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River Valley Outdoors
Kayak Fishing Adventure in the Androscoggin River
I just installed an anchor trolley system on a new 13-foot Trident Angler, Ocean Kayak and had to slip the orange and yellow colored craft in the water. I really wanted to see if I could navigate the sit-on-top kayak in the current of the Androscoggin River, and fish at the same time.
And, while testing the anchor system, I thought I’d fling a line into the moving water to see if I could hook a smallmouth bass. I brought along a nine-foot, Loomis 7-weight to give me some oomph when tossing big surface flies.
I found that paddling the kayak and casting do not mix, of course. A kayak angler will either drop the paddle overboard, or get horribly tangled in excess line. Before I did either, I decided to secure the paddle blade under a hull strap while casting. I also found that while paddling, temporarily storing the rod in the handy pod holder works best.
This model comes with a center hatch pod that accommodates multiple rod holders, drink holders, and even an electric fish finder if needed. A sealed forward hatch has a strap system to store the battery off the bottom of the kayak in case any water gets into that chamber.
I found that with a few strokes of the paddle, I could easily move upstream in some pretty strong current. Long, forward-reaching strokes worked even better when the current really tried to tug me downstream.
As I approached a large eddy that I though might hold a smallie, I eased the kayak to a halt in the slack water where it met the faster moving part of the river. While this flat eddy provided a little relief from paddling in the current, I decided it would be a perfect time to store the paddle and lay a little line out near the shore.
I could almost hear the theme from the movie “Jaws” playing the background as soon as the surface fly hit the smooth water of the eddy. In one acrobatic leap the smallmouth had the fly in his mouth, shaking his head violently while hovering a few feet off the river’s surface. I couldn’t believe the muscular fish didn’t dislodge the fly with all the aerial maneuvers he was doing.
While I attempted to bring this fish closer to the kayak, I noticed the craft had edged its way into the stronger current. With my anchor stored in the hatch, I had no way to stop the kayak from moving downstream. What happened next would have never taken place if I had the anchor on the deck, ready to use at a moment’s notice.
I decided to try to paddle the kayak with one hand and hold the rod in the other. While maintaining a grip on the rod and line, I was able to paddle the kayak into a thick bed of surface weeds near the shoreline. This stopped the kayak and allowed me to finish fighting the fish.
I got the 15-inch smallmouth in and realized that if this had been a bigger fish, I’d have been in trouble. I’m sure a 19-incher would have snapped the tippet while I struggled with the paddle.
Next time I’ll rig the anchor for quick deployment before putting a line in the water. That way the kayak fishing plan will work like it’s supposed to – hook a fish and drop anchor to allow the angler a NON-MOVING platform to fight the fish from. Doing 360’s in the moving current is not a safe way to maneuver a kayak, especially if the angler has a fishing rod in one hand with a strong fish tugging at the end of the line.