Fishing with Noble Smith: Great Time to Tube or Kayak Fish

By Noble Smith

When the lake comes up into the brush in the North and South Fork, I love to fish these areas. I try to take my little 17-foot bass boat as deep into the brush as it will go. Just when it’s time to turn out, I will see a fisherman in a tube or kayak fishing. Not only are they in an area I cannot reach, their approach is much stealthier than my boat crashing through the brush.

If you have ever been frustrated fishing from shore and trying to cast to a row of brush that looks as if it’s holding fish, the only problem is your longest cast does not reach the spot. A float tube may be the answer. With a float tube, a fisherman can paddle out and fish all around that row of brush. For a few hundred bucks, an angler can purchase a nice float tube. Compared to current boat prices, that’s a heck of a deal. All you need is the back of a pickup or trunk of a car to carry your tube to the lake.

The thought of a kayak used to scare me to death. All I could think of is being upside down under water looking at the fish and unable to get back upright. Nowadays, fishing kayaks are so stable, a fisherman does not have to worry about flipping. They come with rod holders and storage compartments. Some anglers even customize their kayaks with electronics and trolling motors. Kayaks are great for fishing the small water. A kayak fisherman is not going to win a race to a hot spot. Once at the hot spot, a kayak fisherman will definitely be able to work the area very quietly and thoroughly. A kayak fisherman can launch anywhere. Of course, a kayak fisherman will love the lack of a fuel bill, considering today’s gas prices. Kayaks are also a reasonable investment compared to today’s boat prices.

It looks as if Lake Isabella waters will be up in the brush for a while. Fishermen can take advantage of some great summertime fishing. The brush provides great cover for all species of fish seeking shelter from the hot summer sun. One thing to remember is fish do not have eyelids.

My grandson, JJ, and myself hit the water to do some bass fishing over the weekend following the 4th of July. We were definitely not alone. I wanted to show my grandson how to cast a bait caster and work the trolling motor on a bass boat. Mission accomplished; at 13, JJ can do both pretty well. I just added another family member to outfish grandpa.

The next step was to catch bass. We could not find any active fish, and the wind picked up. Good thing I packed a couple of lite action spinning rods. We were able to find a good crappie action in a brush line in about 10 feet of water. We took several fish on 1/32-ounce red and white crappie jigs. Yellow and white also worked well.

Catfishing has been heating up. Now that summer water temps have set in, channel cats have been active near shore. My favorite time to fish the cats is evening when the afternoon winds slow down. I like a nightcrawler clam combination. Every fisherman has a favorite bait. The stronger the scent, the better.

I took the week off fishing the upper Kern. It was a busy holiday week. The upper Kern and tributary creeks are becoming more and more fishable and are full of fish. Fishing pressure has been down due to rough water. This time of year, I will always find more fishable water each time out. There are a lot of fish to be caught, and I am going to be one of the fishermen trying to catch ‘em.

See you on the water.