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Kayaks Have Come a Long Way for Bass Fishing

provided by John E. Phillips 

Tyler Cole, from Manchester, Iowa, is the first Mossy Oak kayak tournament bass fisherman to be invited to join the Mossy Oak Fishing Team. We generally don’t think of Iowa as a place where you’ll see a large group of kayak fishermen, just as in the movie “Field of Dreams,” Iowa wasn’t known for having a baseball field in the middle of planted corn. 

Tyler Cole bass fishing kayak

Our kayak bass-fishing club has 60 anglers all from Iowa, and a new club just began in Iowa. A friend of mine, Josh Boothe and I will be starting a new kayak tournament-fishing series called the All-American Kayak Bass Fishing Series. This circuit will consist of regional events and will have two events in Iowa. When I first got in my club, it was very small and only had about five events per year with 20-25 members. Back then, I had an Old Town Tripper 10 Kayak, a sit-inside kayak that was one of the first fishing kayaks. It had rod holders on the side, but it didn’t have any kind of mounts to hold a fish finder. So, I took my ice-fishing flasher, put it inside my kayak and would drop my transducer over the side of the kayak to at least see the water depth of the places I was fishing. I bought that boat in either 2003 or 2004 for about $500. The big advantage to me was that the boat wasn’t that expensive, and I could put it in the water on any lake or river and just take off and go fishing. 

I quickly learned that I could fish all the places that the anglers driving the big bass boats couldn’t fish. I also had the advantage of being able to move quietly through the water, be in the outdoors and not disturb any animals on the bank. I also learned that because the kayak was so quiet, I could get much closer to the fish I wanted to catch than I could with an outboard motor or a trolling motor.

Too, kayaks are much easier to launch and take out of the water than a fiberglass bass boat. There have been so many improvements made on kayaks today that if you purchase one like mine, with all the accessories I’ve got, the boat will cost about $8000-$9000, which is still far less expensive than almost all of today’s modern bass boats. I also carry about 20, Plano 3700 flat tackle boxes that feature customizable tackle storage with me in my boat. I stack them in two plastic milk crates and put the remaining boxes under my seat.

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