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Kayak Floating Techniques ?

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I guess this question rather series of questions would fall under this category and would be directed towards Eric. After reviewing his second report where he describes how they attacked the dupe by holding positions and sometimes floating back to hit area second time, I realized how inept I am in this area. I struggle when fan casting an area that has potential to hold fish or have a difficult time when quartering up good areas. I find myself doing more paddling or repositioning to hit sweet spots. How does one do this without anchor? what are some of the techniques guys use. Does it depend on the river or areas (inside/outside bends). How much does the cfs play a factor in the way one approaches, in normal flow suitations?

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One option is to simply float downstream and use an anchor. For the kayak, two to three sections of 16 inch logging chain attached with clasp.

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One option is to simply float downstream and use an anchor. For the kayak, two to three sections of 16 inch logging chain attached with clasp.

 

Besides slowing down the drift, the chain works well to keep the kayak tracking straight.

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Not the be-all, end-all, or "right" way to do anything, but info based on my experiences and stuff that works for me...

 

If you have a decent kayak that tracks well, an upstream outing is a nice way to go. With the nose pointed directly into the current, you can make several casts at your target before having to dip the paddle to keep position. My tandem works out particularly well for this, especially when I have Kevin or my son Grant in the front. I am heavier and do all the paddling from the back. I feel like the kayak is very balanced at that point and it holds position very well. Now if Jonn comes with me, he is about as heavy or heavier than I am, and I expend a lot more energy moving us around. If one guy gets snagged and I have to turn the boat or completely change position to retrieve the snag, it can be tough in current! A whole day of that can be taxing.

 

Another big advantage of an upstream outing is that there's no car dropoff needed. Even if you have a float partner and second car, you still save the dropoff time. This can be critical when trying to take advantage of first light. Love that morning mist and the sound of a topwater explosion. That, and so much water ahead to explore!

 

When going upstream, just take your time, line up the nose of the kayak with your targets, and pepper away. You'll be presenting the bait coming downstream as it would normally be traveling in current, and draw some vicious strikes. This is especially important (and advantageous) in the Dupe when the eel grass is thick. While traveling upstream, you can see the clear lanes in the eel grass and work a bait downstream through them. Even if you're hitting the grass, you don't pickup as much because you're already working through the natural direction of the grass in the flow of the current.

 

When a guy is coming downstream in a watercraft and slinging, 75% of the time they are probably going to be bringing baits across that eel grass.

 

Slow, stealth, no anchor.

 

Have you ever been drifting downstream and come upon a "hole" or clearing mid-river that you didn't know was there? By the time you spot it, it's really too late to fish it, and the last thing you see are all the big smallmouth spooking out of it? Traveling slowly upstream alleviates that ... IF you take the time to pay attention to the cues the river is providing.

 

If you need extra time to work an area, just move to shore and put the nose of your kayak on a log, grass pile-up or shore itself. Just be stealth. Take some time to fan-cast the area, then back out and continue.

 

You'll figure out all kinds of tricks that'll help your comfort and increase your catches if you don't think of floats as only downstream point A to point B adventures.

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In my SOT I will swing one leg out to hold near shore. Its easier then running the yak on & off the rocks. In ponds a light anchor works great. I have a 2# coated dumbell weight.

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Eric

 

Would you say that works best on smaller waters? I couldn't imagine going upstream on larger rivers.

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It depends on your tenacity and how badly you want to explore and catch fish. If you think you can do it, you will.

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Eric

 

Would you say that works best on smaller waters? I couldn't imagine going upstream on larger rivers.

actually it is easier on larger (Rock River size) rivers. I like to find a half mile long rip-rap bank, start at the downstream end of it , and work my way upstream. I rest my foot on a rock at the side of the water and cast upstream for awhile then paddle further upstream and repeat to work the whole rip rap bank eventually.

 

Generally if you stay near the shore you can paddle upstream just fine. (especially when the water levels are relatively low). l I like to stay near shore anyway to avoid powerboats.

 

ericg

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actually it is easier on larger (Rock River size) rivers. I like to find a half mile long rip-rap bank, start at the downstream end of it , and work my way upstream. I rest my foot on a rock at the side of the water and cast upstream for awhile then paddle further upstream and repeat to work the whole rip rap bank eventually.

 

Generally if you stay near the shore you can paddle upstream just fine. (especially when the water levels are relatively low). l I like to stay near shore anyway to avoid powerboats.

 

ericg

It would seem quite difficult to take an upstream approach in higher gradient stream/rivers that have heavier current flows. I suppose floating downstream covers more distance but not necessarily more water, but it can be effective.

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Thanks to all who responded to the questions, I was hoping for a variety of answers & input. Got to put some of this good knowledge to use and step my game up.

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I've had a lot of great upstream outings going pretty far up the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. Comparatively, those are much larger rivers than the Dupe. You can find nice wide pools that are fairly slow and easy to paddle through.

 

The biggest factor on wider areas is wind.

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For smaller rivers like the Dupe branches or pooling-type areas on the Fox and even parts of the K3 river, upstream is possible.

 

But, for example, for the best-fishing parts of the Kankakee River e.g. from Davis Creek to Warner Bridge, upstream paddling is impossible and still fish.

 

Solutions

 

The standard technique for kayaks is drag chains. See HERE for some examples. This is what I use.

 

However, I don't like the idea of the drag and the potential for spooking fish, so I am going to try something we do out on lake Michigan - use a sea anchor. You can get them for cheap HERE, but I guess it remains to be seen if the shallow nature of the Kankakee will present a challenge with snagging the drogue.

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I started doing the "upstream" paddle on the Kish about a year ago. My best outings this year have been while doing the upstream paddle.

I'm fairly new to kayak fish so there is a lot I'm still learning. There are areas on the Kish that get too shallow to paddle up so at this point I

quietly roll my big butt of the kayak, contect a strap from the nose of the kayak (about 10 feet long) to a clip on my vest, and begin to wade fish the area until I get into deeper paddling water. The foot on the bank or rocks is a good technique that I am still working on. My best advice I can share is to make mental notes of everything mention here and try each technique and figure out which works best for you.

Good luck and have fun!

Also.... When doing an upstream paddle, it's best to do it when you have no commitments to anything else that day and take your time like Eric said. Enjoy.

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I like the idea of an upstream paddle but I can see how downstream would be the more practical option when access points come into play if the distance between them is lengthy.

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Just did a real quick scan of this thread I will make some quick comments hopefully not dupes.

I have done a lot of paddling and learning water dynamics helps.

I paddle year round which includes winter river fishing if you paddle a lot upstream you get in shape which makes it easier. When going upstream the yak you are using makes a big difference (hull design/weight/etc). Some yaks perform better.

Early spring/spring can mean higher flow rates and some real arm burns when going upriver. Suggest wearing waders to deal with shallows I would simply tie my anchor rope around my waist and pull my yak upstream in very shallow fast waters. I would simply cast when walking upriver pulling the yak.

 

If you have an anchor trolly from bow to stern obviously you can anchor and hit your spots going upriver or downriver. For anchors I use collapsible 1.5lb grappling anchors or for faster water I use a 3lb grappling anchors. There are pros/cons to using grapplers versus chains and dumbells etc however what I like is that for most instances a 1.5lb grappling anchor is adequate and very light. Care needs to be taken with grappling anchors as you can get yourself in trouble in fast current. You need a knife attached to your pfd to cut anchor line if need be.

 

I have done a lot of long upriver paddles, but I do those less often in warmer months, I often do my own shuttle via bicycle when I just want to do a one way paddle. Either ditch your yak upstream and ride a bike up and lock it or vice versa lock a bike up downstream and than ride back up to your vehicle.

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Good comments Joe. Yep, going a lot and being in shape and used to water dynamics, the limitations of your craft and yourself make a huge difference! Especially when planning and budgeting your time.

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