‘Less is more’ is a catch phrase thrown around in all sorts of circles now days and one circle I believe it definitely holds weight in is small creek bassing, especially when it comes to chasing them in yaks, the less you carry the easier it is to transport, portage and fish from your kayak, hence the KISS principle.
It took me a few trips in the yak to realise you can’t take all your creature comforts and “just in case” tackle like you can in a boat, you need to be a bit more target specific and whittle down your gear to really enjoy paddling your yak and have the room you need to care for your catch. The two most influential trips for me came chasing bass in smaller creeks, one trip out west around Murgon and one trip exploring a local Sunny Coast creek, these two trips showed me you only really need to carry minimal gear to catch some great fish, especially when it comes to wild bass. Wild bass are a lot less picky than their stocked dam cousins, they will pretty much feed on anything that swims or drops into their domain, whether it be a frog or cicada dropping off the creek side vegetation or the little baitfish that makes the wrong decision to swim past.
Trip one was out west a sweet little creek a mate had discovered, and I was lucky enough to get an invite to explore in the yak. The trip started out with a great arvo session on the bass, with a few by-catch yellowbelly to keep things interesting, flicking a few Z-man 2.5” grubs around the snags was getting us a few hits, but unfortunately most were half hearted taps, the addiction of a beetlre spin to the grub though changed the game, the vibrations seemed to fire up the bass and the strikes turned into the heart stopping hits we love about bass. For the rest of that session and also the next day, the beetlespin grub combo accounted for 90% of the bass, even when they seemed shut down the vibration of the blade fired them up kept us enjoying ourselves.
Trip two was a little local creek here on the Sunshine Coast, this creek runs through some of the local cane fields and from the launch site did not look to appetising, but we were here and willing to paddle. The bass this time round didn’t seem too fussed on the plastics, after a couple of follows for no hits, since the sun was up I wanted something that would get down to the bass yet stay close to the snag so after digging into my box and deciding on a rapala count down. Flicking it hard against the first snag, 1, 2, 3, bang, the bass hit hard and took off fast, one thing that I love about kayak fishing is the challenge of controlling a fish on light gear when the fish can easily drag you around the creek, after a good struggle and a few close encounters with the bank and various trees, the fish popped up for a quick release. After the first one, I went on to net 9 more feisty bass on the count down another session where one lure made a difference.
After these to trips I came to realise carrying around every lure I have, plus the usual 3-4 rods I’d have in the boat, was just not worth the effort to paddle it all around, since then I have cut down to the essentials and have been enjoying the following forays in the yak a lot more, now days I carry a small box of hard bodies, with 3-4 of each style of lure (floating, sinking and topwater), some of them that are always in there are River2Sea Buggi Pops, Rapala XRCD05, Tilsan Bass and a cheap one called a Super Bass. Another box houses my soft plastics, of which I only worry about 2.5” grubz, 4” streakz, some beetle spins and a handful of jigheads. Some 10lb fluorocarbon leader and a bottle of scent and your sorted. As far as handling fish and small net, pliers and lipgrips keeps you out of trouble, while a rod or two rigged with a small threadline and 8-10lb braid rounds out everything needed to get into some great small river wild bass action.