Contributed by Drew Ross
Before I owned a kayak, I had several bass boats. They were great and got me on the water often. However, there were times I couldn’t go because I wasn’t prepared. The batteries weren’t charged, not enough time to justify all the work, or I couldn’t find my boat key (seriously). One of these last-minute trips presented itself yesterday and reminded me why I started kayak fishing.
While dropping my kids off at school a feeling came over me. You’ve probably experienced it also. It’s the smell of the early morning, the way the sun is shining through the trees or whatever it is that makes you think, I should go fishing today. In the past, I would have talked myself out of going because of the unknows that could happen. But owning a kayak has eliminated those uncertainties. All I need is some fishing tackle, snacks, water, pfd, paddle and my kayak. Most of which is left in my truck for unplanned trips.
As I was leaving the school that feeling got really strong and then the phone rang. Last week while trying to fix a leak in my shower I broke the water connection behind the wall. A plumber came out and started the work but couldn’t finish it. Keep in mind I’m a father who shares the house with three females. My wife and two girls were not happy about sharing a single bathroom for a week. When the plumber said, “he could be there the next morning,” I knew today was the day to get on the water because tomorrow would be spent in the house.
Instinctively, I knew the area I wanted to fish. Rather than coming home I drove straight to the launch. My tackle consisted of three bags of soft plastics, a plano box of various terminal tackle, and three jigs. These items combined with the two baitcasters left in the cabin of the truck would be enough to cover me for the 5 hours I had available.
In the first 10 minutes, I set the hook into a stump and broke off one of the jigs. Great, that wasn’t going to help the cause. Over the next two hours another jig was lost to an underwater obstruction. The day wasn’t going to plan, but the plan wasn’t well defined either. The morning air was losing its chill when my line started swimming away from a cypress tree. I set the hook hard. Hard like you’re angry because you’ve been running outside all week to turn the water on and off when someone needs to brush their teeth or take a shower at 5 am. The rod bent over and pulled back in a manner that suggested, whatever was on the other end had been dealing with their own plumbing issues.
My heart started to jump around in my chest. It was driving towards the cypress tree trying to return to its winter haunt. The underwater mine field had already claimed two jigs. The only thing to do was use the paddle to push off the nearest cypress tree and drag the beast out of the ditch. With the 4×4 engaged the bass was winched from the water. My first bass of 2017 was a good one.
The day ended up being one to remember. Over the next few hours several more bass were caught and released. Then it suddenly ended when I broke off my last jig. The irony of being ready for an unplanned trip had just ended the day early because I wasn’t prepared. Rather than be disappointed, I was thankful. In the past, I would have found an excuse to not go fishing. The kayak has made these days a reality for me. Tomorrow I’ll stock up on tackle and be better prepared for the next unplanned trip.