Carroll County Times
Carroll County Sports

Kayaking made easy in a fishing world of technology

In this day and age of the modern fishing machine, many, many items have been incorporated to enable today's efficient angler to catch more and bigger fish.

We now have GPS graphing and side imaging functions on many electronic units. We have temperature gauges and sonar and underwater mapping capabilities. There are even "color charts" and lunar predictions that can put the fishing odds more and more in the fisherman's favor.


And on top of all that, the internet is chock full of YouTube videos and Facebook pages that show every fisherman on the planet touting his product as the "next BEST thing" and absolutely "must have" item in order to insure success. With all these sure fire items and guaranteed fish catchers it seems that the fish just don't have a chance anymore.

But I tend to look at things just a little different.


At the tender age of 65, I have recently embraced the simplicities and enjoyment of quiet, calm and successful angling from a kayak.

Nothing fancy here, as the kayak fishing craze has indeed swept our nation like a wildfire. But rather, toss the little boat in the back of a truck or SUV and bring enough lures to do a three-hour gig on a small, local waterway. The quest for bass and panfish from the 'yak gives me freedom and abilities to hit small, overlooked "under the radar" waters that many anglers deem unworthy.

No, I won't win any tournaments or get a thousand "likes" for my Facebook posts, but I bet few anglers will be as happy as I when the trip is over with.

To begin with, I have an inexpensive "Trophy Hunter" olive drab, sit-in anglers kayak that my son graciously gave to me because he's just a "good guy."

I did some simple adjustments and add-ons to make it more to my personal tastes and liking. I elevated the backrest on the seat, attached a removable Drift Master rod holder, secured an anchor pully system and mounted a camera system to film and photograph all my adventures through the amazing technology of Go Pro.

Throw in some snap-ons for the paddle and a grab bag of gear and I figured most fish won't know what hit 'em!

The lakes I have chose to fish are in central Maryland and southern Pennsylvania and are waters with limitations on boating and limited access. My good friend Alvie Sickle often hauls my vessel in the back of his truck along with his Trophy Hunter and we fish together often, which is a good idea when you are anywhere near as old as we are. He usually goes for the bass in our early morning efforts while I'm happy to rack up high numbers of bluegills and crappies when I can find them. These warm, calm summer morning have been ideal for quietly slipping up on a sunken log or brush pile and putting the hurt on bass and panfish.

As I continually learn to maneuver and put myself in casting position to promising looking spots, I realize that with an 11-foot vessel, simplicity rules. Yes, I could have sprung for a 13-foot Jackson or larger Wilderness kayak with all the trimmings of a new bass boat.

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But there was something about the small, easy to handle 'yaks that appealed to me, other than the fact that it was a freebie! I usually carry two ultralight spinning outfits, a small box of jigs and a few bobbers with Berkely Gulp! Baits in tow.

Throw in a Mello Yello and some breakfast cookies and I'm pretty happy for several hours. In truth, three to four hours is about all my lower back will take sitting in a kayak, even if the fish are biting.

You have to take the good with the bad.

I am sure that Alvie and I will do some more kayaking before the fall is out and it has been successful so far. He has caught numerous 16 to 19 inch largemouth bass, many on the classic Jitterbug and I have rung up high numbers of bluegills, crappies and chunky hybrid sunfish. Kayak fishing has been very good to us so far, it hasn’t broke the bank, and we have caught a ton of fish, opening the doors to new angling adventures right under our noses, and all public venues.

I may not graduate or "upgrade" to the bigger, fancier 'yaks that have all the stuff.

But then again, I may not need to.