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I’m not a competitive angler…meaning I don’t fish a lot of tournaments. In fact, at this point in time I only fish one a year. The Ditch Pickle Classic. This was my third year fishing Vermont’s DPC, This is a fly fishing only, catch, photo, release bass tournament on Lake Champlain. I’ve actually been a sponsor of the DPC longer than I have fished in it. The list of DPC sponsors grows every year, including Jackson Kayak. Jackson donated a Kilroy this year to the winner. This event in general has received much attention, growing every year and bringing in teams from all over the East. People compete using everything from canoes to kayaks to $40,000 bass boats to run all over Champlain, it’s back bays and tributaries.
Last year I had the pleasure of hanging out with a few Jackson teammates including Damon Bungard and Brian Cadoret. This year Damon couldn’t be there, and although Brian and I were not partners this year our teams shared water, flies and strategies for the weekend. My Brother in law fished with us this year although not in a Jackson kayak…yet. It was his time ever in a tournament. That’s what it’s all about to me, getting on the water, sharing some tips, tactics, hot spots, flies, some laughs and congratulating each other’s successes. Kayak fishing is a great way to get on water with friends, make new friends and share some good times.
Kayak fishing has its limits. There are places that I will not go with my kayak because of safety concerns. When fishing big waters like Champlain, a good plan is essential to kayak success and safety. Google Earth is an incredible tool that helps me plan trips and strategies.
I use it to look for back bays in the main lake or grassy flats that are protected from wind and motor boat traffic. I locate tributaries and their mouths. I can find and pinpoint fallen timber, log jams, rock piles, and other areas that may look fishy. You can even find riffles and faster moving waters in rivers and streams with it. I always do my homework before venturing to a new body of water.
What’s nice about using a kayak is having the ability to get where the bigger boats can’t. So these are the areas that I try to locate and find access to. A lot of the time these type of areas see less fishing pressure due to access restrictions with bigger boats. Once on the water, make sure you stop and look around once in a while. Paddling offers us the ability to be closer to the elements, you may be surprised by what you find if you take a second to look around. Most of what I mentioned can be researched ahead of time utilizing Google Earth. Try it out before your next kayak fishing adventure to put your plan together, you may be surprised at how good the results can be.