Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 09:08

Guest Blog: Why I Don't Tournament Fish

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Tournaments aren't for everyone. Some people are burnt out while others like to keep competitive drive away from fishing. Wanting to understand better, I am lending my space today to JD Desrosiers to tell his story. 

I grew up in the Foothills area of South Carolina, and have been an avid outdoorsman my entire life. My earliest memories of fishing were with my grandfather on the Eastatoee River for trout. Many of my life time memories have been made with him. I grew up on Lake Cunningham in Greer, SC which is a small reservoir with an abundance of fish and wildlife. I have also spent a lot of time saltwater fishing in and around the Pawleys Island area of South Carolina.

My fishing style is light tackle, big fish. I really like a good fight no matter what species of fish I am after. As far as fishing the state of South Carolina I can cover about the entire spectrum from river fishing to amazing saltwater action and everything in between.      



I have always been big into hiking and exploring new lands. This lead me into snowboarding and downhill mountain biking. My passion for these to sports grew quickly, and that passion actually developed into a life style. I found myself driving several hours to get to the mountains, several times a week to do both.

 Every day that I had off from my 9-5 job, I was tuning my skills  to a competitive level.  The stress level rocketed in the snowboarding arena, and I found the enjoyment, and passion was quickly fading away. One day I made the hard decision to give up snowboarding and  stuffed all my boards and gear into a dark closet to forget about them.

 It was very easy for me to dedicate my time off from work to downhill mountain biking. I meet a core group of guys that were on top of the scene in the southeastern part of America. My skills rapidly developed and before I knew it I was riding some of the hardest terrain in the region, hucking 30 foot jumps, and ripping through the woods like there was no tomorrow.  As my riding progressed, I started competing in downhill races. Traveling from West Virginia to Georgia to race I quickly made a name for myself in the industry.  I managed to place well, and helped promote events.

This landed me 14 semi-pro sponsors from the mountain biking community. Trying to uphold terms of sponsorship and stay on top of the downhill racing scene, the pressure built to an all new level. I had to dedicate a ton of time to stay at this level, and this meant time away from my family. With all of this constantly weighing on me I made the decision to sell off all 4 of my bikes, parts, and gear. I was a very tough decision, but once it was all completed it felt like the world had been lifted off of my shoulders.

When I made the choice to start kayak fishing and paddling, I knew right away I loved it., I made a promise to myself that no matter what I would keep paddling enjoyable. Do not get me wrong, I have goals and accomplishments that I would like to try and meet in the kayak fishing industry, but one that I do not want to meet is competing in kayak fishing tournaments.



The amount of time you have to spend pre-fishing each location, the cost to get to each location, the expenses for entering each tournament, and the time away from my family just does not equal out the “pay-out” in my point of view.  Add to that the pressure of trying to place well, and land that one magical fish that could make the tournament for you and it’s just not attractive.

 I have nothing against tournaments or tournament paddlers; it is just not for me. To me kayak fishing is more about exploring new waters, connecting with fellow anglers, meeting and learning from new people from all over the country, and connecting with nature.

Being that close and low to the water is special. I love the fact that I am almost in the fish’s environment. There is no pressure in my paddling world. If I land fish, great! If not no big deal. It is all about being outside and sharing my journeys with as many people as possible. Along the way I hope that I am fortunate enough to teach other kayak fishermen what I have picked up.



Currently I am on the Pro Staff Team for Wilderness System and Adventure Technology, and use my RIDE 115 and AT paddle to cover a very diverse amount of fisheries in the southeast. Being located in  Upstate  South Carolina I am surrounded by rivers, ponds, small reservoirs, lakes, and only three hours for the Intercostal Waterway.

I also operate and maintain a blog for a small guide service company in South Carolina called Palmetto Guide


JD Desrosiers


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# Kayak_angler 2015-01-13 10:22
I am kind of in the same vote as JD. I got involved with kayak fishing to get around the water easier and find more great fishing spots. I didn't plan to get involved in lots of tournaments but I am planning to attend a couple tournaments this year but nothing stressful and big.

I have enough competitive time during basketball season so when basketball is over I look forward to getting the kayak out fishing to relax and be one with my natural surroundings. I just enjoy fishing, paddling and taking in the scenery.

Once again, thank you for another terrific article Chris.
+2 # Aggroman 2015-01-13 11:48
Great article. I'm the same. Done it, don't care to do it anymore. I fish for me now, and I love every minute of it. No pressure, no disappointment, and no regrets. Thanks.
+2 # richg99 2015-01-15 17:32
Well said! I spent 40 years in business in competition. Did pretty well.

Can't imagine competing while fishing. .

I love the feel of a fighting fish. If the fish jumps off, I just laugh and call it an early release.

I'm glad the tournament folks like what they are doing, just as I like what I do.
# ncoutlander 2015-01-15 20:38
Forcing yourself to fish by tournament rules and time constraints make a relaxing past time more like a job. Good article and I agree wholeheartedly, don't complicate what is already perfect.
# J.P. Button 2015-01-15 21:49
I couldn't agree with you more. I've entered a few and have always caught a fish. But, for me, it takes the enjoyment out of kayak fishing. Having to leave when the fish are biting to make a "weigh-in" is the worst. I have no intentions of ever entering another tournament again. I'd rather just go out and enjoy a day of fishing over dealing with the hassle even if it means missing out on a bonus check.
+1 # Bullfrog 2015-01-22 11:55
My exposure to tournament fishing came from a local salmon club I belonged to years ago. We fished Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The club put up $50 and we all had fun, more for the bragging rights then the prize money. We then got a challenge from another club the money went to $100 and a local tackle shop put up a rod and reel. We now needed rules, start times, weight ins and judges.

By the end of our third event someone was caught weighing in fish that were caught the day before. The next time someone actually slipped enough split shot down a king salmon neck to add an extra pound.

The prize went to $300 and we added observers to each boat and more arguments at weight ins. It seemed to bring out the worst in us. The following summer I decided that I wasn't having fun fishing tournaments and never fished one again.

I now only have a few rules: be safe, have fun and every now and then bring back a prize for supper.


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