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Shallow Water Summer Bass with Greg Blanchard

It’s mid-summer and the temperatures are at their highest and the lakes are starting to feel like hot tubs. During these dog days of summer, most fishermen will tell you that you need to fish deeper water to catch bass. That is certainly true but from my experience, I’ve found that even with scorching temperatures you can still find quantity and quality bass up shallow and in less than 3 foot of water.

The big thing that will keep bass shallow, no matter what time of year is, is bait or forage. If it’s lifeless then odds are there won’t be any bass around, however, that is hardly ever the case. Think about what kind of cover you have shallow; sunken trees, bushes, docks and rocky structure just to name a few, and all of which, have the potential to inhabit smaller forage which will attract predatory fish like bass. 

I think one of the main things that appeals to bass about shallow water in the summer time is an easy meal. Take schools of bait fish for example. Shallow water means less room for baitfish to escape as well as allowing bass to pin schools up against the bank. Early morning seems to be when you’ll find the bigger fish up shallow.  Getting on the water before sunrise in the summer is a must for me every time I go out. The bass will specifically use this window of lower light to take advantage of baitfish up shallow.

Bait selection is key when fishing shallow in the summertime. Because bass will be super aggressive with a fast metabolism this time of year, you want to throw moving baits. Topwater spooks, Plopper style baits, chatter baits and shallow crank baits are my go-to’s during the morning. I’ll usually start off with a top water bait and if it’s not getting bit I will then move to the chatterbait and then the crankbait. 

Around 10 am or so is when I find a percentage of these fish will start to either move to deeper water, or, and what I find a lot of people overlook, is tight to cover. This is the cover we mentioned previously such as bushes, logs, rocks, etc. I won’t rule out the previous baits I was throwing in the morning but now I’ll look to baits that will get into the cover and into the strike zone more efficiently such as a jig, Texas rig or worm. 

This big thing to remember this summer is to not be afraid to venture shallow while everyone else is out deep even if it’s noon. Some of the biggest fish I’ve caught in the summer have been in less than a foot of water in 80+ degree water. Get on the water early, have the right baits tied on, find signs of life and get ready to swing the rod. 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.

Check out the full video here:

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.

Kayak Duck Hunting – Access, Versatility, Stealth

As the weather cools and late fall turns to winter, my focus shifts from the ten month pursuit of fish from my kayak. This does not mean I abandon my kayak, but for sixty days it is used to target a different quarry.

With colder temperatures begins the migration of birds from Canada down to their wintering grounds in the Southern US and Mexico. Along the way seasons are timed with the migration and hunters from all over take their turns at tricking these birds into their spreads.

 

There are numerous vessels used to haul hunters and decoys alike, ranging from big water outboard boats, to low profile mud boats, all the way down to single man sneak boats. For me there is no more versatile vessel than my kayak. This season alone I hunted from a Slayer XC, a Titan 12, and an FX Propel. The XC and Titan 12 offer a large payload and surface area for hauling decoys, while the FX can have the seat removed offering you full concealment while lying back low to the water line. In addition to the FX’s ability to virtually disappear when used as a layout boat, its low profile coupled with a trolling motor make it a great sneak boat.

While hunting in Vermont I was introduced to Garrick Dixon’s method of kayak hunting. He primarily targets river mouths and marsh areas a couple of miles from the launch. While this does require you to work to get to the birds, once you are there it is easy to completely hide yourself and your boat from the cautious birds.

Having the portability of a kayak is huge for accessing areas you just cannot get a larger boat into. This allows you to find those low pressure birds late in the season and make your hunts count. Couple the portability with the relatively low cost and versatility to use year round for recreation/fishing and it makes picking up a kayak as a hunting platform that much more appealing.

With the season drawing to an end there are a couple more weeks left to finish this one strong. Before you know it, my kayaks  will be outfitted for the tournament trail again and I will be patiently waiting for next November. I highly encourage you waterfowlers to get out and give this a try. Being that close to the water and the birds adds a whole new dynamic to the sport.

Article by Ryan Lambert – Ryan is an avid outdoorsman, kayak angler and kayak waterfowler based out of Chattanooga, TN USA.

Photography by Garrick Dixon – Garrick is an accomplished photographer with a focus in fishing and hunting.

To learn more about the kayaks featured in this article, click the links below:

Slayer 12 XC  | Titan Propel 12 Ultimate FX Propel 13