Imagine this fly fishing scenario: You pedal your kayak out just before daylight to an area of the lake covered in grass. You take your fly rod out of your RAILBLAZA RodHolder II, get a big topwater popper and fling it across the grass. The next thing that you see or hear is a giant explosion on the top of the water in the vicinity of your fly. It’s fish on at that point.
That is what I live for! My greatest joy is catching a big ole bass on a topwater fly from the kayak. Nothing will get your adrenaline flowing better that that!
You ask, “what do I need and how do I do it?” That’s the easy part.
The kayak is yours to choose. There are many out there that give you the stability you need for fly fishing, whether you stand or sit. My recommendation for a fly rod is a 7-weight that is 9 feet or shorter. This will give you the ability to horse those big fish out of the weeds and structure. Match that rod with a nice large arbor reel, some 7-weight floating line and a 6-foot straight 18- to 20-pound mono leader.
For flies, I go with the old theory that “the bigger the bait, the bigger the fish.” Therefore, you want to use a large Flymen Fishing Double Barrel Popper or anything that resembles a frog. I’ve started using the new YakGear YakSack to store my small boxes of flies where they are easily accessible.
Cast the fly as close to the shore as possible and “plop” it with short, fast strips across the grass. Bass cannot resist the sound and action of that fly scooting across the grass. They will come through the grass and inhale the fly. At that point it’s lift and strip, set as fast and hard as possible — and then hang on.
A lot of folks will say that this method is only effective before the sun is shining on the water, but I have found it to work all day long. It is especially effective on ponds and lakes that have a lot of heavy grass mats. We have caught fish off the grass mats long into the afternoon using big poppers.
The beauty of this is that you can catch big fish on even the smallest bodies of water. Those are the ones that tend to have the most grass. The bass are laying under that grass, out of the sun, waiting for their next meal.
The stealth factor created by being in a kayak really adds to one’s ability to catch these fish. It also allows you to go “where no man has gone before” and sneak back into those hidden pockets where boat and bank fisherman can’t get.
I encourage every one of you to step outside of your comfort zone, grab your yak and a fly rod, and give it a try. Once you do it, you will be hooked.
And YES, you can use a fly rod for something other than trout!
About the Author
YakGear Brand Ambassador Jerry Hamon is an avid fly fisherman from Van Alstyne, Texas. His passion for fishing bass species came to new levels with his entry into kayaking more than 10 years ago. His passion for fly fishing is ever evolving, and his kayak gives him the ability to get to areas no fly fisherman has ever been. Jerry has been president of the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International since 2018.