I’ve touched on this in the past, but after the kayak itself, the next big question relates to your paddle. For years I have recommended buying the lightest, most expensive paddle you can afford. Lighter paddles are less fatiguing, meaning you can enjoy your time on the water longer and feel less sore at the end of a day.
Based on my experience over the past 15 years, I use 30-ounces as a guide for paddle weight. Personally, I use paddles in the 25-ounce range. For those of you using a sit-in kayak a traditional sized blade is fine, but, for the wider, heavier fishing sit-on-tops, look to getting a paddle with an oversized blade to push your kayak even better. A paddle I’ve recommended over the years for kayak fishing is the Aqua-Bound Manta Ray Carbon and for recreational kayaking, the Sting Ray Carbon, both are under 30 ounces and reasonably priced at $199. Paddle length is also an important consideration. This is based on your height and the width of your kayak. Most outfitters can help.
It's prime time to catch and release those smallmouth bass. As always, take a quick picture of your trophy and “Free the Fighter”. Here are a couple lure tips I’ve mentioned in the past, but, are worth repeating for you smallie anglers. One is the Ned Rig presentation with the Z-Man soft plastic lures. This finesse presentation is productive from a few feet deep up to 20 feet. It’s just a very slow stop and go retrieve with a little twitching. The other is swimming a Kalin’s Lunker Grub or Keitech Swimbait on a jig very slow and steady. I catch and release hundreds of smallies each season and this is all I use.
Yes, unfortunately, the end of summer is in sight, but don’t put those kayaks or fishing gear away just yet. From September through November can be great smallmouth bass fishing and with the colors changing later in fall, great for recreational kayaking. As always, if you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org