Noah O'Reily 27/08/2016 | Posted in Fishing
Lake St. Clair is a popular location for bass anglers looking to catch trophy-sized smallmouth, but not many anglers fish it from a little plastic boat. This can be extremely rewarding when you lift that 5 pound golden beauty from the water after it pulls you around in your kayak. Lake St. Clair is a very unique lake for kayak anglers especially during the spring.
Springtime kayak fishing on St. Clair is a one of a kind experience. This is when you can fish the pre spawn and spawn without having to paddle far. The smallmouth are stacked up in anywhere from 4-8 feet of water. Wherever you can find a rocky bottom, you can find some big bronzebacks. My go-to baits during the spring are jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and tubes. The fish seem to not be very picky during this time of the year, but this is not the case for the summer months.
A popular misconception about the 430 square mile lake is that when summer comes around, all of the smallies move to deeper water. However, many big fish do stay shallow in about 6-8 feet during the summer. This is good news for kayak anglers because we cannot launch from 9 mile and motor out to the St. Clair Light to find those deep summer smallmouth like bass boat anglers can. What you can do is paddle out to 8 feet of water and let the wind push the kayak at a comfortable drifting speed. This allows you to drag a tube, dropshot, Carolina rig, or a jig.
As many St. Clair anglers know, the wind can whip up in minutes. I have often times been out quite far on the lake, and had the wind kick in. When this happens, your day on the water does not have to be over! All you have to do is head in to the nearest canal to fish for some largemouth. There are plenty of big largemouth on St. Clair.
When the lake does become a little bumpy, it is nice to have a stable kayak you can feel comfortable on. My kayak of choice is the Big Rig made by Jackson Kayak. It is 38 inches wide, making it super stable. This kayak is not the fastest, but it serves its purpose when it comes to standability. Standing is important on a kayak if you are looking to work a jerkbait, crankbait, or if you are targeting bedding fish. This platform is also big enough to carry all of my gear with me.
It is very important to have the right equipment with you on your kayak. A life jacket is a must because of the potential of a rough day on the lake. I always wear my life jacket on my kayak. After all, you can flip over if you are not careful. Plus I like to keep pliers, fish grips, line cutters, and a knife on my vest, so I can minimize scrambling for any of that gear while fighting a fish. Tie downs for all of your important gear is vital. I use bungees to secure my fishing crate in the back of my kayak. Many anglers use rod floats just in case they drop their rods over the side, they are not losing their expensive combos. Last but certainly not least a fish finder is an awesome tool for a kayak fisherman. I am not very skilled with using fish finders, so I use mine strictly for finding depth and seeing what kind of structure is on the bottom of the lake.
Kayak fishing has exploded in popularity in the last few years. When someone asks me why I like it so much, I have three reasons. First, it is affordable. Second, you can take your kayak in remote places that boats cannot go. Lastly, the fellowship of kayak anglers is second to none. All of the anglers I know are very friendly. So much so that they are willing to share their best spots! We are all a tight-knit group, but of course new anglers are always welcome!