Okbt/bassmaster event #1 Lake Nippissing

Okbt/bassmaster event #1 Lake Nippissing

The season is here!!!! The first tournament is all wrapped up and what a tournament it was. Having not been on the water prior to tournament day proved to play a critical role for myself in terms of my game plan and I felt the impact almost immediately. As the tournament approached I kept an eye on the weather, and I figured the lake would be warmer than normal, I was looking for it to be pre-spawn, to spawn conditions. So when I was scouting maps and navionics charts that was in my head. I wanted somewhere that I could reasonably access some deeper hard cover in the 10 foot range as well as access to likely spawning bays in close proximity. Having looked around I figured I found what I was looking for and scouted for launches on my way into town, finding two or three usable areas, at one spot I saw bass actively on beds so I knew the spawn was going to factor, but still not being able to get on the water prior to the event I didn't know how far along to expect the spawn to be. So that being said I chose to stick to my plan of having access to both possible patterns rather than locking down on one. I'd later find out that was a mistake. After grabbing a bite to eat it was time to rig up for the morning. My starting line-up of 6 rods was a 3/8thoz Z-man jackhammer with a Rapala crush city Freeloader on the back, a Megabass Vision Oneten, a Rapala Bx Brat, and a Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr with three Smeltinator jigs and with two unrigged baits fished with 2.8" Keitechs on every spot except the bottom center where there was a 3.3" Keitech to round out my casting rods. My two spinning rods were rigged with a wacky rigged Yamamoto Senko, and a Z-man Gobius swimbait. After launching I set up in an area where I thought I might be able to get a couple early bites on a rock point outside of a bay, I fishing up and down it from twelve to six feet and my water temperature was showing a consistent 65-66. After about an forty mins I slid into the bay and start fishing my way into the back of the bay. The water temperature continued to climb to just above 68 degrees as I moved up and got shallow (three and less). It was up in this shallow shallow area that I started to find life, bluegill popping in the weeds, frogs and insects on the surface, casting around I was able to hook up with a nice size pike, and a little while later managed to score my first bass just over the 12" minimum. Realizing that the pre-spawn deal was likely not a factor I moved into the near by bay that I figured would hold some spawning fish and there were a number of other anglers in there already so I could either try to fish behind a bunch of other good kayak anglers or bite the bullet pedal across to the launch and hit the road to what I was sure held a number of spawn and post spawn bass and should have far less pressure, hopefully. So I figured I it was still early enough that if I husseled I would only lose about an hour to hour and a half from my last cast at the first spot to my first cast in the new area, but even with losing that time I was more confident that I could put a limit together and still run into some kicker fish potentially along the way if I made the move. So a got back loaded up and hit the road for a twenty plus minute move in the car. It paid off there was one other person that had found this spot and chose to start there.

I loaded just off the road as I had seen two fish in the 16" range the day before at this spot right at the launch and was hoping that I might be able to sneak in off the opposite bank and get two easy bites. Well that didn't work they were no where to be seen, so I moved up this long shallow (six feet at the deepest) creek arm slowly working both banks as I went trying to get something started. I ended up finding a ditch that opened up to a dirt shallow (less than two feet) pocket, I had switched a couple rods around by this point, I still had the jackhammer tied up and was trying to make up ground and cover water working through the weeds looking for reaction bites. So as the back pocket came into view I was able to fire back and instantly got smashed, brought her to the kayak and this move has started to pay off. 17.5" for the board and only like thirty minutes in the new area, let her go and fired back in and they must have been been bedded back there because I hooked up and added another 14.75" to the board. Figuring that was all that could be back there I moved on but started looking for similar areas trying to get a pattern together to get the ball rolling. As the day played out I and I covered more water I came to another small offchute like the one I had just pulled some fish from. Working my way in I was confident but I wasn't able to trigger a bite, I even started flipping into some pockets in the vegetation as the water temperature had now passed the 70 degree mark, and the sun had gotten up high, but still nothing to show for my efforts so as I started back out and casted along the edge of the weedline, the jackhammer yet again got hammered. This time a more serious fish 18.5" so I'm feeling pretty good about my move now I have four fish scored two I know I want to get rid of by the days end up if you fish kayak tournaments you know how important just showing a limit can be. So with only one more fish needed before I started culling and just under four hours to get it done I was feeling good. I went back to fan casting along the bank as I covered water and still unaware of where the other angler had fished or skipped over ahead of me, I eventually came up to a small but sharp bend in the creek arm with an isolated but fair sized grass patch. On my second or third cast in I missed one that just never had the hook and I wasn't able to get another strike from that fish so I continued to throw the jackhammer and pitch to areas where that wasn't an option and as I worked through the area the jackhammer got smashed again this time it was deep in the weeds so while hooked up I lifted the pedal drive out and went in after the fish eventually getting my hands on it another 17.5"er and just like that I had my limit posted. 12.25"( I needed to get out) a 14.75" (I wanted to get out), two 17.5" and an 18.5" that I was happy with. Still two hours to go. Things were feeling good. Especially since I had lost well over an hour when I decided to relocate earlier in the day.

The final two hours I was torn because by this point I had a couple missed fish that I could try to go back on or I had potentially more untouched water further up in the creek arm because even until this point I still had not seen the other angler so I assumed he went main lake and left the entire creek untouched. So I kept going but unfortunately as time ticked down I just wasn't getting bit or seeing any more isolated areas or larger openings in behind the weedline like I had found success with earlier, but upon turning a bend in the creek I found the other angler so I left him to that stretch of the bank and started my way back fishing the bank opposite to what I had fished coming out. Working back towards the launch I saw a very interesting cut in the creek I had not noticed before, it had laydowns at the entry on one side and a solid rock face on the other but it was I knew there had to be a fish worth catching in the back of this pocket. As I casted my way in it only looked better and better, and as I got to the very back I was only making small fifteen to twenty foot pitches with the jackhammer to specific targets. I flipped almost to dry land at the very back and maybe a two feet from the bank in no more than eight inches of water I got whacked, set the hook and instant knew I had the fish I wanted, I brought it to the kayak went to grab my net but it got stuck in the holder I am using so as I turned and tried to free it my rod dipped and the fish shook me off with the slack in the line. I was in disbelief, the biggest fish I hooked all day easily nineteen to twenty inches a seven plus inch upgrade and I botch it because my net got stuck, (safe to say I'll be changing that set up before the next tournament). Still in shock from it I frantically cast thinking maybe it was on a bed and maybe just made it is ticked off just enough for another go round, no such luck, but I do think it was a bedded fish because while casting I was able to catch a little thirteen inch buck that was likely with that larger female. So I managed to make a very small upgrade just before time expired, not the upgrade I was hoping for but it's the upgrade I got. All in all I was able to salvage the day and put up a decent limit thanks to some last minute changes brought on by some surprising water temperatures.


I finished in 44th place out of 135 anglers for the OKBT, and 28th out of 56 anglers for the OKBN, with a total of 81.25 inches.

Thank you to the great anglers that come out to these events it's always such a blast and, an enjoyable experience being around such like minded and passionate anglers. Thank you to the people who put in all the work to organize and run these events, it is because of people like you that this sport continues to grow and get better and bigger every year. And lastly thank you to the sponsors that support the OKBT and Ontario Kayak Bass Nation we are so fortunate to have the best companies in the sport fishing world supporting us and helping us maximize our time on the water making us more proficient anglers. Being a leader of innovation and quality in their respective product areas you can be assured that if they are on the OKBT Banner or website they are top tier.


Next stop June 22nd at lake St. Clair for the OKBT and OKBN. 

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