Kayak Fishin

So I finally managed to get the ol’ kayak dusted off and actually in the water after the last trip’s paddle-less fiasco. Brian invited me out to fish Utah Lake with his son and his Brother-in-law Jason that used to work with us at the U.I ran out to get some equipment I had been lacking, primarily a hand net, but Brian had also suggested that I get a basket to hold the catch. I found both at a reasonable price and picked up a couple lures as well.

I tried to prep as well as I could last night tying the home-made kayak rack into the truck but somehow neglecting to buy gas, or get cash for the trip. As I ran around this morning in the dark trying to get these errands done I stopped at McDonald’s for a quick breakfast. While my paranoia required a third checking of the rigging securing the kayak to the truck I watched a guy browse DVD’s at the Redbox out front. I briefly wondered what kind day you have lying ahead of you when you’re renting movies before sunup. Perhaps he just likes to plan his evenings well in advance.

I managed to roll into the Provo Harbor marina right about sunup after a missed exit due to construction and a quick trip back up to a near gas station to break a $20 to pay the State Park fee at the unmanned entrance. Brian and Jason were just getting Brian’s little aluminum boat and Jason’s float tube into the water. I quickly joined them excited to get out on the water. In my haste I dropped a can of Pepsi that exploded on the pavement, showering me and my truck with a sticky mist before I managed to kick it safely towards the laughing Jason.

I showed Brian my net and basket and he recommended I borrow his basket because his opinion of the one I got was that it was too small and I should return it and get the bigger one. Since I hadn’t got as far as rigging mine up I figured I’d give it a shot.

Brian got going and towed Jason out beyond the jetty to the open lake where we were fishing. I had declined the tow because I wanted to get a little more experience paddling around. I soon began to question the sanity of this as I was sure to get more paddling in than I probably bargained for in getting around the fishing spot. I made a couple adjustments to the (also home-made) outrigger to keep it more square to the kayak. It either needs a better, permanent mount on the kayak itself, or another brace to keep it from rotating towards the rear as it drags. I tied a bight of the anchor (also also home made) rope from the outrigger to a bracket on the side near the cockpit and that did the trick for now.

Once we were just out past the marina jetty near where the Provo River empties into the lake we started to fish. There were seagulls a-plenty around diving and catching small fish. I had bungled my line setup back on shore and while I was correcting the pole setup I heard Brian’s son over the radio announce he had caught his first fish. Jason quickly responded with another success, and once I got my line in I had one on within a few casts. Then we were all in the thick of it catching White Bass almost as fast as we could. I was limited by the fact that my net, which I had bought for scale-friendiness, was not in the least hook friendly. The first bass had buried his mouth and all three treble hooks into the net and got so tangled I had a tough time getting him free. When I did finally loose the fish from the hook he got a little more liberty than I had intended and disappeared back into the green water, leaving me to struggle with the remaining two barbs imbedded in the net. After that I took precautions in netting all but the head of the fish as best as I could to prevent further cursing.

IMG_1216In a short time I think I had more fish than I had ever caught in one trip. The lure I had been using was getting a bit chewed up and was missing most of the fluffy dressing it had, so I started throwing on lures I’d never used, or had no previous success to just give them a shot. It turns out that these fish would take about anything. I was having a bit of trouble getting them in the basket. Brian had told me that with the floating lid I could pick it up with the fish in the same hand and drop it in one handed. I had very little success at this, but it became sort of a game of roulette for one last chance at escape for the fish. One poor guy managed to leap out of my hand before falling in the basket, hit the kayak flipped off and into the water, but was scooped up by the basket right before the getaway. I started tossing back almost every one I caught unless they were particularly fat. There’s not a lot of eating on White Bass anyway, and I didn’t know how many I could reasonably eat. Secretly I was hoping I could sneak them into Brian’s load.

I actually got a little tired around the 40th catch or so and decided to head over to the weed beds to see if I could get something different. I tried a couple different lures hoping to find a crappie or bluegill, but with no luck. I dug into my tackle box and found a larger lure I hadn’t tried before. I flipped it out near the weeds to the left and brought it in and then flipped it over the other side. It had hardly hit the water when something took it suddenly pretty hard. I thought I had another bass, but as it got near to the boat it almost scared me. I’d never landed such an ugly fish before, and I’ve caught Arctic Grayling.

I ended up paddling over to where Brian and his son were landing crappie and hauled the basket out because my description over the radio wasn’t giving enough detail to identify it for me. It turns out it was a Walleye. I had hooked one before and got it close to shore several years ago with my brother, but it got off before I could land it. I don’t remember it being this scary, though.


Not long after we decided it was about time to get off the lake. I humbled myself and asked if Brian would tow me in because I was dog tired. He took me over and we picked up Jason who was still back where we were with the Bass earlier. It must have been quite a sight to see this tiny aluminum boat with a diminutive outboard towing a tube towing a 16′ kayak. I had given my basket of fish to Brian because dragging it was causing some trouble. Brian had three strings of fish in the bottom of the boat, and when we picked up Jason he wasn’t able to lift Jason’s basket out of the water it was so full. I think he’d kept about 60 lbs or more of the Bass.We got everything packed up and ready to go and Brian and Jason decided the best option would be to filet the fish before heading out, as the total amount of cooler space was greatly exceeded by the whole fish. Brian had two electric filet knives, and even working in shifts it took more than two hours to filet the whole catch. Arms began to cramp and we began to develop that 1000 yard stare that comes with an overload of carnage. It became all we could do to not break out laughing when thinking of the situation we got ourselves into. I was very glad I had restrained myself earlier and not been tempted with the no-limit on the White Bass.

I did decide to keep that smaller basket.


Brian wrote the trip up on his blog http://hnaf.blogspot.com/2011/09/september-21st-white-bass-action-provo.html where I yoinked a picture of us being towed back in.