Eric Siddiqi is a pro kayak angler from Cincinnati, Ohio. He’s won events in the Hobie Bass Open Series (BOS), Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) and B.A.S.S. tournament series. Kentucky Lake, on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, is one of Siddiqi’s favorite tournament destinations; he’s set single-day stringer records on the lake in the 2017 and 2018 Hobie BOS tournaments. With more events scheduled, we asked Siddiqi to share his knowledge of Kentucky Lake.

“I have fished lakes all over America and Kentucky Lake offers the best ledge fishing in the country. When the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) dammed the Tennessee River in 1944, they created the largest man-made lake in the Eastern U.S. The bottom of the lake is still scarred by the original river and creek channels that were present before the dam. These channels provide a highway system for bass to travel along and ambush bait. Ledge fishing involves using my fish finder to search the steep drops for schools of bass. When I locate a school, I position the kayak over the ledge and cast or vertically jig my lure.” —Eric Siddiqi

Kentucky Lake: Big Water, Big Challenge, Big Bass

What’s Biting

Trophy largemouth and smallmouth bass along with slab crappie.

Fishing Season

Kentucky Lake offers opportunities year-round. In winter, bass concentrate on deep ledges and creek channel swings. In spring the bass move shallow before spawning. By May, the bass have moved back to the ledges for the summer.

two kayak anglers fishing for bass on Kentucky Lake
Unlock the secrets of Kentucky Lake, an iconic bass fishing destination. | Feature photo: Dustin Doskocil

Rigged Up

For ledge fishing, my favorite lures are football jigs, wobble heads and Texas, Carolina, drop shot or shaky head soft plastics. A 10-inch, plum colored worm is a Kentucky Lake standby. Other good ledge baits include big swimbaits, deep-diving crankbaits, spoons or a scrounger head with a Jerky J.

Kayak Gear

The most critical piece of kayak gear is a high-powered fish finder to show fish staging along the ledges. A pedal- or motor-powered kayak makes it easier to maintain position over the ledge.

man holds up a large bass caught while fishing on Kentucky Lake
Bass highway. | Photo: Eric Siddiqi

Game Plan

There are places to launch a kayak all around the lake. My favorites are the Moors and Paris Landing State Park. Both places are centrally located and offer great shallow-water and ledge fishing. If the bass are prowling the ledges, the best time to fish is when the TVA is releasing water at the dam. This creates swift current to get the baitfish moving. I position my kayak along the ledge in 18 to 25 feet of water and cast into the current.

Where to Eat

Hands down, Blues Landing is my favorite place to eat and have a couple of drinks after a long day of fishing. The restaurant is only a few minutes away from the Paris Landing boat ramp and specializes in steaks and Cajun food with live music. I recommend the shrimp and grits.

Where to Stay

There are great options for accommodations around Paris Landing. My first trip to Kentucky Lake, I stayed at Fishtale Lodge. The lodge offers nice cabins and good food. Kentucky Dam Village also has nice cabins and makes for a good headquarters at the north end of the lake.

Tackle Shops

Fast Eddie’s Bait and Tackle and HITEC Outdoors offer gear and advice. Kentucky Lake Outdoors, also in Benton, carries tackle and kayaks.

Cover of Kayak Angler Magazine Issue 49, Fall 2022This article was first published in the Fall 2022 issue of Kayak Angler Magazine. Subscribe to Kayak Angler Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.

Unlock the secrets of Kentucky Lake, an iconic bass fishing destination. | Feature photo: Dustin Doskocil



  1. Vertical jigging should be synonymous with metal jigs for maximizing your catch rate. Why? A metal jig’s “form & function” most closely simulates the action of an injured, or crippled, bait fish as it flutters, flashes and vibrates as it falls. There is no other lure-type that triggers a fish to strike better that a metal jig. Some of the very best are the Crippled Herring, Kandlefish and Sonic baitFish. Capt. Pete Rosko


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