At some point, all of us will embark on a new journey. There is a sense of accomplishment when learning a new skill that is rewarding, even through the many frustrations that will occur during the process. Here is a small glimpse into my adventure into the kayak bass fishing world.
I will start with a little back story of what got me here. My name is Kent Todd. 3 years ago, I would have never in a million years imagined that I would be in a kayak. In 2013 I weighed 520 lbs, not a yak friendly weight. I went through weight loss surgery for obvious reasons like health, and being there for my family, but I had other selfish reasons as well. I’m an avid bow hunter and wanted to be able to hunt from a tree was a big one at first. After weight started coming off, I came up with all kinds of other things that I quickly realized I could do that I always assumed I would never be able to. One was to be on a small boat. I had known Chad Brock since we were in middle school and he asked me to go bass fishing with him. I had never fished for bass, I had always fished, but it was for catfish and bluegill. Here is where the TOTAL NOOB comes in to play. He took me to a farm pond that he knew would get me hooked. We paddled his john boat around for a few minutes as he explained how to rig plastics and how to let the bait sink and work the bottom. By the second cast I had caught my first ever largemouth and I had a new driving force inside of me, I had to do this as often as I could.
A few weeks later Chad invited me to fish a kayak bass tournament with him. He got a kayak for me to use so off we went. This was the first time I had EVER been in a kayak! I paddled out a few feet from the shore to test my abilities and quickly fell in love with being in a kayak. We were on the water for 8 hours and it felt like just minutes to me. We all headed in at the allotted time and none of us had major luck, but I somehow managed to win the big fish pot. Needless to say I had to have a kayak now. I was able to fish one more tournament on a borrowed kayak and felt the sting of the infamous skunk. Nada, zilch, not even a bite in that tournament, but it was still a blast.
All winter long I dreamed about buying my own kayak, so I started putting a little back here and there. I went to Bass Pro and bought the Ascend FS12T. I have learned a lot and have vast amounts still to learn. I ask Chad questions all the time, I watch you tube videos, and day dream about jigs, plastics, and lures. I have purchased a very small arsenal of various lures and baits to learn what they do and how to work them. This leads me to my biggest problem thus far in being a NOOB. I paddle to a spot that in my mind looks great, I have a bait tied on that I think will just slay the big girls, so I fish. I keep throwing that bait in that spot that in my mind should be hawg heaven. I end up frustrated because I am fishing by what I think and not by what the water, weather, and other factors should be telling me. I have literally thrown a buzz bait for 2 hours, because I REALLY want to catch one on a buzz. I get hung up on what I imagine happening, instead of really stopping and realizing that the fish just aren’t going to hit that at that time or even that day. It has taken me this entire fishing season thus far to learn this. In a few weeks is the Yak Freaks Classic and I have vowed to use my head a lot more at this tournament. I am going to do all I can to try different things, like flipping and pitching more, trying different color plastics, and the big one of not getting stuck on what I think should happen. Yes I have SO much more to learn, but I will get there. The few decent bass that I have caught on my kayak are some of the coolest things that I have done in the outdoor sports realm of things. In just two seasons of bass fishing I have truly become BASS CRAZY!
As I said earlier, I have made lots of mistakes, missed hook sets, even fell in a couple of times, but the desire to become a better fisherman will prevail. Learning is an ongoing adventure. I am a musician by trade, and I learned early on that you can learn something every single time you take the instrument out of the case, the same applies to every aspect of life. Will I get the hang of it? Sure, eventually. Will I learn something new every trip out? Absolutely. Will I ever get the hang of a bait caster? Not a chance. One thing is certain, I will always love the outdoors and give it my best to become a better outdoorsman.
Watch out for the Tree Bass -Kent Todd