Category Archives: Trip Reports

Fort Kilroy…

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After getting skunked by the walleyes last weekend, I was more than ready to fish in the big city with Mike & Kyle again this weekend for another chance at ’em. We met up at 10 a.m., this time with another friend James. Mike had told me James was the “Walleye Whisperer” and he was right. James ended up with 6 or 7 fish while Mike & Kyle each caught 3 or 4 again. I had one reeled in right up beside my kayak, but it came unhooked right before I could net him.

As the day wore on, I was starting to think I would be getting skunked again. Then suddenly the line was tight and a fish was hooked on the white crankbait I was throwing. Soon enough I had my first walleye from a kayak landed and photos were taken.

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It was another awesome day on the water with good friends, in a place I am becoming quite fond of, chasing a fish I’ve learned to admire. Enjoy the video!

A Kilroy Autumn Afternoon…

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This past Monday I found myself with the day off of work and with the temps forecasted to reach sixty degrees, I figured it would be a great chance for a solo trip on my favorite stretch of river. As I’ve written in previous posts, this particular stretch holds quite a few northern pike and smallmouth bass during the summer months, so I was pretty excited to try it during the fall. I thought for sure the larger pike would be cruising and not held up in the many downfalls and log jams that dotted the river. Boy was I wrong.

I hooked my first fish, a little smallmouth bass, within the first half hour or so of fishing. My excitement level jumped up a notch as I thought for sure it was a sign of fish to come. However, not a single other fish hit until I was paddling my way back upriver to the launch. Another small fish, this time a hammer handle sized northern pike, struck the lure with ferocity but was still far from the fight I was hoping for.

A couple of things to take away from this trip that are of note; first, the Jackson Kilroy is an absolute great river kayak, of which I had no doubt. This was my first trip with it on a river and it didn’t disappoint. I know I keep repeating it but, brand loyalty aside, this is one very versatile and underestimated kayak. If you are in Indiana, do yourself a favor and stop by Wildcat Creek Outfitters (www.wildcatcreekoutfitters.com) in Zionsville, Indiana for a test paddle. I think you’ll be impressed with the Kilroy. Second, while the fishing wasn’t what I was hoping for, the solitude of floating a river this time of year is fantastic and very refreshing. The only company I had during my float was whitetail deer, wood ducks, turtles and a few squirrels who stopped foraging for acorns long enough to watch me slip past.

I did manage to get some video footage, trying some new angles just to mix it up a bit, but of course the fishing action is a bit lacking. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy the video I’ve put together and soon find yourself enjoying an autumn day on the river. Tight lines!

Still Beats Working!!!

I’m very blessed in that my wife shares my passion for kayak fishing. So it wasn’t surprising to me when, on a recent Sunday evening, she told me she was taking Monday off of work and wanted us to go fishing in the morning. I don’t know about you, but that’s a honey-do list I can handle!

I had to work in the afternoon so we planned a quick morning trip to a lake that is one of our favorites here in northeastern Indiana. The lake holds some crappie, bluegill and decent numbers of largemouth bass. Most importantly though, the 50 acre lake is surrounded by wooded hillsides that make up a local DNR property and this time of year the autumn colors really add to the already beautiful scenery.

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We woke up early, loaded up the truck and were on the lake shortly after sunrise. My wife didn’t waste any time and was fishing not far from the boat launch, hoping to catch some bluegill for dinner. I had my mind set on trolling small crankbaits for crappie while paddling the Jackson Kayak Kilroy that I had borrowed from my local dealer. I am in between kayaks, so my dealer was nice enough to let me borrow one of their demos for the fall. This is giving me a chance to really test the Kilroy and I can’t say enough how impressed I am with this kayak.

The first few hours of the morning were spent paddling the lake hoping to find some crappies, or even a hungry bass, but to no avail. My wife was having the same lack of luck that I was, so she opted to paddle south and try the opposite end of the lake. I worked my way down to her, trolling the entire way (the Kilroy really paddles nice), to see if she had found any fish. On the way to her, a trio of swans took to the air and passed over me, a beautiful sight in the early morning hours.

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My wife was still fishless, so I told her I was going to paddle back into “The Hole”. “The Hole” is a really small pond sized body of water that is joined to the 50 acre lake by a small channel. A few summers ago, when we were having a drought here in the Midwest, I watched a guy in a jon boat unable to make it through the channel due to the water being so shallow. His outboard motor was throwing mud and he had to eventually back out. I chuckled to myself as I later paddled through the channel in my kayak. I spent the rest of that summer having “The Hole” all to myself and catching 18 to 20 inch largemouth one after another. As you can imagine, “The Hole” is one of my favorite places to fish from a kayak and is always good for a bass or two or three or four…well, you get the picture.
I fished for fifteen minutes or so, without any luck, when my wife came paddling back into “The Hole” as well. We were running out of time when I spotted a fish swirl the surface, grabbing something off the top of the water. I wasn’t sure if it was a bass or one of the lakes numerous gar, but I cast a paddle tailed soft plastic to the spot in hopes of finding out. A few twitches of my rod later, and WHAM! It wasn’t a big fish, later measuring 16 inches, but the largemouth sure put up a nice little fight. My wife snapped some photos quick, the fish was released for another day and we decided to call it a day.

Fish On

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While the fishing wasn’t spectacular, the company and scenery was awesome. It just doesn’t get much better than that on a Monday morning!

Another River Adventure…

A week ago last Saturday four of us from the Wildcat Creek Outfitters (http://www.wildcatcreekoutfitters.com/) Kayak Fishing Team met up to float a river here in northeastern Indiana that I had never been on. WCO team member Kyle H. had been on it a few times and was having good luck with smallmouth bass and northern pike. Having never caught a northern pike from a kayak and with the thought of fishing new territory on my mind, I was pretty pumped up for this day to begin.

We arrived at the launch site at about 8 a.m. I had already met Kyle H. and Kyle P. previously, but was able to finally meet Tom S. in person and was looking forward to fishing with these guys. We had looked on the Indiana DNR’s website to find that our intended float was supposedly a 4 hour trip, but we figured it would take 5 or 6 hours seeing that we were going to fish and not just paddle straight through. As we would find out later, both our estimate and the DNR’s website were way off.

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Soon after launching, we were all fishing as the gentle current moved us downstream one by one. I don’t recall who caught the first fish, but I would bet it was Kyle H. as the kid seems able to sweet talk fish into biting his hook. He was casting a large chartreuse and white spinnerbait, which would prove a wise decision as you’ll see here in a bit.

As the morning progressed we all caught small pike and smallmouth bass, with a few rock bass and even one largemouth bass thrown in for good measure. Kyle P. caught his first ever northern pike and I caught my first northern pike from a kayak.

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Tom caught a lot of fish as well from his Native Watercraft Ultimate 12, but I never seemed to be close enough to snap any pictures when he did. The other three guys not only caught fish on their spinning & baitcasting rods, but they all also caught fish on their fly rods. I was the only numbskull that didn’t bring a fly rod, but I’ll correct that the next time we float this river.

Kyle H., as I said, was having great luck throwing the large spinnerbait. He was looking to catch some big pike and it worked as he caught not just one, but two really nice fish.

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One of my goals from a kayak has always been to catch a nice, dark colored smallmouth. I admire the looks of a bronze river smallie, but when I usually fish for smallmouth we only catch fish that are really pale in color. While a truly big smallmouth eluded all of us this day, I was able to catch one that put up a nice fight and had the coloring I was hoping for.

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As the day wore on we began to encounter a lot of deadfalls and structure blocking our way down the river. We literally had to go over, under, around and through all kinds of large trees that were down and it proved tiresome after a bit. I was worried how my fourteen and a half foot Native Watercraft Slayer (http://www.nativewatercraft.com/) would handle the tight turns and small quarters, but it handled the challenges with ease. When portaging through the woods on the riverbank due to impassable structure across the river, the wheel on the stern of the Slayer really came in handy. At one point we decided to check our location and see how far we were from the take out point. Kyle H. pulled it up on his phone and we discovered that after about four or five hours of fishing, we were not quite half way. Ugh!

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After this discovery, we kept fishing for a while but eventually decided that if we wanted to finish before dark, we had best stop fishing and start paddling straight through. We did so for the next three or four hours and in the process Kyle H. and I agreed we had to paddle through some very nice looking stretches of the river that were sure to hold fish. Nonetheless, we kept paddling hard and continued to encounter a lot of deadfalls blocking our way. The river was beautiful and I would have liked to slowed down to enjoy the scenery more, but we were all getting worn out and ready to get back to the trucks.

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Finally at around 7 p.m., a full eleven hours after launching, the take out point was in sight and all four of us were relieved to be off the river. We soon had our kayaks loaded up, said our goodbyes and were back on the road headed home. I slept like a rock that night and my shoulders were terribly sore the next morning, but yet I can’t wait until we do it again.

River Smallies & The Hippie…

With my younger brother Josh and I both having a day off during the week this past Monday, we made plans to float my favorite section of a local river together. I had been on this float trip last year with my wife and friend of mine, and I knew my brother would enjoy the trip. He was up for it and I was excited to spend the day with him on the water.

After dropping off my truck at the take out spot, we headed back to the put in and launched our kayaks. I was running the river in my 14.5 foot Native Watercraft Slayer. While many people prefer smaller kayaks for river floats, my 14.5 foot ride handled the trip just fine and maneuvered easily around the downed trees, boulders and sandbars that dotted the river throughout the day. Marc at Wildcat Creek Outfitters (www.wildcatcreekoutfitters.com) had told me that floating rivers in Indiana wouldn’t be a problem with the longer kayaks and he was right.

It wasn’t too long into the trip before I had my first fish of the day, a little smallmouth bass that was of average length for this section of the river. We were using our ultralight rods so even the small fish provided a decent fight and lots of fun. Tossing a 1/8 ounce white buzzbait and fishing it just under the water’s surface near structure proved to work for me the first half of the trip. Later in the day I switched over to a beetle spin lure with a black body with red and yellow striping, and caught just as many fish as I did on the buzzbait. I found that letting the lures drop just for a second along the edge of logs or downed trees really enticed fish to strike.

Josh was also catching some fish during the trip including his first smallmouth bass, rock bass and a tiny carp. If I remember correctly, he caught some of those fish on the same type of buzzbait I was throwing, but he also had luck on small white and purple spinnerbaits.

The highlight of our day, besides just spending time together on such a beautiful river, was seeing a pair of bald eagles. It wasn’t that long ago that bald eagles were no where to be seen here in the Hoosier state, but now it’s not uncommon to find them along our many rivers and lakes. No matter how many times I see one of these majestic birds, I am always in awe of them and the conservation efforts that have brought them back to this part of the country.

As the day went on, we stopped a few times to stretch our legs and make a few casts from shore, including one stop on a sandbar for lunch. Cold chicken sandwiches and Mountain Dew hit the spot after a morning of paddling.

Last year, when floating the final stretch of this trip, my friend Kevin got a good look at some river otters where a creek spills into the river. Unfortunately, they were no where to be found as Josh and I approached the area, but there was plenty of sign such as the muddy slides along the river banks. Along with the eagles, we did see plenty of turtles, blue herons, ducks, geese and many really big carp. As huge carp after huge carp swam past my kayak, I longed for my bowfishing gear.

We ended the day with less fish than I had caught last year, but that didn’t bother either of us at all. Josh agreed that it was a fantastic day and the time together was very much appreciated. As we loaded up the kayaks and headed our separate ways, we agreed it wouldn’t be long before we returned to float the river again together.

I was able to get plenty of video footage, including some underwater footage for my first time, on this trip with my Go Pro camera and made this video of our day. Enjoy!

Paddling on Palestine…

This past Saturday my wife and I were able to get out on the water again. After looking closely at some lake maps and doing a little bit of research, we again decided to try a new body of water and this time we chose Palestine Lake. It just so happened to work out that a friend of mine from further south in the Hoosier state was able to meet up with us. Joe got to Palestine Lake before we did and was already on the water when we got there. We launched as quickly as we could and as we paddled up to Joe he was reeling in a bass.

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Joe on Palestine

Not long after Joe caught his bass, I caught my first fish that turned out to be a decent largemouth that was just shy of 17″. It was good enough for some Kayak Wars (www.kayakwars.com) points and I quickly photographed the fish on the measuring board for entry, then released him unharmed.

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After that, we went for a long dry spell before catching any more fish. All three of us paddled over to the east section of the lake. Joe and my wife both opted to fish for bluegill while I trolled for crappie. My crappie fishing didn’t produce even a single bite and Ginger didn’t have much luck, but Joe was reeling in tiny bluegill after tiny bluegill. He said he caught about 30, one right after another, but none were big enough to fillet. Still it seemed like he was having fun.

Not long after that we went back to the west section of the lake where I proceeded to troll Flicker Shad crankbaits through the deeper section of water. While the crappie were still no where to be found, I did catch three nice bass that were in the 14″ range. Yes, they were smaller fish, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such bulldogs for that size. The bass on Palestine were definitely very healthy and even the 14″ fish put up a fun fight, especially on my Shimano ultralight rod. Joe and Ginger both started fishing Flicker Shad crankbaits as well and Ginger caught a beefy 15″ largemouth in addition to some small bluegill and another bass that she had caught earlier. Joe caught a couple fish as well, including a decent perch, on the Flicker Shads. While the jury is still out on anything with a treble hook (they should be called TROUBLE hooks), I am definitely becoming a believer in these Flicker Shad crankbaits.

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It wasn’t long after Joe’s catch of a perch and Ginger’s 15″ bass that we needed to pack up and start heading home. Joe said he was going to go fish another lake, one that I’ve been wanting to try, and I hope to hear a report on his afternoon venture soon.

While Palestine Lake didn’t exactly impress me with numbers of fish, I am still intrigued by the health of what bass we caught. They appeared, to me anyway, to be some of the healthiest largemouth bass I’ve ever seen here in Indiana. I have no doubt that this lake probably holds some big fish.

So there ya go, a quick report on another new lake here in Hoosier country. It definitely was a great day. Any day on the water with my wife and good friends is time well spent, and we look forward to sharing a day chasing fish with Joe again soon.

A Little Bit of Luck On Carr Lake…

One nice thing about working second shift is that I can get up early and hit the water for a few hours before work.  Usually Monday mornings are my day to fish during the week since I can get to bed earlier on Sunday nights and yesterday was no different.  I was lazy and didn’t load the truck up the night before, and I was kicking myself in the backside when the alarm went off at 4 a.m. Monday morning.  I wanted to be on the water to watch the sunrise, so I had to get up and get moving.  Once my gear and my Slayer 14.5 was loaded, I grabbed a cup of coffee for the road and was on my way.

As my friends will tell you, I’m a bass fisherman.  I’ve spent most, if not all, of my life fishing for largemouth bass.  However yesterday was different in that I finally broke away from bass and decided to put some fish in the freezer by targeting bluegill and crappie.  Words can’t express how out of character that is for me.  To top it off, I was going to troll with some small crankbaits.  Again, that’s out of character.  I much prefer to cast and I can’t stand using crankbaits.  I’ve never had much luck on them, I don’t really know how to fish them and those stupid treble hooks get caught on everything.  Nonetheless, I had bought a couple of small Flicker Shads and took a friend’s advice, and trolled all morning with two lines in the water pulling two Flicker Shads.  Man, talk about something different.

I had chosen a small, secluded yet public accessible lake more for the scenery than anything else.  Surrounded by mostly forests, I knew it would be a beautiful spot to enjoy the morning.  I underestimated the mosquito bomber squad at the boat ramp, but I was on the water on time and enjoyed the sun coming up over the trees while I paddled the lake in search of fish for the frying pan.

After about an hour of trolling and watching two guys in a motorboat not catch anything, one of my rods finally bent signaling fish on.  I grabbed it out of the rod holder and was reeling in what turned out to be my first crappie of the day when my other rod bent as well.  First time catching fish by trolling crankbaits and I had a double!  Soon my kayak was a jumbled mess of tangled fishing line, fish slime and treble hooks.  Remember what I said about hating crankbaits?  Yeah.  Still, I couldn’t argue that they worked and I had a crappie and a fat bluegill in the cooler for dinner later.

 

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Another hour produced nothing, even though I trolled the same spot over and over in hopes of picking up more crappie.  Finally I had another fish on and it proved to be my second crappie.  A 14″ largemouth bass also took the bait ten minutes after that, but he was released unharmed.

 

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Figuring I had 3 fish to clean and still had to get ready for work, I called it a day and headed back to the boat ramp about 9 o’clock.  On my way I passed two older gentlemen in a motorboat who were bobber fishing for bluegills.  I asked if they had any luck and they said not a bite.  When one of them asked me if I had any luck, I simply smiled and said “A little bit.”

Definitely a great morning to be a kayak angler.

May 31st Kayak Bassin’ With My Best Friend…

My wife and I were able to get on the water last Saturday and we decided to try a small lake that we hadn’t fished yet.  Turned out to be a great little bass lake.  I was able to catch quite a few smaller 14″ bass, a couple of 16″ fish and a decent 18 1/2″ out of the Native Slayer.  I started out fishing with a white Zoom Super Fluke fished weightless and was going to switch to something else later in the day, but the fish just kept taking the Fluke so I stayed with it.  My wife caught a couple of 14″ fish on a purple worm but spent most of her day just soaking in the sunshine.  My only regret of the day was that I hadn’t brought along my bowfishing gear.  We seen quite a few large carp cruising the shallows.  Great day with my favorite fishing partner on a lake that seems made for kayak fishing.

Fishing the flats…

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Showing my best friend and wife how to use a Zoom Super Fluke…

Standing in the Native Slayer 14.5.  This thing is SUPER stable!

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18.5 inch Indiana largemouth bass…

We’ll fish South Mud Lake again soon!