Kayak bass fishing has been a part of my life for about 5 years now as it all started back in 2012 with a buddy I met through another local fishing forum. He had been fishing out of his kayak before that point and had an extra one at his house, so we agreed upon a day to go hit a local forest preserve lake that I normally bank fished from. The extra kayak he had was a small 10 foot sit in kayak that I remember I had plenty of trouble getting in at first. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be an enjoyable experience, but nonetheless I was in the water before I could change my mind. It took a few minutes to get my bearings but I finally started to make sense of the paddling and casting at the same time. My first bite I remember was a major fail as the mechanics of the hook set were completely different than what I was used to as a co-angler on a bass boat. It all eventually started coming together and by the time I thought I had it, it was time to wrap the trip up for the day. I knew then that I wanted to get back out on a kayak again and explore more water that I had never had access to.
Up until that point I had been fishing as a co-angler in a few local tournament trails out of a bass boat. I had my highlights and failures in those 3-4 years of tournament fishing and enjoyed it quite a bit, but I think after kayak fishing came into the picture that all started to taper off. When I realized I could start competing out of my kayak I really started to change paths with tournament fishing. As a co-angler I really didn’t have much say in where we fished, how we fished, and really never got a feel for the lay of the land on my own. Granted I still did learn a lot from my boaters, but I think having that base and moving onto kayak fishing really started making me a better angler. At that point there were no more excuses that my boater didn’t put me on fish or that I couldn’t capitalize on used water…it was all on me now to be successful. I mean, plastic boats going 4 or 5 mph don’t have the glitz and glamour of a 50,000 dollar bass boat flying down the water at 70 mph, but that’s what I had to work with and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
Looking forward to 2017 I am excited to start the next season with the Kayak Bass League tournament series and the other trails I am a part of. Heck, I am even playing with the idea of coming back to boat fishing as a co-angler for a few events. The point I want to make is this, co-anglers that are tired of the same old thing every year have a new outlet for getting on the water and competing. Co-anglers are co-anglers either because of the cost involved with tournament fishing or they want to get their feet wet in tournament fishing and eventually move up. With the soaring prices of bass boats, a proper towing vehicle, tournament entry fees, travel and lodging just being able to fish on a regular tournament trail is starting to get out of reach for the average person. Kayak fishing takes a lot of that associated cost out of the mix while still allowing an angler to get out and fish and become self-sufficient on the water. In my mind there is no greater opportunity than now to capitalize on this transition and become a kayak angler. I know as a former co-angler, I haven’t regretted the change.