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Being kayak anglers, we are right at home in the smaller lakes, rivers, and streams. Our kayaks get us to water that many others just cant access. After all, for me, that was the reason I began fishing out if a kayak years ago. While skinny water and small hard to reach lakes are what I prefer, many times I find myself during the tournament season forced to head out on massive lakes and river systems. This at first glance, can seem overwhelming but here are a few tips that have proven to bring me success on some big water over the past few years.

The first step in any new water, especially big lakes, starts on the internet. This is no surprise to most anglers and it is even more crucial to the kayak angler. Things like ramps and access points are more important to us than our big boat friends. We need to be able to launch fairly close to the area we plan to fish, otherwise much if your fishing time can be used up paddling to your spot. Studying maps and lake photos can make all the difference in your success. I would venture to say many of the most successful kayak anglers have mastered the art of google earth and Navionics.

Once you have an area picked out now is the time to get on the water and trust your instincts. One thing that many people do that can limit their success is trying to cover too much water. Just because the lake may be thousands of acres, doesn’t mean that you need to see it all. Try to avoid the idea that just a little farther down this bank, or the cove way across the lake may be better than where you are. Many tournaments every year have been won just minutes from the launch. Often we are paddling past good fish because we feel that it is going to be better farther from the ramp. This Tournament season alone I have personally seen fish caught right at the ramp that would have really helped out my totals, yet I completely ignored it because it was just too close to the truck.

The last tip I want to share is one that most of us have heard time and time again, yet always seem to ignore. At least I seem to continually dismiss. That is the saying “Never leave fish to find fish” sounds easy right? We have all probably had instances where we locate fish, catch a few and then decide it is time to find another spot just like this somewhere else on the lake. We leave and someone comes along behind you and catches more and sometimes bigger fish.

In a recent tournament, with a really tough bite, I had managed to catch my five fish limit over the course of the day around two tiny islands not 100 yards from the launch. Mid-day the bite had slowed considerably and I decided It was time to find something else. I paddled away only to have a good friend of mine move in and catch a limit of bigger fish right where I had decided was completely fished out. Although I was happy to see him have success, and was not at all disappointed in my finish in the tournament, it taught me a valuable lesson. Don’t give up on a good spot just because the bite shuts off. Give it time, maybe all it needs is a little different presentation and a fresh perspective to get more fish out of a very small area on a big lake.

So, next time you find yourself faced with a large body of water with no idea where to start, try using some of these tips to narrow it down to a more manageable task. Oh, and once you find the fish, there are probably more there than you think!