Prior to working at ACK I had no idea kayak fishing was as huge as it was. Since such a large part of my job is researching, talking about, and interacting with kayak anglers it didn’t feel right to have never gone out on the water for a kayak fishing session of my own. I set out on a mission to change this immediately. Fortunately, ACK is full of kayak fishing enthusiasts like Ryan Schaper who manages our Austin store and serves as KATS Director. I couldn’t think of a better person to reach out to and was delighted when he offered to take me kayak fishing the following week.
In full disclosure, my prior fishing experience was mainly off boats such as deep sea fishing off the Baja California Coast in Mexico. Whenever I got questions about kayak fishing specifics I’d usually defer them to other members of the ACK team. Because of this lack of personal kayak fishing experience, I was really excited about the opportunity to see what all the hype was about for myself. This also meant I was starting from zero when it came to a real life experience, which made it extra nice of Ryan and his friends to let me tag along.
We met up at the put in for the Colorado River at a secret spot (it’s always a secret spot) a little southeast of Austin, Texas. It was dark, cold, and early, but I couldn’t be more excited to kick off the fun. The normal access point gate was locked so rather than back the trucks up to the river, we had to lug our kayaks through the mud a couple hundred yards. That first trek to the water was a little scary because we could hear wild boars nearby and the sludgy mud was deep and slippery from a big storm the weekend before. After getting all our gear out we caravanned to the takeout and made it back to our put in just as the rose-pink glow of dawn started illuminating the sky.
As we hit the water, thick fog from the river combined with the silhouettes of the trees and reeds made for some gorgeous scenery. There’s nothing quite like the peaceful silence you get on the river early in the morning. While I was having my Zen moment reflecting on the beauty as I glided across the water on my Diablo Chupacabra the rest of the crew was hustling to tie their lures and cast their lines.
We floated down a six mile stretch stopping here and there to fish from a few sand bar “islands”. The adventure was an all day affair and I loved feeling like we were out somewhere remote. It reminded me of being out on the Arkansas River when I lived in Colorado last summer.
Ryan taught me how to cast with the spinning rod. I started off using a spinner bait, but didn’t have any luck catching anything. Even after switching to weightless wacky style senko, there was still no action. Apparently there was a change in the barometric pressure that morning which the fish were not a fan of. Ryan later explained how fish are extremely sensitive to these changes and even though we had the flow, fronts, water clarity, and even the lunar calendar in our favor, the rapid change in pressure was enough to kill their activity. Fortunately, the rest of our squad had better luck, bringing in five Large Mouth Bass, one Sun Fish, and eight Guadalupe Bass. This lack of fish didn’t disappoint me too much though, I was having such a great time on the water and am happy for the excuse to go again and actually catch something this time!
Devyn Stewart, Official Kayak Fishing Expert-ish