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2017 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Yak Bass  (Read 1643 times)

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  • View Profile http://www.paddleandflies.com
  • Location: The center of california
  • Date Registered: Dec 2004
  • Posts: 421
This was an article I wrote a few years .
Yak Bass

 

††††††My daughter Megan was home from college for a few weeks. I had talked her into helping me do some photo work for a book I'm working on, as I was in desperate need of big fish pictures . Truck loaded with kayaks, we headed for some private waters I have access to. Since I was out of film, I had to stop at a camera store on the way. I ran into the store, grabbed what I thought was the right film, paid the lady at the counter and rushed back to my truck. I would regret not paying more attention. The small lake we were headed for was out in the Sierra Foothills, about thirty miles outside of Fresno. Several miles of highway, a few miles on a country road that became a dirt road that led down to the lake, and we were there I wanted to load my camera before I did anything else. I took the film out of the bag, and stared at in horror, I had grabbed the wrong kind of film. I sat there in shock. My loving daughter comforted me with the words--good one Dad, and others like what a bonehead! Getting a grip on myself , I said I was not going to waste the day. I asked Megan if she wanted to do some fishing, a yawn was my answer. This beautiful little lake had a two story cabin next to it ; both belonged to a friend. The lake was also stocked with large mouth bass -- that ranged from 3 to 12 pounds. The cabin had a huge porch with a hammock on it, after helping me unload my WS 120, she headed for it. Ten minutes later I was paddling to my favorite part of the lake. The way I figured was --I didn't have film for my camera, therefor I didn't have a camera. I was definitely going to catch a big bass. My 9 wt rigged and ready I was using a size 3/0 spinster, ( a flie tied on a eagle claw 413 jig hook, with a small spinner blade) I'd tied to look like a blue gill. I cast about 30 ft out. And worked it back along the edges of the weed bed., that ran along shore-- First cast nothing. A big splash several feet behind me, startled me so bad --I almost fell out of the kayak. A wide stroke with my paddle, and the bow of my 120 was pointing at the ripples the splash had made. One quick short cast was all it took, and I was fighting a huge bass, possibly a double digit -- huge --bass. The closer the bass got to the yak, the stronger it got. As the fight went on, I heard several small splashes in a small cove to the left of me. Another fight was going on; one for survival! Another big bass had herded a bunch of blue gill into the small cove, (When I say small cove--I'm talking 3 ft by 3ft---maybe a foot deep at best) The blue gill were splashing up out of the water to keep from being lunch. I could see the bass was big, as the top few inches of her was sticking above the surface, her body weaving back and forth as she fed on the gill ( I just naturally take for granted that all big bass are females,why else would mankind pursue them like we do).

It was truly impossible not be distracted by the scene talking place. A tug on my rod brought me back to reality, it was the last tug, I pulled up-- the bass pulled down, a quick tug of war, and my line was limp. The distraction had cost me my bass. Quickly checking my leader-- I saw my surgeon knotted loop had broken right at the loop. My leader was ten pound test fluorocarbon. I nipped off the broken loop, tied on a new one. This time I tied on 12 pound tippet. I tied another spinster to that. I was going after the other bass. My line was a Teeny 300 although a floating line would have done the job. Rigged and ready once again. I paddled into position . I cast the spinster into the cove. For a moment nothing. The usual hard tug didn't happen. What did happen was she took that flie and headed for another part of the lake, tolling me and my kayak along behind her like we were nothing. There was a tree on the bank, a few feet from the cove, its branches stretched out over the cove, a couple feet above the water. The branches weren't high enough for me to pass under in my kayak without getting scraped up. That bass drug me through them anyway. I stuck my rod in the water as she drug me through those branches, screaming and cussing. I emerged out on the other side still in toll but only for a second before the line went limp. MY heart broke. This scenario had happened too many times before. I would hook a big bass they would unhook themselves, win the fight and swim away.
I started stripping in line, and felt it tug again on the other end, she was still attached. Following my line by sight I saw that it ended among some rocks just beneath the surface, about ten feet away. My fly was ether in the mouth of that bass or somewhere in those rocks. I prayed for the latter. Paddling ever so slowly and stripping in line at the same time, (It can be done in a kayak) I shorted the distance between the bass and my self. Then finally after paddling what seemed like the longest ten feet I ever paddled. I was right over what I hoped was the bass. There was no angle in the line, for that matter there was only seven feet of leader, and a few inches of fly line between the tip of my rod and that fish. My leader went straight down into what look like a pile of hidrila. The leader was only a few inches from the of the side of my kayak. I held the rod up with one hand as high as I could while I removed hidrila with the other. It was like opening a present, talk about tense. One last hand full and there she was, for about a fraction of a second before she streaked off back the way we came. Once again I was being tolled, only this time backwards, right back in to that tree. I pushed hard on my right foot rest causing my rudder to sharply turn the kayak, and point it in the right direction. As the kayak turned it slowed down that bass. She was now just out of reach of my net . Trusting my knots I extended my rod back pulling her closer; missing her on the first try I netted her the second. She was the biggest bass I've ever brought to my net. I was elated, floating on air. Only to be brought to earth by a voice from the porch-- Megan--asking--what are you going to do for film? Determination set in. I paddled quickly to shore. Taking a stringer out of the pouch on the back of my kayak seat, meant for those times when I don't practice catch and release. With the bass on one end , I tied the other end of the stringer to the side of my kayak. Wrapping my bow line around a rock, the bass would be safe under my yak from any predator. I yelled for Megan, telling her we were going to buy film. Leaving my yak, rods and all other property, it would be safe till we got back. We drove down the dirt road to the paved road to a small supermarket, where they had film, and back. My bass was safe where we'd had left her. After photographing her, she was released. She was 71/2 lb. on the Boga .
Why Do I paddle a kayak instead of a float tube or a pontoon boat? I like seeing where I'm going not where I've been!
Paddle safe and wrap'em tight.
Rickey Noel Mitchell http://www.paddleandflies.com


rockfish

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Great report!!  I havent found willing fish for the last couple of weeks, seems like the heat has them deep.  I was at Bass lake today, surfing the waves  :smt002  Didnt find any fish in the upper portion of the lake, paddled from the inlet to the the pines fishing the docks allong the way, still nothing...  on the way back inside the 5mph bouys, a boy and his dad were taking a break on their waverunner when the boy (driver) thought it would be fun to round up the kayaker.  I was a little irritated but the waves were kinda fun in the Pungo 140 (with 1/2 skirt) the dad smacked him on the head HARD and read him the riot act.  good to see some respomsibility on the water...

Jim
(in clovis)
Do it until you scream, then a short pause is acceptable.
Mental?  perhaps