Monday, May 30, 2016

Excessive Taunting

It has been a great holiday weekend thus far.  My family surprised me with an early Fathers Day/birthday present which included Keen Uneek sandals for kayaking, some lures, and a Garmin VIRB XE (check out my YouTube channel for upcoming videos). Yesterday I spent the day fatbiking with a family member.  I was also honored to have Garmin publish one of my past articles.  As the month wraps up, I was eager to hit my local reservoir in hopes to claim a higher position on the May Kayak Bass Fishing North Central Great Lakes tournament hosted by TourneyX.

When arriving at my local reservoir before sunrise, I notice the heavy fog.  Visibility is nearly zero.
 After performing my unloading/rigging ritual I hit the water.  The fog is so dense I turn on my 360 light for safety.  With visibility so poor, I cannot see shore.  I use my Garmin Striker 4's GPS to navigate to the first location I plan to fish.

Upon arrival, I toss my go-to lures: hollow body frog and buzz bait.  Nothing is interested in my offerings.  I continue to work the shallows, points, and ledges without success.  I am meeting someone I met on my Instagram account who was in the area.  He arrives and I learn he is a fellow Team Ardent member.  We continue working the area without success and decide to change things up.
We move to the rip-rap along the dam.  Shortly after arriving, we notice the bass have moved shallow, near the rocks.  While retrieving a snag, I nearly hit a large bass near shore.  Being new to kayak fishing, I am not used to sneaking up on fish like this.  My heart races and I force myself to calm down.  This is an 18"+ fish.

I pull my baitcaster out of the rod holder on my FeelFree Lure like a samurai warrior draws his sword.  A hollow-body frog being my go-to, I try it first.  The sow is not interested.  Oddly enough, she does not spook and is swimming a pattern near the cattails I'm resting against.  She inquisitively approaches the front of my kayak.  I spot a large cloud of fry.  She is guarding the fry and will not leave the patrol.

In this moment I realize this will be a challenge and an opportunity.  I think to myself, WWCHD (What Would Chad Hoover Do)?  If you are not familiar with Chad, he is the found of KBF.  I'd say he is the Chuck Norris of kayak fishing.  I watch his various kayak fishing shows.  I have watched him stalk female bass on his YouTube channel.  He preaches patience.  I am not a patient person, but I can try.

First I toss a wacky rigged senko, as I already have one on my spinning setup.  She isn't interested.  I'm feet from her, standing in my kayak, working her patrol area.  The worm is not a threat to her fry, and she knows it.  I swap it out for a craw plastic.  Also not of interest to her (though she looked at it briefly).  The smaller buck has come up a few times to check things out but leaves.

My fishing partner and I work the area, she isn't interested.  He spots other bass also patrolling nearby fry and waiting for food to come down the ledge of the dam.  I tie on a brush-hog style plastic and start slow-rolling it over her patrol area.  I see the lure nearing my kayak and she attacks!

This reservoir is usually very stained from the runoff provided by Wisconsin farmland.  The fish, and I, are accustomed to this reduced visibility.  This has caused a challenging start to the bass season for me, as the bass are reacting to different lures and presentations differently.  In this situation, I am able to see the hawg hit my lure.  Excited, I set the hook just as she grabs it.  I miss the hookset and tug the lure out of her mouth.  After yelling a few choice words, I know she has officially lost interest in this peculiar creature.

I spend the next 30 minutes working the patrol area with predatory-looking plastics and other lures.  The deck of my kayak looks like a clearance bin at Cabela's.  Plastics, bags, and other lures are scattered everywhere.  After tossing everything we can think of, we admit defeat and decide to try frogging in the thicker mats on the other side of the lake.

En route to the mats, we stop because we notice fish jumping in a patch of vegetation.  After a few casts and closer inspection, we find it to be large carp and carry on with our paddle.  We stop again near a brush pile we found to hold bass.  We see at least 6 large bass.  We again try swimbaits, frogs, etc. with no success.  We are sitting atop of them and they don't care about our kayaks or the lures presented.

Continuing with our original plan, we move to the mats.  My fishing partner catches a bass with a hollowed bodied frog, but it is a small one.  The bay is very active, but nothing is biting.  With family plans for this Memorial Day afternoon, we decide to call it a day.  Like this entire last week of fishing, we spotted more large bass than we can shake a stick at.  Unfortunately, only the small ones are biting.  The Wisconsin spring was tough on them.  Once the waters reached spawning temperatures, we hit another cold snap and temperatures plummeted.  The odd spring has created fish patterns like I've never seen before on my home water.  At this point, these monsters are taunting us.  I think it is time to let the bass rest and protect future bucketmouths while I enjoy the afternoon with my family and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so I can enjoy future days on the water.


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