Fishing a Kayak tournament is very different from just heading out for a day in the Yak. Let me share my experiences and some lessons learned fishing tournaments. First, you need people from whom you can learn. A good way to do this is to find a Kayak Fishing group on Facebook that focus on the kayak fishing scene in your local area. Groups like this often sponsor outings for newcomers and veterans alike, as well as provide access to the local kayak tournament organizations. Another way to tie into these local groups is through message boards at the local kayak shop or on their website. Joining like-minded anglers on the water or at the shop is a great way to make new friends, expand your knowledge and broaden your techniques.
Many Kayak tournaments are “on-line” events Sometimes they require you to fish a specific lake,
but many on-line tourneys allow you, even encourage, to fish any lake within your state or region. That's right, you can even select your favorite honey hole. Usually there are a few stipulations such as the body of water need to be public- no private ponds or lakes. To enforce this, your tourney pack will have a location tag to ensure everybody is fishing publicly accessible waterways. A lot of us use an app and website called TourneyX. This App will help you pay entry fees, track location, act as a host site for tournaments nationwide, and, most importantly, it is how you submit your “bag” of fish and access the real-time scoreboard.
One critical purchase you will have to make is a proper measuring device. Kayak tournaments are scored in inches, not by pounds. There’s no scale. In an environment of “trust”, tourney organizers want to avoid the use of scales since both the scale and the weight can be manipulated. Instead, we use a measuring device- the one I bought is called the Hawg Trough. You will need to check the rules of your tournament every time, as the choice of measuring devices may vary. Getting a good clear picture is an absolute must so you may need to darken the lines on your measuring board so that they're more visible when being photographed. While tournament rules are always important, it is particularly important in kayak events to check all the rules to make sure you have proper id tags and the code issued the day before the tournament to ensure your fish was in fact caught during the tournament day and within the allowable times.
As for other gear, you’ll need your phone, and for more than just an emergency device, so having
a waterproofed, floating case is a must. After the unique event related items, your gear is what you need to feel comfortable and confident to catch fish. Today most serious kayak anglers have added electronics to their rig as well as anchoring systems, rod holders, storage boxes and so on. If it makes you more comfortable and more “ready to fish” then add it to your rig. Tournaments are usually rain or shine so be ready for all kinds of weather. Lastly, remember the most important thing, have fun and #LiveThePassion!
Zachery Warren is a Kayak Bass angler originally from Albany TX and now residing in Denison, TX. He often fishes across the boarder in Oklahoma. He has a real passion for the no motor, limited electronics nature of kayak angling. He has fished a number of tournaments to test his skills and he has fished local and state tournaments along the Texhoma border. We appreciate Zach sharing his favorite tricks and tactics with the 360Nation.