Brad Case maneuvered his kayak near the thick salad patch and made a precise cast right to the spot. Case worked the Stanley Top Toad along the grass line, but it didn’t get far.
Wham! A monster bass blew up on it and dove towards the bottom.
“That lunker bass just annihilated it as she exploded through the water surface,” said Case.
The talented tournament angler snapped his rod back and drove the steel hooks deep into the jaws of a hungry bass. Try as she might the bass just couldn’t escape the expert’s death grip. The 10 pounds 8-ounce lunker was caught during the heat of the summer sun by the renowned shallow water kayak angler.
Case is an accomplished bass angler who switched to kayak fishing a number of years of ago to escape the crowds and catch more bass. He became hooked on the sport of kayak fishing and has also become one of the top Kayak tournament anglers.
Case’s best 5 bass limit in a kayak tournament weighed in at 26 pounds.
“Kayak fishing makes us better anglers,” Case said. “We don’t have the luxury of run and gun fishing all over a body of water, so we have to choose where we’re going to fish and what time of day we want to be there.”
Unlimited angling opportunities
Kayaks are usually sleek, shallow drafting boats made out of fiberglass, plastics or polymers and they float in mere inches of water making them easy to maneuver in shallow water situations.
“There’s no doubt kayaks give you an opportunity to get into places and fish where traditional bass boats can’t get, or dare try to go,” said Case. “At the same time, the stealth factor of the kayak’s allows anglers to get within casting range of bass without ever spooking them, something that is hard to do when fishing from large bass boats in the pads or grass.”
“When I’m not fishing tournaments, I like to fish streams and small creeks like Black Creek, Homochitto and a few others,” said Case. “I like to carry kids fishing in streams because they can get out and wade or explore so they won’t get bored while they’re fishing. There’s plenty of time to do both when the action slows.”
While some kayakers prefer the solitude of the smaller creeks and streams, Case points out that you can also fish a kayak in most any lake.
“When you have a kayak you’re not limited to launching at a ramp,” Case said. “You can launch a kayak anywhere you prefer where you have access to the lake. That gives us an opportunity to pick out backwater areas off the beaten paths that are hard to get to by big bass boats.”
Case likes to use top water frogs to fish around pads, grass and shallow water cover.
“I like to find an active bream bed and work the area about 5 yards off the bed,” Case said. “The bedding bream will hit smaller bream coming into the bed and injure them sometimes and the injured bream become targets for hungry bass. Lunker bass prowl around the beds so that’s where I like to fish.”
“I like to have 3 basic colors including black, white that mimics shad and yellow belly colored frogs,” said Case. “Most of the time I’ll do a steady retrieve and that will trigger reaction strikes. If you start finessing them, they will check them out closely, so I want a steady, or fast retrieve normally.”
When the going is tough, he switches gears and changes tactics too.
“If they’re not hitting frogs or topwater baits I’ll pitch a craw, a do-nothing worm, wacky worm or a crankbait,” said Case. “I like to use a small crankbait with a #1 hook on it also. Most of the time I’ll try to get a limit of bass first, with smaller crankbaits and then try to cull. Once I get 5 keepers, I’ll move up to a 2 ½ inch crankbait and work a little deeper for larger fish.”
Besides being able to get off the beaten path and away from the crowded waters and big bass boats, kayaks are relatively inexpensive and lightweight compared to the investment in a modern bass boat.
“I use a Wilderness Systems ATAK 140,” Case said. “It’s a 14-foot kayak and I can lay my rods across the front so I can get to them easy and they’re not apt to get broken on limbs as some are prone to when sticking straight up like some kayak rod holders have them.”
Many shallow water bites come from active fish who are spotted when they’re feeding or moving among the grass, pads or vegetation.
Bass Pro Shops also has an assortment of kayaks made for the weekend angler or the serious kayak tournament anglers starting with their Ascend line of kayaks as well as Old Town and Emotion kayaks. If you’re looking for some hot bass fishing action, then get a kayak and head to the nearest stream or secluded lake and try it yourself.