ARDMORE, OKLAHOMA — A couple of times every week, maybe three or four, if he’s lucky, Caleb Johnson launches his boat near one of the many lakes around this city in south central Oklahoma.
For the past three years he hasn’t needed any gas, no trailer either, not even a trolling motor, just a kayak and paddle, tackle and shallow water.
“It’s easier for me,” he says of fishing from a kayak. “I think just being closer to the water and being able to reach down and just grab a fish.”
He’s on Ardmore’s City Lake this morning, fighting weather change, hoping the bite picks up before he has to take his daughter to the dentist.
Caleb likes the quiet out here in the shallows.
“For me it’s the opportunity to get out,” he continues. “It’s an escape from everything that goes on in the real world.”
He was never the kind of kid who could afford to buy his own boat and outboard motor, not to mention the fish finder or trolling gear.
He liked fishing too much to wait.
Johnson and a growing number of anglers in Oklahoma and a lot of other places found a much more cost effective route to the water by outfitting wide bottom kayaks with all the stuff they might need.
Caleb says, “You can set the hook standing up or sitting down, either way. I’ve tried flipping in several times and can’t do it.”
His boat is more maneuverable that tube fishing craft and still able to get to those shallow spots in narrow creeks when the bass are biting on the top water.
He says, “Generally right here at the turn of the season, toward Fall, the bite really does pick up.”
Johnson is one of the directors of an organization called Oklahoma Kayak Anglers.
Membership tops 150 these days and it’s growing all the time.
Between City Lake, Lake Murray, and a handful of other good bass fishing lakes in Southern Oklahoma, it’s easy for these fishermen to squeeze in between the other boats on the water, and compete for bass in waters where other craft dare not go.
Late September is a great month for kayak anglers in Oklahoma.
The OK Kayak Anglers are holding two tournaments.
On September 15th a benefit competition called the Socks and Cookies Tournament will take place.
Proceeds go toward a charity that sends care packages to U.S. troops deployed overseas.
On September 29th, The OKA holds their annual Invitational State Championships where the top 30 kayak anglers from around the state compete on Lake Murray.
For more information on either of these tournaments go to www.oklahomakayakanglers.com or their Facebook page at Facebook @Oklahomakayakanglers