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It was an extremely dry summer in Iowa! The vast corn and bean fields were unseasonably dry and leaves were curling up on trees along the river. Some small ponds almost completely dried up and feeder creeks on the river were nothing but a trickle. The Wapsipinicon River was also very low but at a prime time to kayak fish.

A close friend and I met at the lower landing of our day float trip. We dropped off his car and burned it down the dusty gravel roads to the launch ramp. The water was well below the ramp and although there was water, we had to drag to floatable water. We were paddling a eight and a half mile stretch of pristine gamefish waters. He was targeting smallmouth bass and I was after northern pike. Choosing different fish allowed us to spread out and cover more water. The low water made it very easy for us to read and find the “fishy” spots on the river. My new 2017 Cuda HD was the perfect kayak for the task at hand. It handles very well on small rivers like the Wapsipinicon.

The fishing was very good right off the bat. The smallmouth bass were smacking his topwater bait out of the water and I had a three foot northern pike follow my large lure right up to the side of the Cuda. Him and I were both ecstatic of how great the fishing was. We regrouped and fished a large hole with a few downed trees on one side. I had a good bite right in a typical pike ambush spot below the downed trees. I said to him “it was either a log or a huge pike”. Next cast the same fish hit and leaped out of the water shaking off my large Rapala. A few moments later my friend hooked into the fish but was bitten off almost instantly. We were in awe the fish hit us both. Five minutes and many casts later I got the large fish hooked again. The fish spun the Cuda HD in a full 360 degree turn and put up a great show and battle! We were both laughing at having so many swipes with the fish and finally putting in on the kayak! It was a huge northern pike for a river of this size! After many shots she swam back to the hole she came from.

We slowly made our way down stream covering about a mile of river per hour. My Anchor Wizard and Park-N-Pole made it extremely easy to stop wherever I wanted to fish. A Yak Attack Lever Lock trolley system made it easy to position the kayak in the current. There were a handful of spots where we had to drag or portage around large log jambs or shallow runs. Thankfully the Cuda HD is pretty light and wasn’t too hard to move around. I found many other large pike during the day. They were closely relating to downed trees and brush. I only used a large silver original floating Rapala and a silver War Eagle finesse spinnerbait.

One thing we learned that day is that we definitely didn’t bring enough food and water. We were at a point that we caught enough fish to not focus on fishing anymore and to paddle as fast as we could down to the take-out spot. Thankfully with the help of modern technology we closely viewed our position via Google Maps and knew exactly how long it was back to the car. It was an amazing full day of fishing but we were a little ill prepared! Fishing small rivers is extremely fun and I highly recommend giving it a try on a Cuda HD! Don’t forget to pack a lunch and plenty of fluids! They fit perfect in the center console hatch! Tight lines!