15 Minutes with New England Kayak Angler Carl Vonnegut
What we learned…
Approach: This was the 10th year for the annual NEKF Mass Bay Striper Shootout, one of the biggest kayak fishing tournaments in the Northeast. I was entered in the artificial-only division and I stuck with plastic baits the whole time. I fished primarily at night, and focused on areas with rocky structure and current. I like to drift and cast in likely holding areas, and then troll as I move from spot to spot.
Rigging Selection: Hogy 14″ Original Series (we also suggest the 13″ Jigging Series) rigged on 1/2oz or 3/4oz Barbarian Jig Heads (size 10/0). Besides using superglue to secure the body to the jighead, I also glue the rigging channel closed for a more durable connection. I use a heavy duty backlash-style snap for the jighead-to-leader connection. This “hinged” connection gives the bait more action when pausing or twitching.
Why this bait? The 14″ baits have that great serpentine action and are very versatile. I also use the 13″ jigging baits.
Retrieve: Moderate swimming retrieve with an occasional pause or twitch. Fishing in 10-15′ of water, I typically start off trying to keep the bait in the lower half of the water column. I had a couple fish follow the bait right to the kayak and try to hit it just as it was coming out of the water. After seeing this, I picked up the pace of the retrieve a bit and it seemed to trigger the bite better.