A Look Inside Tournament Bass Fishing

My love affair with aggressive kayak fishing started 5 years in the past. I used to be engaged on a buyer’s compound bow at an archery store when somebody introduced in a flier for an area kayak fishing event. As I clicked the lighter to burn the ends of the thread, I abruptly determined I needed to enter. By the top of my shift, I had bought a used fishing kayak for $800. I grabbed an previous milk crate to retailer my gear, discovered a life jacket, and eagerly confirmed up early on the morning of the occasion. I took third place and have been hooked ever since. 

I began fishing each small occasion I may discover, and certified for nationwide occasions throughout the nation. After two years of fishing native, I made the transition to fishing full-time, and have been capable of make a residing as a kayak angler. In I received the 2021 Hobie Bass Open Sequence Event of Champions, probably the most prestigious event in kayak fishing.

The Historical past of Kayak Fishing

Saltwater and freshwater kayak fishing tournaments started over a decade in the past. A number of the pioneers to the game embody Marty Temper, Chad Hoover, Marty Hughes, and Jim Sammons. Because of accessibility (all you want is a kayak and fishing gear), aggressive kayak fishing has grow to be the fastest-growing segment in the sport. The overhead could be very low, in comparison with fishing out of a bass boat. Though top-of-the-line fishing kayaks exceed $5000, you’ll be able to nonetheless get into the game of kayak fishing for beneath $1,000. With much less cash at stake, the environment is commonly welcoming, which attracts much more people in.

Professional Kayak Fishing Excursions

There are three major kayak fishing trials: Hobie, KBF, and Bassmaster. Kristine Fischer

Skilled kayak fishing at the moment has three nationwide degree trails: Hobie B.O.S., Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF), and the Bassmaster Kayak Series (BASS).  Every sequence gives an open type format, through which anybody can enter and compete. You possibly can register by way of the path web sites, or use the event administration functions TourneyX and FishingChaos. KBF does have a small pro-level tour that anglers should qualify for. 

The season begins on the finish of January and runs by way of the start of November. Hobie has 9 to 10 opens and a championship; KBF has 10 to 14 stops plus a championship; and BASS has 5 to 6 occasions and a championship. The associated fee to enter the opens is about $260 for BASS and Hobie, and $115 for KBF. The common season opens are both one- or two-day occasions, and the Hobie and KBF championships final three days. The kayak schedule consists of lots of the identical lakes as the professional bass excursions. Lake Fork, Lake St Clair, Lake Champlain, Lake Kissimmee, Lake Chickamauga, Lake Guntersville, and Lake Hartwell are all frequent stops on the schedule.

The Guidelines and Laws of Kayak Fishing

All measurements are done digitally.
There aren’t any weigh-ins on the finish of a kayak event. It’s all accomplished digitally. Kristine Fischer

The three trails have related units of guidelines with some slight variations. Anglers can launch from any public ramp, and there are “strains in” and “strains out” instances for when you’ll be able to put in and take out. To catalog your bass, it’s a catch, take a photograph, and launch format the place anglers are given a singular identifier that should be current within the picture when submitted. There aren’t any livewells on kayaks to maintain fish. This methodology additionally returns bass to the water rapidly and retains them wholesome. The pictures are submitted to a event administration app, which totals the anglers longest 5 fish, and options an total leaderboard. Total size of your catch determines the winner, as an alternative of weight, such as you see in bass boat tournaments.

Aside from how we catalog bass, the one main distinction in kayak event fishing is the shortcoming to load up and run throughout the lake rapidly like you possibly can in a bass boat. And naturally, there isn’t any large weigh-in on the finish of the day. Kayak anglers break down a lake the identical method a ship fisherman does, they only can’t entry as a lot water in a well timed method.

Do Bass Boat Anglers Fish Kayak Sequence Tournaments?

There may be crossover. A number of kayak anglers fish FLW, MLF, and Bassmaster opens. And among the BASS professionals, reminiscent of Mike Iaconelli and Jordan Lee, have jumped into the aggressive kayak fishing scene, which has introduced extra eyes to our sport. These professionals are the most effective anglers on this planet, no matter vessel. Iaconelli, Lee, and Dave Lefebre all cashed checks within the kayak tournaments they’ve fished.

Kayak tournaments have gained extra respect through the years, however I don’t anticipate they may ever eclipse the professional bass excursions, or be as revered because the Bassmaster Traditional, which most kayak anglers perceive and are superb with. I do see the game evolving to a real professional sequence, with increased entry charges and a qualification course of to fish the tour.  

What It Takes to Turn out to be a Full-Time Kayak Angler

Because of the expansion of kayak fishing, there are about 20 anglers that make sufficient cash to fish full-time. A typical open event pays as a lot as $10,500, and championships run as much as $45,000. So, kayak anglers who’re constant have ample alternative to receives a commission. And your overhead is low. Entry charges are nominal, and fuel and lodging can usually be $500 or much less. Generally you’ll spend $1,000 on an occasion, however that’s not the norm.

Here’s a take a look at 5 of probably the most embellished and proficient kayak anglers on tour (in no explicit order.)

Rus Snyders
Rus Snyders is a 4 time Hobie Bass Open champ. Rus Snyders
  1. Rus Snyders (Nashville, Tennessee):  Snyders has been event fishing since 1998 when he was simply 16 years previous. He fished Bassmaster, BFLs, and FLW earlier than making the change to kayak fishing in 2017.
  • 2x KBF Angler of the 12 months 
  • 5x KBF Path Champion
  • 4x Hobie Bass Open Champion 
  • 2x BASS Champion
  • IL Sequence State Champion KBF
  • 2020 KBF The Ten Champion
Gonzalez fished in college at TCU.
Guillermo Gonzalez is a local Puerto Rican, who fished in school at TCU. Guillermo Gonzalez

2. Guillermo Gonzalez (Fort Value, Texas): A local Puerto Rican, he fished in school at Texas Christian College, and has been kayak event fishing since 2013. Gonzalez is among the only a few anglers left that competes in a paddle kayak. Most of us have a pedal-drive kayaks.

  • 2021 KBF Nationwide Champion 
  • Hobie Bass Open Champion 2021
  • 2x KBF Path Champion 
  • 3x AOY in Texas Trails
Milton joined the kayak trails in 2016.
Milton got here from MLF and FLW, becoming a member of the kayak trails in 2016. Cody Milton

3. Cody Milton (Searcy, Arkansas): One other proficient competitor that got here from the bass boat world, fishing FLW and MLF in his early teenagers. He has been fishing kayak tournaments since 2016.

  • 2x KBF AOY 
  • 4x KBF Path Champion 
  • 1x Bass Open Champion 
  • 2019 KBF the TEN Champion 
  • 2021 KBF Problem Champion
Jody Queen
Queen has over 30 first-place finishes as a event kayak angler. Jody Queen

4. Jody Queen (Bluefield, West Virginia): A river fishing grasp, Queen has been kayak fishing since 2016.

  • 7x KBF Path champion 
  • 2021 KBF the Ten Champion 
  • 2019 Hobie Event of Champions Winner
  • 4x Hobie Bass Open Winner 
  • KBF Professional Tour Champion
  • Over 30 first place finishes
Drew Gregory
In 2020, Gregory was the Hobie angler of the yr. Drew Gregory

5. Drew Gregory (Kent, Ohio): Founding father of River Bassin Kayak Tournament Trail, Gregory is identified for his huge information of fishing shifting water. He’s additionally probably the most constant kayak angler on the nationwide degree.

  • Hobie BOS 2020 AOY 
  • Common 11th place end in KBF final three years (500 rivals)
  • Profession nationwide end common is astounding 9th place.
  • Solely angler to position prime 10 in FLW Kayak (eight) and the Bassmaster Kayak championships (fourth)

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