Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dwindling

This bass season has been one of epic proportions.  When I began kayak fishing, I never imagined the new world it would open up.  I can fish more often, exponentially cheaper, and in areas previously untouchable.  A week prior, my buddy and I had an epic day on the water.  We went back to our fall honey hole in hopes to come close to repeating the events of that historic day in our fishing careers.


Fall in Wisconsin is a bittersweet season.  The trees are afire with their natural colors.  Flocks of geese can be seen and heard overhead, heading south to avoid the frigid northern winter.  The bass bite is amazing as they gain weight to store calories for the hard winter.  However, as the temperatures drop, sounds of geese cease, and trees become bare, we are reminded temperatures of -30 degrees Fahrenheit are soon coming.  The bitterness gets worse when the bass bite begins to dwindle.

The morning started as a beautiful fall morning.  The air crisp, sky clear.  The mirror-like water giving us a double-dose of the fall sunrise and colors.  A scene I'm truly blessed to witness.  We tie on our spinner baits and start covering water.  Not long after launching, I hear loud splashing followed "Wooooo!" (this is our special long distance call for "Bring the camera - I got a big one!").  As I approach my buddy Chang Lor of www.cxfishing.com, he has a beautiful fall bass.  One problem, he realizes he left his KBF tournament identifier in the car.  I clip this 4.6 lb. beauty onto my anchor trolley so it can stay safe in the cool water while I continue fishing.  He returns with his identifier and goes through the ritual involved with the catch-photo-release tournament (snap a photo - verify it is clear - submit to www.tourneyx.com).

The day, though beautiful, doesn't produce the bite we had experienced the week prior.  The bass are small and the bites are frequent.  It is apparent the big bass fall bite is dwindling as they conserve their energy for the long Wisconsin winter.

We had also met another kayak fishing buddy at the lake this morning.  He had set off to the opposite side so we could divide-and-find.  After a slow bite in this part of the lake, we went to the other side where he reported one respectable bass followed by smaller bass and pike.  We decide to get adventurous.

There is a slough beyond the main sloughs of this particular lake.  After some physical and Google Earth reconnaissance, we determine the only way to it is via a small creek that connects the two bodies of water.  Once the duck hunter in his canoe abandons his post in the slough, we decide to go for it.  DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

The creek is small, the width of my kayak in some spots.  A foot deep at the most.  The creek zig-zags in various areas through thick reeds and grass.  It is diverted at a few points by started-but-not-finished beaver dams.  My buddy Chang decides to lead the way since he has the lightest kayak.  He splits his paddle and uses it as two push poles as he heads down the creek.  He yells back to us, reporting on the creek and obstacles.  I decide it sounds reasonable enough to attempt myself.  However, I quickly realize I've got many pounds on him (in body, kayak, and cargo).  
Photo by: Chang Lor of www.cxfishing.com
I find myself hung up, out of the water, on the beaver dam.  Normally in the summer we would get out and drag.  However, the water temperatures are in the low 50s, and it isn't an easy trek back to the safety of our vehicles.  With hypothermia on our minds, we make due while staying dry.  I stand on the front of my FeelFree Lure's deck and rock it forward until I'm off the dam and floating again (it probably looked similar to Robin Williams in the movie RV if you've seen it).  Finally, we cross the 3 small dams and find ourselves in the slough.  It is a beautiful area.  The water is crystal clear, thick vegetation lies beneath.  We see the "v" of fish swimming quickly in the shelter of the vegetation.  

My buddy Chang and I are topwater nuts, but the topwater bite is tough-to-non-existent this time of year in this area.  However, he decides to try a buzzbait.  The thick vegetation in shallow water is difficult to fish with other lures.  A few tosses in, he has a nice Northern Pike on, but loses it.  Our buddy had just made his way into the slough and is prepared to fish.  I see him standing in his kayak, adjusting his clothing.  The next few moments happened in slow motion.

I watch him lose his balance and fall into the water.  It takes me a moment to realize what happened, then we paddle towards him to help.  Entering 50 degree water is no matter to take lightly, hypothermia can set in quickly.  Luckily, he is able to re-enter his kayak from the 3-5 foot water (I have never seen anyone re-enter a kayak so quickly).  He quickly sheds his sweatshirts.  Luckily the sun is shining the air temps are in the 60s.  He is able to fish on without danger of hypothermia.

After some time in the slough, we decide it is a place better suited for the summer when the frog bite is on.  We head back up the creek, which is exponentially more challenging than our trip down.  Battling the current and the beaver dams proves difficult but we finally make it out.

The dink bite continues.  I grow weary from the effort required to get back up the creek.  As I'm about to call it a day, I hear Chang let out another "Wooooo!".  I paddle over to find him landing a respectable Northern Pike.  A nice fish to end our adventurous day on the water. 

Chang Lor of www.cxfishing.com







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