I really need to check the weather app on my phone more often.
For Saturday afternoon, I planned a quick kayak fishing trip to a local lake. It was the first day of the year that you could comfortably wear shorts, and my cadaver-white legs were in need of some sun and exercise.
I unloaded the kayak on the bank, set up my rig, a 9′ 5wt with a frog popper, and grabbed the paddle, life vest and fly box. It was a somewhat overcast sky with a few clouds as I cast off, but nothing that looked imminently dangerous.
What a difference 15 minutes makes. Once across the lake, winds quickly changed and a dark band of towering cumulonibus clouds rolled in. Strong wind raced through the trees. Heavy drops began to break the previously glassy surface of the water. What I hoped would be a sunshower intensified with heavy winds, thunder, lightening and pounding rain, turning the landscape into a monochromatic squall.
With limited options to reach the bank, I paddled back towards the car. I left the kayak and gear on the bank and spent the next 30 minutes sitting in my soaked clothes watching the lake take a pounding by winds and rain.
And just as quickly as it came in, it was gone. Blue skies returned and the water turned glassy again. I returned to the kayak and drained the gallon or so of water that had collected in the bottom. I checked my gear and paddled out again, this time with much better results.
The fishing started out slow, but I picked up a number of bream that looked remarkably like this guy.
Then I headed to the part of the lake with slower moving water.
I usually don’t visit this section of the lake because it’s typically choked with lilypads and logs, and is home to one less-than-friendly beaver. It’s a trade off – I give him his space and he doesn’t chase me around the lake pounding his tail and scaring the fish. This agreement has worked for two summers.
That said, it is still early in the season and the area is fairly navigable. The storm had left the surface littered with small twigs, leaves and pollen, but nothing too severe.
I began casting into smaller coves holding water that looked like dirty motor oil. I continued to pull out bream but also discovered bass as well. I had several non-bream strikes, and was able to bring this one to hand.
He fought, flipped and jumped, but once inside the boat, held still while I took a couple of pics. I was really surprised to bring him in on relatively light tackle.
As with the bream from this lake, the colors on this bass were deep and ranged from green and black to copper and brown. He looked really healthy.
If you’re heading out this time of year, take my advice and check your weather app before you hit the water. Enjoy!