Two weeks ago, Bob Bernotsky, co-owner of Powerteam Lures, contacted me and asked if I'd like to go fishing at Briery Creek Lake. His wife and business partner, Katie, had seen a couple photos/blogs I'd posted featuring some of their baits. I was psyched!
Four months back, I visited Briery for the first time. It was a cold, rainy day and I got hammered by the timber. I'd only been kayak fishing for a month or two, and I'd never fished timber like Briery. I lost three lures, didn't catch a single fish and even had to be towed off a submerged log by a guy in his john boat! It was humiliating. Luckily, my rescuer was the only other guy on the lake that day. This is the first I've spoken of it. ;)
Needless to say, the prospect of learning the ropes at Briery had me itching to fish. The night before we were to go, Bob called and said the weather looked crappy. A cold front was moving through and it was supposed to rain most the day, but he still promised a 20 bass day. Awesome!
Monday morning, I saw my wife and daughter off to the beach and then headed to Briery. Bob and Katie were already on the water when I rolled up at 9:30am, and Bob was steadily putting them in the boat. I paddled up and we shook hands. I was a little embarrassed as I only had one junk $30 spin rod spooled with 8#mono after losing three rods the other weekend in West Virginia. Bob and Katie didn't even bat an eye, instead introducing themselves, outfitting me with a bag of baits and setting me up with a drop shot rig on my dinky rod. I was immediately at ease, realizing I was amongst good people.
Bob and Katie, paddling their Wilderness Systems Ride 115 kayaks, were steady catching bass and I, in a Jackson Kayak Coosa, caught my first Briery bass, despite the poor conditions. As the afternoon went on, the number of bass caught went into the teens. Bob, determined to hold true to his word, was adamant about catching 20 like he promised. He slapped a 3.5" Craw D'oeuvre on a shaky head and shouted words of harassment / motivation at us as he slung his bait towards the Briery stumps. Bam!! Fish On! The Craw was on fire!
We had such a great time laughing / bantering and catching bass, that before we knew it, dusk had passed and the moon was high. The tally stood at 23 bass, a much lower number than they usually caught, but still a good day. Bob was true to his word, plus he got the edge on Katie for bass to boat. There is a lot of playful competition between these two. At 8pm, we headed for the cars.
The blue moon was rising as the sun set behind us. Perhaps a reason for the slow bite? It turned into a beautiful day chasing fish with new friends. I came away with a ton of tips and a great appreciation for Powerteam Lures, and the couple behind them.
The next day, I had no obligation to get home after work. My girls were gone until Thursday. I hit Briery again. I picked up a new spin rod to hold me over until I could buy a proper set up, spooled it and headed out. I put on around 6:15pm and paddled to one of the spots Bob and Katie had shown me. Second cast with a Green Pumpkin Sick Stick and boom! It was on!
It was a great culmination of all the tips I learned the previous day. Powerteam Lures baits, injected with Hog Tonic are on point! I spent the next 30 minutes soaking up my second Briery sunset and caught some photos of the blue moon as well.
On Wednesday, I got a call from Bob while I was at work. Him and Katie were headed back out to Briery Creek Lake. I packed up my things and headed out after work.
I paddled out, met them, and tied up to a stump. I chucked my first cast, a drop shot Dark Shadow Sick Stick, and leaned back into my chair. I let it settle and after a minute or two, brought it in a little. I felt the drop shot weight rise and fall over some timber and I let it sit. Then, boom! It was on! I started reeling in and the bass starting running. The drag on my rod was loose and screaming as he ran.
I brought the bass to boat and started taking the hook out. It had annihilated the sick stick and looked bigger than my best bass. I got the hook out and started to raise the fish out of the water to take a picture and ......rookie time! The bass shook violently and flew out of my hand. What the?!?! I couldn't believe it! and I didn't have the GoPro on! Tragic..
We fished for another 3.5 hours, Bob and Katie continued to reel bass in, despite the slow bite, and Katie rebounded with a better day and better fish than Bob. Something I'm sure he heard a couple times on the ride home.
I came into work Thursday morning and Tom, our GM at Appomattox River Company, asked about the previous evenings fishing. I started in on the lost bass story and everyone in the office starting laughing and heckling me about "the one that got away."
There are a lot of things about kayak fishing that I enjoy. Catching fish is one of them. But most days I'm struck more by the other benefits. Kayak fishing, like all the other recreational passions I enjoy, brings me in contact with great people and great places. Through an appreciation for the pursuit of fish, I met some new friends. As we talked, told stories and laughed over the past few days, one sentiment kept coming up, mentioned several times by all three of us.
Kayak anglers are good people.
There are a lot of folks in this fold who will go out of their way to be nice and welcoming. We have all experienced it. We try to live it. Bob and Katie of Powerteam Lures exemplify it.
I had a great three days of kayak fishing.
My girls get home this afternoon. I can't wait to tell my fish story again.