Kayak Fly Fishing For Top Water Bass & Pike

Another Kayak Trip to Point Mouillie State Game Marsh for bass and Pike.  The wind was forecast to be low and  from a good direction (NE) to try the Lake Erie side of the dyke along the rip rap.  I arrived late and the wind was now blowing across Lake Erie so I went inside the dyke.  I was struggling  to  get hits on  Poppers.  Switching to prototype Black  Marabou Banger got one 14 inch bass that I realized had  been guarding a very big school of 1/2 inch fry so he was defending his babies.  Trying a Chartreuse Green Popping Wedge was futile, varying the retrieve wasn't working until I hit water with active bass and I got 10 bass over 14 inches including this 21 incher.

Kayak bass fly rod poppers

Kayak Bass, Popping Wedge Fly

Kayak Bass, Popping Wedge Fly

Marabou Bangers & Poppers Bass, Pike flies

I got these 11 fish without loosing a one good fish.  I break all the barbs off the hooks.  The short shank hooks I use hold fish very well but are also harder to get to penetrate for a good hook set.  I had not seen a single Pike, the hot sunny weather had perhaps shut them down and I cut off my 40 lb Fluorocarbon bite leader because the foam head on the Popping Wedge had taken a beating and was not floating as high. 

I retied with a smaller, flashier Chartreuse Marabou Banger tied on the same 2/0 hook. I lost the next 6 next fish I hooked.  More about those poppers and popper hooks at the end of this post.   I bent the point inward a bit, reducing the gap but making for a smaller angle for the point to enter better with less force.  Landed the next good fish.  Next hit was a small Pike, I didn't set the hook, after waiting a few seconds I gently lifted the rod to feel if he was still holding on but I felt the leader cut and go slack.  I put on this beat up 3/0 Chartreuse Marabou Banger, still loosing fish but landed 10 more Including this Pike who was hooked outside the mouth and a 20 inch bass.

Kayak Bass, 3/0 Marabou Banger Popper Fly

Kayak Pike, Marabou Banger Popper Fly

The landing net is critical to landing pike before their violent trashing allows them to cut a regular leader or even the 40 lb fluorocarbon bite leader I tie to my 12 lb tippet.  This pike had the 12 lb through his jaws while the fly was hooked outside.  Now I won't fish around pike without a good net.  It was nice to get the big bass landed ASAP.  One of them was in the weeds and I couldn't lift her but I could reach down and scoop her out with the net

Kayak Bass, Marabou Banger Popper Fly

Kayak Bass, Marabou Banger Popper Fly

Kayak Bass Marabou Banger Popper Fly

Kayak Bass, Marabou Banger Popper Fly

The Marabou Banger has a square cut face on the popper head.has the stiff, strong wrap of prism tape  over the head.  This may catch inside the fishes mouth more preventing the hook from setting initially.  The prism tape wrap makes for a very flashy popper head which works well for great lakes fish that feed heavily on the many silvery minnows they grow big eating.  It also protects the foam head from a lot of abrasion so the popper doesn't loose as much floatation under hard use.  On the smallmouth trip, I thought that slightly bending in the angle of the hook point in a bit, led to better hook sets and landing more Smallmouth on the 1/0 Marabou Banger I was using.

The head on the popping wedge is not reinforced by the Prism Tape wrap so on the hook set, it gives more and may slide through the fish's jaws a bit better.  The way the cylinder is cut at an angle causes the head of the popper to dive a bit on the pop jerk then it bobs right back up to the surface.   This shakes the long marabou and Flashabou tail.  The slightly flattened shape of the head helps turn the hook point crosswise to the clamped jaws of the fish which helps the percentage and quality of the hook sets.




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