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Showing posts with the label rulethewater

The Itch

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For those of us in the north it is inevitable.  Winter hits, water turns to ice, and our kayaks are put away to hibernate for the winter along with our souls.  This winter, I would open up the shed to sneak a peek and say hello to my Feelfree Lure and Bending Branches Angler Pro whilst they slumbered.  A tear would drip from my eye and instantly freeze.  Head hanging low, I shut and locked the shed before retreating to the warmth of the house. A couple ice fishing trips slightly abated the urge to hit the water.  It at least gave me an opportunity to wet a line and land some fish.  But the odd weather this winter ranged from dangerously cold to dangerously warm.  This made for tough and/or unsafe ice conditions.  I was unable to get as much time on the "hard water" as I would have liked.  Still, I had to scratch the itch to fish. I was able to accomplish this by stocking up for the upcoming season and the first season for Small Craft Outfitters , my new kayak sales/guide

Last Hoorah

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Paddling goodbye to my last kayak sunset of 2016 After the terrible bite during our last trip, a group of us kayaking buddies decided to plan one last hoorah for the season.  This time at a lake where we never get skunked (though sometimes that means landing only dink bass and pike).  But we want to end the season on a good note and with slime on our kayaks.  My Home Boss (wife) authorized this last full-day hoorah with the agreement I would put the kayaks away for the season the next day (in her defense I was tournament fishing HARD the last few months).  I offered the barter as my body was battered and tired from the countless hours on the water pushing myself in the KBF tournaments.  The frigid temperatures only made my aches and pains worse, I needed time to recover before ice fishing season. The evening temperatures in Northern Wisconsin has been dropping into the teens and 20s.  With the time change, we opt to meet at 8 AM to mitigate numb fingers from working our bait cast

Don't Try This At Home

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The first weekend in November.  Typically in Wisconsin the temperatures and hunting seasons are leaving lakes mostly barren.  A few walleye and musky fisherman remain.  Pleasure crafts are winterized, the trees are nearly completely bare, and a few lingering flocks of geese pass overhead headed to warmer climates for the winter.  This year is different, daytime temperatures are in the 60s, record highs.  Overnight temperatures are near or below freezing. This temperature swing makes kayak fishing extra challenging, and dangerous.  Water temperatures continue to drop.  Falling in the water before the air temperatures rise after noon could turn deadly.  The temperature swings also make the bite slow and difficult.  With the nice weather still in the forecast, a group of us decided to plan a trip to a local lake in the Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin. Chang Lor of www.cxfishing.com and his first sunrise on a FeelFree Lure We arrive early as the sun is rising.  It is a balmy 30 degre

A New Kind of Battle

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The end of October.  The beautiful fall colors have dropped from the limbs, now rotting on the forest floor and my gutters.  The water temperatures are below 50, the air temperature in the 30's at night.  I hit one of our favorite lakes with a buddy, hoping to get into some of the 5-6 lb. bass of recent weeks. I was currently holding onto 2nd place with 60.75" for the KBF Regional Challenge (MN, WI, MI).  My fellow FeelFree Kayak Fishing Team member Mike McKinstry was 1.5" ahead of me in first place.  I needed 2 21" tankers or a 22" monster to move ahead (note 3 fish bags over 60" are extremely tough in this region - we had both been blessed with an epic month). The conditions seemed right.  The skies overcast, rain in the forecast, and a light breeze.  But they weren't.  The water temperatures low, bass were not as active.  We found ourselves catching Northern Pike and dink bass.  I had landed a nice 24" Northern Pike with a good amount of m

Northwoods Fall Bassin'

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I lived in Central Wisconsin for 7 years but never fished it much (I had a first baby, first house, while working full-time, getting certified in my day-job field, and attending college full time).  Kayak fishing is huge in the area.  I've had the privilege to fish with some of the guys in that area, such as The Wisconsin Bass Yaker  and other amazing members of the Wisconsin Kayak Fishing Club .  Having been so busy this summer, heading east to my old stompin' grounds was on my 2016 season bucket list.  The opportunity arose when FeelFree HQ contacted me about helping a customer.  I was happy to, and it gave me an opportunity to fish over there. I reached out to the guys and planned for a 6:30 AM meet at their place (a 4 AM departure required from my house in Western Wisconsin).  The decided to take me to a honey-hole they discovered in the Northwoods (for those of you not familiar with Wisconsin geography, the Northwoods is a place that consists of most of the norther

Dwindling

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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

Epic

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It is well known the bass are larger in the south.  They grow and feed all year.  In the northern states, there are lunkers out there.  However, they are more of a rarity.  Typically I land one 20" bass in a season.  The rest are respectable, fat, fish, but not the "lunker" length.  This year has been different. Sure, I've spent exponentially more time on the water this year than in the past.  I have also spent more time refining my techniques.  Both have contributed to increased success in my season.  I attribute both to kayak fishing.  My FeelFree Lure allows me to explore and dissect waters I had never considered before, even in my john boat.  Since I can't fire up my gas motor and cruise to a new spot, I am forced to increase my attention to detail.  This includes careful planning of launch sites, keen observation of structure, and refinement of my fishing techniques.  The kayak forces you slow down and fish.  I've even pulled several respectable fish

Frozen

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After spending some time recovering from my tournament push that started in my article " I'm Back - The Saga Begins ", I was ready to hit the water again.  I had already washed and polished my FeelFree Lure, it was looking like new.  My gear was loaded up and ready to go.  I had spent the last few days seeing my Facebook feed filled with kayak anglers catching toads as the fall bite was ramping up.  I was ready for a piece of that action.  When I was in "tournament mode", I had left my Garmin VIRB action cam at home.  I was looking forward to again documenting my adventure. I woke up before light to frost surrounding my house.  The thermometer read 27 degrees.  Having anticipated these conditions, I had prepared my winter fat biking gear (Under Armour cold gear, athletic pants, and a performance sweatshirt.  Upon arriving at the lake, I covered my pants in my rain gear pants to deflect any paddle splash. The lake was covered in a thick fog, a normalcy th

The Saga Ends

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The final chapter of my tournament marathon picks up where I left off in " The Saga Continues ".  Instead of grinding the water after work like in the previous week, I take a few days to rest by body and mind.  I also perform some basic maintenance and cleaning on my gear.  I have the final two days of the tournament off work to cover as much water as possible. The first day is a beautiful morning, but it was not a great day for fishing.  I did my usual seeking with a spinnerbait.  It produced, but nothing of size.  I tried cranking, but it produced the same.  By the afternoon, I had worked the entire reservoir without locating the big ones.  I sat slumped in my kayak asking myself, "What now?". The Wisconsin fall was moving in.  We were reaching 40 degrees at night and 70 during the day.  This weather pattern makes for difficult fishing.  Water temperatures are in the mid 50s in the morning, rising to the upper 50s by the evening.  At this point, I need to make

The Saga Continues

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The saga of my absence from blogging picks up where I left off in " I'm Back - The Saga Begins ".  I had just caught a tank bass, putting me in the running to qualify for the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship.  Getting the privilege to fish south of the Mason-Dixon, via kayak, with the best kayak anglers in the country has been a pipe dream since I got into the tournament fishing this year.  Never did I think I had a chance.  Sure, I put in a lot of time on the water but never considered myself a tournament angler.  I decided this was a great opportunity to make a push to make "the cut".  The spinner bait seems to be the magic lure, so I make a restock trip to my local Mills Fleet Farm and stock up on Northland Tackle spinners.  My spinner box now full, I'm ready to hit it hard. My kayak stays permanently at the ready on my trailer.  Tackle, PFD, net, hawg trough, and my Kayak Bass Fishing identifier nestled in my TourneyTag are in the vehicle read

I'm Back - The Saga Begins

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First of all, I'd like to apologize to my regular readers for going mostly silent recently.  I try to give my regular readers something to read every weekend.  That said, this is the reason I've been only posting pictures to my Facebook page and Instagram accounts: Photo By: Chang Lor www.cxfishing.com In my last installment of shenanigans, I was resetting my fishing.  Going back to my basics with my time-tested tactics.  I also opted to stay local, though my home water has challenged me since the late freeze during the spawn.  All fish patterns from years' past had changed and I became frustrated.  My amazing wife reminded me that I learned my home water patterns quickly.  I needed to reset and do it again.  With success using my time-tested tactics, I regained confidence in my knowledge of the water and opted to continue fishing local. This long adventure begins the weekend after " Back to Basics ".  I hit my local waters again, where I'm met by my