The participants in the Mo-Yak Tournament Fishing Series seem to be mostly south of KC. On the tournament’s Discord server, Austin asked if anyone else was from KC and I responded. We chatted a little and met up at Watkins Mill Lake on Saturday, March 20th.
I downloaded a map from Genesis Maps and sent it to Austin. He is familiar with the lake and marked some spots that are likely to hold fish. Given the temperature and the wind, I mostly threw a spinnerbait and a squarebill crank bait.
We were between two points where the water went from 5-6 feet up to 2 feet. Casting into the deeper water and pulling it back shallow. Austin had two big bites on a perch colored chatterbait, but both shook off. I tried the chatterbait as well, but didn’t get anything.
I moved slightly North and started throwing the squarebiil. I was reeling in just fast enough to keep it wobbling and felt the shake start and the line get heavy. I had one on! It was a good solid fight, but I got it in the boat without drama.
This was my first time trying the full catch-photo-release with a bump board. It’s definitely a process! I now see why people use fish grips to hold the fish in water. There are a ton of things to take care of right after the rush of landing the fish.
Land the fish. Hook the lure to the rod. Deal with the rod. Don’t drop the the paddle. Get the fish on the board. Get the phone out for the picture. Drop the phone. Fight the fish back onto the board. Snap some pics. Steady the fish again. Snap some pics as it flops off of the board and back into the water.
Definitely going to make sure that I have fish grips with me from now on!
From there, we paddled the entire shore line of the lake. The wind was really gusty and times (25 MPH gusts) and the water got very choppy. I had a few times where my anchor wouldn’t dig into the soft bottom and I would just slide across lake. At one point we were anchored close to each other and my boat just slid right into Austin’s. Definitely a tough day in that regard.
I was getting exhausted, and should have paid more attention to that. I was back in the area that I had caught the fish earlier, trying the same tactic. While juggling from rod to paddle, wind gusted and knocked my paddling into the rod I’d been using. The rod went overboard. I reach with my hand but it was too far away. So I grabbed the paddle but that wouldn’t reach because the wind was blowing me away from where the rod was. I tried to paddle to get back to where I thought it was but couldn’t find it. It was especially frustrating to see the crankbait at the end slowly disappear past the visibility of the water.
With that, I decided it was time to paddle back to the ramp. I adjusted my seat down to the most reclined position and started paddling … directly into the wind and the chop. This kayak is not fast, but I can keep a leisurely 2.5 MPH and a purposeful 3 MPH. With these conditions, I was only getting around 1.5 MPH which was pretty miserable.
I was really feeling spent and not looking forward to loading up the boat. That process went well though. I just took my time and got it done.
One other little thing, I moved from using ratchet straps to rope and tying a trucker’s hitch. That definitely feels better than the ratchet straps.
I’m getting more comfortable with the kayak and the whole process and procedure of it all. I’m learning a ton, having fun, and I feel like I’m getting better each time I’m out.
Watkins Mill Lake
- Water Temp: 46 – 50 degrees
- Clarity: Clear to Stained, 2′ visibility
- Air Temp: 29 – 57 F
- Conditions: Windy 10 MPH, 25 MPH Gusts
- Chartreuse and white spinnerbait (with and without Saucy Swimmer Trailer)
- Z-Man chatter bait with Magic Shad trailer
- Sexy Shad Squarebill Crankbait
- Bluegill Colored Finesse Jig w/Creme Craw
- Translucent bone Ozark Trail crankbait (really light)