rigs, weighted or weightless, with brightly colored soft plastics are usually the go-to to catch bedding bass, however, anglers should not be afraid to give the fish something different to look at. With bass usually bedding around cover, keeping it weedless will be key. Lastly, a quality flipping hook is a must! Avoiding a light wire hook can save an angler from the imminent heartbreak of a lost fish on the water!
Written by: Blaine Upton, Bending Branches Regional Ambassador
Photos by: Reese Melvin, Bending Branches Regional Ambassador