Bottom Bouncing with Crankbaits

In May and June, when the weed is shorter than later in the year, I fish almost exclusively with crankbaits. Not because it’s so effective, but because it’s a hell of a lot of fun!

Crankbaits are absolute classics and great search baits that you can fish easily and they are ideal to cover a lot of water in a short time. Just throw the crankbait into the water and move the lure quickly. If the fish does not take the bait, you should try slowing down. With speed changes and stops you can find out what the fish want. The bites often come after several identical casts to the same area. 

Crankbaiting is very easy, I prefer so-called deep cranking or bottom bouncing, where the crankbait runs very deep and therefore has constant contact with the ground in shallower areas. The large plastic bill shields the hooks, so the risk of losing the bait is very low.

My favorite crankbait is the Rapala MaxRap Fat Shad, which was launched in 2014. In the meantime, it is no longer produced and is therefore very difficult to buy. With a size of 5 cm and a weight of 8 grams, the MaxRap Fat Shad runs amazingly deep (240-360 cm). My favorite color: Ayu!

My tackle when crankbaiting: Shimano Biomaster (1.90 m, 5-28 g), Shimano Stella 2500, Power Pro braided line and a Sufix Zippy Shockleader.

In the past few weeks I have been able to catch a lot of zander, perch and pike while crankbaiting. The early morning and late evening hours have been the best so far.

So if you want to have a bit of a change from fishing with softbaits, just take a crankbait out of your box. It’s a lot of fun!

10 Kayak Fishing Days in Florida for Only € 990!

Would you like to experience unforgettable and fully organized days in one of the best fishing areas in the world? South Florida is a paradise for kayak anglers, adventurers and of course families! We organize this amazing trip to a perfect location right on the water with a fully equipped fishing kayak and, if you wish, a diverse supporting program. And all this at an unbeatable price!

Our destination in Florida is the small charming town of Matlacha on an island in a strait between Pine Island and the mainland of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico, right next to Cape Coral and Fort Myers. Our accommodation – the Fishermen’s Paradise – with its four apartments offers space for up to 8 people and is located right on the water. A total of six fishing kayaks were available for guests, including paddles, life jackets and accessories. A really great location and you only have to paddle a few meters to catch snook, redfish, tarpon, seatrout, ladyfish, jacks, stingray, sharks and many other species.

Price per person is only 990€!

Inclusive: 9 nights at Fishermen’s Paradise in Matlacha including final cleaning and administration costs, fishing kayak with life jacket and paddle for all days, detailed briefing before the trip, help with booking flights and the entry permit for the USA, organization of supporting program (Everglades, Key West, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Shooting Ranch, Bass Pro Shop, Shopping Mall, Cape Canaveral, Daytona Beach etc.), tips for successful fishing and good hot spots, tips for great local restaurants and sights, and all taxes. We support you with the booking of the rental car (for the group) and with the purchase of the fishing licenses.

Extra costs: flights, rental car, fishing license and meals.

The apartments are fully equipped with bath/shower, kitchen, WiFi, TV, BBQ place and parking spaces. Of course you can fish as much as you want all day, but if you are interested, we can organize a few nice day trips for the group to the following destinations:

The Everglades

A trip to the Everglades is highly recommended. A simple car ride on the Tamiami Trail (connects Tampa with Miami) is a great adventure and you can see many alligators. There are numerous stops along the road. Airboat and buggy tours are possible, you can observe wildlife on trails or even paddle through the Everglades with a kayak. This is definitely worth it if you want to meet alligators at eye level. Extra tip: Billie Swamp Safari, about 80 miles from Fort Myers.

Miami

A day trip to the city of Miami on the southeast coast of Florida is possible in time. If we start very early and prepare to be back home late at night, we can do it.

Florida Keys

Do you want a Caribbean feeling? Then off to the Keys that everyone knows for sure. As a day trip from Fort Myers not an easy undertaking, but quite doable. Small stop at Robbie’s to feed Tarpon, then a nice souvenir photo at Hemingway’s house and at Southernmost Point in Key West.

Walt Disney World Resort

Especially if you have children with you, a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is a great experience. But plan at least two days for this and think carefully about which of the 4 theme parks or water parks you want to visit.

Kennedy Space Center

Do you want to visit NASA? The Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral are just under 200 miles from Matlacha.

Tampa

Tampa is with 350,000 inhabitants the third largest city in the state after Miami and Jacksonville. It is only 230 miles from Matlacha.

Fort Myers Beach & Sanibel Beach

If you just want to have a nice day at the beach, then head to Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel. Parking: Lynn Hall Beach Park (Fort Myers) and Bowman’s Beach Parking (Sanibel). Don’t forget your fishing rod. 

Miromar Outlets

You want to go fishing all day and the girls want to shop? Let them drive to the Miromar Outlets in Estero with over 140 top designer and brand name outlets. Tip: be sure to eat a burger in Ford’s Garage!

Bass Pro Shop

If you want to shop fishing tackle, be sure to visit the Bass Pro Shop in Fort Myers. With over 130,000 sq. feet of outdoor equipment, wildlife displays, state record replicas, a both a 19,000 freshwater and a 12,000 gallon saltwater aquarium, and an archery range, there is something for everyone!

Fishing Tackle Shops

If tackle or deadbait is needed, the fishing tackle shops D&D Matlacha Bait and Tackle and Cape Tool & Tackle are not far away.

Bert’s Bar & Grill

If you love Dockside Dining & Live Music, order a beer at Bert’s Bar in Matlacha, a one-of-a-kind waterfront restaurant offering delicious and fresh local seafood, refreshing brews, beautiful views, and entertainment nightly.

Fowler Firearms Shooting Range

If you want to shoot, I recommend visiting the Fowler Firearms Shooting Range in Fort Myers. A great team will take care of you, even if you have never had a gun in your hand.

Cabbage Key

If you want to rent a boat, then you must visit Cabbage Key and eat there in the restaurant. Nearby is the Boca Grande Pass, known as the Tarpon Capital of the World. Usually, between April and October, Tarpon arrive in droves to the waters of Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor and attracts thousands of anglers.

Are you interested in this unique kayak fishing trip and want more information? Drop me a mail: dkieselhorst@mail.de!

Season Start: May is Made for Fishing!

May 1st marks the opening of the season in many parts of Germany and everyone is waiting impatiently for this day to finally be able to fish for pike, zander and perch. While the closed season on my favorite river goes from January 1st to June 1st, you can fish longer in winter or start earlier in spring in other federal states in Germany or in neighboring countries such as the Netherlands. There is a complete ban on artificial lures during the closed season.

It was a short night and I jumped out of bed at 4am in the morning of May 1st and drove to a lake not too far away where I wanted to try my luck. My fishing gear had been prepared for a long time and the weather was perfect for predator fishing. Lots of clouds, some wind and a few raindrops.

I chose the 12 cm long Westin Shadteez, which is one of my favorite baits. I personally fish especially in spring with smaller baits, the larger ones are only used in autumn. After a short drive I reached the lake in time for the first daylight. My kayak was quickly ready to go and 20 minutes later the first hard bite came very close to the shore and I was able to net a nice zander. The beginning was made!

I didn’t have to look far for the next fish, in total I caught six zander in the following hours, but was still looking for pike. I headed for the flat areas with my kayak and patiently fished them out. Then the long-awaited medium-sized pike finally pounced on my bait and a short time later a second one. Mission accomplished! A really great start to the season.

Two days later I was back on the water, but the weather was completely different. The wind came from the opposite direction and was very weak, the clouds were mostly gone and the sun was shining. Not perfect for fishing for pike. But giving up before trying for a long time is not an option. I was right, the cards were completely mixed due to the new weather conditions and the fish were not as aggressive as two days ago. A couple of very careful bites gave some hope that a bite window will open soon and maybe a nice fish will land in my net. Time was running and the sun was slowly setting when a big zander was finally on my kayak for a short photo shoot. 

The next few days in May were sometimes very good and sometimes really difficult. Many changes in the weather did not make it easy for me and the fish changed their places every time. But mostly it worked and I could catch a good number of fish.

All in all a really great start to the season and I am looking forward to many great kayak fishing adventures this year in my home country and neighboring countries!

My Kayak Fishing Adventure in Canada

Kayak Fishing in Canada has been at the top of my bucket list for years and I was able to fulfill that dream last october. After preparing for weeks and watching musky fishing videos on YouTube every night, my family took me to the airport in my hometown of Bremen in Northern Germany. 

The first destination was the huge airport in Frankfurt and from there I flew to Montreal. A very enjoyable long-haul flight, even though my neighbor moved restlessly for eight hours in her seat. The entry into Montreal went very smoothly (Europeans need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and a current passport to fly to or transit through Canada) and after another security check the destination Ottawa was reached with a small airplane in less than 30 minutes. Here I could already see from the air how many huge lakes and rivers as well as beautiful forests will await me in the next two weeks. All in all, I was on the road for 16 hours, had traveled well over 6,000 km and was finally picked up by my buddy James at the airport. Arrived at his home we had delicious seafood, a cold beer and I made my tackle ready for the next day. I had no time for a jet lag, after six hours of sleep and breakfast at Tim Hortons we drove across the Trans-Canada Highway to Algonquin Provincial Park (200 km away), to spend the next two nights in the wilderness. By that time, I had seen Canada only in the dark, but as the sun came out, I could see the incredible beauty of different colored trees in the fall. Like in fairy tales! 

Beautiful, colorful Indian summer in Canada!

The 7,725 km² Algonquin Park with over 2,400 lakes is the most beautiful national park in Canada’s east and is far from civilization. The landscape is breathtaking, that’s how I imagined Canada! The stay in the park costs a few dollars per night and every visitor must sign up when entering and also check out when leaving the park. This ensures, among other things, that search parties have to be sent in case you have messed with one of the many black bears. 

After many kilometers on a dirt road and arriving at the beautiful Lake Traverse we had to leave the car, because from here we had to paddle with our complete equipment on the kayaks to our basecamp. We decided to set up our tents later in the day because we really wanted to go fishing right away! My goal was to catch at least one musky in the next two days and I could not believe it when James caught a little musky on the fifth cast who said goodbye with a big jump. OK, I thought to myself, should the fish of ten thousand casts be easier to catch? Not really, because while James had caught some more muskies and smallies, it took me a bit longer to find and understand the target fish. But then a few muskies attacked my bait and two of them hooked off next to the kayak. Full of adrenaline, I was confident that it could work out with a musky on the kayak the next day. 

In the early evening we paddled to the camp, set up our tents, collected firewood and spent a great evening around the campfire with delicious steaks and a glass of red wine. The temperatures dropped to 0 degrees Celsius and the night in the tent was pretty cold. At midnight, the wolves howled under the full moon and I must admit that I was a little scarded to leave the tent for peeing at night because of the many bears in the area. In Germany there are only cows, squirrels and rabbits. Nothing that kills you.

The next day we started early in the morning with coffee and oakmeal, warming ourselves up by the campfire and paddling out into the lake in thick fog. I changed my bait strategy and tried the good old spinner. Not 20 minutes later I had my first musky on the kayak! Wow, what a feeling. Mission done, my cheer was heard throughout Algonquin Park! It was followed by some attacks until we had a another surprise guest at the kayaks. A huge trophy buck thought James was a pretty female and ran right up to him in the water. Very impressive! 

At lunchtime we fortified ourselves with bacon & eggs, then James could catch a total of four muskies while I lost another musky at the kayak. It was getting dark and we paddled back to the camp, where we sat comfortably by the campfire again. The next morning we packed our tents and had a few ours left to fish. The muskies were hungry and I managed to persuade two more muskies to a photo shoot on the kayak. What a great ending to our first days fishing in beautiful Ontario, which will burn into my memory! 

In the next few days we wanted to fish for bass in different lakes in the surrounding area, but first there were two days without fishing. On Saturday morning a bit of sightseeing in Downtown Ottawa, then pick up our friend Jim at the airport and finally a surprise visit to Will.

Sunday was all about Thanksgiving! My first Canadian Thanksgiving was a great day with lots of friends, family members, a giant turkey, campfire stories and live music from the Sons of Ned. Although of course a few beers were drunk, we sat in the kitchen at 7 AM the next morning to have a coffee and start the next fishing day. Finally normal people!

We loaded the Mayfly for Jim on the trailer, stopped at Tim Hortons, missed a deer on the road by a few inches and then met with our friends Roberto and Eron on a beautiful lake. Eron gave me some promising baits and good tips, but it took me some time to finally catch two nice big smallies with the drop shot rig. A great day on the water with great friends! In the evening James cooked us a Beef Stroganoff, followed by delicious pumpkin pie and frozen yoghurt.

The next day started early with a breakfast, then we met with Zack from Frontenac Outfitters at another lake. I have never seen so many beautiful lakes at once. We paddled for about 100 meters and had to pull our kayaks through a wide reed belt. I did not pay attention once and landed in the mud up to my waist. A great start to the day! The lake was not easy to fish that day and after hours of not finding bass, I changed my strategy and immediately caught a few beautiful Canadian pikes on a hardbait. In the afternoon we drove to Scott’s cottage and ended the evening with some cool beers and BBQ spare ribs. 

The weather forecast for the next day was terrible and so it was that we were only a short time on the water due to continuous rain and a lot of wind. We packed our wet clothes and drove together to the Redneck Bistro for extremely tasty burgers. Then we drove home to dry all clothes and relax a bit.

It also rained a lot the next day, so we drove to the Bait Casters Tackle Shop and Cabela’s after a breakfast at Equator Coffee. In the evening we were invited to dinner with Will and June. 

For the next few days we had a nice cottage right at the Ottawa River. The first night was over at 6 AM and after a boosting with eggs, bacon and cheese we paddled on the Ottawa. This location is unbelievably beautiful, endless creeks and hidden lakes, where you often have to carry the kayaks over huge beaver dams.

Throughout the day we were able to catch lots of bass, lots of pike and James also a few walleye. A really great fishing! In the afternoon we watched the rapids from the Ottawa River before we had a nice evening in our cottage afterwards.

The next day started again in the dark with frosty temperatures and lots of fog on the river. We were able to catch so many smallies and pikes that I have not even counted. And my last cast brought me a nice last pike from this wonderful trip to Canada, because the next day I had to fly from Ottawa to Montreal and via Zurich to Bremen. 

This kayak fishing trip is one of the best I have ever done. This was definitely not my last time in Canada! A big thank you for great memories to James & family, Jim, Will, Roberto, Eron, Scott and Zack! It was really fun!

Last cast, last pike!

Rigging my STAR Pike Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Have you always been looking for a good alternative to the heavy fishing kayaks, especially for hard-to-reach waters? Then the Pike should be just right for you! It is a lightweight at 21 kg, can be stowed anywhere, inflates within 5 minutes, can be carried to the water without effort and can even be taken on a plane and transported as a backpack. If this boat is also fast, runs straight and has a comfortable aluminum-framed suspended-mesh seat, then there are really many advantages combined. The only open question is, how can I attach rod holders, fish finder and camera mounts to this boat? Very simple: The STAR Pike has a total of five Scotty Mount Bases and is therefore well equipped for optimal kayak rigging.

First, let’s take a closer look at the kayak:

What’s included:

– 1 folding-back fishing seat

– 1 all-water fin 

– Carry bag

– Pump

– Repair kit

The features of the boat:

– The self-bailing Pike’s drop-stitch PVC floor insert inflates to a rigid 8-10 psi and the unique rigid keel inserts in the bow and stern provide outstanding tracking and stability.

– A comfortable aluminum-framed suspended-mesh seat puts you in the optimal position for paddling, casting and sighting fish. Seat back folds down for easier transport.

– 16 stainless steel D-rings along the top tubes allow numerous options for rigging your tackle crate and other gear.

– Five Scotty Mount Bases.

– A skeg plate and fin in the stern further enhances tracking.

– Removable seat quickly attaches to D-rings with included straps.

– STAR inflatable kayaks are built with advanced-formula PVC material using state-of-the-art seam welding technology, resulting in superior abrasion resistance, longevity and air retention.

– Top-quality Leafield™ C7 valves ensure trouble free inflation and deflation.

Length: 12′ 8“ (387 cm)

Width: 38“ (97 cm)

Weight: 48 lbs. (21 kg)

Tube Diameter: 10.5“ (27 cm)

Number of Air Chambers: 3

Valve Type: Leafield – C7

Self Bailing: Yes

Type of Material: PVC

Number of D-rings: 24

Number of Handles: 2

Center Compartment Width: 17“ (44 cm)

My rigging solutions:

– 4 Scotty No. 439 Track Adapter

-Scotty 140 Transducer Arm

– RAM Fishfinder Mount

– YakAttack DogBone Camera Mount for my GoPro

– 2 YakAttack Omega Rod Holders

– Rebelcell 12V18 AV li-ion battery in water-resistant battery bag

– YakAttack VISIPole safety light

– Tightline Anchor K5

– KrakenKrate by Jackson Kayak

I put my big landing net for pike fishing in an Omega Rod Holder, so that I can reach it quickly with one hand. For longer paddle tours, it is advisable to temporarily remove the transducer arm and place it in the boat. The transducer arm reduces the paddle speed by approximately 1 kmh. Especially when you pick up plants with the arm it gets annoying. The ideal paddle length for me was 250 cm. I use the Bending Branches Angler Pro Plus in adjustable length of 240-255 cm. The paddle can be placed next to the tube when it is not needed, without disturbing fishing. 

The seat is a bit narrower than normal fishing kayaks. This is noticeable a bit, but you can still sit comfortably for many hours. Standing fishing is possible but requires some practice and good balance. Because of their light weight, inflatable boats are more susceptible to wind and drift faster. You should therefore always have an anchor with you. My recommendation: the K5 from Tightline Anchor. The anchor rope can easily be attached to one of the 16 D-rings. The D-rings have a distance of 25 to 30 cm at the front and back, so you can ideally align the kayak in the wind as you wish.

The many self-bailing scupper holes in the cockpit floor are a really good solution. Water can run off quickly, even a heavy rain shower does not cause any problems.

All in all, the STAR Pike Inflatable Fishing Kayak is a great boat that fully serves its purpose. If you want a light and space-saving boat, you will have a lot of fun with the Pike! And don’t forget: never without a life jacket!