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At the beginning of this winter I got my first Jackson kayak. I was moving on from a pedal driven yak since it did not fit my type of angling. Getting acquainted with a new kayak may take a while and since I have a kayak fishing expedition to Norway planned for the beginning of march I knew I needed to spend as much time as possible in the new yak to be able to handle it properly once I got north and the big fish started biting or maybe more importantly, when I would be facing strong winds and open ocean.

Over here in Sweden we get very cold winters but once I got my hands on my Cuda 14, I decided I would not spend a single day fishing from the ice this year but search for open water all through the winter. I knew that this would mean a lot of driving as well as most likely slow fishing. But, at least I would get some experience and paddle time, I thought. To find open water I needed to target fast flowing rivers and wind blown, big lakes that would remain open due to the water being in constant movement. By looking at maps and weather charts I found some likely looking places.


Heading north

A few hours drive north of me I found a deep reservoir without ice on it. It was thirty meters deep with a power plant constantly creating water turbulent enough to keep the lake from freezing. To keep costs to a minimum I set up my tent and made camp in the forest next to the lake and fished it for a few days in a row before going back home to have a shower and a good night sleep in a warm bed. The fishing was extremely slow and I had a hard time connecting with any fish. Then, out of the blue I had a screaming take on one of my rods. A pike had taken one of my baits and was heading towards the bottom. I wound down and met a good resistance. The pike fought surprisingly hard for it to be below freezing in the water and it made several heavy lunges, trying for the bottom.

Exploring rivers and meeting wildlife

I fished some rivers and explored stretches that would have been impossible to reach with a boat. I went down sets of rapids that would have smashed an engine to pieces and I got to see both moose and beavers making their way across the running waters seemingly unworried by my presence. That is one of the greatest advantages with fishing from a kayak, you sort of blend in with the environment.


A screaming take

I made one more attempt at the reservoir and almost immediately on the first day I saw my rod tip swing around and I could hear the baitrunner screaming as line was flying of the spool. I was slowtrolling, trailing two baitfish slowly behind the kayak in an attempt to present an easy meal for a sluggish pike. It was one of those pikes that just had no intention of surfacing. In the clear water I could see it circling under me at about eight meters. It was a good experience to learn how to use your own balance and the fishes weight in the water to turn the kayak the way you wanted it to. As I hand landed the pike I was amazed at how well proportioned it was. It was a true fighter, most likely to never have been caught before. It was my first pike over 10 kilos from the Cuda and it left me with a feeling of wanting more and bigger fish.