"What we need is a few cold nights to get the water temperatures down a little," said Jon Worrell at The Bait Shop in Townville. "The bait is just starting to bunch up, and cooler weather will get them moving into the backs of the creeks that's what most of these guys are looking for."
Since Christmas Day, fishermen have gotten their wish, with overnight lows in the 30s. Despite the cold and frequent rain, Knight has been launching his kayak in places that striped bass typically show up during the winter: in the back of Six-and-Twenty, Coneross, and Three-and-Twenty creeks. Once on the water, he's pulling a combination of gizzard shad and blueback herring.
"I'll put five lines out at a time, and four of those will have gizzards on them," he said.
Using planer boards to spread the gizzard shad out to the side and a large cork to the rear, Knight slowly kayaks the shallows, putting half of his baits up in shallow water. He said fishermen cruise right past fish that he catches.
"A lot of the boaters are looking for birds," said Knight. "When the birds leave, the boaters leave. It's usually just a few minutes before the fish come back up in the same area, and the birds come back. Just because the birds leave doesn't mean the fish leave."
Knight also feels he has much less impact on surface feeding fish in his small boat with no motor than a power boat. That stealth ability allows him to fish closer to the boat. Once he locates a school of fish, he can float right along with the school, using his paddle to keep him in position.