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Time for Some Mass Yak Fishing
Since I have been doing this blog, I am constantly impressed with the knowledge of my fellow fishermen in the Northeast. I reached out to Massachusetts fisherman, Nick G. This interview lays out Nick's take on kayak fishing in Massachusetts as well as a review of the Wilderness System Ride 115x Max.
GFN: You are a Massachusetts kayak bass fisherman. Why do you enjoy kayak fishing?
I grew up in Western MA in a small town, Adams, in the middle of nowhere. I spent a lot of time out in the woods and just in nature in general, mainly trout fishing in rivers and brooks. After moving to Waltham, Massachusetts I had to keep connected to my roots and the best way to accomplish that with less wood and river access was grab a kayak and throw it in the Charles River. That's when I got hooked.
GFN: What kayak are you fishing out of?
I just got a new Wilderness Systems Ride 115x Max at the beginning of this season, but prior to that I was on a Field & Stream Eagle Talon 12' which is a great sit on top for anyone starting out, can't quite stand on it, I can't anyway, but a great fishing kayak for a good price to get you onto the water.
GFN: What are the pros and cons and the Ride 115x Max?
1) Wide-base, extremely stable, able to stand and flip/pitch
2) Phase3 Air Pro Max seat, with 3 positions, most comfortable kayak seat I've ever used, spend 8 hours in it no problem at all
3) Equipped with the Wilderness Systems SlideTrax rail system for accessories
4) Holds up to 400lbs
1) Heavy, not heavier than other yaks at this size I don't think. It is 82lbs without gear, but it takes some effort to either get it in the truck or on a rack.
2) Since the seat allows you to sit high up above the boat, you catch quite a bit of wind, but I am nit-picking.
Honestly, I can't say i've found many "cons" with the boat, it's such an improvement from my last boat, to complain would be un-just...haha.
GFN: You just got a Lowrance Hooked 3x. What other finders did you consider? Why did you end up picking the Lowrance? What do you like about it so far?
I initially tried to buy the older series Hook Elite 3x, but it got back-ordered on Amazon, and after doing some more research I found out that the Hooked Series was replacing the Elite Series, so it just made sense to check into that. I read through some kayak fishing forums and saw what other people had to say and a lot of reviews as well. Honestly, I picked the Hooked 3x because it had great reviews, was very reasonably priced, under $100 I think, and I was just trying to see how I felt about using a fish-finder since I never had. I chose Lowrance because the Ride115x comes 'Lowrance Ready' with a removable console for your battery, wires, and transponder. I believe it would fit other brands just fine, but why not keep the branding...lol.
GFN: What accessories have you found most valuable for your kayak fishing?
The accessories that I find most valuable aside from your average fishing gear like a net are:
1) Anchor w/ anchor trolley. The wind can be your worst enemy on a kayak some days and without an anchor and/or anchor trolley system it can get frustrating really quickly never being able to fish where you're hoping to.
2) Rod-holders. Having quick access to 3, 4 or 5 setups without having to change tackle numerous times is also a very convenient thing while kayak fishing. Not only can it be a struggle changing out gear all the time, but sometimes you miss a strike and need a quick other type of setup to throw back at the fish, and taking the 2 minutes to switch out tackle will lose that fish most of the time.
3) Dry-well. Not only great for things like cell phones, but I tend to keep things like my pliers and other tools in there to help avoid just the general spray of the water into the boat all of the time.
4) Fish-finder. Honestly, after installing the Hooked 3x, I don't know how I've gone this long without it. Not to say it catches fish for you, but just being able to know the depth I'm at, and where in the water column the fish are hanging out has been such a benefit. I know personally that I love throwing topwater, followed by jig fishing, and soft plastics, but a lot of the time the fish aren't in those depths in the water column and you get skunked. It's not that they're not biting or they aren't out there, just not where you're throwing. Realistically, my best accessory purchase to date by far.
GFN: What advice do you think people who are thinking about getting into kayak fishing need to know?
As with anything, safety first, better to be safe than sorry out there, so always have a PFD on board and accessible, but other than that, don't be afraid to challenge yourself and try new things. Get into places that other people/boats can't go and just get out and have fun.
Whether you're fishing, paddling, sight-seeing or bird watching stay active and be outside. Up here in New England we have up to 6 months where we're half trapped in our houses from winter, don't waste the 6 months of warm weather, sitting in the AC. Go out on a kayak, grab a rod and catch some fish, and don't forget to practice catch and release. If you catch a 6lber, I want the chance to catch it when it's 7lbs...lol.
GFN: Finally, what are your favorite Massachusetts kayak waters and why do you select those waters?
I currently live directly across the st from the Sudbury River system near Framingham, MA before it becomes the Foss Reservoir. This area hasn't been fished heavily for quite some time, and restricts people from keeping the fish because of heavy-metals for the last 20 years or so. This has helped it become a great area for good size Large mouth, chain pickerel, carp and crappie. With the close proximity to my house this is my main stomping grounds.
I also started out in Waltham, MA on the Charles River which has many more hot spots than people might imagine and is great for smallmouth bass in the earlier spring months. Aside from these two areas, I do most of my fishing in Western MA in places such as Cheshire Lake in Cheshire, MA, Ponthousac Lake in Pittsfield, MA and a number of unnamed ponds that you'd never know of unless you lived there.
Thank you Nick for filling us in with so much information. To keep up with Nick's success on the Ride with his new Lowrance Hook? Follow him on Instagram and YouTube.