...these folks still have to fish slower and cover less water than your average bass-tubber. Or so I thought til I talked to Drew, the guy who won 3 B.A.S.S. yak derbEs this year...and the B.A.S.S. Yak AOY...and 3 KBF tourneys. Not a bad year!
Anyhow, my Qs were coming from a place where I figured yakkers fish slower and skinnier, but as you will see that's not necessarily the case. Here's 5 with him:
1. How do you find shallow fish?
> "Here's the cool thing about the kayak: In the bass boat world [you have] one boat launch, but in kayak bass fishing you can drive around the lake wherever you want to go. I have this small Crescent kayak...I can launch from every piece of public land on that lake. I crank up my Toyota Tacoma...still can cover that whole lake very quickly in pre-fishing.
> "You just want to break down the lake and access it in little sneaky spots that are public. Once I find them, tournament day I always give myself an out if it's not happening. You don't want to catch many fish in pre-fish, especially in skinny water. So when the tournament rolls around and I get there, if it's not happening I always give myself an out. I pull my kayak out of the water...and drive around. So I can still do the milk run, but it's not exactly the same.
> "Our vehicles – we rely on them not just to get to and from the lake. I put my truck in 4WD all the time [to get to launch spots]. If I don't [drive] out of that stuff in the tournament, I don't win the tournament."
[In yak tourneys you can pull your boat out, put it in your truck and (re)launch it somewhere else – during a tournament day.]
> "We are flying as fast as we can – 10 on the trolling motor, pedaling, paddling...we're covering water, that's the name of the game. If you're into visual targets and hitting them with moving baits, the name of the game is to hit as many targets as you can in a day."
2. Do you think fishermen rely on electronics too much and/or forget that bass love to be shallow?
> "For sure...right now because that's just the trend in the bass boat world. It's going that route. They can't access quite as much shallow water as kayaks can, but [the same trend is] leaning into the kayak world too. We have LiveScope and 360...2 and even 3 graphs.... But in kayaks more shallow water is available. You can go up those rivers and creeks.
> "Kayak bass fishing will save the world of bass fishing. Bass boat fishing is getting like golf: You can't use clubs from the '90s and win...technology is changing. Kayaks are the simplest and cheapest way to get into fishing...that entry level. But what's cool about it...you can win tournaments with a paddle and kayak that's $1,500. ...enough skinny water is available that...can still compete without having $5,000-$10,000 of electronics on the boat.
> "It's very hard to do that in the bass [boat] world [he mentioned Keith Poche and John Cox].
[He said people never complain there's not enough fishing pressure and that kayaks can occupy water the boats can't.]
> "But certain times and certain places you do need that [electronics] setup."
3. Do you think you have more bank to yourself ever since electronics took off?
> "It doesn't work – like Keith Poche has said, you spend all that time push-poling to those places and unfortunately you do all that work and it doesn't magically happen where you have 5 giants in there every day of the tournament. But where I go I don't see a lot of boats [intentionally]."
4. Do you think a lot of people fish past fish and how do you not do that?
> "I think I fish past fish...when I say I fish past them, I'm only targeting very aggressive fish that are staged in locations that are ambush points. Negative fish – I don't even care about them. I don't even care if I'm floating over them...don't want to get in the game of trying to get a negative fish to feed. I don't even want to see 'em. I just want to hit the shallow fish positioned in current...to feed.
> "[Fishing past fish means] either they don't have the right presentation or the right bait – they just haven't figured out the deal yet – or they're going so fast they never even threw at 'em. I think most people are fishing past fish because they don't have the right presentation.
> "In my world, shallow skinny water...need to be deadly with your casting accuracy. I am up against the bank as close as I can get...a bass boat could never get into that position, to rip something perfectly by overhangs and ambush points...6" or a foot away where a fish is going to be ambushing from.
> "Your bait needs to be moving when it hits the water, and preferably you want it to hit the bank first. The majority of bites come in the first few cranks, the first quarter of your cast.
> "That's why I don't use – you see guys on kayaks with all these rods sticking up behind them. You don't want anything sticking up. You can't make a proper casting motion...and your rods are going to hit the trees. You can't get under dock cables, walkways, trees – half the time I lay down in the seat to get underneath stuff."