To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this session. It was a bit last minute as the camping trip I had planned on the bike didn't happen and the weather was a little all over the place. I knew there was a chance of rain which was fine, but it was the wind that proved tricky... As I rounded the point opposite the dam I was buffeted all the place, with white horses moving swiftly across the open water. It was more like being out on the sea than a lake!
So it was a hard paddle down to the recent hot spot at the far end of the reservoir and my shoulders were on fire by the time I made my first cast. As expected, I just could not keep the kayak in position and it was a real struggle to cast and clip the lily pads... So it was a surprise that I got my first tap after only 10 minutes of fishing (which was probably after 5 or so casts due to being constantly pushed into the bank and having to paddle out again!). And it was even more surprising when I got my first solid bite - perhaps the wind was actually doing me a favour?!
I kept at it along the edges but after 30 minutes with nothing more to show for my efforts I headed into the next bay and had breakfast. I did consider having a cast around but the wind was so strong, the lure was actually coming back at me rather than hitting the my targets...
So after a bit of thinking I decided that maybe an open water spot would be the go. My plan was to head to the rafts of lily pads at the far end, position myself right on the outer edges and let the wind carry me stealthily in amongst the pads, casting as I went.
After a couple of runs through I got my second bite of the day and it was a cracker! I'd cast tight to the pads and had reeled almost to the kayak when the bass hit. I think it's my favourite type of bite as you've almost finished the retrieve when the fish decide to hit the lure, they really hit it.
As it happened, landing the fish 'rafted' me along side one of the bigger sets of pads and I realised that it gave me a perfect anchor point to keep casting to the same area. There we clearly more fish around as I received two more bumps on the next cast and then another absolute banger of a bite, again right near the kayak! Sadly, this fish made a deep dive right into the pads and despite me giving it some stick with the rod it managed to spit the hook... But I got the lure back which was a relief and got to casting again.
In an effort to not fall into the trap of spending too long in any one spot I've started being a bit more strict with my casting, using a counting method - max 15 'good' casts to the area and then move on. So it was a real surprise when on the seventh cast I got another bite, again right by the kayak - this was too much fun! Again, this one went straight into the pads but I was a bit more prepared this time and kept the fish higher in the water meaning it was a relatively easy job to get him in the net.
That fish went back and I got to casting again, and this time it took a little longer to get the next bite, around 12 casts and it was away - this was too good, I was having so much fun!
All four bites came really close to the kayak and I couldn't work out if the fish were following from the pads I was casting to or they were coming out from below me and hitting the lure? From what I've been told, the fish often take the bait on their way back to cover rather than taking it on the drop but these bites seemed to be the opposite, i.e. the fish where coming out of the pads away from me and then attempting to get back to cover.
After that flurry of activity the bites dried up and the wind really picked up, pushing me out of the pads and making casting a nightmare. It'd also started to rain a little so I decided to call it a day and beat for home.
But what a session?! I know a lot of you reading this will think that 5 bites and 4fish over the space of 4 hours fishing isn't the greatest ratio but for me, it was a real result and I can't wait to get out there again.