When you start breaking down all the variables that account in your approach to catching a fish, you can become mentally fatigued in a hurry. Some of these variables are completely under your control. Things like your choice of lures, rods/reels, clothes, and your approach are among these things. The major factor that is beyond our control that can ruin a good day of fishing is the weather. Oftentimes we can never fully predict the weather, but we can prepare for it. In the face of rain, we have rain gear. For the unbearable sun, we have sun protective shirts and pants. The cold creeps in, and we have dry suits to keep us safe. But the one major factor that we constantly struggle against is the wind.
The wind can turn on a bite, turn off a bite, can be annoying, or flat out make it unsafe to be on the water. It causes us to backlash our baitcasters and throws off our aim when casting. Anglers try to use anchors and power poles to combat against it, but when it comes down to a 20-25mph wind, these items just fail. When I used to see winds in the forecast above 15mph, I just wouldn’t go out. Within the past year, I have finally found my answer to the unforgiven demon that is a strong wind: The Jackson Kayak Coosa FD.
The Coosa FD is responsible for two of my current personal best fish, a local tournament win, top 5 finish, and cashing a check in the 2019 KBF National Championship. The main reason for this success is the FD’s ability to combat the wind. I have the steering upgrade installed with the new two bladed prop, and I couldn’t be happier with its performance. I can make minor adjustments when being blown off a spot, keep moving to keep a lure in the strike zone in waves or current, and keep my body energy when traveling to a spot. These are three huge factors that will often cause anglers to give up and head to a protected area or even head back to the ramp.
One specific scenario ended in both my personal best smallmouth bass and the local tournament win. A local tournament was being held at Presque Isle Bay in Erie, Pennsylvania. If you are not familiar with being on a great lake, the weather can change in an instant and make things very dangerous. My buddies and I launched in 20-25 mph winds that were causing 3-4 foot rollers out in the bay. We made it one minute into the peddle towards a spot and had to bail to a safer area to have a meeting. By safer, I mean the waves were 2-3 feet instead of 3-4. Out of fear, we decided to try this safer area after lines in to see if we could find fish.
Using a trolling technique combined with a specific lure choice, we started putting fish in the boat within fifteen minutes of start time. With the sensitivity of the new prop and steering, I am able to pedal, steer with one hand, and work a rod in my other for a detailed cadence. I would never be able to complete this technique in a paddle-style kayak. I was able to keep a lure in the strike zone in an extremely effective manner considering the conditions. I was rewarded with a 20.75” smallmouth bass that I would estimate in the 6-7 pound range–a monster that I will remember for a long time.
In my most recent tournament, I was able to take 5th place in the midst of some very tough local competition. The anglers who left from my launch placed 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th, with the big bass pot going to separate anglers from the same launch. The day started out calmly, and the lake was glass, but after the first hour, the winds picked up to 15mph. Unfortunately for me, the wind was blowing directly into the area I was fishing. This eliminated the spot for many anglers because of the annoyance or inability to maintain boat position in the wind. I adjusted my technique with a slow drift that I was able to control with the rudder and pedal drive. If I came across extra thick vegetation, I could easily paddle the Coosa FD, keeping a lure in the strike zone, making more accurate casts and being able to compensate for the wind lead to a 20” largemouth that carried me to my finish.
Please don’t misconstrue this article. Strong winds are terribly annoying and not preferable for a day of kayak fishing. Even though these conditions have given me the advantage or created a big bite in difficult situations, I still prefer an easier going day; however a big fish or a tournament do not typically care about the weather, especially the wind, and the Coosa FD has been my answer to one of the hardest variables for which to compensate.
– Ken Morris