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Target 2020 – Paddling, Pitching and Adventure


Shop until you drop. January is a good month to look at new gear and reload for the year. With new models introduced you browse the new line of Jackson Kayaks. Paddle or pedal? Are you planning to hit skinny water or bigger places? Color, style, size, transporting and your specific use all play into the decisions.


Depending on your geographic location you may be ready to wet a line. Cold water species trout, walleye, catfish and crappie are all willing to bite as the days get longer and the water warms after a three day trend of sunny days. This also a good time to get back into paddling shape and scout.


In many locations it’s getting serious now. In many places this is the start of trophy time. Winter is losing its grip and weather, water and fishing is heating up. Plan on cool temperatures and dress appropriately and be prepared for what might be just a few bites but possibly a big one. March brings wind and fish if you’re willing to go. You fight the wind and some fish. Pre-spawn is on!

Target 2020 – Paddling, Pitching and Adventure

According to my journals this is the best month for numbers of fish. Bass, crappie and their other “finny” friends are ready to shake the shackles of winter completely, couple that with the pre-spawn feeding binges and you should have the net close by. The rain satin that comes historically with the fourth month may require a few tactical changes. Try larger, brighter baits to draw dirty water strikes. Fish are scattered but most willing to hit.


Keep the kayak loaded up and ready to go. You can open up your tackle box and pick anything you want and catch a few fish. Surface water temperatures in the 60’s in many places have fish moving and aggressively biting. To sustain the resource this is the time I do fish photos instead of a fish fry. Turn em loose and let em spawn. You might want to challenge yourself to a new species. Crappie time, their shallow and schooled up in big numbers.

Target 2020 – Paddling, Pitching and Adventure

Summer starts and the public waters get crowded. Now is the time to employ the kayak advantage. Hit the places that bigger boats can’t reach. State managed lakes often restrict the use of outboard motors and allow trolling motor only. Most bass have completed the spawning ritual and staging in deeper water. The crankbait is the cure as well as pitching plastic. Plastic worms, crawfish imitators Texas rigged will usually draw a few hits. Center your search around secondary cover.


Once the surface water temperature reaches 70 degrees and the moon is full you can have a blast with bluegill. (This varies by location could be a June or even May event) These hard fighting panfish will smack anything that comes close to their nest. They choose gravel, sand and hard bottoms to construct their beds. Find one you find dozens. A fly rod, ultra-light equipment and light line or live bait in the form of crickets or worm will serve up a limit quickly. Cool mornings and long days make it perfect for paddlers. Grab your topwater bass lures now.


Ever done an after-hours kayak trip? Night fishing with a kayak equipped with a light source for safety is fun and productive. Just a trip out to explore or the fun of night fishing is always memorable. Plan you trip around the full moon and you can enjoy the sounds of the night while drifting on the water. Bass fishing a night is an adventure all its own. Take all necessary precautions and prepare yourself for a new kind of fun.


Time for a fishin’ transition. Slowly the daytime temperatures drop and every wild thing senses the advent of autumn. After Labor Day lots of folks load up and leave the water. Huge mistake, it’s all about to get good. Pick a species or just GO FISH. Put together a seasonal tackle box. Make a list of places to go, explore new water and take advantage of the long days, pleasant nights. Do a tackle inventory and replace or revive a few baits. Jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits for bass, smaller soft plastics for crappie and bluegill deserve a place in your box and boat.


It’s just this simple, there’s no better time to be outdoors. In the woods, on the water anywhere. Color change, water change, weather change all happens now. Take out your mental highlighter. Ready? Everything eats in October! If have time off take it, if you don’t….fake it. I catch more and bigger fish now that any other time of the year. The trip itself will refresh your soul and the fishing is “on the hook.” Rig rods with topwater lures, jigs, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and “feel” type baits, soft plastics, craws, curly tail grubs. Go often. Fish re gorging of food supplies before winter. Go, Go, Go.


Make it a November to remember. The last of the mild days are most likely in the rearview mirror. Cold water catfish, crappie, walleye and bass will make their final appearance in a last charge of “chowing down.” As water plummets to less than fifty degrees (depending on your location) the bite can get tough. If you can find fish now they will be schooled up and following large pods of bait. Spoons jigged over deeper water, deep diving crankbaits and slow moving jigs will produce for the patient paddler (or the pedal power angler) It’s time for wool and wicking clothing.


Where did the year go? I’m a year round kayaker. Only ice and media responsibilities (boat and outdoor shows) keep me off the water. Winter fishing can be productive. I usually will opt for shorter mid-day excursions. Single bladed spinners retrieved slowly or jerkbaits used with long pauses on the retrieve are good choices but the jig is a year round bass bait for me. Don’t discount the trout bite or the crappie as well as catfish. Look at that it’s time to flip that calendar again.
Be outdoor to the core and make your own adventure.