Yakking in Haliburton, August 2021
Summer of 2021 has been a hit. Lots of fishing, camping and spending time outdoors except I had not had a chance to take my kayak out My Fishing Kayak I knew I needed to change that so I booked a mid-week day off work and headed up to my brothers cottage for the day. The goal was to spend some time getting to know his lake and search for bass, sweet
I loaded my gear and kayak the night before. I stow the kayak in the bed of my pick up (5.8 box) and tie it off to the tie downs in the truck and to the Erikson Big Bed Extender Junior Erikson Bed Extender Gear was quickly stowed away in the cab and I was ready for an early start. The cottage is about 3 hours from home, so I wanted to be on my way early in the AM to maximize fishing time
Arriving at the cottage I was greeted by a very hot and humid day – nary a breeze and the lake as calm as a millpond as my Pop used to say. Dave helped me lug my kayak down to the dock, we launched his and within 30 minutes we were on the water. The lake is around 500 acres – not huge, not tiny, and perfect for kayak fishing. There is a small population of lake trout and rainbow trout on the lake, but our focus would be bass. I have fished the lake a few times and knew that action would be an issue but sorting through 6 – 10-inch bass to find something of size would be. Sorting through the dinks to find a dunk if you would.
We paddled out and quickly ran into an issue. Neither of our fish finders were working – Dave seemed to have a battery connection issue and I (idiot I am) assumed I had enough juice in the AA’s in my portable for the day - wrong! It was dead. Okay – let’s not fret. We headed just down from the cottage to a prominent rock point that we had caught fish off before. I was using a ned rig and Dave had on a wacky rig (Gord Pyzer would kick our asses for starting with a finesse presentation!). Within two casts both of us had hooked into the dinks. Throw in the odd rock bass and we probably had 20 small fish within the first 30 minutes. Dave headed towards a large stand of cabbage, and I went further along the shore trying to stay on the deeper side of some rocky structure. Dave landed a few bigger dinks, but no dunk and I was having a similar experience.
We regrouped back at the dock and decided to head to a main lake hump – Dave figured we could triangulate it even without the depth finders. We made our way towards the area, casting as we went. By the time I got to the general vicinity I was sweating my a#% off. With no breeze and the heat, the paddling was exerting me to my boiling point. Not so much Dave as he has a Hobie Angler with Pedal Drive – smart guy! We plumbed the hump with limited success, without the depth finders I am not sure I ever really found it. The hump tops out at 20 feet or so, surrounded by 60 - 80 feet. Without my finder it was a bit like peeing in the wind. Not far from where I was, I noticed there was another rocky point like where we started.
Paddling over I liked what I saw. A bit of a breeze had picked up and the point had a thin, rocky spine that extended quite a way into the to deeper water. I tried a few casts with the ned rig and instantly hooked up with more dink smallies. A few more casts, more snags and I decided to switch it up. I went with a green pumpkin-red flake Senko and within minutes I got into some better size fish on the deeper side. No biggies yet but the 8 – 10 inches were becoming 10 – 13 inchers. Dave pedaled on by and headed into a weedy, woody bay to try his luck there. A few more casts for me and I decided to join him. The bay looked great but, in the end, I think we caught two small largemouth bass and that was about it. We decided to make our way back to the cottage to grab a cold drink and something to eat, fishing another rock bar on the way.
As we got to the rock bar I went back to the Ned Rig – once again it was more of the same – dinking all the way. As I started to drift back to the cottage, I sent one cast out well off the structure. As I took a breather and a drink, I felt a slight tug on my line. As I reeled up the slack, I realized I had a fish running back to me. As I felt the line tighten, I perceived a decent weight and then it was gone. Damn! I cast out again, but no more action and I really needed to cool down. We headed in to go for a swim, refresh with a few cold beverages and grab a bite
Thankfully this isn’t the end of my story. As the rest of the family started to prep for dinner or swim, I decided to make one quick run out to the point we initially started at. Its within a few hundred yards from the dock so I figured I would be quick. Thinking back to the hit I missed I decided to stay well of the structure and make long casts behind me and slowly paddle backwards – mimicking my drift. First cast and a few paddles and bang – a nice chunky 12 incher. Another cast and bang, a feisty little 10 incher. One more cast and boom – fish on and running at me! As a frantically caught up and set the hook I knew this was a better fish. She stayed down long enough that I wondered if it was a rainbow when in all her glory a nice smallmouth launched itself within 5 feet of the kayak! I gave her lots of play and eventually managed to land her. A gorgeous 3 lber. My biggest smallie on this lake and probably my best so far in the yak! I paddled over to my nephew and niece on the dock to have them snap a quick picture and released her back. Thrilled I called it a day.
I am fully hooked on the kayak fishing. I do wish that I had got pedal power but for now I am loving my set up. I will definitely be out a few more times this fall – probably another day trip to Haliburton – maybe the lake we hit before Yakking in Hali and I also plan on heading up to the cottage in Muskoka at least once. Guaranteed I will be trying to “drag the ned” to weed through the dinks to get to the dunks