So what is the deal with kayak tournaments? I’ve been fishing them for the last seven years or so but I also understand that to the general public they remain fairly unknown. Other anglers always seemed shocked on the water when I mention that I am fishing a tournament. People I work with always have questions about how my tournaments work, where do you keep the fish, and how do you keep people from cheating? This article will hopefully shed a little light on the subject and at least explain how the kayak bass fishing tournaments that I’m involved with are run.
In a time where the trend seems to be a downsizing of bass boats, downsizing of tow vehicles, and a great expenditure of energy in making the American dollar go farther it only seems logical that many people are turning to kayaks as a more economical solution to getting out on the water and catching fish. These “little plastic boats” are low maintenance, easy to transport, beginner friendly, and can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make them. Kayaks come in all shapes and sizes. Your local big box store will have selections ranging from $200 right on up to some of the top of the line offerings that may run you several thousand dollars. How much you spend is up to you but all of them will get you off the bank and out on the water enjoying the fun.
Kayak tournaments aren’t very discriminating when it comes to your choice of paddle craft. All types are welcome whether you own a sit-on-top (SOT) or a sit-in-kayak (SINK), whether you prefer paddle or pedal powered, and even thosethat opt for the electric motor powered kayaks are able to join in most events. The largest nationwide organizing bodycurrently hosting kayak tournaments is KayakBassFishing.com or KBF as most of us refer to them. The group was founded by Chad Hoover, a retired Navy Officer, that
after leaving the service has poured his heart into getting more and more people on the water in kayaks and more recently is making strides at uniting the kayak bass clubs across the nation by hosting regional events, trail stops, and having a National Championship event each year that brings us all together for a single “main event” where we not only compete for a substantial monetary prize but where we also get to enjoy the community, put faces with names from social media, and just plain have some fun!
Chad Hoover, the founder of KayakBassFishing.com
I’ll use the KBF National Championship tournament as my example here. There will be slight differences in tournament rules and structure depending on what club you choose to look at but it seems that most groups pattern themselves off of KBF since it has been proven to work and be successful. Just like boat tournaments we have a five fish limit per day for the events. Where we differ is in the fact that most kayaks don’t have the deck space or carrying capacity to hold a “livewell” capable of keeping five fish alive all day. A new format had to be developed that removed the need for bringing fish into the scales for an actual weigh in. Catch-Photo-Release has become the accepted standard in kayak fishing tournaments. CPR events are based off of the length of fish rather than a weight. Because we aren’t carrying the fish around all day in a livewell fish mortality is greatly reduced. We simply catch our fish, measure their length, snap a quick photo and then they are released.
In order for this to work everyone must use the same model of measuring device, have a unique identifier in the picture to prove the fish was caught during the event, and follow the same set of rules as to the positioning of the fish on the measuring board. For example we all use the Hawg Trough measuring device. It is a concave plastic ruler with a bump stop or fence at the end and has raised lines on the board in ¼” increments. The fish must lie on the board facing to the left, with mouth closed, dorsal fin facing up, lip touching the fence, and the tail cannot be pinched to try and gain extra length. Cell phones are used to capture the photograph. The cell phone geo-tags the photos with position information as well as a time stamp.
This picture shows the correct orientation of the fish on a Hawg Trough measuring board. Also note the
unique identifier on the hawg trough that ensures the photo was taken during the event.
In order to keep all these fish straight and maintain the tournament standings we utilize a website called TourneyX.com. Dwayne Walley, a kayak tournament angler and Wilderness Systems Regional Manager for the Gulf Region, developed the site as a way of hosting tournaments and speeding up the process of fish submissions and judging. He also developed an app for smartphones that streamlines the process and simplifies it for anglers that already have enough to worry about on the water. After taking a photo of your catch you simply open the app and submit your fish to the leader board.
Dwayne Walley – the man behind TourneyX.com
The software automatically culls your fish to only show the five largest that have been submitted and maintains a “real time” leader board for the tournament so that you can see how you’re doing compared to your competitors throughout the day. Judges are employed by KBF to check each fish picture that is submitted to ensure that the fish conforms to the tournament guidelines, the correct identifier is visible in the picture, and that the angler entered the appropriate length for the fish. If the picture was taken correctly and all of the guidelines are met then the fish is approved and your total length is tallied by the software. At the end of the tournament day everyone can see how they did and can view the pictures of each fish on the leader board by simply clicking on an anglers name and each of the fish are displayed.
Kayak fishing tournaments provide different things for different people. Some folks, like me, grew up fishing bass tournaments from boats and for whatever reason have now become part of the kayak community and like to maintain that competitive aspect of the sport that tournaments provide. Other people came into kayak fishing as a way to get away from the bank and view tournaments as a way to further hone their skills to become more proficient at putting fish in the boat. Kayak tournaments in general are a little more laid back than boat tournaments. There seems to be a greater sense of community and those that are struggling to figure out the fish are more apt to receive help from a fellow tournament angler. We consider each other as family and genuinely want to see everyone succeed while out on the water. If any of this sounds like something you’d be interested in then contact your local kayak fishing club and consider joining them for their next event. You’ll find that there are people of all ages, genders, and experience levels in every club. All are welcome in the kayak fishing community!
Post Credit: A Big Thank you to Matthew and Amanda Brannon authors of "The Outdoor Power Couple" for writing this awesome article and allowing us to share it with our viewers. Matthew and Amanda are an inspiration to the kayak fishing community and spend a lot of their time sharing their journey and love of the outdoors in hopes to bring more couples outside together to enjoy such past times as hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and kayaking.
Until Next time,
We’ve all heard the saying. “March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb.” Well, the anglers who competed in KAMO’s inaugural event, are still waiting for that lion to hit the road. It came in and never left.
A total of 54 anglers signed up for the KAMO March online tournament. All public waters in the state of Missouri were eligible. All an angler had to do to win was catch the five biggest bass, take a picture of them on an approved measuring device, and then let them happily swim away. Sounds simple, right? Not even close!
The weather was a huge factor throughout the state. March gave us a few sunny days, but we also had plenty of rain, a bit of snow, sleet, and incredibly high winds. I myself made a last day effort to improve my standings while fishing in wind gusts in the 30-mph range. If you haven’t been in an 80-pound plastic boat when the wind is pushing close to tropical storm levels, then you haven’t experienced extreme kayak fishing. In every aspect, the inaugural tournament of Missouri’s fastest growing kayak fishing club was a grind, but the anglers persevered and made the event one to remember.
With 440 fish having been submitted, the quality of the fish that were judged was incredible. Winner Jordan Isaacs put up an impressive 96.25”. That is an average size of 19.25”.
Considering the state of Missouri recognizes anglers in their Master Angler program for catching a 22” largemouth bass, Jordan’s numbers are astonishing. There are a lot of quality bass in Missouri and the submissions by the KAMO anglers just help to prove this fact. Let’s hope everyone can continue this trend throughout the year. It isn’t unreasonable to think that some future events may take over 100” to win.
Gina Ueke took second place with 94”. Gina came on strong and never gave up.
Those of us who fished events with her last year, knew that she was going to be a force to contend with, and with an average size of just shy of 18”, Gina has shown that she knows how to find the big bass.
Third place in the event went to Jay Arnold of Galena, MO.
Jay was just ¾” shy of matching Gina’s total. This is a testament to how intense the competition was and shows how it’s never safe to crown a winner until the last cast is thrown.
Rounding out the top ten…..
4th Jerrad Saffle - 92.75" - $165.00
5th Tommy Probst - 92.50 - $129.00
6th Jeremy Miller - 91.25 - $110.00
7th Jacob Nunn - 87.75 - $75.00 prize pack from Sheangler Custom Baits and Yak Attack
8th Travis Ueke - 85.00 - $65.00 prize pack from Everharts and FishingSir
9th Billy Reynolds - 84.75 - $50.00 prize pack from Liv and Jen's Bait Bucket
10th Steve Sisson - 84.00 - $45.00 prize pack from Flat Creek Resort and Grill and Yak Attack
Steve Sisson also earned the big bass award with a 22.25”.
In a surprise twist, the awesome KAMO sponsors stepped up and ensured that everyone in the top ten was awarded a prize for their accomplishments including the winner of the "Mean Green" drawing. Cody Pender was the winner and received a $50.00 Gift card from OMTC!!
Well, that's it for March. We would like to give a BIG KAMO THANK YOU to all those who participated and to our amazing sponsors. We could not do this without you. Next stop, Tablerock Lake, Saturday April 21st as KAMO host it's first onsite event. Will Mother Nature cooperate only time will tell. You know what they say about April, "April Showers"
Tight Lines everyone!
Article: Billy Reynolds, www.billyreynoldsfishing.com
Photos: Mel Isaacs, www.sheanglercustoms.com
Well, it has begun! March 1st began the first of many tournaments to come for the 2018 season. Fifty four anglers signed up to fish the very first KAMO month long online tournament here in Missouri. Anglers will be fishing Missouri waters for there chance to win cash and prizes as well as the title "The First" winner of a KAMO tournament.
Who will it be? Let's take a closer look!
As mentioned earlier this is KAMO's very first tournament and our 2018 kick off event. It is a month long online tournament where anglers have been fishing any Public waters here in Missouri. Because it is the month of March, anglers were also given an option to add a little something extra to their photos (green of course) to have their name entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to OMTC (Ozark Mountain Trading Company). We have definitely had some interesting photo submissions!
There will also be a few random drawings just because this is our kick off event. Who will have the "Luck of The Green? Here is the current top 20 standings, but with 5 days left it's still anyone's game. You never know who may be holding those monsters back until the very end.
One thing is for certain, with some of Missouri's most amazing anglers pushing hard for that top spot it looks to be a close tournament. If you would like to follow along over the next few days , you can click on the Big X link below and it will take you to our tournament page on TourneyX. Don't get to discouraged though on the last day after 3 as the leader board will go down at some point. Nothing better than suspense and surprises to top off a great tournament for both angler and peers!!
Thanks for stopping by and checking us out and we hope you will keep coming back for more updates! We also want to give a Big KAMO shout out to all of our 2018 Sponsors! You make it all possible!!
Tight lines everyone!!
We hear about it every day. Everybody loves to see things grow. Whether it is a business, or the flowers in your garden, anytime something gets bigger or more successful, it is viewed as an achievement. Well if growth is a measure of success, Kayak Anglers of Missouri, or KAMO for short, is on fire!
Since its inception early in 2018, KAMO has added 51 new kayak anglers as members. That is 51 new anglers who are now ready to hit the waters of Missouri in their kayaks and fish for bass. While this rapid growth is impressive in itself, what does it mean for Missouri and the supporters of KAMO? Well, let’s dig into it a little bit deeper.
There are now 51 new kayak anglers travelling across Missouri. These anglers will spend money on hotels, stop at gas stations for snacks and fuel, eat at local restaurants, and spend money at not only KAMO sponsor locations, but also at various stores, tackle shops, and even souvenir stores along the way.
The families of these kayak anglers will often join them. While the anglers are on the water, their families will be searching out activities to keep them busy and exploring some of the tourist attractions that Missouri has to offer. Or, they may just decide to hang out at the local campground and spend time with nature, enjoying some of the beautiful lakes and rivers that Missouri has to offer.
Thanks to the Catch, Photo, and Release (CPR) rules that the kayak tournament world works under, although the anglers will be catching hundreds of bass, they will all be released as quickly as possible causing as little stress to the fish as possible. This is a great way for anglers to compete, but also to ensure that one of Missouri’s natural resources will be there for other anglers to enjoy in the future.
New friendships will be made, and old friendships will continue. Children will find themselves surrounded by adults who want to teach them “this is how we grew up”. Sorry kids, but there won’t be a lot of time to watch TV or play video games. Those adults are going to make you run around in nature, spend time on the water, and wear yourself out enjoying the outdoors.
While the growth of KAMO is impressive, 51 new anglers doesn’t tell the whole story. The story will unfold as the season unfolds. KAMO sponsors, Missouri campgrounds and hotels, local eateries, and local businesses will all be a part of that story. So while 51 new anglers is great to see, the impact those anglers will have is the real success story and we can’t wait to see it happen.
Until next time,
Tight Lines everyone!
Well, it's official! Kayak Anglers of Missouri Inc. aka KAMO made their first public appearance as Missouri's newest elite kayak fishing club at last Saturday's "Guides and Outfitters" event. The event was held at the Bass Pro shop on the Branson Landing.
Tournament Director Mel Isaacs and member Dave Pilgrim were onsite throughout the day introducing the club and answering questions from the general public.
This will be KAMO's first year and already it has signed up over 25 paid members and is looking forward to continued growth as the public becomes more aware.
Janet Collins of Rockaway Beach, Mo. stopped by and visited and states " I Love fishing from my kayak and is cool to know there is a group where women can join in as well. I definitely want to know more on how to become a member"! Janet is an avid kayak angler and we look forward to having her join us! Janet was also the winner of the drawing for a $25.00 gift certificate from SheAngler Custom Baits held at the booth.
Live demos were given on the different types of equipment needed, such as the Hawg Trough, Tourney Tag, Tourney ID, life jackets, how fish are carefully handled and judged using the CPR (Catch Photo and Release) method to help preserve our fisheries, and the TourneyX applicatoin as well as how to measure fish using the Hawg Trough.
Bass Pro was also very kinds in giving us some awesome blankets to give away to those who stopped by. It was a fun time had by all and so awesome to be able to promote the sport of kayak fishing to young and old and getting to know fellow anglers!!
We would like to give a Big Shout out to Bannon Cobb and Cynthia Nunez for inviting us and to Rose and all the others at Bass Pro who helped us out in making the event awesome and last but not least to our members who are making this possible. We look forward to a GREAT YEAR and we hope you will join us!
Not just a fishing club, it's a community! Whether you are a new or experienced kayak angler, KAMO is the club for you. Providing kayak fishing tournaments, group outings for anglers and their families, educational events, and other activities. It is also a place for kayak anglers to share and gather news and other kayak fishing related information from other anglers in and around Missouri. KAMO strives to foster camaraderie, sportsmanship, and conservation and preservation of our fisheries throughout Missouri and the kayak fishing community.