I met Mike this past winter at a fly-tying event he organizes, called Guys, Flies & Pies. We discovered a mutual affinity for bass, and made loose plans for getting out when the weather warmed. Those loose plans finally took shape earlier this week as we headed to the West River with a pair of kayaks tied down and jutting, snaggletooth from the bed of my truck.

Now, it should be said that Mike is a very accomplished and avid fly fisherman. Bass, salmon, pike, browns, rainbows, steelies. Accomplished. But Mike had never fished out of a kayak. Hell, he’d never been in a kayak other than possibly testing entry and exit from the relative safety of his yard. And he’d made more than a few jokes in the days leading up to the trip and on the drive there about flipping, swimming, taking a dive and so on. So on this evening of planned bass-chasing, I hoped that we wouldn’t need to spend half of our daylight finding his balance and practicing paddling strokes, or worse, fishing him out of the drink.

Whatever. Mike got in, squared himself and his gear away and headed for open water like a champ. That was that.

We paddled about 150 yards up river before nosing the kayaks into the weed beds that occupy all but the 30 yard wide channel in the middle of the 80 yard wide river. Casting a big-ass popper out along the front edge of the weed bed, it didn’t take long before the surface exploded and I landed my first fat bass. The second, about three casts later, was an even better fish, but I had a hard time being excited. I needed Mike to get on the board.


Then suddenly there was a good splash, a whoop and Mike was on the favorable end of a tight line. I took some video while he tangled with his first kayak bass. While I was checking the footage on my camera after he released the fish, he hooked up with number two. It was at that point, Mike decided to remind me of the score.

Nice. All even at two a piece now, he grinned.

I went from the hopeful, conciliatory home-water host to alpha-dog looking to mark his territory. Not quite Jekyll and Hyde, but my hyper fish-hard-or-die alter ego was reaching for the rod.

Before we were finally chased off the water by mosquitos, darkness and a big, angry beaver, I managed to catch the kicker-fish to break the tie. But to be completely honest, I’m still happier about Mike earning a couple more notches on his “accomplished” belt on my home water, and look forward to notching a few of my own on his.

Check out the video. Full-screen.

Music props to A Tribe Called Quest. 


Filed under On the water


  1. Sweet!! Two guys fishing for bass from a kayak, top water, in the evening, with no banjo music playing in the background…..sign me up!

  2. HA! Well, the truth is I didn’t doubt I’d swim in the drink….until about 40 yards out, then I felt comfortable that I likely wouldn’t….unless I hooked into one of those 15 pounders your dad claims are in there! I had such a great time that I tested my entry and exit from my kayak, again from the grass, and got the kids to scrub it down. Now there is talk of trying to lash it to the van tonight for our weekend camping….not sure that will happen, but it might. If not, hopefully soon I’ll get it out.

    Brian – I actually thought you’d like to try this! If you have a kayak, or access to one, maybe you could join Matt and I next time we go out. We are thinking of going out closer to Rochester next time.

    • fishingpoet

      Definitely Brian, you should give it a shot.
      Sounds like you’ve got your own pit-crew, Mike. My bet is that you’ll be needing to get another one for one of the kids, or Crystal.
      Thanks for the shouts guys!

  3. An Accomplished Angler? I wouldn’t like fishing with him, I’m pretty sure of that.

    • fishingpoet

      I’m not known for knowing when to fold ’em instead of hold ’em. Thankfully bass aren’t too hard a quarry to get into…

  4. Nice! Really good stuff.

    I’m with Kirk…sometimes it’s hard to fish with an “Accomplished Angler”…ha!

  5. I love Tribe Called Quest. Your video posts are awesome. What kind of camera do you shoot your videos with? I’m in the market for something that can take a bit of beating, make decent web videos but won’t cost a bunch of money.

    I’m not a kayaking dude. I’ve been known to tip over a canoe (or 20) in my adventures. But if fly fishing for bass is involved I might just make an exception.

    • fishingpoet

      Thanks Pete! They’re nothing spectacular, but they do add a little “color” to the posts and I like doing them.
      The first few I did I shot with my Droid. This last one I was trying out my new Kodak Play Sport waterproof camera. I’ve got a lot more playing to do to get comfortable with it. I got one of those Joba gripper tri-pods too. Guess we’ll see.
      Bass from a kayak is a good time. Works well when you’re flying solo and don’t want to paddle a bigger canoe around.

  6. Pete

    Ha Ha! Looks like it was a good evening… Kayaks are in my future too as soon as the cash fairy stops by for her visit. I imagine landing a 48″ Pike on the fly from a kayak – that’d make it interesting for sure. Guys, I may not have the hottest spot locally but Mendon Ponds is great for kayaking and holds a fair amount of Bass and a few Pike … and god knows how many Sunfish. It may be worth the adventure.

  7. Truth be told, I chuckled when I read “Mike is a very accomplished and avid fly fisherman”, but it did prove that “online Mike” has fooled the masses! Kirk, if you ever make it up to NY we’ll go out fishing, and I’ll bring my U game (as in Unaccomplished), no need to bust out the A game all the time.

    Pete – Mendon ponds has rarely been in my sights, but now with my renewed hopes for kayak fishing, I might just make it out there. I hope to strap the yak to the car this week or next for it’s first time out! We’ll see if that plan actually happens.

  8. Love bass on the fly rod… I’d use one of those kids’ swimming pool floaty noodles if I had to in order to get to a hot spot…

    Looks like you guys had a blast!!

    • fishingpoet

      Thanks for stopping by Mat!
      Yea, they’re just a whole lot of big-and-angry…which makes for sweet top-water action too.
      And I’m with you on the noodles.

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