Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wade v Kayak for Smallmouth in Indiana Streams

I have come 180 on wading vs floating. Sort of...

When I started out Smallie stream fishing I'll admit, I was a somewhat afraid of wading in and out of rivers and streams. I mean: who wants to deal with gnad pike and beaver traps?

So when I bought my first kayak, it was immediately very cool that I could cover alot of ground and paddle through deep pools or around thick wooded areas to get at better fishing spots. Floating 6-8 miles allowed me to learn a stream quick.

But in tromping my yak around and over log jams, floating into schools of Smallmouth I could not see until too late. I began to see some disadvantages of kayak fishing even as I got more daring in where I would climb, crawl, and wade.

I've seen my catch rates go up wading and bank tromping. The higher angle of bank tromping means I get better view of fish, which often means more fish. This plus being on foot generally means more casts at a spot- more fish as I accidentaly or intentionally hit the right spot. Feet in the water, on the bottom give a better feel for what the stream's bottom is made up of. Causing more casts based on bottom evidence unknow to the yakker. Noticing dropoffs or depth changes the water's visibility may not betray in a kayak.

Now come colder water months, or with limited visibility, thick wooded banks, a float is preferreable. There is also something to be said about how much less energy is required to float 5 miles vs wade 3 when it's hot. I like the exercise of wading.

It is very easy to overlook good spots when kayaking. Your anchor doesn't hold, a fish pulls you out of position, the current misdirects your boat, next thing you know you've missed it and likely won't spend the energy to go back.

Best of both world may be wading upstream with a kayak in tow, then fishing back downstream... tossing a buzzbait and relaxing after a fine days catch...

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