Ditch the Motor, Hop in a Kayak!

Late one evening I received a phone call from my fishing buddy. With all the enthusiasm of a 12 year old boy he yells “Let’s go fishing”. Questioning I stated emphatically “its 9:30”. After several minutes of discussions plans were made to meet at the boat ramp in the morning. I pulled up to the boat ramp in the twilight of the morning nursing my 32oz cup of black magic. My buddy was waving at me to hurry yelling “we’re going to be late.”
We slid almost silently through the marina working our way to the back of the creek that feed the lake. With only the anchor lights breaking the darkness of dawn as the orange, reds and purples were filling the sky to our backs. We realized it was going to be that perfect fishing morning.

As I let the boat drift to a stop, I could just make out a small lay down to my left. I reached behind me grabbed my favorite flippin’ stick, stood up and laying the jig gently into the water next to the large half submerged limb. “BAM” she had eaten it! I had come in completely quite being afforded the opportunity to stick a 6# bass in that late spring morning. I did this with the use of a kayak. Wait don’t stop reading!

Why I switched to fishing in a Kayak

I did have the big bass boat, fished tournaments for several years and yes I can afford a “real boat”. About 15 years ago I purchased my first kayak, a cheap sit in model. I used it several times and got on ponds that I couldn’t have gotten to any other way. It took me back to the simple times of fishing with my bargain store outfit and just loving the art of fishing. Realizing I was kayak fishing before kayak fishing was cool.


Fast forward to 2010 due to family and work, the tournament trail had come to an end. I still loved to feel the tug on the line and missed the opportunity to feel the sway of the boat. So after drooling several months over kayak rigs I bought a nice sit on top kayak. I outfitted it with a small graph, rod storage in the hull and about 10- 3700 tackle boxes. Remembering I’m a “bass fisherman”, I officially had ditched the motor!

Why consider a kayak?

Although I can’t 70 mph any more, fishing a boat slip or pocket for 30 minutes then run to another hole and repeat over and over throughout the day. That is not what my grandfather had shared with me all those years. We tend to fish for probability rather than studying the fisheries when we fish from fast boats.
I have returned to my grandfather’s method when fishing a new lake on those family summer vacations. We would study the lake map the night before like we were looking for buried treasure. Sitting in his camper, the dime light over the dinette table. Grandpa knew what the guy at the bait shop had told us, but he was looking for that honey hole only the locals knew about. He would lean back taking a sip of lukewarm coffee and let out a deep sigh, proclaiming pointing to a spot on the map, “that’s it!” We would fish that area all day and he always seemed to be right.

Emory McCall Kayak Fishing

Today with the rage of kayak fishing, several companies have started designing kayaks for the fresh water angler. With side imagining graphs, power poles and live wells. The biggest design feature is the ability to stand up in one of these crafts. I’m 6’ and 250#, I fish from a Native Slayer Propel 13 and can stand and cast with ease.

Yes I said “propel”, I have pedals that power my kayak making slicing through the water effortless and leaving my hands free to work the bank with my favorite jig. All the major kayak companies are building a pedal drive for the kayaks. This option gives your hands the freedom to fish unlike we had a few years ago. The price of a pedal unit can be limiting to some budgets, but there are still paddle versions available with all the features.

Electronics have become a big deal on these little boats. I am running a 7” graph on mine with a complete light accompaniment. A small 12volt battery has made it easy to power all my electronic accessories. All the things we have learned to rely on in our bass boats are now available in these little fish getters.

Wrapping things up

Yes the word kayak congers up the thought of plastic toys, but in reality as an angler’s platform they are much more. I have friends that just can’t put the big boat away but several are intrigued and even converted. Yes I still fish from a bass boat, as a co-angler on partner tournaments when asked. No one challenges my ability to get on fish just my method of getting there.

So get out and find the true fisherman in your soul and slid a plastic tub into the hidden pond on the neighbors back forty and catch some big hawgs. You might even find yourself fishing some kayak tournaments. Just get out and hook some!

Emory McCall Kayak Fishing

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  1. Justin Edwards says

    I myself ditched the motor. I do have a 14 foot jon boat but normally take the canoe instead. I have been considering buying a kayak and after reading this, just makes me want one more. I definitely agree with that you said. Takes you back to your roots. Great read 😎👍

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