Cherokee Lake Kayak Bass Fishing

Welcome to the first in this series of articles on the Chronicles of a Kayak Bass Angler.

On January 15th 2021 I competed in the first stop toward AOY with the Northeast Tennessee Kayak Anglers Tournament Trail on Cherokee Lake.

We had pre-fished it a few times prior to the event and found some fish and had somewhat of a pattern nailed down.

Of course, as it goes for patterns, they can change from one day to the next.

As usual we arrived pretty early to our spot because we knew we were going to have a lengthy paddle back to get to our starting point.

We started out the morning with a word of prayer, asking God to protect us and keep us safe and to (perhaps give us favor to find fish and even win if it was His will.)

Lost $800 In Tackle While Kayak Bass Fishing On Cherokee Lake During Our First Tourney Of 2022

Let’s get this post started with Some Simple Truths About Kayak Fishing

First of all kayak bass fishing is a lot of fun, but, it can also be quite challenging.

When it comes to gear and gear management you have to make sure everything is secure, if not, your day will end up just like mine did.

More about that later in the post.

Aside from gear management, you also must make sure you are paying attention to everything.

Pay attention to your gear, (where you place your combos/tackle, etc.) and also your feet and paddle placement if you use a paddle to propel your kayak, etc.

Kayak fishing in the winter time can especially become difficult for you if you aren’t fully prepared for the weather as well.

My philosophy is simple, use common sense when it comes to your attire while fishing in a kayak in the winter time or any time for that matter.

The most important thing to remember while kayak fishing is that while it is a ton of fun, it can also be dangerous.

Keep yourself balanced and focused and you will end up having the time of your life.

If not, then things can happen in a split second and you could end up in the water or losing some expensive gear just like I did.

When Things Don’t Go As Planned While Kayak Bass Fishing

The morning started off nearly perfect, the wind was light and variable at times, but nothing of real concern.

Everything seemed to be lining up to have a very successful day.

After several casts with various different baits I was able to locate a 15″ Largemouth bass on a ned rig setup using 1/10 oz Zman Shroom Heads as well as a Zman Big TRD in Yoga Pants (water was slightly stained).

Prior to getting bit on the ned rig I had thrown a Bomber Flat A crank, 5/16 Oz Jig (Black/Blue) paired with a Googan Krackin’ Craw Trailer, Megabass jerkbait from Bass Pro Shops, and an Alabama Rig purchased from Just Fishn’ Store.

A few casts later I hooked into a nice smallmouth bass but right as she got to the surface she came off my hook. A few hours had went by and it seemed like the bite had slowed a little so I went back to tossing my other baits with zero bites.

At this point I was starting to get frustrated.

I was cold, hungry, thirsty, but dedicated to continuing on in the hunt for more fish.

Then finally, I switched back to the Ned again, and boom, picked up another bite.

As soon as I turn to grab my net, bam, another good fish lost in the process, this would have been my third fish and it looked like she would have been a good one as well.

I definitely needed that one to boost my confidence that was falling by the minute.

However, that excitement quickly diminished when that fish got loose and swam off back into the water.

My frustration started to set in pretty good and I took a few minutes to collect myself and made every effort to regain focus.

By this time I had a just a few hours left in the tournament.

I put my head down and continued to fish with the ned rig because It was getting bites.

About another hour or so went by and bam, I was able to connect with another 15 1/4 inch smallmouth bass.

This time I was able to successfully net the fish and get her into the Kayak and onto the board.

I thought to myself, Ok, “you can turn this around.” just three more good ones and you are in the top 3 for sure.

Of course, I was speculating as there wasn’t anything to really measure that by other than what the field of other anglers had posted.

So I proceeded to get my phone out so I could successfully submit this catch and as soon as I went to grab my phone to snap the picture my confidence booster was off my catch board and back into the water in just split second.

Another fish lost, and then shortly afterwards, what would have been my fifth fish of the day and my limit got away as well.

I allowed my frustration to set in and that’s when everything went down hill.

Instead of placing three of my other rods back into the rod holders I had setup on my kayak in the tank well, I laid them to the side of my on my kayak.

Somehow, I managed to kick those three rods right out of the kayak and into the lake.

Before I realized what had happened, I turned back around all I could see was three rod tips diving into about 12 feet of water, there was no chance I was saving them.

Three combos gone in the blink of an eye. I lost two Daiwa Tatula 150 HSL reels paired with 7ft medium heavy St. Croix Mojo Bass Rods and a St. Croix Bass X Spinning rod paired with a Pfluegar President Spinning reel.

Each combo had baits on them as well, and they weren’t cheap.

Everything that could go wrong with this day manifested itself very quickly.

I only managed to get one scorable fish, lost 4 others and lost 3 rod/reel combos and at the end just before getting off the water to head to check in, I went to set the hook on another fish and broke my newly purchased Ark Lancer Pro Spinning rod tip down to the third eyelet.

When everything goes wrong and there is nothing you can do it about it.

Do you just quit and say forget it? That’s the normal thing and what a lot of people do. But that’s not me.

While yes, that crossed my mind a few times, I keep saying NO!

I will keep moving forward and I will not quit.

When everything goes wrong you will be faced with finding yourself and what type of person you really are.

If you quit when things get tough, you will never see victory.

Instead, you’ll always find yourself defeated.

Kayak Fishing is very challenging, but it’s also very rewarding.

I may not have won on the water yesterday, but I took a win in my mind and with my mental health.

As a man I refuse to let this setback and unfortunate day on the water get in my head and cause me defeat.

Fishing is a lot like living life in general.

There will be times when you are on fire and everything is working out for you and there will be times when you want to slip on off into the cold water and just let it take you.

You see when all hell broke loose for me on the water, I was being tested to the core, yet I refused to give up. I fished to the bitter end, walked proudly into check in, held my head up high and spent time in fellowship with my fellow anglers.

A bad day, week, month or even a year is not going to stop me from accomplishing my goals and if you are serious about what you are doing, then you won’t let times like this get the best of you either.

Stay the course and keep on Fishing!

See you on the water,


Stay safe, stay strong, and remember always; You are a Champion. Be One!

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