By John “Toast” Oast
The French Creek Outfitters kayak fishing tournament at Marsh Creek State Park was held this past Friday, June 21st, outside of Philadephia. The tourment targeted largemouth bass, musky, and bluegills. Rick Wolbert from Broken Rod Kayak Fishing Charters joined me for the event. The event was held on a Friday, due to the extreme amount of pressure the lake receives, especially on weekends. That being said, there were still a very good number of kayak anglers from around the region entered.
Rick Wolbert, looking for the big one.
I drove the two hours there the morning of the tournament, with Google Earth printouts in hand. I knew I had never fished the lake before, so I had to look at what I was getting into. I got there just as the start launch was going on at 0800 hours. Rick was just a couple minutes behind me. Take it from us, if you ever want to fish there, get GOOD directions, since the park address doesn’t work for a GPS, and get there REALLY early, as it seems like every person on the eastern half of PA paddles, sails, and fishes this lake.
This was also the first tournament for the new Old Town Predator 13 kayak, which was just released last week. The boat handled great, and was ideal for stand-up casting the minimal lily pad beds and shaded areas of the lake. Fishing shaded areas was vital, with this being the longest day of the year, and we had a very sunny and warm day to be on the water. When I looked at my printouts the night before, I decided to key in on coves with weeds and wooded shorelines. I had also heard that it was a tough fishery, since it got so much pressure. I am sure the fish were quite lure-shy.
I started out with a 7″ Tickler worm from PowerTeam. I was not having much luck with the larger presentation, and getting just a few short strikes. I changed over to a shakey head 5″ PowerTeam Tickler, and had a little better luck. I landed a handful of small bass, a bluegill, and a yellow perch. As the morning passed, I realized I needed to cover a little more ground, so I started searching with a yellow spinnerbait, and hit nice spots harder with the worm.
Toast, with the winning bass.
I ended up in a really nice cove, with a couple different types of grass and weed cover. I was primarily throwing the spinner, and ended up with a fat 17 1/4″ largemouth, hanging out under a tree-shaded corner. The fish held on to be the big bass of the day. There were also some musky landed, including one right in the launch, under troll, as an angler was paddling to exit the water for the day. There are definately some nice musky in the lake.
The story of the day happened in one of the nicer coves on the lake. Rick and I were in the end of a cove, sight fishing to a very large musky, that was rolling on bait. Then a middle-aged lady and her son paddled up in a tandem sit-inside. Rick politely said, “Could you paddle around us, please?” With an attitude, the lady said, “No, that is where we are paddling!” She continued to paddle right in front of us, and right over top of where the fish had been. She then turned right around as she crossed the spot, and paddled back out of the cover. Seriously? It was probably the most rude thing I have seen in my entire life on the water.
That being said, we had a great day on the water. We saw some old friends, made some new ones, and caught some nice fish. I just hope the rude woman is not there next time we go.
Toast with George from French Creek Outfitters at the awards ceremony.