Jan 292020

More and more places to fish and camp in the lower Colorado River basin are being closed or restricted. It’s a pity, but more permits, passes and licenses mean more money and that’s pretty much what it’s all about. As places are closed or restricted, we move to try and find other places to launch and fish.

It is much more difficult to access our favorite largemouth bass sections of the lower Colorado River so we are on the move looking for other fishing spots.

We moved upstream a bit to find other places to fish. It’s a longer drive to town for provisions and supplies and a longer drive to WiFi to upload material to the watermanatwork.com website and blog, so the blog posts may be more infrequent, but we may post more than one entry at a time.

This day, we were fishing at Squaw Lake. Part of the extensive lower Colorado River watershed, it has largemouth and smallmouth bass among the reeds and lakeside bushes and a short paddle from the launch to the main channel of the Colorado River. Unfortunately, there is a ten dollar fee for day use. You can camp there for a bit more but you can use all the facilities. There is a fourteen day limit to camping. The “campsite” is basically a parking lot, so if an RV camps next to you and puts a generator five feet from your camper, it won’t be too pleasant of a stay.

The launch is great. Park next to the water and easy launch into Squaw Lake. On this day, it was very foggy, unusual for this desert environment, but calm wind, which seems to becoming a rare thing. This was our first time kayak fishing here and it’s easy to get turned around in the maze of reeds and cattails so we were taking it easy as we paddled into the dense fog.

Foggy morning for kayak fishing on Squaw Lake in southwest Arizona

We tried fishing in the cattails and lakeside vegetation with our favorite largemouth bass lures that have been doing the job on other stretches of the Colorado River, but we didn’t have any luck. We fished our way along the lake shore until we reached the Colorado River. This section of river has a steady, but not overwhelmingly strong current. We tried fishing plastics and were not having much luck. Largemouth bass hang out here in places you might not normally expect to find them, but with the clear, steadily moving river water, it looked more like smallmouth bass territory.

Having no luck with the dependable plastic grubs and worms, I started trolling a RattleTrap crank bait along the shoreline of the river as close to the bushes as I could. It didn’t take long before I had a strong hit and the fight was on!

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

I could tell right away that it was not a largemouth bass by the way it was fighting. No big jumps and what seemed to be a much larger fish was a nice smallmouth bass.

Foggy morning Colorado River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The smallmouth bass in the Colorado River look a lot different than the smallmouth bass in our Columbia River home waters. The bass there are much darker, the smallmouth bass in the Colorado River are more a yellowish green while the PacNW smallies are almost all dark brown, sometimes almost black. No doubt this has to do with their diet. Although smallmouth bass will eat anything that goes by, their number one favorite food is crayfish. The rocky Columbia River has tons of crayfish, so that’s what the bass eat most of the time. Here on the sandy Colorado, there are crayfish, but since sand and mud is not ideal crayfish habitat, the southern smallmouth bass probably eat more fish.

As we paddled upstream, the morning fog lifted and we got a good look at this section of the lower Colorado River.

Clearing morning fog on the lower Colorado River

We explored a few cool backwaters that probably were holding fish, but we need to figure out where the fish are and what they are biting. Paddling upstream, trolling the RattleTrap, I got another strong hit and landed another nice smallmouth bass.

Colorado River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

It was early afternoon when we turned around and started heading back downstream towards Squaw Lake. I only caught two smallmouth bass, but this was our first time here and this time of year is not prime bass fishing season, so you must adjust your expectations. We’ll be back on it again soon and looking for a few more fish.

Jan 292020

It’s been a long time since the last kayak fishing blog post because there have not been a whole lot of kayak fishing opportunities. You can catch fish, but the dead of winter would not be considered prime largemouth bass fishing time, even here in the desert southwest. On top of that, it has been very windy. Rarely a day with wind less than 10 mph.
The poor fishing conditions have given us the time to get caught up on the backlog of video and website work delayed because of my accident with a semi truck. It’s been windy, but also mostly sunny, so plenty of solar power for the editing work.

Editing the latest watermanatwork.com kayak fishing video

We have uploaded the Colorado River Kayak Fishing 2019 video to YouTube. It’s the action highlights from the late 2018 and early 2019 kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the lower Colorado River.

Colorado River Kayak Fishing 2019 video on YouTube

There’s a lot of kayak fishing action and some big largemouth bass, so CLICK HERE or on the photo above to check out the Colorado River Kayak Fishing 2019 video on YouTube.

Dec 172019

After a bit of a slow spell due to recovering from a serious accident, we are back producing kayak fishing videos again. The latest video, about losing and catching big largemouth bass on the Colorado River.

Screen grabs from the latest watermanatwork.com kayak fishing video; Huge Bass Redemption

Earlier this year, within a span of forty eight hours, I lost, then caught two of the biggest fish of the year. The video is that story.

Screen grabs from the latest watermanatwork.com kayak fishing video; Huge Bass Redemption

The video is just under three minutes long, but is all non-stop big largemouth bass kayak fishing action.

Screen grab from the latest watermanatwork.com kayak fishing video; Huge Bass Redemption

Click HERE or on any of the photos to check out the Huge Bass Redemption video on YouTube.

More videos coming soon!

Dec 102019

There’s been some wild weather here in the desert southwest. A significant amount of rain and winds in excess of 30 mph have been passing through the area. The storms are highly localized. There can be heavy rain and high winds in a relatively small storm area, while a few miles away, there is hardly a cloud in the sky. The cloudy weather, without the 20-30 mph wind, evens out the daily temperatures. It’s a bit cooler during the day and slightly warmer at night.

A cloudy desert morning on the lower Colorado River

The overcast mornings do not help our efforts to get good bass fishing videos, but to be honest, the fish were not exactly jumping in the boat. With runoff from the recent local rain and water being let out of the upstream reservoir, the water temperature may be too cold for good largemouth bass fishing. When the water is colder, you probably won’t catch as many fish, but usually the fish are bigger. After a long cloudy morning of nearly no fishing action, I caught this nice bass after the sun came out and I was in “just one more cast” territory before heading in.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The days between storms, there were few calm winds, but as long as the wind wasn’t too bad, we had to try and go fishing or we’d never get out there. We started out before sunrise, when the wind is most calm(and also the coldest) so we could paddle upstream before the daily downstream wind kicked in and drift fish our way back. Most mornings, there was at least, a light to moderate wind. The beautiful desert sunrises were replaced by ominous looking clouds and light rain.

Sunrise on a cloudy day on the lower Colorado River

This day started out cloudy, but the clouds moved out shortly after sunrise and it was a nice, but windy and cool, day on the Colorado River. The fishing has been challenging, but if you don’t have a line in the water you don’t catch anything, so you have to get out there. By about 11:00AM, I had caught three decent largemouth bass. The way the fishing has been, that would constitute a good day of fishing. The bass were all about the same size, this one might have been a few ounces bigger.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

After catching and releasing the last largemouth bass, I noticed birds diving on the water. I paddled over, tossed out a shad crankbait on a light bait casting rig and trolled under the diving birds. It wasn’t long before I had a hit and after a nice fight, had a striped bass in the kayak. I released the striper, turned around and trolled back under the birds. Once again, a strike and another Colorado River striped bass. Three nice largemouth bass and two striped bass for the day is a great day of Colorado River fishing, especially with the slow bite.

Colorado River striped bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Following another series of storms, encouraged by the previous fishing trip’s success, we headed back to the river, stopping to clear the road of blown down trees. It was like being back in the PacNW, except that here there are a lot fewer trees.

Blown down trees from desert storm wind

As we paddled up the river, the clouds started rolling in, the wind started picking up and worst of all, in three or four hours of fishing, I hadn’t had as much as a nibble. The wind quickly increased and blew us off the water by noon. A change of scenery was needed so we packed up and headed to another stretch of the Colorado River that faced a different direction and might be sheltered from the wind. For sure the fishing couldn’t be any worse.

By the time we reached the launch beach that afternoon, it had gotten very cloudy and dark, very atypical of this area. The wind had died down so we quickly paddled out to see if the fish were biting.

A cool, cloudy afternoon kayak fishing on the Colorado River

The conditions were much better, save for one. This part of the river has a fairly swift and steady current. Probably due again to the recent rain, the river level was high and the current as fast as it gets. If you stop paddling, you’ll be steady for a few seconds, then you are headed downstream.
A peddle kayak would be good here, but must be very careful of very shallow sandbars. Making pinpoint casts, trying to make the drifting lure and drifting kayak go where they are supposed to go. It gets real interesting when you hook up with a nice fish.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

We weren’t hauling them in, but we’d only been fishing a couple hours and caught a few fish, including a couple nice fish. That’s more than we caught in five hours of fishing this morning. We were hopeful the following day would have continued success.

We were up and ready to go at the crack of dawn. Not many places you can camp feet from the river, the kayak a few steps away, a great kayak fishing spot.

A cool and cloudy morning kayak fishing on the Colorado River

We caught a couple small bass, but we were hoping to do a little better, so we decided to fish downstream to a backwater spot where the fishing might be better. Heading downstream when the river current is as strong as it is means you have to paddle back upstream against the current. It’s a steady grind and you can’t stop so you have to be 100% sure you can make it back upstream. We hoped the fishing is worth it because it is going to be a workout getting back.

When we pulled off the main channel into the backwater, you couldn’t help but notice the entire open water area choked with weeds from the bottom to the surface. It’s hard to see how fish can live with all this vegetation in relatively shallow water.

Vegetation choking the backwaters of the lower Colorado River

Still, I managed to catch a couple small bass between cleaning seaweed off the lure. The wind started to pick up and mindful of the upstream paddle back, we headed to the main channel. One last cast into about a foot of water covered with seaweed,a big hit and a nice battle wrestling a nice largemouth bass out of the seaweed and into the kayak.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The nice bass on another “just one more cast” hail mary made the paddle upstream back to the launch a little easier, but not much. The wind had picked up, unfortunately, it was a headwind, but we cut across an irrigation ditch that was only a couple feet deep and six feet wide that had less current and nearly no wind. By the time we reached the launch, the wind had died and I had enough energy left to paddle a short way upstream and drifting quickly back to the launch, I managed to hook one last bass.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

The weather remains unsettled with the storms moving in and out making for some spectacular sunsets.

Clearing desert storm at sunset

The weather will probably be clearing up in the next few days and we will have to see about the wind. We may do a bit of exploring and see about some other fishing spots nearby. In the meantime, we are putting the finishing touches on a couple videos that will be released soon so check back soon.

Nov 292019

Most people think the desert is a place that’s always hot and the sun shines all the time. That’s true much of the time, but when the desert weather deviates from the hot and sunny norm, it can be quite spectacular and somewhat dangerous. After a couple days of great kayak fishing, we’ve run into some of this non-hot and sunny weather. There have been a series of storm cells moving across the desert. Near the storm cells is heavy rain and strong wind, otherwise, there may be a stray shower or two. This thunderstorm was rolling across the desert about twenty miles from here. Moving from NE to SW, right to left in the photo, the rain at the edge of the storm cell was gobbling up the rainbow in front of the storm as it moved across the flat desert.

Early winter thunderstorm moves across the Colorado River basin in the Arizona desert

Even though the storms may be in the distance, enough rain can fall to cause flash flooding that rages through normally dry desert arroyos twenty or fifty miles away where no rain is falling. These flash floods move quickly through the arroyos and can be dangerous should you or your vehicle be in one. If you can see the storms, nearby arroyos can flood.

Desert thunderstorms and dry arroyos prone to flash flooding

After a few days of storms and flooding, we weren’t sure what to expect on a somewhat calm day following the storms. By the moonlight shining through the early morning scattered clouds, we could see the water level in the river was very high and the water level at the launch ramp was the highest I’d ever seen it. We paddled out into a river that looked completely different because of the high water level. As the sun came up, we started to see the effects of days of desert storms.

Colorado River sunrise after days of desert thunderstorms and flash flooding

The river was as high as I’d ever seen it. Local fishermen also commented that this was as high as they’d seen as well. The thick and tall reeds and bushes that line the river banks that are normally five or six feet overhead, were now at eye level on the kayak. Drain pipes, usually five or six feet overhead, were underwater. The usually placid section of river had a fair current running. The water was brown, foamy and filled with floating debris washed into the river by desert flash flooding.

The fishing wasn’t bad and it wasn’t great. Given the water conditions, I felt fortunate to catch a few bass.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on a near flood stage Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

The bass weren’t all that big, but it was worth getting out on the river to see how much different things are at extreme high river water levels.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Landing the kayaks was a breeze considering the launch ramp was almost under water and the parking lot a part of the Colorado River. It will be a different story in the days ahead with the receding water leaving a swath of gooey mud on both sides of the river.

Kayak launch on a high water Colorado River

The weather is unsettled and there is more rain in the forecast. We are hoping the weather will straighten up and the river will calm down and clear up. We’ll see what happens so check back soon.

Nov 192019

Kayaks can take you to a lot of places where boats would have a great deal of difficulty due to the shallow water, underwater obstacles inches below the surface and sandbars that can stretch across the entire river. Not to mention that the road to get the launch on the river would probably destroy your boat trailer. Driving along the rivers looking for places to launch the kayak reminds me of the days in Baja, headed south and turning west at any dirt road we thought might lead to that perfect surf spot. A bit different here and now, but the desert is still hot and dusty.

Razer ATVs in the southwest Arizona desert

In this part of the desert, water is life, so there are a lot of large canals that transport Colorado River water to the smaller irrigation canals of the agricultural fields that supply a good deal of winter vegetables to the rest of the United States. In the middle of it all is the Colorado River, which gets smaller and smaller as it nears the Mexican border. Each stretch of the Colorado is bit different with a lot of potential for bass fishing.

Lower Colorado River at sunrise

We were up before sunrise looking for hot bass fishing action, but the Colorado River largemouth bass did not read the script. The reeds that grow next to the river are very tall so it looks like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but the river here is surrounded by large farming operations. As the sun came up over the tall bushes, the largemouth bass got a little more lively.

Kayak fishing on the lower Colorado River

The river looks pretty calm in the photo, but, depending on the depth, there is a steady current. Stop paddling and you go downstream. The water is generally shallow with very shallow sandbars. The river water is super clear. You usually have to cast from out in the river up against the bank with a swift current; keeps you busy.

The lower Colorado River is shallow with numerous sandbars

Off of the main river channel there are backwaters and overgrown irrigation canals. These canals can be less than a foot deep with deeper pools along the banks where the reeds shade the water. There are a bunch of fish in here, but the clear, shallow water and narrow passage make it easy to spook them before you can cast.

Overgrown irrigation canal off of the Colorado River

Probably due to the fast moving current, where potential food goes past pretty quickly, the largemouth bass here are very aggressive, which is just what you want as a fisherman. Even the smaller fish hit hard and put up a great fight.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

We ran into Randy, a local fisherman using a Hobie Pro Angler which looked to be just about perfect to handle the steady current. Holding steady against the current with your hands free is a big plus here.

Local kayak fisherman Randy on his Hobie Pro Angler on the Colorado River

Minutes after I took this photo of Randy, he peddled a short distance, hooked up and landed a 7 1/2 lb. largemouth bass. It was only fifteen yards from where I was standing on shore so I got to see the whole battle. A great way to end a great day of fishing.

Wish I could say I caught a seven pounder, but I didn’t come close. The biggest fish I caught were about a pound, pound and a half. Not complaining though because I caught a lot of fish, had a lot of strikes and an unbelievable amount of bass able to spit out the 4″ grub.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

This was a great place to fish, a unique part of the desert southwest river system. It is also one of the rare places you can paddle up to your campsite. Just like where we live on the Columbia River, you can camp for free, all you have to do is pack out your litter. This seems to be too much to ask. This great fishing/kayaking/swimming/camping spot looks like the city dump. Not just here, where we live as well. It is sad to see America’s great rivers like the Columbia and Colorado littered with trash.

Kayak fishing launch on the Colorado River

After a day of fishing and paddling against the current, I was pretty well worn out. Thankfully, there were no mosquitoes, so getting the fishing gear ready to go for the following morning was a breeze and I didn’t have far to go to the master bedroom. Beyond my Hobie Quest kayak is Randy’s Chevy Trail Boss pickup truck with a bed extender for his Pro Angler.

It was a great weekend of fishing at a spot I’d never been too, caught a lot of fish, met some nice people. I talked with a local fisherman who was thinking of trying kayak fishing. This area has great kayak fishing, hard to go wrong. Fished with Randy, who caught the fish of the weekend for sure. He’s a cool guy and can lift a Hobie Pro angler in the back of his pickup, no problemo. After a full weekend of desert kayak fishing, he drove across the desert to catch a cross-country air flight. That’s a hardcore kayak fisherman, so he gets one more photo.

Kayak fisherman Randy looking for one more Colorado River largemouth bass at sunset

There are a few unsettled weather days ahead, but we are always encouraged by the results of our exploration, and we are going to be looking for more kayak fishing action. Check back soon.

Nov 142019

The kayak fishing on the Colorado River remains challenging for the past few days. To get skunked in such a good fishing spot is unusual, but it does happen. Usually you can catch a small bass, bluegill, crappie or something to keep you from skunkville, but sometimes, especially if the river water is cold, you can be rewarded for your hard fishing efforts with nothing. Fishing for largemouth bass should be considered big game fishing, sometimes it all or nothing. Tuna, salmon; big game fish, the same deal. When a good fisherman gets skunked, he knows there’s only one way to go from there.

That’s pretty much what’s happening. The fishing is getting a little better and we are starting to see a few bigger fish. The conditions for kayak fishing have been very good with one exception; the mosquitoes. This part of the Colorado River runs through the desert, it’s the only water around. Water is life in the desert and is the only lifeline for mosquitoes. There is a lot of swamp, marsh, wetlands, whatever you call it adjacent to the river; perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Conditions are perfect, beautiful day, you can’t see the thousands of mosquitoes.

Sunrise over Mittry Lake AZ

We paddled and fished everywhere on the lower Colorado River we have had success before and tried to cover every nook and cranny of the river. When the fishing is not that good, you kind of accept that and spend a bit more time looking around. I haven’t had much luck fishing in this Colorado River backwater, but I did see a wildcat here, so it’s always worth having a look.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the backwaters of the Colorado River

Since we are visitors here with a limited amount of time, fishing is what we came here for and that’s what we are going to do. Even if the conditions are marginal or the fishing is not that great. The more time you spend fishing, the more fish you are going to catch. At least that’s what we’re working with. Fish gotta eat. Sooner or later, you’ll get one.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

After a long, hot day of desert kayak fishing, it’s always a treat to pack up the boat and all the gear. We are extremely fortunate to have places like this where you can experience the best of this country and not have to pay(much). Launch before sunrise, paddle the calm water through cattail islands among thousands of birds with the stars shining brightly in the dark desert sky. This is some of the very last wild country here in the United States. We recommend you get out there and experience it while it is still here.

Launching fishing kayaks on the lower Colorado River

We spent a little bit more gas money and motored away from the river a bit to get away from the mosquitoes. Around the water, it’s like an Alfred Hitchcock movie just after sunset with swarms of hungry mosquitoes. Away from the river, there are flies during the day, but no mosquitoes. The weather in the desert at night is usually extremely comfortable. To be able to enjoy it without being eaten alive is great. Have a couple cold beers after a long, hot day of fishing and rest up for another fishing day tomorrow.

Kayak fish camp in the Arizona desert with watermanatwork.com

The thing about largemouth bass fishing, and other big game fishing, is that you don’t catch anything until you do. The day before, I got skunked. Other local fishermen confirmed the fishing was bad, but still… This day, my luck did a 180 and I caught six or eight bass. Most of them pretty small, but I caught a nice one before the sun came up, a big boost after a day of nada, and after making a perfect cast with the crankbait on the casting rig on the way back to the launch, I got this nice bass, which could be the best of the season for me so far.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

That’s about it from the desert southwest. We are on the water every chance we get and we still have video footage from last season we are still working on. There’s always a lot going on here, please check back and see what’s next. We sure don’t know.

Nov 082019

The kayak fishing for largemouth bass was really on fire until a few days ago when the fish stopped biting like someone threw a switch. That’s how it goes. Largemouth bass fishing is big game fishing; you probably won’t catch twenty of them in one day, so a half dozen fish, or even a couple big ones can constitute a successful fishing day. We did really well for a few days, then not so good for a couple, so I reckon it averages out.

The kayak fishing conditions have been perfect. Calm wind, not too cold in the early morning and not to hot in the afternoon. A near perfect setup for kayak fishing in the desert.

Sunrise on Mittry Lake kayak fishing with watermanatwork.com

We’ve been on somewhat of a roll lately, catching a number of nice bass on a lake that can produce great fishing, or just as likely make you spend a day fishing without a nibble. On this morning, we got out fishing for a couple hours before the wind came up to 20 mph shortly after we caught this nice largemouth bass.

Mittry Lake largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

When the wind subsided, we were in for nearly a week of perfect kayak fishing conditions, primarily, light winds. Unfortunately, the fishing had turned ice cold and we had a tough time getting any kind of fishing action at all. What would cause the fishing to turn around so quickly? That’s the question every fisherman would like to hear the answer to. Being a river controlled by dams, the lower Colorado River and it’s wetlands get water from the bottom of the nearby upstream reservoir. Dam water comes out through gates, not normally over the top; the water at the bottom of the reservoir is cold, even in the middle of the desert. This sudden introduction of cold water has a chilling effect on cold blooded fish and often slows or stops the fish from feeding. In addition to the water temperature, there appears to be a widespread algae bloom that has filled the water with free floating algae. If the fish have to suck this algae through their gills, that may irritate them and cause the fish to be inactive.

River wide algae bloom on the Colorado River

Whatever the problem is, we are giving it a day or two to sort itself out and we will be back on the Colorado River looking for those big largemouth bass. Stay tuned.

Oct 292019

After a disappointing end to a meager fishing season in the Pacific Northwest, we were hoping a change of scenery would change our luck. We needed a big change of luck, so we went for a big change of scenery; from the rainy and cold Columbia River Gorge to the hot and dry Arizona desert.

We started off at a spot off the beaten path where we have had some success before. Nothing huge, but there are some big bass in this relatively small part of the river. This spot does not get a large amount of fishermen because it is on a long, dusty and rough dirt road sprinkled with rocks. It seems like washboard from beginning to end.

Rough desert road to the fishing spot

Kayaks are a great way to fish here, some guys use float tubes. Along with the washboard road, the boat launch itself is pretty rough as well. Not friendly to boat trailers at all.

A rough boat launch to river backwaters in southern Arizona

Even in October, it is still pretty hot in the Arizona desert, with daytime temperatures near 90°F. As long as the mosquitoes aren’t too bad, the early mornings and evenings are the best time to fish. By noon or so, it’s usually pretty hot. The fishing seems to slow down during the heat of the day. You can still catch fish, it just seems a bit slower than mornings or evenings.

Kayak fishing in the hot Arizona sun

This area is not very large and fairly shallow. Like almost every other waterway we’ve been to lately, there is a lot of aquatic vegetation, especially in shallow water less than 10-15 feet deep. If a lure or hook touches anything, it’s got seaweed on it so that eliminates the lead head plastics we use a lot of the time. We switched over to shallow diving crankbaits and floating surface lures and started to catch fish.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass with watermanatwork.com

Most of the bass were smaller, a couple nice ones and this one which I think is the biggest bass I’ve ever caught here so I’m encouraged to go back soon and try for something bigger.

Nice fall largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The first kayak fishing trip here in the southwest was a success. We were anxious to get back out there, but once again, the wind came up and kept us off the water for a few days. Although the forecast was for continued wind, we had a hunch there might be a break, so we rolled the dice and headed out into the desert.

Sunrise over kayak fishing camp in south Arizona

At sunrise, the wind was mostly calm, but by 10AM, it was already blowing 10mph or better, so it was a pretty short fishing day with only one small bass caught. We made camp hoping the wind would either die down in the evening or the next day.

watermanatwork.com kayak fishing camp in the desert southwest

The wind died during the cloudless desert night and it was calm and warm the following morning. We rigged up and headed out into the dark pre-dawn waters. We started fishing with the grubs we’ve had so much success here before but got nothing but snagged on seaweed. The only lures we could use without getting snagged in seaweed were shallow diving crankbaits that float and dive a couple feet when you crank them. I had not had much success with crankbaits here, but I tied on on and had the first bass of the day in the kayak before sunrise.

Pre-dawn largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Just a short time later, using the same crankbait, I had another largemouth bass in the boat, this one was a little bigger.

Largemouth bass caught at sunrise by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Some fish were hitting the crankbait as it floated on the surface and I would give it a couple twitches before reeling. Some bass hit it as I was reeling in the lure. This 3/8 oz. crankbait caught all the bass on this day. I’d never had much luck with it before, but it’s in regular rotation now. I thought this lure might be too big, but everything from six ouncers to six pounders will hit it. I even caught a couple bluegill who attacked this crankbait!

3/8 ounce crankbait that was catching all the fish

With this size lure, I can use my bait casting rig. I use spinning setups most of the time because we are throwing 1/8 ounce lures. I prefer to use a casting setup whenever possible, even if it is harder to cast from the sitting position of a kayak. This shallow diving lure, with the short front blade, would dive to 2-3′, which was above the lake bottom which was covered with thick seaweed.

Thick aquatic vegetation covering the lake bottom

Casting the crankbait close to the reeds, pause for a few seconds, then jiggle the floating crankbait a few times, then reel it in at a speed that keeps the crankbait above the seaweed. Ideal conditions for casting this kind of crankbait or floating lure. An exciting way of fishing for largemouth bass.

Ideal conditions for kayak fishing for largemouth bass using crankbaits or floating lures

The magic crankbait was on fire because I caught a few largemouth bass in pretty exciting fashion.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass with watermanatwork.com

Highlight of the day was this nice largemouth bass. It’s one of the bigger ones that I’ve caught here. This fish has a giant head. In a few months, it’s body may catch up and turn into a really big largemouth bass.

Mittry Lake largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The wind came up in the afternoon, but we were so tired from paddling, casting and hauling in the bass, it was hard getting the gear the short distance to the camp. The wind has come up again, take care of business and be ready to go again. Two great kayak fishing trips, we are anxious to get out there as soon as possible. Keep checking back.

Oct 222019

This blog entry contains the personal opinions of watermanatwork.com owner Ron Barbish. Watermanatwork.com content is normally restricted outdoor activities, politics purposely left off of website. If you don’t want to hear what Ron Barbish has to say, go to any other blog entry and check out the fishing, cycling and other outdoor adventures.

Some of you have noticed that the blogging has been a bit slow lately, some of that has to do with some pretty poor fishing, which cuts down on the kayak fishing photos and videos, but a lot of the blogging gap has to do with some personal issues. I’m relating what has happened to me here because I’m sure it happens to people every single day, and it’s just not right under any circumstances.

As you might know, a little over a year ago, I was rear-ended while stopped for an Oregon Dept. of Transportation construction zone flagman. You can see the whole story HERE. One year later, my insurance company and the insurance company of the truck driver that hit have refused to pay for any damages or medical expenses for the accident.

Rear ended by Penske semi truck while stopped for ODOT construction zone flagman. Insurance companies refused to pay for damages or medical expenses

For two months following the accident, I was injured and could barely move. Insurance companies refused to pay for medical expenses, even though I had no fault PIP coverage. Buying a new vehicle on short notice, replacing everything destroyed, medical bills and the cost of a devastating accident like this soon depleted all of my savings. Nearly a year after the accident, I have not received a penny from either insurance company, my life has been devastated, I’ve lost nearly everything. Why am I in this position? Because I obeyed the law. I obeyed the law and suffered 100% of the consequences of this incident, the person who did not obey the law, injured people and destroyed property, suffered nothing.

Insurance is nothing but a protection racket run by criminals just like it was in the 1930’s when corrupt politicians became part of the “system” and the insurance industry was born. The insurance industry has no product or service except those that corrupt politicians mandate that citizens must purchase. While having insurance is mandated by state law, insurance companies are under no legal requirement to honor insurance contracts. In my case, the insurance companies worked together to ensure neither one would have to pay for any expenses from the accident. Against the largest criminal organization in the history of Western civilization, I had no chance. The only way I could get any money for expenses from the accident was to sue in Small Claims Court because no lawyer would take the case(not enough money).

County Courthouse. If you're looking for justice, you've come to the wrong place.

I was surprised to see the company of the driver that hit me had hired a lawyer to represent them in Small Claims court. I was not allowed to have an attorney. The judge threw out the case against the owner of the truck; Penske Truck Leasing. Penske trucks kill and injure thousands of innocent people every year, just like me, with Penske having no responsibility for the devastation their business practices cause. Every lap a Penske race car takes around a NASCAR race track is paid for by the suffering of innocent people. Penske gives the government and US military sweetheart deals and the state fees paid by Penske trucks, mean, like the insurance companies, Penske is above the law, which makes business very profitable. A case against the insurance brokers, who had taken my wrecked truck using falsified documents, was also dismissed. In a courtroom with two lawyers, I was chastised for not knowing the nuances of the law and told the law is “not about personal responsibility, (I) need to follow the system.” The judge was sympathetic to the Defendant’s attorney, speculating how much they had to pay to hire her, while not showing a shred of concern that my life was destroyed because I obeyed the law. A month later, I had to go to court again. This time, I was awarded $5000, the maximum allowed by law, but only a fraction of what the accident cost. They still haven’t paid the $5000 the court awarded, why would they? They are above the law, the system had forced an innocent accident victim to accept responsibility for the person who had caused the injuries and property damage.

Once again, the important thing is that all of this happened to me because I obeyed the law. If I had not obeyed the law, I would not be in this position today.

Gift from WDFW

A few days after this court fiasco, I was out salmon fishing in a pack of boats when a WDFG(WA Dept. of Fish & Game) boat motored through the crowd and came right over to me. The only kayak fisherman, I was used to getting the treatment from Fish & Game of many states, but this time was different. I got the full safety check, license and ID check, the entire shakedown package. With the wet, rainy, weather, I had left my salmon catch card in my truck. Not my fishing license, a form that you record the salmon you catch. That’s the $150 they were looking for. I asked them if I could paddle over to my truck and get the form, no dice. They told me without the card, I could be a poacher. That immediately sent the rage meter to eleven and here’s why;

A couple years ago, I saw guys poaching salmon. They would catch the daily limit, motor across the river, unload the fish and come back across the river for another limit. They did this every day. On a good day, when the fish were biting, they would catch five to ten times the daily limit. I called the WDFG “Poacher Hotline”, where I was told “they weren’t interested.”
So WDFG is not actually interested in stopping poachers(or illegal gill nets, night fishing and trot lines, either) and protecting natural resources, only generating revenue from poor suckers who don’t have proper paperwork. The salmon are on the fast track to extinction and they got my $150, so the “system” is working. Those same guys who were poaching salmon were watching me get worked over by WDFG, they must have had a real laugh.

As a result of what has happened following the semi truck accident and incidents like the salmon card bullshit ticket, my outlook on things, especially the way things are going in the United States, has changed somewhat. The law does not protect innocent people, American citizens should not be legally required to suffer in order to protect criminals, and that includes the corrupt politicians who have sold America’s future. You are punished if you obey the law and punished if you do not. What are you supposed to do? America is a fragmented and failing society, greed has destroyed everything good this nation was founded on. Corrupt politics and corporate policies have turned Americans against each other for nothing other than a point of view. I have seen countries in the midst of civil unrest, America now looks as bad, or worse, than any of them. I believe the United States is on the ragged edge. Greed and politics are destroying the place I live, I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.

In light of all this, it has been difficult to make videos and take photos of fishing and riding bikes. Being creative is tough enough, but when you get overwhelmed by bad things, the power of creativity has to be re-channeled to your survival mode to keep from going berserk. Although what has happened to me has changed me for the rest of my life, I don’t want the government to steal everything, so the creative juices are starting to flow again. Enough of corruption and greed, all Americans will be paying the price for that soon enough, but for now, I am going fishing and riding my bike.