Outdoors Column

The day ended as it began

By Bill Howard | Dec 03, 2013
Photo by: Donated Bill Howard gets into a kayak.

The day ended as it began; a sandy freshwater beach and a kayak resting half way between the water and earth. What was sandwiched between is where the story lies.
Still wanting to test the Old Town Predator kayak further and with another decent weekend weather-wise I decided to fish some waters I have never been to before. I started cyber-scouting during the middle of the week in search of a lake or river that had kayak or small craft access a long with promising fishing areas within a somewhat easy paddling distance.
One other feature I looked for was fishing tips for the cooler weather and water that late fall and early winter inevitably brings. At one point I was considering several holding lakes in the state for power plants that had warm water discharges. The idea seems very reasonable and when one ‘Facebook friend’ announced he was heading to Belews it nearly pushed me to follow. If it wasn’t for the fact I had been there before and I really wanted to test new water I probably would have.
I settled on one discharge lake that is known for the large bass that are prevalent throughout. But as I continued to read up on the techniques I realized I would be targeting fish that could be in pre-spawn, spawn, or even post-spawn phases. I wanted something more predictable.
As I filtered through the bodies of water I finally found one that hit my fancy. I found several articles and blog posts on not only winter fishing in the lake, but even some regarding winter fishing from kayaks and canoes. It is hard to get much more of a match. It also provided the potential for daylight catfishing and a species I had never caught before, the white catfish.
I drove the hour and a half to the lake and found my turn off with ease. As I progressed to the ramp I noticed several of the other boating accesses gated closed. Had I just traveled all this way to get to a ramp that would be closed as well? I cursed myself for the potential lack of insight.
Luckily, the ramp I was searching for was open. There were not many vehicles parked in the large ramp access. In fact there were more vehicles with kayak and canoe racks than there were boat trailers.
It only took a few minutes to unload and hit the water. I paddles around the point and headed to a bridge that I was targeting. There was already one power boat fishing the supports. As soon as I was near enough, one of the anglers sprung backward with a quick jerk of the rod. The first fish had been landed. I did not want to crowd them so I paddled to another spot about a half mile away. After an hour or so and no action whatsoever I paddled back toward the bridge. As I neared, I also noticed two other kayakers fishing the structure as well.
All three boats welcomed me to join, with the power boat even remarking they were leaving a few fish for me. After snagging the bottom and cutting my line early on I pulled the cut line as tight as possible so as not to leave it when it gave a little. I continued to tug until it broke free and then noticed it start running to the side. Just a few seconds later and I was hand lining a rather large bluegill.
We fished and chatted for several hours. Fish were caught and released. And in between the beginning and the end, new friends were made.

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