Growing up on LSC in the sixties and seventies, I wasn’t interested in fishing much, even though I lived on a canal minutes from the lake. After taking up the sport of Kayak Fishing in 2008 I fished for all species targeting, Bass, Muskie, Walleye, Channel Cat, Perch, Steelhead, and even Sturgeon on the American side of the lake.
It wasn’t until 2013 that I started participating in kayak bass tournaments. It took me a few years to find tactics that would consistently catch fish. Trolling crankbaits with two rods was successful at first, though it was boring, and kayak bass tournaments were only allowing one rod. I also found that I was leaving behind good opportunities while being on the move covering water.
It seems that everyone wants to throw crankbaits, and jerk baits, maybe because it is a well-advertised tactic used by the pros along with the marketing of various colorful hard baits. Even though I have boxes and boxes of several manufacturer’s hard baits, and a few crankbait rod and reel setups, I haven’t had a whole lot of success casting crankbaits from my kayak. Possibly because my comfort level at using plastics with finesse tactics has become more successful for me.
Last August there was a Bassmaster Elite Open on LSC and if you watched any of the media coverage you would have seen a lot of the video or pictures of anglers using a spinning rod and reel combo. When there was an interview or blog of what an angler used, they listed off various hard baits, spinner baits, soft plastics and drop shot. I am going to predict that most were using a soft plastic (Tube) or drop shot setup for most of their day and making sure they mention the hard baits from the companies they are sponsored by.
Most of my weekly fishing is on LSC and I have found that the Ned Rig and Drop Shot have been the most consistent and successful tactics at catching bass. For the Ned Rig I will use a medium light spinning rod and reel combo spooled with six-pound copolymer line. My Drop Shot setup is the same except I have 15-pound braid with an eight to ten-foot length of six or eight-pound fluorocarbon leader. The weight used for both will depend on wind, current, water clarity and depth. The colors used are Green pumpkin, chartreuse, shad colors, or any combination of the three for plastics.
In 2017 I fished two Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) Trail events on LSC, one in May and one in September. The May event I finished 2nd and in September I won my first KBF Trail event. All bass were caught on the Ned Rig or Drop Shot. Only difference was in May I used an octopus type drop shot hook and a worm style hook in September. The smaller profile bait worked better in May.
Both the Drop Shot and Ned Rig are tactics that I know I can catch fish with. For the open water of LSC they are a great confidence bait, especially during tournaments. If I am fishing near shore or the grassy islands near Mitchell’s Bay on the east side of the lake I will use a Texas Rig, football jig, and at times, top water.
It still intrigues me why I can’t catch as many fish using hard baits compared to plastics. Though I can stand in my kayak, most of the time is sitting and it is hard to make casts the distance needed to get the baits down to the depths they are capable of. Being out in the open lake, wind plays a big part and unless you are casting with the wind, make sure to keep your rod low and a bait that has some weight that will cut the wind better if you insist on throwing hard baits.
I have traveled and fished many of the nations top bass lakes, give me one choice of any lake that I can only fish and it will be Lake St. Clair.