Tag Archives: Kayak Fishing

Pre-Spawn Tactics

Hey everyone, thanks for checking out this weeks blog post. Pre-Spawn can range from february to april depending on where you live in the country. Texas bass are already on beds, here in North Carolina where I’m stationed for now. I have seen smaller bass on beds but the larger females are still staging on the drop offs. Keep in mind these are my top 3 baits for the area that I fish. This river is very dark and your area might have different baits that will blow mine out of the water. But in this river these are king.

Bass will be staging on drop ifs and water 3-8 feet deep with quick access to shallow water. Its good to fish these drop offs and small channels that lead into the small back section of creeks.

The 3 Best Pre Spawn Lures-

#1 Soft Jerk Baits aka Flukes, Small swim baits etc..

Flukes
Watermelon Red Flukes

My number one bait every trip this time of year is soft plastic jerk baits. Watermelon Red is my main color however i am experimenting with a Clear Bream sick fish bait and it has really impressed me.

Sick Fish
Berkley Havoc Sick Fish

#2 Hard Jerk Baits- Working the drop offs and ledges to locate the staging bass can be long and tiring. Jerk baits let you work those suspended bass, and still cover water more quickly than you could with a texas or carolina rig.

Jerkbaits
I prefer smaller Jerk baits than the larger ones

#3 – Lizards- On the bass start hugging the ledges and structure closer to their beds lizards can be a great way to stir up a bite. Bass are very aggressive in this stage and love taking their anger out on a magnum lizard.

IMG_0990
I like to throw oversized Worms and Lizards this time of year

Thanks for checking out our blog and come by on monday for my first full episode on youtube covering fishing the pre spawn cold snaps.

Here is a video form a trip this week. Thanks you guys and be safe out there.

Braid to Mono Leaders

Braided line has revolutionized fishing in the last 15 years, Now you can have a 20-30 lb line on your reel, with a 8-10lb mono equivalent diameter and twice the yardage of line on your reel. But braided line can’t do everything, It is stronger and more durable, but it also stands out dramatically in stained and clear water. One way to get rid of this problem is by tying a mono leader to the end of your line. The mono leader not only gets rid of line visibility near your lures, it provides a shock leader and some level of stretch for the larger fish you catch.

One trick I do is that when I tie a leader a tie a 4-5 foot section of leader, this eliminates the need for me to re-tie leaders after I switch lure and cut into it as often on the water, and provides a larger section of line not as visible to the fish. This saves time in my kayak and therefore gives me more time to target the fish.

Here are the two easiest and in my opinion best  knots that you can tie to go form a braided line to a mono leader.

#1 Double Uni Knot- By far the easiest and best Braid to Mono Knot

uni_to_uni_knot-ask_a_captain-the_online_fisherman.jpg
Courtesy of The onlineisherman.com

 

#2 The Blood Knot- A more difficult knot to tie but a stronger knot than the double uni.

Unknown.png
Courtesy of FlyFisherman.com

No fish is worth your marraige

When it comes to fishing, most of us thought that no woman could ever impact our love for fishing or our abilities to fish when we wanted. Songs like Brad Paisley’s “I’m gonna miss her” can pretty much sum up how we feel about giving up fishing trips. But if there is one thing I have learned in my marriage is that it might not seem like a big deal to you, she is upset that your going fishing instead of spending time with her, even if it’s just a little and it barely shows on the outside. Over time it adds up and eventually turns into a big problem.

My problem was when my wife was pregnant I felt like I had to fish as much as I could anytime the weather allowed, because I felt like once my daughter arrived that was all she wrote for me and my fishing habits. I knew she was frustrated that I was fishing so much but it didn’t seem like it was really bothering her so I kept on fishing.

Once my daughter arrived I realized it wasn’t the end of my fishing life and I could easily go out once a week without getting on her nerves but now my finances had changed and things were quite different, resulting in no money in the budget for lures, bait or gas money to go fishing. Instead of realizing this, I continued to push the issue so I could fish like I wanted. Unfortunately, this habit put strain on my marriage and finances. What took me a while to realize is I was trying to change my financial habits and priorities when it came to spending time with my family, all while changing as little as possible. If that sounds stupid, it’s because it is!

I ended up realizing my problem before it seriously affected my marriage, I took a 6 month break from fishing, sold my fishing kayak and focused on getting our finances in order and building a strong foundation in my marriage. What is amazing, is after those 6 months, my wife came to me and asked if I wanted to buy a kayak and start fishing again. Because I had gone out of my way to change and show her I was serious about our marriage, she went out of her way to make sure I still get to enjoy my hobby and love for the outdoors while fishing.

In the end, I have a strong marriage, because I finally realized that fishing was my hobby, not my life. My life was my marriage and my family. Fishing was something I got to do on the side when there was time and everything at home was in a good place. No fish was or ever will be worth my marriage.

477295_112615148942094_744859724_o.jpg

Light Tackle Bass Fishing

Aside from throwing massive swim baits at west coast largemouth bass, people often overlook the aspect of light and ultralight tackle for bass fishing. I have noticed while fishing creeks and rivers that when the bass get lethargic and I target yellow perch, crappie, and chain pickerel, I usually end up catching good size bass. When I target these smaller fish I am using my Abu Garcia ultralight spinning setup and throwing small crank baits, plastics and sometimes the rare ultralight top waters.

These lures are tiny compared to the magnum trick worms and plastics that get thrown at bass on a daily basis, so why are they more aggressive towards the smaller lures? Well the answer to that sentence is within the question itself. Most of the bodies of water today are heavily fished and these bass have seen every color of worm, lizard,and fluke thrown at them. While ultralight and light tackle are used in these waters, they are not thrown nearly as often as the larger tackle, meaning there is a slight chance the fish haven’t been overfished using the lures you are throwing at them. I’m not trying to sell you on throwing light tackle at bass with this article alone, I will be filming multiple episodes for my YouTube channel dedicated to nothing but ultralight and light tackle fishing for big bass. follow us on Facebook, WordPress, or YouTube to view these episodes as they come out starting in March of this year.

While I have your attention I will show you the Light Tackle Box I carry on my kayak on every trip, you never know when the fish will have to be finessed of structure or cover with small lures.

lights.jpg

I hope you enjoyed this short read and I really look forward to showing you guys what light tackle setups can produce for you in the world of bass fishing. As always thanks for swinging by and don’t forget to check out KayakTournaments.com and TourneyX.com for online based CPR tournaments in your state.

Affordability vs Quality

A common question among beginner kayak anglers or people looking to get into kayak angling is what kayak should I get to start out with.Unfortunately that question can’t be answered.  Every aspect of the different kayak brands better suits one style of fishing or one style of angler. Today’s post will be covering what all you should consider before purchasing your first fishing kayak or your next fishing kayak.

Price Vs Quality-

The price ranger of kayaks can ranger from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, and with so many brands out there it can get overwhelming with which kayak you should buy. I just purchased an Ascend FS12T kayak. And I was torn between the FS12T and FS128T, there is a $250 price difference between the tow and the only added features are a much wider stable, yet slower kayak you can stand on when looking at the FS128T. The FS12T is cheaper, more maneuverable but slightly less stable and can carry less cargo. My style of fishing is mostly in rivers and creeks so I don’t need a ton of gear and I’m not really looking to stand up much, so I spent the extra $250 on upgrading my tackle and gear. And that is where the arguments start.

8
FS12T on Left, FS128T on Right Photo courtesy of Texasfishingforum.com

How you decide which kayak should factor in these three factors.

#1- DO you NEED the added speed and features?

I would love to own a  Hobie mirage drive kayak, but at the price difference of the lower end kayaks I can’t justify spending the extra thousand dollars on a added luxury of feet propulsion that I think will get in the way more than help. However, if your fishing larger bodies of water or open water beyond the breakers of the beach it would be extremely useful. So deciding what features your looking for is completely unique to your style and your fishing area.

#2 Would I rather have the more expensive kayak, or spend the extra money on new tackle and gear?

This decision was a no brainer for me. I would much rather buy a $700-$1,000 dollar kayak and spend 300 on tackle and gear than buy a $1,300+ kayak and have no new tackle in my tackle box.

#3 Do i want stability or speed?

A common tradeoff with kayaks that don’t have a foot propulsion system is that the fast the kayak generally the less stable. The FS128T is one of the most stable kayaks out there and at $899 its a heck of a deal compared to the wilderness systems kayaks or Hobie’s. But with that stability comes weight, bulkiness, and slower tracking speed. So once again the perfect kayak is up to your personal preference.

SAFETY NOTE- My job is Long range search and rescue. I have had many cases where I have been looking in large areas for missing kayakers from the Great Lakes, to the Atlantic Ocean. When you chose the color of your kayak please chose something that contrasts the water you fish. If you have to get a camo kayak, and you fish blue water, get a green or tan camp, if you fish brown water get a blue or green camo. Imagine our thoughts when I’m told where are searching 500 square miles at an altitude of 1,500 feet for a missing kayaker in a camouflage kayak. Always plan for the worst case scenarios happening and always file a float plan with a family member or friend. ON MY PAGE MENU BAR THERE IS A LINK TO A BLANK USCG FLOAT PLAN THAT COULD END UP SAVING YOUR LIFE ONE DAY.

 

 

 

My Top 3 Kayak Bass Fishing Techniques

Hey everyone, thanks for checking out my blog! Today I’m going to be covering short and simple my top 3 Kayak Fishing techniques and approaches to catching quality fish.

 

#1-  Use your kayak to throw top waters and frogs in areas larger boats can’t get to.

Backwater

One of my favorite and most used methods of fishing for bass in my kayak involves me paddling into very skinny backwaters or areas of heavy structure/vegetation that larger boats can’t access. This allows you to target larger and less overly fished areas with your frogs and top waters and it can really pay off in tournaments and short afternoon trips.

#2 Bridges, Bridges, and Bridges,

Bridge1

I love to use my kayak to go under low bridges and structure that boasts cannot access. While it can yield some good size bass this method mainly applies to crappie and perch fishing. I have found low bridges that once you get under them have produced large crappie on almost every cast because the area or side that I can fish with my kayak is inaccessible to boats. I mainly use this method by throwing very light weight curly tail grubs so they fall through the water column as slow as possible.

#3- Use you shallow water/heavy cover access to your advantage

brush

Whether you can paddle down a shallow creek or bump your kayak over a fallen tree, using your ability to access backwater, smaller creeks, and heavily structured flats. My primary methods to work areas like these and a carolina rigged large trick worm. My color of choice is normally a pumpkinseed with a lime chartreuse tail section. Remember to flip as close to the structure as you can and don’t be afraid to let the lure your using fall down in the limbs/structure, worst case you lose your lure best case you hook a monster.

This was a short post this week, but next week will be a detailed post covering how to target pre spawning bass and how to catch the monster females during this stage. Have a great weekend and stay safe!

 

Realities of being a father and an outdoorsman

Hey everybody and thank you for swinging by Aptooutdoors.com. Today I’m going to be talking about something I have been thinking about heavily these past few weeks. I have been re-building a 13-hp motor to convert to a long tail mud motor while also looking at newer models of fishing kayaks to purchase. While thinking about which path I’d rather pursue it dawned on me that no matter which path I take it will be taking time away from my 1-year-old daughter.

While most of us fisherman and hunters are reluctant to hang up our passions for a while or making any changes to our normal routines the reality of being a good father to me has started to sink in. There’s no point in me owning a boat until my daughter is old enough to actively fish or enjoy herself on it. And I can’t justify spending that amount of money on a duck boat/blind materials for the few hunts a year I go on when most of the time I’m hunting, I’m thinking about being home with her.

This epiphany has led me to really start thinking about selling the majority of my hunting and fishing gear for the time being and planning on getting back into fishing and hunting a lot more when my daughter is a little older and capable of enjoying it with me. It’s a sad thought to me but honestly I’d rather be home with my family. I am in no way trying to tell other people how to conduct their personal lives. I am simply explaining my situation and actions I am taking to be a better husband and father so that maybe someone else will read this and it have a positive impact on their lives and family.

I will continue to run this website and post educational blogs about fishing and hunting techniques. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and enjoy time with your families. God Bless.

11037155_411998429003763_4286615350363167621_n

Photo Coutesty of Heather & Jared Photography

Tips on catching late summer lunkers.

Hey everybody thanks for swinging by Apto Outdoors for today’s article. Today I’m going to be discussing how to work bass off late summer structure even in the heat of the day.

What rig and lure should I use?

My go to setup for late summer bass fishing is a Penn Squadron 7’0 Mod-Fast spinning rod with a Penn Fierce 4000 reel. I run 10.lb test and 12lb leader on my Carolina rigs.

What lure should I use?

My lure choice for hot summer days is mostly going to be trick worms, or worms that have a straight shaft body. Colors will vary depending on your water conditions but always remember to match the water color, the darker the water the darker your color should be…etc. But don’t confuse chartreuse or hot pink with that rule; those are unnatural colors that can produce anywhere.

Where should I fish?

During the dog days of august and early September it’s always a good idea to stick to structure. Docks, bridges submerged brush, and fallen trees should be your primary targets with your backup spots being primary and secondary points with quick access to deeper cooler water. A common thought is that when it gets unbearably hot the bass go deeper, and while most of the time that is the case I will use yesterdays example to prove that’s not always how it works out.

Yesterday I was fishing the river near my house and for the last 3 weeks I have been pitching and flipping structure along the river banks and it has produced good sized bass ranging from 10 to 17 inches. I pitched up against the bank and saw a large fish move in and take the lure, it was so shallow you can see the fish hit the worm if you look close enough. I thought I had hooked a big bowfin and was excited to have a fish pulling drag. When it jumped I freaked out because I realized how big of a bass it was. It ended up being 24.25 inches and just over 10 pounds! My biggest bass so far and I released her as soon as I could because a large healthy bass can really impact and keep the local population of bass in great shape!

Thanks for swinging by Apto Outdoors and check back in for updates on the tournament as the week progresses.

KayakTournaments.com Day 1 Fishing Report.

Hello everyone and thanks for swinging by for my first KayakTournaments.com August tourney fishing update.

Today was a very slow day. The moon was bright and shining all night which means the bass were feeding all night. Long story short I was throwing lures at bass with full stomachs, but I still managed to get two pretty decent bass for a quick bluebird morning trip. Both were on a bone colored topwater in 3 feet of water.

Stay Tuned to my blog for an update on tomorrow mornings trip to a different part of the river!

Targeting fish on hot summer days

Hey everyone and thank for swinging by my blog. This weekend I fished some heat indexes of over 100 and figured this weeks blog would be about how I target fish in the heat. Below are my four keys to catching fish during the dog days of summer.

#1 Shadows are the key to bass

Bass will congregate along structure and overhangs that provide large shadows. The predatory fish use the shadows to stay a little cooler and also as an ambush point to feed on smaller baitfish and insects. A good technique to target these bass is with small crank baits or plastics.

Crappie also follow this habit and will concentrate around bridges and submerged structure in 5 to 10 feet of water. My main method for catching crappie in the summer is jigging light tackle curly tail grubs and minnow like plastics along the structure.

#2 Mid day fishing is sometimes crazy  good

You would think that mid day temperature periods during the summer would be dead, but my trip on Sunday showed my that even in 100 degrees and at high noon, the topwater frog bite was insane. I ran out of my Stanley Ribbit lures before I even got to the good fishing holes. After summer rains look to target bass as high up on the bank as the water rises, it always blows my mind how many bites I get in water that has flooded into standing grass and weed lines. I throw a weedless Stanley Ribbit in the watermelon red color to target the bass. Just remember if the water rises so do the fish.

#3 The good old fashioned Super Fluke

My favorite and most effective bass fishing method has and always will be the Super Fluke. My go to color is watermelon red flake but I have also had success with the Arkansas Shiner color as well as the Mardi Gras color. I usually fish the fluke with a weightless setup but sometimes a 1/8 ounce bullet weight gets it deep enough to work the structure the fish are holding on. 90 percent of your strikes will be as the fluke is falling through the water column so be patient with your lure action and let it sink.

#4 Finess fishing worms

A texas-rigged worm is the most widely used method for summer bass. When bass are lethargic and don’t want to chase fast moving or floating baits a slow moving worm dragged in front of their face is hard to resist, My main colors I use are pink, purple, june-bug and watermelon red. a 1/8 to 1/4 ounce bullet weight is all you will need in most situations. Once again, in the early morning and evening hours don’t be afraid to literally throw your lure onto the bank and work it into the water. My biggest bass the summer was in less than a foot of water when he hit my worm.

I hope this short post will help you catch some more bass this summer and remember, snakes also like shaded areas so be careful when you fish and always keep an eye out. Good luck and stay safe!