One of the fastest growing segments of bass fishing is kayak fishing. The rise in popularity over the past few years has seen kayak bass tournaments and a wave of innovation from manufacturers.
Professional bass angler Mike Iaconelli is one of the best-known anglers in tournament fishing, and like many anglers, he has discovered how much fun it can be to catch bass from a kayak.
“The great thing about kayak fishing now is you can do nearly everything you can do in a full-size bass boat. I think back to years ago and fishing from a kayak or a canoe, and it was totally different,” says Iaconelli. “Now, I have depth finders, Power-Poles, a Hydrowave and just about all of the same technology that I have in my bass boat. That is just unbelievable.”
Iaconelli feels that his Lowrance Electronics as well as all of these tools are just as crucial for kayak fishing from his Hobie as they are for fishing from his Bass Cat.
“The ability to stop in place with my Power-Pole Micro as well as using Lowrance as my underwater eyes is critical. I would be lost and feel naked in my boat without electronics, and I feel the same way in a kayak,” he says.
Many bass anglers are rigging their bass boats with massive 12 and 16-inch Lowrance units, but for a kayak, space is obviously more limited. Iaconelli has experimented with several sizes of units and feels that the HDS 7 is perfect for his needs.
“You don’t need large units on a kayak. The 7-inch size is perfect, and it gives me everything I have in my larger units but in a more compact package,” he says. “I set the screens just like I do in my boat to give me the most information I can get. It is my information center, and I’ll run chart, 2D Sonar, StructureScan, and DownScan all at once in a four-screen split.”
Just like when in his bass boat, Iaconelli relies on StructureScan to find boulders and other underwater objects. “As you are paddling and see something off to either side it is very easy to put your finger on the object and mark a waypoint. I will continue my momentum and spin around and then cast to it,” shares Iaconelli. “I can’t tell you how many times that scenario has happened and I have caught a big one doing that.”
Kayaks manufacturers are making it easy for anglers to rig their electronics effectively and the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 Iaconelli uses comes pre-wired for Lowrance units. In fact, many of their kayaks are ready to go for Lowrance.
Iaconelli feels that using StructureScan is vital for kayak fishing, even in small bodies of water and shallow water situations.
“I fish a lot of mill ponds and small lakes that are may only be 10-feet at the deepest point; but finding an isolated boulder or one-foot depth change can be where the fish are. Bass relate to change whether it is five feet or 100-feet deep,” he says.
Ike’s Hobie also features a way to protect your Lowrance transducer with the Guardian Retractable Transducer Shield.
“It is like a trap door, and you can pull it up when you are dragging the kayak down the bank or going over shallow rocks. It protects the crystals inside of the transducer,” shares the New Jersey pro.
For rigging his Lowrance and all of his accessories, Iaconelli uses RAM Mounts.
“I like them because you can easily adjust on the fly. I change body positions a lot when fishing from a kayak, and sometimes I am standing, and sometimes I am sitting down,” Iaconelli says.
The mount allows him to move the HDS 7 around depending on his position as well as to reduce sun glare. He also mounts his Hydrowave and two POV cameras (back and front view) on RAM Mounts.
Many of the bodies of water where Iaconelli launches his kayak are small, and the mapping is nonexistent. Iaconelli relies on C-Map Genesis to make his own maps.
“The majority of the places I fish have no mapping whatsoever. In a few trips you can map a 50-acre lake and know it like the back of your hand,” he says. “You can know every single drop and rise and will be in a better position than someone who is just fishing it blindly.”
The advancement of technology for kayak fishing has brought them to the same level as high-performance bass boats. The explosion of popularity for kayak fishing continues, and even some of the best professional bass anglers in the world have realized how much fun you can have in a kayak.