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3 Drop Shot Modifications for Late Fall/Early Winter Bass

The bass fishing season is winding down for most parts of the country and only the true die hards are the ones braving the water. Late fall and early winter bass fishing (assuming you have open water) traditionally calls upon your slower moving baits that you can creep along the bottom. Baits such as jigs, worms and even big swimbaits fit the bill. For me, the drop shot worm is a technique that continues to shine and gets bit this time of year when other baits won’t. That being said, there are 3 modifications I will make to my drop shot rig when targeting late season bass.

What is the drop shot rig?

To start, the drop shot rig is a light tackle application used on a spinning reel and rod setup. You’ll be using light line and a light wire hook that will have about a foot of line after the hook with a weight. This will essentially allow you to cast your bait out, let the weight hit the bottom, and move/twitch your bait in place while maintain its position via the weight. Some people will fish it this way, while others will drag it along the bottom or even let the bait just sit there. This time of year, I feel, the slower the better. I will typically cast my rig out, let it hit the bottom and every 8-10 seconds give it a small twitch. Yes, the slower, the better!

My Go-To Drop Shot Setup

I opt for 15 pound braided line as my main line with a 3-4 foot 12 pound fluorocarbon leader. The braid has minimal stretch and will allow you to detect bites easier (especially when fishing deep) and the fluorocarbon will be more transparent in the water as it has the same refractive index as the water (i.e. it’s harder for the fish to see).

3 Modifications

Now let’s get into the 3 modifications… There are many variations of the drop shot rig but I will make 3 direct changes to mine this time of year. First off, I will make the leader much shorter. This means the distance from the hook to the weight. I will make this about 5-7 inches. Again, bass are typically more bottom oriented this time of year and having your bait closer to the bottom will keep it in the strike zone longer. The second modification I will make is adding a heavier drop shot weight. I go up to a 1/2 oz cylinder weight this time of year. I do this because you’ll mainly be fishing this bait in more than 20 foot of water as bass tend to go deeper this time of year. A bigger weight means getting the bait down faster and allowing you to put your bait in the face of a bass quicker. A bigger weight also gives me more sensitivity in feeling what’s on the bottom as well as detecting bites. And the last modification I will make is a color change to the bait. Green pumpkin is hard to beat in any type of soft plastic, but, this time of year I do believe another color shines. That would be baits with a white or pearl color to them. As the water temps continue to drop, there will be a die off of shad and other bait fish. A lot of these bait fish will be struggling along the bottom and a white or pearl colored worm will mimic the forage perfectly for a hungry bass.

So there it is. If you are still braving the elements and trying to catch those green fish we love so much, try these modifications to your drop shot rig and see if it puts more fish in the yak. I know it will be a staple for me through the next few months and when nothing else is working, this will be my go to. As always, stay safe out there 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.

Bonafide Kayaks and Big Adventures Join Forces in Merger

PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

Bonafide Kayaks and Big Adventures Join Forces in Merger

Fletcher, NC – October 31, 2019

Native Watercraft and Liquidlogic Kayaks, together with Bonafide Kayaks, announced today the merger of their businesses. Bonafide Kayaks founder Luther Cifers will serve the combined business as President.

“This partnership is simply ideal,” says Cifers. “It not only represents seamless philosophical alignment, but also brings together a diversity of strengths that will make this new business even stronger than the sum of its parts. Native and Bonafide are both known for offering unique and compelling products, and this merger allows us to combine our strengths, while building on the distinctiveness of each brand to develop industry leading product technologies that enhance the kayak fishing experience.”

Kelley Woolsey will serve as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, bringing a strong legacy of brand building and business development to the combined enterprise. “Our combination of brands: Native, Bonafide, Liquidlogic, and Hurricane, is really special. The team behind them is equally so, representing both industry experience and fresh, creative ideas. This will allow us to better serve our dealers by providing a complete offering of high demand specialty products and industry leading customer service.”

Don Grigg, CEO of Native, Liquidlogic, and Hurricane, will serve as CEO of the combined companies. “Bringing these businesses together does so many positive things,” Grigg explains, “We both had amazing teams prior to this merger, and working together towards a common vision is going to be great for all of us. We’re confident that the collective in both people and brands will be a significant and positive force in the industry for years to come. From an operational and logistics standpoint, increased scale will work in our favor, allowing us to better serve our customers in all aspects of the business.”

Bonafide Kayaks was founded by Luther Cifers in 2017, and began shipping its unique, premium fishing kayaks in January, 2018, rapidly ascending as a leading brand in the premium tier of paddle kayaks. As its name and its motto, “Live the Story You Want to Tell” indicate, Bonafide has been characterized by authenticity: in corporate philosophy, product design, and brand culture.

BIG Adventures is a paddlesports industry leader and innovator with the Native Watercraft, Liquidlogic, and Hurricane Aquasports brands. Each brand’s innovation and success is fueled by a deep passion for creating the best experience on the water. Native Watercraft’s proprietary Propel Pedal Drive system has set the standard for pedal driven fishing kayaks. Liquidlogic has long been a leader in whitewater, crossover and recreational designs. Hurricane has defined the recreational lightweight kayak category.

Three Baits for Fall Bass Fishing

Fall is in a full swing and it’s one of the best times of year to get out on the water. In a weird way, it’s almost like spring which is probably the most heavily favored season for bass anglers. Think about, what is so attractive about spring bass fishing? Bass move shallow and are aggressive. Well that is the exact same for fall. It seems as if the lakes start to come to life again after the long treacherous summer of hot days and slow fishing.

My 3 Baits for Fall Bass Fishing

The biggest thing that makes fall bass fishing fantastic is that the bait fish start to move shallow. With congregated and shallow schooling bait, the bass take full advantage. This will be when water temperatures are consistently below 65 degrees. The locations are also obvious as you are picking the shallow (<10 foot) parts of your body of water and mainly targeting creeks. 

It seems to be a time of year when bait selection can get extremely complicated. The big focus is shad style baits. Unfortunately that can range from topwaters to  soft swimbaits to Umbrella Rigs, so on and so forth. I try to simplify things and keep 3 staples in my boat during the fall.

The first bait I am going to start with and one that will stay at the ready for the entire day of fall bass fishing, is a topwater walking bait. I enjoy a super spook junior with a feathered rear treble. I think it’s the perfect size this time of year. Just a bit bigger than most bait fish and the walking action can’t be beat. It’s an oldie but goodie for sure. If you’re in an area with lots of bait and especially and area where fish are busting on bait, you need to be throwing this. It will create some of the most fun days of fishing you’ve had all year. 

My second fall bait choice goes a bit against the grain. We were just talking about how bass really key in on shad this time of year in most parts of the country, however, I am going to switch things up and throw a football jig. That’s right, we’re actually going to be fishing a crawfish imitator right on the bottom. I’ve found that a lot of the bigger fish will tend to be lazy and hang out on the bottom below the bait balls. They’ll allow the smaller and more aggressive fish to chew apart a school of bait and just wait for leftovers to sink to the bottom at their convenience. It goes with the idea that the biggest fish in the lake are usually the ones that expend the least amount of energy and consume the most calories. The idea with the jig is to put a protein rich meal right in their face that they cannot pass up. This has proven to work multiple times for me throughout the past few years where my biggest fish of the day will come on a jig. 

The third bait we’re going with during the fall is a medium diving jerk bait. As epic as fall bass fishing can be, there will certainly be tough days where the fish are super finicky. It’s a time of year where water clarity improves with dropping temperatures and you have a lot of bass that are extremely weary of bait presentation especially if it’s a calm sunny day. This is the perfect time to break out a suspending jerkbait usually that dive 6-10 foot. I like to go with a jerk bait, that again, just like the spook, is a little bigger than the surrounding baitfish, as well as bit different in color to really let it stand out. The action (or lack there of) of a suspending jerk bait can draw fish and entice a strike unlike any other bait.

Greg’s personal best bass – Caught in 2019 – 8lbs 11oz, 24.75″

So those are my 3 bait choices for fall bass fishing. They have been tried and true to me for the years I have been fishing and I would highly recommend you have some of these in the boat with you if you plan on fishing this fall. As always, stay safe out there 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.

Frog Fishing from a Kayak

If I were to pick one way to catch bass for the rest of my life, it’d be on a topwater frog. Summer is nearly here and topwater fishing is in full swing. This is probably one of the most popular and exciting ways to catch bass, and in my opinion, even more so from a kayak. 

To get started fishing frogs you want to make sure you have the right equipment. The rod is the most critical piece of the equation. You’re going to want a rod anywhere from 6’10’’ to 7’5’’ in length. I personally like the shorter versions as it will allow you to make more pin-point casts, especially in a seated position from your kayak. The rod should be a Heavy power rod with a Moderate/Fast to a Fast taper, meaning, you want the last 8-10 inches of your rod to have some flexibility so that you can not only cast the frog further, but also walk the frog during the retrieve to give it some action. The rod needs to be heavy as a lot of the time you’ll be fishing your frog around cover that a fish can easily bury you in and come free. That Heavy power will allow you to get that fish back to the boat quickly and prevent the fish from diving. I like a high speed reel, preferably in the 8 to 1 gear ratio range and always 50 pound or higher braided line. Frog selection and color varies depending on water color and the cover you’re fishing. I like to keep it simple and use black frogs with dirty water and white frogs with clear water. If I’m fishing the frog over matted vegetation, I will stick to the darker colored frogs. 

Probably the hardest part of fishing a frog is determining where to fish it. The beauty of doing it from a kayak is getting in skinny and shallow water that the big boats have difficulty access to. In general for throwing frogs, I stick to shallow water areas in less than 5 foot. Prime targets for me are under overhanging trees and when the vegetation is matted up on the surface. Sometimes you will be surrounded by many targets like these and it can be overwhelming in picking where to cast. In this scenario, I like to carefully observe my surroundings and find those subtle differences in what seems to all be the same type of target. These can be changes in the type of grass, emergent vegetation that form points, trees that are both overhanging and submerged and so on. The key is to notice these differences and make a mental note of what it looked like and why that fish may have been there when they bite. This can drastically improve your efficiency while fishing a frog and overtime will become second nature. 

Another challenge of frog fishing is hookup ratio. A lot of folks will say it is the number one technique in losing and missing fish. That is true to an extent but there are things you can do to increase your odds. When you see that bass blow up on your frog your gut instinct is to swing. Waiting 1-2 seconds before setting the hook can dramatically improve your hookup ratio. This requires patience and practice and is still something I have to remind myself at times. It’s also important to have a frog with a soft body to maximize hook exposure and penetration when a bass eats it.  I’ve experimented with a lot of frogs and you want to make sure that whatever frog you choose, that you can easily flatten a frog out with your two fingers but that it will also recoil quickly to retain its shape. 

Frog fishing can be challenging but it is one of the most exhilarating ways to bass fish and a powerful technique to catch bigger fish in the summer. Having the gear and knowledge of where to fish a frog can make all the difference in the world. If it’ a new technique to you, give it a shot this summer and be prepared to hang on. 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:

New Fishing Kayaks for the 2018 Season!

New Fishing Kayaks for the 2018 Season
We are devoted to creating the best kayak fishing experience on the water for every angler. We are excited to add FIVE new fishing kayaks to our innovative lineup! Check out each new model here!


Titan Propel 10.5
Available: November 2017
Details: The award winning Titan series offers an incredible platform for kayak bass fishing. With the 10.5’ model, this Titan can be more easily transported in a truck bed while offering many of the same features as the 13.5’ model. All Titan models feature our Plastifoam technology which adds flotation for safety and increased stiffness for performance. The Titan 10.5 offers unsurpassed stability making the platform optimal for sight casting with plenty of leverage provided to reel in the catch. This boat features easy-to-reach horizontal rod storage with rod tip protection and elevated First Class Seating designed for comfortable transitions between standing and sitting. In addition, the boat features easy mounting of a Power-Pole Micro Anchor system. The Titan 10.5 can be purchased with a our transom-style motor mount that will accept many off-the-shelf trolling motors for a power-assisted ride, making this one truly versatile kayak fishing platform.


Titan Propel 12
Available: January 2018
Details: The Titan Propel 12 and 13.5 offer unsurpassed stability and ample room and flexibility to move around. Optimal for sight casting with plenty of leverage to reel in the catch, this is an angler’s fantasy fulfilled. This boat features easy-to-reach horizontal rod storage with rod tip protection. Elevated First Class Seating is designed for comfortable transitions between standing and sitting, and it can be moved out of the way in the 13.5’ model for a walk-around deck. The Titan also contains our Plastifoam technology, which adds flotation for safety and increases stiffness for performance. Featuring easy mounting for Power-Pole Micro Anchor systems and offering a custom motor mount accessory (sold separately) that will accept trolling motors for a power-assisted ride, the Titan 12 and 13.5 are truly in a league of their own.


Slayer 12 XC
Available: March 2018
Details: THE SLAYER XC 12 IS THE FIRST BOAT OF ITS KIND DESIGNED TO BE COMFORTABLE FLOATING RIVERS, STALKING THE FLATS, AND PADDLING OPEN WATER. The hull of the XC is designed towards cross conditions performance. A broad flatter hull not only allows river anglers to maneuver and control their boats in tighter conditions while sliding through shallow areas with a very shallow draft, but also gives an incredibly stable standing platform for sight fishing. When it’s time to cover some ground, a flip of a lever drops a directional skeg to allow the Slayer XC to track on a line to the next spot. The XC maintains a clean deck profile for anglers, but is carefully packed with fish ready features and advanced electronics capabilities for the biggest gear hounds. In designing the XC, we worked with a group of our pro staff to develop not only a layout fit for a pro, simple and clean, but feature rich. No cluttered deck, no tangled lines, just fishing on our mind.


Manta Ray Angler 12 XT
Available: February 2018
Details: AFFORDABILITY, FISHING READY FEATURES AND HIGH/LOW SEATING ARE THE NAME OF THE GAME WITH THE NEW MANTA RAY ANGLER 12 XT. This polyethylene adaptation of the thermoformed Native Watercraft Manta Ray 12 LT contains the same hull design focused on maximizing stability in a seated, paddling, or sight-casting position. The Manta Ray Angler 12 XT delivers the performance, confidence and comfort necessary for a long day on the water. The cruising speed and tracking of the Manta Ray Angler 12 XT is impressive given its 33-inch beam, and its sharp bow lines slice through the water with grace in choppy conditions and open water swells. With our never ending desire to improve our designs and outfitting, we have taken this model to the next level of comfort, adjustability, and appeal by installing a Frame Seat featuring two height positions: the lower position for paddling to and from the fishing spots and the higher position for transitioning to a standing position while casting.


Manta Ray Angler 12 LT
Available: November 2017
Details: THE MANTA RAY ANGLER 12 LT IS THE NEWEST ADDITION TO THE EVER POPULAR SIT-ON-TOP SERIES FROM NATIVE. We have taken this model to the next level of comfort and adjustability by installing a 1st Class Frame Seat featuring two height positions. With a new hull design focused on maximizing stability in a seated, paddling, or sight-casting position, the Manta Ray Angler 12 LT delivers the performance, confidence, and comfort necessary for a long day on the water. The Manta Ray Angler 12 LT has impressive cruising speed and tracking, and its sharp bow lines slice through the water even in choppy conditions. The seat provides generous fit, uncompromised comfort, and excellent breathability. It can also be easily removed to lighten the craft for transport. With proven Trylon ABS thermoformed construction, the Manta Ray Angler 12 LT is one of the lightest kayaks in its class, yet it is still fully featured from bow to stern.

 


 

All Native Watercraft fishing kayaks are made in Fletcher, NC USA including all seating. Fish out of a Native and feel the difference.


 

PRE-ORDER ANY OF THESE MODELS NOW AT YOUR LOCAL DEALER. FIND YOUR LOCAL DEALER HERE.

 

NEW Ultimate Propel at ICAST

With the introduction of the “Ultimate FX” series of kayaks last year, I knew it was only a matter of time before Native Watercraft added the hands-free fishing capabilities of the Propel drive. Last month at ICAST 2015, we got our first look at their prototype “Ultimate FX 13 Propel” and some of the cool additions they have made specifically to the Propel version.

Jameson talks to Woody Callaway of Native Watercraft about their newest Propel series fishing kayak, the Ultimate FX 13 Propel.

The Ultimate FX 13 Propel uses the same Propel drive as the “Slayer Propel 10.”

Ultimate FX 13 Propel Drive

The Ultimate FX 13 Propel has a new built-in battery shelf that is unique to this model.

 

Ultimate FX 13 Propel Battery Box

You lose the high and low seating option of the original Ultimate FXs, but this allows you to position your feet comfortably on the Propel Drive.

Ultimate FX 13 Propel Adjustable Seat

There is plenty of under-seat storage in the Ultimate FX 13 Propel, especially when you use their cooler bag.

Ultimate FX 13 Propel Under Seat Storage

The Ultimate FX 13 Propel adds a new Thwart Box for added storage of your rods and gear behind the seat.

Ultimate FX 13 Propel Thwart Box

After seeing this kayak at ICAST 2015 we were  pumped to test this kayak out on the water at Outdoor Retailer this week. Sadly, this is their only prototype and Woody said it would not be on the beach at the open water demo. Hopefully we’ll get our hands on one soon so we can give it a thorough run through.

Bringing back the Ultimate and Manta Ray 2016!

Native Watercraft bringing back the original Ultimate and Manta Ray series. Taken out of the line-up for the 2015 season, Native will be reintroducing the original Ultimate series and the Manta Ray series. We did not have these available for the 2015 season in order to work on the molds says, Woody Callaway, Brand Manager for Native, the molds are running well, boats are looking good and they come at a great price for those wanting a superior fishing kayak.

Fernandina Fishing Rodeo

The Fernandina Fishing Rodeo is a boat tournament that added a Kayak Division allowing anglers to launch anytime with a 6:30AM fishing start time.  I set out in my Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 13 kayak into the St. Johns River about 6AM. I went to my trout spot and fished for about 15 minutes before several boats showed up and proceeded to fish all around me.  I was not getting any action and saw all the boat fishermen were catching sand trout so I moved off and fished down the shoreline.  By now it was 8:20am and I was starting to think a skunk was a possibility.   With no bites, I switched from soft plastics to a Rapala Skitterwalk chartreuse topwater lure on a whim and noticed that the lure was attracting swirls about 10 feet off the bank.  After repositioning my yak parallel to the shoreline so my lure would stay at that 10 foot distance during the entire retrieve, more fish seemed interested and within 5 minutes had a hit so violent I thought it was a redfish. When it got close to the yak I saw it was a beautiful large speckled trout.   I had a nice 5 minute fight before playing the net game with it for a heart stopping minute, but finally got it boated and measured it out at exactly 24”.  Since I had only hoped to catch a trout in the 20” range I felt a surge of confidence and felt I had a chance to do well in the standings.

Choosing the Slayer Propel

My first thoughts when I finally set eyes on my brand new Ultimate FX 12 was simply this: Native Watercraft hit a home run with this kayak.  This kayak screams “designed by fishermen”.  The first thing I noticed was the seat.  It not only has the Native First Class High-Low seat, but it also gives the paddler the option of moving it forward or backward in the kayak.  I have spent a solid 7-8 hours in this seat with absolutely no discomfort or leg pain.  The seat also has an organizer that offers 2 slots which can hold up to 2 of the Plano 3500 tackle trays.  The rear of the kayak has a built in rear thwart with a gear track on each side, which are perfect for adding accessories like rod holders, light, and/or camera mounts.  There is also a large open hatch area perfect for carrying a crate, cooler, or a BlackPak.  The rear cargo area also has bungees to help secure your gear.