It has been a long winter. I haven’t fished for bass in TN since November, which is over 4 months. Being from the South, that is a long winter! My buddy James McBeath is up in Ontario, Canada and he hasn’t caught a bass in his country since September and won’t be able for fish for them until June due to ice, snow, and a closed fishing season. In the off times, imagining yourself fishing, getting your gear ready, reading about, watching videos, and just getting in the mood is a worthy exercise.
Well, I have been doing that, and on Sunday, I was able to have my season opener, right here in TN at Long Branch Lakes It was a last minute thing, as my clinic in North Carolina was cancelled for that day and I made it home in time to pack up my gear and hit the lake.
I am a proud owner of the Big Rig Pro. This is the big boy of kayak fishing with all of the fun stuff. It is the easiest boat to stand up in, turn around in, walk in, and jump around without worrying about tipping. It comes with the Power-Pole Micro Anchor, Raymarine Dragonfly fish finder, Buck Knives Splizzors, and all of the standard RAM mounts, Yak Attack accessories, elite elevated seating, thermarest lumbar support and more. Yes, I am in love with my Big Rig.
What I love most about it, is the fishing. I threw it in the back of my 1988 Landcruiser and headed to the water, a little bit of a late start as I was coming home from North Carolina.
By 11am I was at the lake and putting my boat in the water. The weather was nice, sunny, winds only about 10mph. The water was clear and the bass were awake and hungry!
I had my Cashion Rods rigged with Ardent Apex and Wire Reels, Tuf-Line braid (10, 15, 20, and 30 pound), and a variety of lures. I had my own minnow design that I call the “Fish-On” minnow which nailed a number of the big fish, as well as a Senko, a Livingston Lure Jerk crank bait, A spinner bait that I trimmed the skirt on and added a swim bait on the back, a frog, and a texas rigged fluke. I didn’t use a leader and went braid to lure, with green, blue, and yellow braid.
On the back of my Big Rig, I put my new Orion 25 cooler that we designed to fit perfectly in the rear bin of the Jackson Kayaks. In that cooler I had drinks, food, and of course, ice. With the tackle storage space the Big Rig has under the seat bringing a cooler is easy and you don’t have to leave stuff behind.
My day started off with breakfast and my Big Rig sitting in the driveway. I spent 30 minutes getting everything organized and the boat in the back of my truck. It was a 45 minute drive to the lake and I would go alone. I didn’t have time to organize with anyone else and Damon who lives there couldn’t go either. No stress as I spend all day interacting with people and a few hours of just me, the outdoors, and fishing will be good for me.
I was so fired up to see how clear the water was and knew it was going to be a special day. I started catching 2 pounders like crazy, every few minutes another one destroyed my lure.
Suddently, however, my minnow landed in a little pocket and WHAM! A big fish swirled water everywhere and nailed my lure in a matter of 2 seconds, my first 6+ pounder of the day.
Not thirty minutes later, I was pulling my minnow along the shoreline and the wind was blowing me along it. My lure and my boat met up with a bedding bass at the same time and instead of being scared away, it nailed my lure right under the boat and gave my 10 pound test line and light spinning rod/reel a good fight! Sweet 5.5 pounder!
My Raymarine Dragonfly had the water at 64.9 degrees and my top speed in the Big Rig at 4.o mph. I caught all of my fish in water between 1/2′ -5′ deep. With most of the fish at 2-3′. While I caught a couple of bass on beds, I was catching most of them in super shallow water, near structure, and this lake is almost all structure!
My Power-Pole Micro Anchor locked me in place anywhere I wanted to stay as it was never deep where I was fishing. With 10 mph winds that was key!
My Ardent Reels are working out awesome for me, casting non-stop with very few backlashes and very long casts. I have been using my “wire” spinning reel more and more also, with super light lures, light line. My Cashion rods are a variety of lengths and actions. Most are medium/heavy, but I am using 2 “jerk bait” rods that are easiest for casting light lures accurately and easily. I have a frog rod and a worm rod as well that are over 7′ and heavy and fast. I have my reels loaded with Tuf-Line braid and use a mix. for my jerk bait rods I have 15 pound. For my spinning rod 10 pound, for my rod I use non-weighted texas rigged baits- like frogs, and spinners, too, I use 20 pound. I use 30 pound on my stiffest rod that I use with a weighted worm/fluke, or creature bait that goes down into the structure. I also color coat it so I don’t get confused and break light line by forgetting it is light. I use Green for 10 pound, Green for 15, blue for 20, and yellow for 30.
The day didn’t seem to slow, catching 2 pounders every few minutes, an occasional baby bass, and then a 6.5 pounder on a frog, awesome!! I stopped on the shore for a quick lunch, before trying some new spots around the lake. Once I got into some real cluttered sections of water with more trees than water, I threw a KVD fluke that was texas rigged with a 1/8 oz bullet weight. BAM! I got a massive hit and I couldn’t keep him out from the trees. After 2 minutes of giving it line and pulling it tight again, he ran the wrong way and I got him free- 7.2 pounds! Whew, when am I going to wake up?
My final cast of the day was out in 5′ of water near a drop off with a “creature bait” texas rigged. It dropped for 3 seconds, one twitch and “BAM” and line was spooling out! Yes, this was the big fish that got away. I am sure I have never landed a bass this big before. It was massive and strong. I have landed over 12 pounders before and this one felt much bigger… suddenly after about 3 minutes of fighting it, zing! The hook came flying at my face, no lure on it. What!!?? I am not sure what happened, but this one beat me today! The sun was setting, so I found my way back to the truck, loaded up my gear and headed home. Big weekend of whitewater kayaking and kayak fishing… The imagining bass fishing days are over, spring is here!!!
check out the video: