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The 2022 Kayak Fishing Year in Review.

With Debbie in her Jackson BITE FD and me in my Big Rig or the MayFLy we had a great year. I must admit I’m tempted by the Coosa X for 2023. An overview shows we hit various waters for 120 adventures. Rivers, lakes and a few large ponds yielded impressive results. Debbie landed 660 fish with some impressive catches topped by a 5 ½ largemouth bass ON CAMERA while filming an episode of Wild Side TV. She also had a five-pound smallmouth that tried swim off with her favorite bait technique, the Ned rig. Most of her fish were taken on soft plastics and spinning equipment.

I always try to add new techniques each season. With having done some frogging I worked at ramping up my frog game by starting with an equipment do over. A heavy action 7 ½ foot heavy action rod with a Lew’s reel attached spooled with 30-pound test braided line. With so many styles and models of frogs my immediate choice was the Strike King KVD models. My color choices are always common-sense colors and on the frog it’s like fried chicken, light or dark. I used black and leopard frog (white bottom). Finding a body of water with a back bay choked with lily pads I got an education on pad fishing frogs. With lots of hits (and misses) I developed a sense of timing and managed several good bass topped by a 10 pounder and I landed 1107 fish for 2022. Debbie experimented with the Ned rig and an uderspin with a Ragetail swimbait attached and loaded up on bass.
BOAT NOTE: Debbie continued to love the BITE FD, with minimal maintenance she pedaled and occasionally pulled up the prop and paddled her way into aquatic vegetation and scored some “thin” water bass herself. She added, “I kept the pedal mechanism greased and checked the other moving and stationary parts often.” Old school me paddled beloved Big Rig and enjoyed the stability of this five-year-old Jackson. In boat choice my first two considerations are always safety and stability. Next on my personal preference id fishability. I want to stand and also look for deck space. My back up is a MayFly but the Coosa X is calling my name.

Winter weather didn’t stop us we caught fish every month of the year. Here’s a breakdown of our fishing facts for the 2022 calendar year:
JANUARY always proves to be tough, but I caught five fish in the first month if the year. Cold unpredictable weather and frigid water temperatures require patience and persistence. Finesse jigs fished agonizingly slowly accounted for each bass.
FEBRUARY produced another 16 fish and the warmer days plus favorable moon phases helped. Debbie caught a five plus pound largemouth on camera and she says, “the key is to dress for the weather and stay safe with wool and always wear a life jacket.”
MARCH, now we’re hitting the water and kayaking toward good weather and water conditions in Tennessee. Once water reaches a stable 50 degrees fish activity and the pre-spawn has fish ready to eat.

MAY was almost as good as April in terms of numbers. 163 fish and some solid bass were hooked and lipped as the water warmed to the magical 60-70-degree mark. In this month it’s possible to experience pre-spawn, the actual spawn for a week to ten days and post spawn all in the same month.
JUNE brings aquatic vegetation into play. The bluegill normal spawn in June as the water reaches 70 degrees and the fly rod fun starts. The BIG story was a 9 ½ pound largemouth bass caught while working a surface frog in and amongst the lily pads. I made adjustment to my gear (a stouter rod, heavy 30 pound braided line and frequent hook sharpening) to accommodate the heavy vegetation and became addicted to the frog bite. Debbie explained, “I consistently caught fish ad some of the bigger ones on soft plastics throughout the summer.”
JULY heat and fish exhausted from spring spawning often brings a lull. Some of the best topwater fishing can occur now and night fishing gets popular for waters that get a lot of boating pressure. My lure of choice has always been a buzzbait early and late in the day in my hunt for a Tennessee trophy. We rely heavily on the floating worm to fool otherwise lazy largemouth to hit. Fish total for July 37.
AUGUST with fish of species generally hot water temperatures bring increased metabolism and quicker digestive rates. This all adds up to fish feeding more often until surface water reached 80 degrees, then the bass shut down somewhat, 101 fish for the last full month of summer.
SEPTEMBER – Fall fishing is just around the corner and 129 more fish gave me hope of hitting my annual goal of 1,000 fish during the year. I also accidentally caught a 25-pound channel catfish will jigging for bass. A double-digit cat plus a kayak means you’re going for a ride. After an epic battle I beached the catfish long enough for a photo and release. My jig was toast.

OCTOBER – I’m fond of saying “everything eats in October.” Every wild creature feels the “whispers of winter” and naturally knows it’s time to feed up heavily in preparation for tough weather. Bass and others are certainly no exception. 127 more fish were landed during the 10th month of the year. Fall fishing is spectacular with fish feeding freely, color changes in most areas of the country and falling air and water temperatures all come together to create ideal kayaking and fishing conditions. While Debbie continued to throw swimbaits she scored a five pound smallmouth on the October full moon.
NOVEMBER – limited time on the water (plus a little deer hunting) produced 53 fish. The last few months of the year can generate drastic weather changes again based off your specific location. Watch for surface water temperatures, when they reach 60 and fall below 50 degrees be prepared for fishing for just a few bites each trip. The best advice I can offer for cold water is safety first, comfort, wicking and wool as far as clothes and slow down your bait retrieve speed.
DECEMBER – Time was spent moving to a new house on Woods Reservoir home of some giant bass and fishing time was extremely limited. Lessons from previous winters pointed toward specific lures, the ever-present jig, the suspending jerkbaits and finesse type lures. Smaller lures and slower retrieves are the rules of winter / cold weather fishing. Extreme caution should be exercised in extreme weather, but December fishing can be rewarding. Fish are schooled up and once you find them, they can produce some memories that will warm you until spring.
It was a great, safe year and we managed almost 1800 fish; the majority caught out of kayaks. Goals for 2023: Introduce some new folks to fishing, kayaking and outdoor adventure.