RIGGING YOUR KAYAK FOR BASS FISHING
As an avid Bass fisho, I wanted to outfit my kayak to be the ultimate Bass-taking ride going. I have accumulated a serious number of kayaks in recent years, and had converted many into good fishing ‘yaks. But outfitting one specifically for Bass was a different story.
SPEED OVER STABILITY
Firstly, I knew I wanted a kayak that favoured speed over stability. Stability is great if you are sight-fishing in shallow water and constantly standing up. However, this is not my style. The Gippsland Lakes are my stomping ground, and I like to cover a decent-sized area in search of Bass hotspots. Therefore I made sure my kayak was built for speed over stability, that means a narrower body.
I like to use a paddle with a bent shaft as well. I find I can keep it on my lap better, and paddle with one hand if needs be. In a narrower ‘yak, I find the paddle makes less contact with the side as well, leading to a stealthier approach and less spooked fish.
PLACING ROD HOLDERS
When I am helping people choose places for their rod holders, I always say the same thing. Forget about what the “best” place for your rods are. There is no one “best” place. There is a best place for you, but not an objectively “best” place.
This is because positioning your rods is such a subjective thing. I recommend you get in your kayak and paddle around for a while. You will soon see where you can place your rods so that they don’t interfere with your paddling style. Make sure you have removable holders for ease of transportability and movement on the water.
I like to have two rod holders on the front, and two behind the cockpit. I find I move my arms a lot when paddling, so the ones at the front are a fair distance towards the front of the kayak, well out of the way of my awkward, flailing arms.
I use a PFD that can hold my Bass fishing essentials on my chest. I don’t like to move around my kayak too much once I start fishing, so I like my PFD to have big pockets I can keep several different flies and soft plastics in as well as my phone and pliers. This might be more than most fishos, but I prefer to have everything close to hand.
Once I find a location where the Bass are lurking, I will sit there for a while, hitting the same spot with my casts. Therefore, I need a good anchor on any Bass setup.
I use a mushroom anchor, attached to a dog lead spool. It isn’t the most conventional way of spooling your anchor line, but I find the spool from commercial dog leads works perfectly as a retractable anchor spool.
A COUPLE OF BASS HACKS
I use those inflatable pool noodles as additional storage locations for jig head and rigs. I cut it open and fed it along the edge of the kayak, so it acts as a kind of ledge to the cockpit. I hook my jig heads into here when I am out on the water so I can quickly swap between them without turning around and rummaging through my tackle box again.
I also keep a stand with a journal and pencil in a waterproof ziploc bag. I write down the location, fishing conditions, size, and pattern used for every fish I catch. You don’t need to do this, and I know there are heaps of apps that will do the same thing, but I am an old-fashioned bloke, and find the pages filled with data to be incredibly useful. I can quickly flick back through my past catches to see what worked in what conditions.
I hope this has offered an insight into what kayak outfits lend themselves to taking Bass. Ultimately, it will come down to what works for you and where you are likely to be fishing. Someone fishing the Queensland rivers may not need the same setup as me. But there are some hacks that are objectively useful for hunting Bass as a target species.
Have you rigged a kayak for Bass fishing? Let us know your setup in the comments section below.