I've recently plunged into a Perception America, 11
foot kayak after following much discussion about
"fly-yaking" on the boards. Mine is a SIK, or sit-in
kayak, constructed of polyethylene plastic with a
molded in, cushioned seat and adjustable foot braces.
I've added a paddle keeper using bungee cord, two
electrical wiring loop-clips, and a fender hook
purchased from a local marine supply store. After
a lot of thought, I added an anchor system following
Joe Hyde's design, however I used a couple of ankle
weights bought from a sporting goods store instead
of making shot bags.
Well, that's my new "favorite fishing spot," in all
her glory. God bless my America! This little beauty
has given me the ability to get to water I would
never know otherwise. And that reality is only just
beginning to sink in. There are many fine bodies of
water in our neck of the woods near Kansas City,
Missouri. Some of which are the county operated
lakes and parks.
The first one I've had the pleasure of fishing from
my kayak is part of a two-lake park called Fleming
Park. Located just east of Kansas City near the town
of Blue Springs, Fleming Park surrounds Lake Jacomo
(JAckson COunty, MissOuri) and
Blue Springs Lake. Lake Jacomo was built in the 1950's
and Blue Springs Lake was added in the mid 1980's. Both
are very large lakes where powerboats and sailboats are
most prevalent. Canoes and kayaks are becoming a more
common sight on these lakes and recently the county
designated a boat ramp, converted from a flooded road
on Blue Springs Lake, for "non-motorized craft launching
I rarely fished these lakes before I got my kayak.
Because, even though the lakes are large, there isn't
much room to throw a decent fly. The banks tend to be
steep or overgrown with brush and small timber, mostly
poison ivy and stick-tites. More than that is the size
of these lakes. There's just so much water it takes a
patient man to stand around and wait for a fish to
happen by the often over-used accessible locations.
I'm not that patient and even less fond of highly
fished bank sites.
My earliest excursions haven't boasted very many fish.
The first trip out was more of a "try-it-since-you've-bought-it"
trip with my kayak, not much time with the fly in the water,
most of the time I spent casting and paddling just to get a
feel for things. What an absolute blast! And, I found the
kayak comfortable enough that I could fish for at least
three hours without my backside getting tired. My future
trips pointed more to rigging needs than to good fishing
spots, thus the paddle-keeper and anchors. But, when the
rigging was no longer an issue, it was time to do some
I spent nearly five hours in the kayak Friday morning.
I put in at Sailboat Cove, on the south end of Lake
Jacomo and paddled north along the near bank. The area
is a large cove with small inlets off each side that
extend about 10-40 yards into the woods. Not easy to
reach through the timber, but more than open to anyone
in the water. I was not entirely alone as there was a
blue heron on one side of the cove, a green heron on
the other, and a few ducks sitting along the banks,
here and there. There were also a couple of small
motorboats with bait fishermen in them casting along
the shorelines trying to summon up some bass or gills.
They didn't stay long.
My first choice was the longest of the inlets, which I
thought would afford a good shoreline for the gills to
hold along. It also had a couple stumps and some surface
cover, overhanging tree limbs and such. I tied on a
weighted, size 12 'improved' black gnat that I copied
from an article I read a couple days earlier. My hope
was to eventually get deep enough to find a school of
crappie and invite a few of them home for dinner. The
water seemed to be very clear, even though the wind
was blowing stiff at times. I fished around the area
snags and flooded stumps with only two or three small,
green sunfish to my credit. And I only played with a
single green sunfish in the deeper part of this inlet.
Not my idea of great fishing, but these days it's more
about fishing new water. So, it was time to move on.
I paddled through the sailboats moored to buoys, across
the width of the cove. I settled into another inlet that
didn't reach into the timber very far and was wider than
the previous one. About a foot under the surface I could
see quite a bit of moss that tended to wrap around my
anchor ropes each time I moved along. It didn't seem to
hang on the fly that was allowed to drop for several
seconds, though. The wind would pick up occasionally
but my anchors did a great job of holding me in position,
as long as I tended to keeping the bow into the wind. I
cast around the bank without much activity. Then casting
toward a flooded stump in 1-2 feet of water, I caught a
couple of medium sized gills about 5-6 inches in length.
As I was moving toward the point of land that marked
the mouth of the inlet, I noticed some large slabs of
limestone reaching into the water at a steep angle.
I thought I might get into some crappie here, if I
let a fly go deep enough. So, I cast out into the
deeper water about fifteen feet from the bank, let
the fly drop for a good twenty seconds and then
began to strip it in about 2-4 inches at a time,
stopping for several seconds to let the fly drop
back down. The first taker of this fly was a very
feisty bluegill that measured about 10 inches. This
was very encouraging to see. There are bigger fish
I decided to try this same tactic in the same general
location as before. So, I cast, waited, and then began
to strip in the line. When the line was close enough
I started to recast the fly, but when I was preparing
my back cast the line felt very heavy. I pulled to feel
for a fish, but nothing pulled back. "Odd place for a
snag." I murmured. This didn't seem the likely spot to
snag a flooded tree. The terrain wasn't right for a
tree and the line depth seemed strangely shallow for
a snag. After all, I could see half of my 7-foot
leader was out of the water. I paddled toward the
place where the line entered the water so I could
reach in and get the snag loose, but when I assumed
I was close enough, I wasn't close at all. I thought,
"Maybe I didn't realize how far away the snag actually
was." And then, decided the wind was blowing harder
than I thought. When I finally got to the point the
line was directly beneath me I tried to reach down
with the paddle to un-snag the fly, but I couldn't
get it loose, it was too deep. It didn't make sense
to me, everything about that snag seemed strange as
I broke off my fly and retied another improved gnat.
Wait, wasn't my line shallow when I started to paddle
over here? Hmm...
I repositioned myself where I had been moments earlier
and cast in about the same spot as before. I wanted to
see if there were more big gills and was also curious
about that weird snag, fly-be-danged! I heard some water
move to my right side and observed a large carp roll over
at the surface of the water, like an old dog, to sun his
white belly in the full sun. I laughed out loud as he
floated there looking dead, and every once in a while
his fin would wave about. He floated there for what I
imagine was nearly half an hour as I continued to cast
to my spot. I've seen a lot of humorous behavior from
carp, but nothing like this. I'd look over at him and
laugh again each time. How silly! Eventually, he rolled
back over, stretched himself out and finned away slowly,
flagging his tail on the surface as if he were too buoyant
to sink again.
In what seemed like only a minute, the old fellow came
nearer where I was and rolled over close to my fly line.
Not where my fly was, but near the point where the line
entered the water. After a bit I was ready to prepare
for my back cast and the line felt heavy again. Was
this the same snag? Surely not, I'd been casting to
this area too long without incident to get snagged on
structure now. Then, as if a light had gone on, it hit
me; this was an old lazy carp. It had to be the only
explanation. But, why would a carp be bothered with
this particular fly? Another light went on, "A leech!
He thought it was a leech!" I said it out loud, like
someone would hear me and agree.
I decided to try to get my fly back and play this old
lazy carp. Why not, a lot of discussion about how much
fun they are has passed through the bulletin board here
on FAOL. Let's see what he's got! So, I pulled… And,
I puuullled...This waaaaaayyy...and Thaaaat waaaaayyyy...
I felt hardly any noticeable movement at all. But, he
was still on there, still deep and lazy and useless,
and stupid, and..."Come on you old stump! Give me back
my fly!" And still nothing. Now I see what he's got.
He's got my fly!
I had to break off; there just wasn't any way to bring
life into that old carp using a 5 wt. graphite rod and
a 3X tippet. And, it was the last of my improved gnats.
I did say, fly be danged, didn't I? I decided to wrap
it up and go on home. I'd had enough time in the kayak
that my backside was aching and the wind was getting
worse. Then my wife called and asked me to pick up some
things from the store for dinner. It was back to real
life, now. As I finished loading the kayak on the
Wrangler, I looked across the cove toward that slab
of rock and thought, laughingly, "Odd place for a snag."
~ Tim aka MoturkE
About Tim Lunceford:
Tim spent nine years in the U.S. Air Force, with
three years working on the F-117 A Stealth Fighter,
and is a veteran of Desert Storm. He lives and fishes
near Kansas City, Missouri. He's been fly-fishing and
fly tying two years now. He's been married 23 years
and is the father of four kids - three of whom have
Fragile-X syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes
mental retardation and autism. He now works as a Heat
and Frost Insulator for Local Union #27 in K.C. Tim
also enjoys web design, graphics and digital image
manipulation, watercolor painting, playing guitar,
and writes contemporary Christian songs - none of
which have been recorded, ...yet.