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3 Bait Approach to Spring Kayak Bass

The weather is warming, the trees are starting to show some life, and the bass are starting to become much more active. Spring time is my absolute favorite time to bass fish. I enjoy this time of year most because you can catch quantity and quality all in the same day.

Depending on where you are in the country, spring time is when the bass move up shallow for their annual spawn. Typically, it’ll be around 55 degree water temperature and up when they start to make this move. The big thing for me this year is targeting areas where fish will be moving into to spawn. Depending on the body of water, you’re looking for shallow flats or coves in about 3-5 foot of water with areas of clean and hard bottom. This environment sets up ideal conditions for bass to lay their eggs and begin the spawning process. Additionally, if you can find pieces of hard cover in these areas such as wood, rock or even manmade structure such as docks or posts, you’ll likely be around the fish.

When I find areas like this, I like to have a 3 bait approach. I will move into the area and blind cast towards targets with a chatterbait. I like a chatterbait with a boot tail trailer that can mimic a bluegill or baitfish. A lot of the time spawning bass will see this as either a threat or an easy meal which can entice a bite. The second bait I like to throw if they’re not hitting something moving is a wacky rigged senko. I’ll still make casts towards high percentage areas where they should be spawning like wood or man made structure, but I will let it slowly fall, twitch it a few times, reel it back and make another cast. It’s something I like to call “power-finesse fishing.” It’s a finesse technique but you’re fishing it fast and hitting a lot of targets. And the third bait I like to have tied up with me this time of year is a creature or bluegill style bait. I’ll rig this like a drop shot on a wide gap hook and sight fish with it. What is really helpful this time of year is the ability to stand up and visually see the fish on beds. This style bait works best making direct casts onto spawning beds where you can entice fish to bite out of pure agitation.

This is a great time of year to go out on a successful fishing trip. I can promise you that if you target these areas and throw these style baits you’ll put more fish in the boat, and who knows… the next cast may even be the fish of a lifetime.  As always, stay safe and tight lines!

-Greg Blanchard

About Greg Blanchard: Greg has taken the YouTube kayak fishing community by storm over the past few years. His approach to kayak fishing technique is unique and powerful.  Greg fishes from a Native Watercraft Titan Propel 10.5 as his primary craft. You can subscribe to Greg’s YouTube Channel by clicking the button below.

Winter Kayak Bass Fishing Tips

FULL VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ARTICLE

Days are shorter, temperatures drop and cabin fever starts to set in. For most kayak anglers, the winter months, seem to be a time where we organize gear, buy more tackle and prepare for the spring. Well I’m here to tell you that you can still do all of the above and still get out on the water and catch fish.

Winter bass fishing is certainly the most challenging time of year and doing it from kayak even further complicates things. If you decide to brave the elements I would first make sure you are prepared. Make sure you have the right gear to keep you warm and dry. I’d also check your forecast frequently to make sure rain, wind and excessively cold temperatures won’t be in your near future.

The biggest disadvantage we have as kayak fisherman is the amount of water we can cover. This in turn makes your plan of attack and launch point that much more important. Winter bass will typically go to deeper water near the main creek channel with adjacent flats. I like to use Navionics or other topographic maps that you can access from your phone to scout the entire lake in relation to launch points. Steep transitions or areas on the map that have the darker and more condensed lines are areas you’ll want to target. I would say winter is the one time of year having a fish finder is crucial in that you’ll typically be looking at your graph more than you are actually “fishing”. Because these fish group up in the winter you can waste a lot of time fishing for fish that aren’t there. The Native Watercraft boats with the propel drive provide a great opportunity to cruise at optimal speeds and look at your fish finder for activity.

It can certainly be a grind looking at a screen all day but it can also pay big dividends. Because bass will group up in the winter, once you find them, you can usually catch a bunch. Because the temperatures are more stable and warmer on the bottom of a lake, you’ll usually see bass right on the bottom as little lines or streaks. Finding them is one thing, catching them is certainly another.

The winter time usually elicits a decline in the metabolism of bass. They’ll be less active and have shorter feeding windows. The big thing in winter bass fishing is to slow down; the less action in your bait the better. This is the sure way I know I can at least catch a fish or two on a winter outing. Good baits for this are shaky heads, drop shots and ned rigs. Now the polar opposite (and some of my favorite winter bass baits) elicit a lot of action and get what is referred to as a reaction strike. The fish aren’t eating out of hunger but more out of instinct. Spoons and Alabama rigs are two great presentations to put a weary bass in the boat and it won’t be uncommon for you to have that fish hooked anywhere but the mouth.

Again, the biggest thing about winter kayak bass fishing is safety. Make sure you have the right gear and have your PFD. It’s always a good idea to have someone with you during winter bass fishing because taking a spill in the lake could end very badly. Let’s make sure you can always fish another day. If you do decide to go out, be safe, have fun and show your friends you can catch them while they’re organizing tackle in their garage!

Tight lines,
Greg Blanchard

Check out the video here:

About Greg Blanchard: Greg has taken the YouTube kayak fishing community by storm over the past few years. His approach to kayak fishing technique is unique and powerful. Greg fishes from a Native Watercraft Titan Propel 10.5 as his primary craft. You can subscribe to Greg’s YouTube Channel by clicking the button below.

NEW! Ultimate Fx Propel 13 hits the Fishing world

First, if you’ve followed Native Watercraft through the years you may recall there once were Ultimate 12 and 14.5 Propels’ in their lineup. Ah, you do remember? Well, those who favored an open-hybrid (read lighter) version of a pedal kayak, over a heavier SOT, model once again have the option… albeit it in a heavily revised model.

Ch-ch Changes

As you turn to face the changes, casting your eyes over the Ultimate FX Propel 13, you’ll notice very little similarity to its discontinued cousins. The bow entry profile and hull rocker are similar, and of course there is a Propel drive (updated as well), and then the changes being.

Hull:  For greater performance, the once deeper tunnel-hull is drawn shallower in keeping with the Ultimate FX 12 and 15 models. This allows greater ease of speed and less resistance in cross currents, inspiring greater confidence ferrying currents.

Rudder: Dropped, as in a drop-down rudder, is gone, in favor of the more durable factory molded rudder. The control cabling is run off the control disc perpendicular to the gunnel, allowing greater rudder angle positioning, translating to a tighter turn radius. Though the rudder is removable and attaches rather solidly, in my opinion it’s not ideal to constantly remove it. The bolt self locks into a plastic stem and over time could compromise the threads, requiring a replacement. Some users and non-users have cast judgement, saying “it’s not durable”,  you can’t drag the kayak”, or “it gets in the way when loading”. Well, the molded rudder has been proven to be much more durable than a typical aluminum rudder in factory torture tests. From dropping a rigged hull from shoulder height, rudder striking first onto the concrete, to throwing a cinderblock at it from multiple angles, the rudder didn’t break, deform or become unusable. Ideally, you shouldn’t drag any hull on the ground but when you just gotta get your drag on, it’s best do do it with a rope or leash attached to the bow handle. This way the hull remains flatter to the ground and doesn’t plow the rudder into the ground. Lifting and loading is simply a matter of raising/loading the stern first.

Ultimate FX 13 Rudder

Ultimate FX Propel Rudder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seat: The seat frame and material is the same as in the Slayer Propels, Ultimate FXs’ and Slayers. It sits on an aluminum framed support, in a higher fixed height position, adjusting fore and aft, for the perfect leg/foot reach to the pedals.

No Adapt-a-Track, No Skirts: In favor of keeping weight down the previous fabric skirts and joining  track material have been jettisoned for the more durable, lighter-weight (INCLUDED) molded hard cover. (available for bow only)

Performance/Experience 

The following thoughts are based on a brief amount of time testing a prototype.

At first glance I initially thought the seat height may be too high as you sit just below the gunnel. While opinions will vary due to each users perception of stability, their size and weight, at 6′ and 188.2 lbs (casually dressed) I felt completely comfortable after giving it a wiggle and feeling the hulls response. The elevated seat position, more so than a Slayer Propel, in relation to the drive does give the user a more downward pedal stroke than any previous models, which I think most will welcome, as it’s a more natural upright seated position.

Stability was very good for me, again, alleviating any concerns about the seat height. Users will quickly notice the added ease of standing from a seated position, the easiest I’ve ever experienced.

Turning radius, though not measured, felt really good. I’d definitely say better than a SP 13 and about the same or maybe a little better than a SP 10, likely negating the need or even desire for an aftermarket modification as some have installed on SP 10’s and 13’s.

The benefit of a hull with nice, sharp entry lines typically results in appreciated tracking performance, as well as efficient speed, both of which have been bestowed upon the Ultimate FX 13 Propel. Within in a few pedal revolutions your moving quickly and quite effortlessly. Speed freaks will appreciate being able to maintain higher speeds longer, resulting in less consumption of energy drinks, or beans.

Paddling the FX Propel is quite doable, albeit it from a higher seat position, which is very similar to the high seat position of a Slayer 12 or 14.5. Since the FX Propel lacks solid foot rests it isn’t quite ideal for lengthy paddles or in high winds or current since you can’t brace and leverage power from being able to brace with your feet.

Other than a few boats wakes no real rough water was experienced, yet it did handle the wakes very similar to that experienced in an Ultimate FX 15. Obviously being an open boat any water you take on, or fluids you excrete; and I know some you guys use your scuppers as an emergency port-a-potty, you have to remove… unless you con or pay the neighborhood kids into doing it for you, so you have to be a little more cautious as to where or how far out you venture into open water. The bow deck cover does help in deflecting some bow spray and in really gnarly junk can roll waves off as you dip the nose into the rabbit hole.

Outfitting

Sans adjustable rod holders, and of course rods and tackle, the Ultimate FX 13 comes ready to fish. The included, position adjustable, stern track mounted, tackle and rod tube holder is really a nice convenient bit of kit. I’m all about making getting on and off the water as well as gear storage easier and more efficient, and with this handy gizmo it doesn’t get much better.

Ultimate FX Propel Tackle Box

Groove tracks line the gunnels as well as fore and aft decks for mounting the usual suspects, such as rod holders, display units, POV cameras, stern lights, stake-out0-poles, anchor cleats, whirly gigs and whatever else gear hounds might want to embellish upon their relatively tiny craft.

Native Watercraft Ultimate FX 13 Propel

Native developed a practical method of mounting higher definition, more featured transducers to the hull, negating the need to drop one off the side, or loose image quality by shooting the signal thru the hull. On the underside, in front of the Propel drive mount, is a recess with molded-in nuts, allowing you to attach the transducer mount at this point. Cabling is neatly held in place within a recessed groove and secured with tabs. The recess is wide and deep enough to accept most transducers commonly used on kayaks.

Being that the seat is the highest its ever been, there is a plethora of under-seat  storage space, able and willing to party with Natives’ seat storage accessories or soft cooler bags.

Not-shown but can be seen when delivered are cleverly placed under-gunnel bungees for stowing a two-piece paddle out of the way, one section of paddle per side.

In some ways kayaks can be like shoes, not all fit just right or should be worn for all occasions. That’s why it’s important, and extremely helpful, to try a kayak on for size and on the water. My local paddlesports outfitter, Get:Outdoors, of Greensboro, NC provides on-water demos throughout the season, with its Annual Paddlefest scheduled April 8th-10th. On-water demo happens April 9th, Lake Brandt, Greensboro, NC. Hopefully they’ll have their demo Ultimate FX Propel ready to go.

As of 3/15/2016, production has just begun with shipments arriving at dealers asap and in the order they were received.