You may be wondering about the title. “Bucketmouth” refers to a Largemouth Bass, a big Largemouth Bass. A “Bucket List” is of course something we keep, checking off an item or two if we are lucky, or we endure. But there is more to this title. There were many options to consider as I drove through the scrub forest, swamp and farmland, watching the horses on ranches run and the slow rivers roll. And it came to me then because I started thinking about the great Western films in history. I was thinking specifically of a little known Spaghetti Western by an Italian director named Damiano Damiani, a film called A Bullet for the General (1968). Set during a revolution, it is a film loaded with counter-revolutionary plots and surprises of all kinds. Damiani’s film is one of the best Westerns of its time, and it ranks high on my list of favorites. It’s a complicated film about complex people in crazy times, and as I came to the trail head of a complicated trip, it seemed to point in the direction I wanted to go as I tried to answer the question “How do I explain what happened on that lake?”
Topwater fishing, late May. The clock said noon but it was still early morning in the cove. Contrary to popular belief, bass will strike all day on topwater in low light, depending on circumstance and presentation. Stealth is essential; I was in 4 feet of water and the cove was only 30 feet wide. A single paddle bump on the kayak would have spooked every fish.
My essay about tournament kayak fishing, from the Fall 2016 issue of KBF Magazine. Click on the 1st link below for the pdf file of the article only. The 2nd link contains the full magazine (the article begins on page 73).
Thank you for reading!
Battling an angry, powerful fish from a kayak can be a nerve-rattling experience. Anglers must first contend with the thrill of the fight and the steps required to land the fish. Those steps include adjusting the drag setting on the reel, preventing the fish from running into and being wrapped on underwater structure, and any number of other movements (such as holding the rod in one hand while using a landing net with the other). In some cases, a large fish can haul a kayak into dangerous water.
Small, less bruising fishes such as Bluegill, Crappie or White Bass may not prove a great test of strength or kayak management but the motions required to land the fish remain the same. My topic here is how larger sport fishes – Alligator Gar, Muskellunge, Steelhead, giant Largemouth Bass or Bowfin – amplify the mechanics of landing a big, angry fish by requiring added strength as well as attention to detail. And all these movements are amplified, sometimes to deafening volume, by a tangible risk of physical harm to the angler and the fish.
What will happen when I pull this large fish into the kayak, and its powerful jaws, teeth or tail are in my lap?
Here is my article on the state of my favorite sport, courtesy of Pacific Standard magazine:
Here is the link to my article about topwater fishing on Kentucky Lake, courtesy of Kayak Bass Fishing magazine.
- Click here for a pdf file of the article only: HV March KY Lake KBF Mag
2. Click below to download the entire magazine as a pdf file (it’s free!); the article is listed in the contents index.
In mid-March, the White Bass make a spawning run, and the Bowfin are generally mixed in with the schools. We launch to look for Bowfin but the White Bass are so aggressive they usually grab the lures before they reach the Bowfin.
I put a Camera mount on my Tarpon 120 and shot some footage as we locked into a school of White Bass in the lower Eno River last week. We landed about 40 small males before we moved on…..
Kayak Fishing offers the advantage of stealth to the angler in the boat. A kayak can navigate water that a bass boat or even a john boat cannot enter without running aground or scaring fish – assuming the angler is quiet and controls the vessel. To fully enjoy a kayak as a fishing platform, an angler must be willing to explore, learn new techniques, have strong paddling skills and take safety precautions. For these reasons and others, kayak fishing has been my preferred style of fishing since 2011.
I was first introduced to the sport by an officer of the UNC Fishing Club who worked at a large kayak dealership in Greensboro, N.C. in 2008. I began to practice, seek out new waters and later, fish in tournaments (primarily for Largemouth Bass). Over the years, I’ve compiled a strong record in competition. Here are a few highlights:
I. Tournament Kayak Fishing Record