MemberDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
A little background, I’ve only been freshwater fishing for a few months after years not fishing at all. I have a kayak and plan on getting a fish finder by springtime. I know the finder isn’t going to catch the fish for me so I have a ton of practice to do before actually entering a tournament.
My question is how competitive are kayak tournaments and what is the average skill level? I don’t expect to ever be a pro or anything but obviously winning something from time to time would be highly motivating. I don’t plan on doing any tournaments for a couple years probably until I’m confident I have enough experience to warrant spending the time and money.
I’m just curious if anyone could share their story with me so I could get an idea of what to expect.
EDIT: Thanks to everyone for all the information, so much great advice!
BigBillyGoatGriffGuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
I’m in the same boat
milk50GuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
The skill level will vary from tournament to tournament. Obviously the tournaments in the large tours like KBF will have a much higher average skill level than a smaller scale local tournament. Honestly the only way to prepare is to get out there and compete. Just like fishing, you need to figure out what works for you.
The best way to start, in my opinion would be to look for a local kayak fishing club. Typically, these organizations will run local tournaments or even a weekly season based competition. These are a fantastic introduction into tournament fishing.
If you don’t have a local club, most states have a state wide fishing trail that run many tournaments throughout the fishing season.
[deleted]GuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
binswagger1GuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
I have fished in a few, but generally speaking I avoid them. On the gulf coast they seem to very in how competitive they are, but I know people who take them seriously. I don’t like the idea of turning something I do to relax and have and have fun into something competitive, but that’s me. I have a friend who loves them and I’m always happy to go scouting with him. The larger one I have fished in Florida has an off-shore component and the weigh-ins are a blast with everyone drinking too much beer. The comradery and talk of fishing is also enjoyable.
tipsytaco_GuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
Take your hawg trough out fishing one morning. Measure and photograph your bass and see what you come up with. For a 6 to 8 hour tournament you’re usually going to need around 80″+ to be competitive for your top 5 fish.
tg1989GuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
I think for me, the biggest thing is managing my expectations. It’s easier said than done, but when I know my limitations, I tend to fish better. For example, I have a paddle yak, so I go in knowing I’m not going to cover as much water as pedal yaks. So I do a ton of research with topographical maps and Google earth before finding the spots I think the fish will be. I think the hardest thing for me is adjusting to what the fish want. Last tournament I caught my first fish (18“) in the first 10 min on a drop shot. So I fished a drop shot all morning with no bites. I switched to a squarebill and caught 4 in about 20 min. So knowing when to switch it up and when to keep grinding takes some practice but don’t let what you want to throw dictate how the day goes.
karstopoGuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
Can you afford the risk (loss of the entry fee, time off, gas, expenses, etc)? What do you hope to gain? Do you normally catch tournament quality fish or is that the exception? How skilled are you with time management and being adaptable?
A tournament fisherman is betting on themselves and the “hand” he holds. Honest evaluation of yourself and your fishing skills is something you want to have a handle on going into a contest. There are other rewards, though, besides prize money or gear, at least in some tournaments. Fun fellowship, idea exchanging, hanging out…so if the money and time isn’t a burden why not jump on in to entering a tournament.
The kayak or fishing tournaments I’ve been a part of have been the relatively low stakes, more fun than fortune types. I fished in 4 LSKS tournaments. The entry fee was $65. Top 25% received payout. Based on looking at previous tournament results, fish weights and considering the tournament format, I believed I could likely place in the money examining my own past experience with the fish, redfish in this case.
So the preparation for the individual tournaments didn’t differ all that much from preparing for any other outing, I just made sure to have my time management be a little crisper and to give my gear a little more thorough pre tournament preparation and organization.
I placed in the money in all 4 tournaments I fished with top ten finishes in the first 3 tournaments. The fourth tournament, I did not get to launch until over 3 hours after the launch time due to a work related emergency, effectively cutting my fishing time in half.
My perspective on participation in fishing tournaments has changed, though, with the contests having too much in common with work rather than recreation.
TizzlePhizzleGuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
Go out and try. Know where you need to fish before you go. Tournaments are pretty competitive. But people are mostly nice
Static66GuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
If I could pile on the question with another. (Was thinking about entering the new B.A.S.S. kayak regional qualifier in March)
Are most people using pedal driven yaks in the tournaments, or are there still actual paddlers in them? Im rocking a paddle driven yak, with a fish finder and kill it on my area lakes and rivers, but wonder if I should throw a trolling motor on my boat so as to not be at a disadvantage..
jimmythespiderGuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
It really depends what you want to get out of the tournament. I did my first saltwater kayak tournament this past September, and while the fishing was tough, and the weather was tough, it was still a great time, and a good learning experience.
It was a spot i’d personally fished many times before, but for a species (chinook salmon) i’d never fished for from the kayak. So i was starting from scratch. There were only 16 boats out that day, but everyone caught at least something, be it a salmon, a rock fish, a lingcod, a shark etc. It was mostly a good learning/networking experience for me, and, as i usually fish alone, a great way to meet/get out with some new people.
zaphodbeeblebrox42GuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
Tournament fishing is, at its core, the same whether you’re in a bass boat, a kayak, or on shore.
It’s about finding fish and executing the catch. That means you have to know where the fish will likely be and what they will likely bite, depending on the time of year, and weather conditions.
When it comes to practising for kayak tournaments, you need to know where you’re launching from. Your launch determines where you practice because you can only travel so far so fast. From there you should move to scouting your navionics depth charts. It’s ideal to have this with you (either on a graph or on your phone) while you’re on the water so that you can relate your surroundings to different depths and structure/bottom features.
When practising, people catch one fish and move off a spot. Some people catch a couple and then move on. I have a good buddy who will practise with lures with no hook, so that he can feel every bite, but won’t spook the fish off that spot (usually the day before a tournament).
The key is being confident that you can find fish and get them to bite. Personally I suggest fishing a couple tournaments before you feel like you’re ready because, often, most people never feel ready. However, that mondo could bite any time and you could end up going home with some cash.
darkodravenGuestDecember 17, 2019 at 10:15 pm
Thanks man I really appreciate the info!