For years I’ve owned, maintained, and utilized a powered bass boat in my pursuit of Micropterus salmoides. Almost a year ago I sold my boat in preparation for a move overseas that never materialized and I’ve spent these winter months trying to figure out what to do to get back on the water. While comparing prices, researching financing, and doing general research I happen to come upon a number of websites dedicated to kayak bass fishing. My first thoughts were, “a kayak is not big enough for all my tackle and gear” and “how would you fish a tournament out of a kayak”. My doubtful thoughts pushed aside, I continued to dig deeper into a subculture of bass angling that I never knew existed. As the 2015 fishing season begins I find myself fully committed to kayak bass fishing.
The move has not been easy, as I alluded to one of my first concerns was brought about by years of having every item and lure needed for a day on the lake. For example, I always had the necessary items to rig a Carolina rig but can only recall using that set up once in the past three years. My wife often reminds me that many of my baits have never even touched the water. My addiction to fishing tackle is another issue to address at a later date, however, in my transition to a kayak I have discovered a few things that are worth sharing.
1. The amount of gear you can bring is limited, chose wisely. Previously in my bass boat I had everything and the proverbial kitchen sink. I would dare to say that nearly half of the equipment I carried in my boat never saw the light of day much less the water. My thought process was it was better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Moving to a kayak changes this, space is limited and is at a premium, while kayak manufacturers are increasingly trying to fill the demands of anglers by increasing the boat’s storage space you still have to make a decision on what gear goes and what stays.
2. The kayak fishing community is absolutely amazing! Since I first started reaching out to those involved in this support I have received nothing but help. Even as I started my own kayak bass fishing club, with very little knowledge of how kayak bass tournaments were run I received so much information from those that have been doing them. With any luck the West Tennessee Bass Yakkers (https://www.facebook.com/WestTNBassYakkers) will grow into a prominent bass fishing club. Another positive about this community is how much they care about the fish and how they have developed the CPR format for tournaments. CPR, which actually stands for Catch, Photo, Release, greatly reduces the stress on the fish and eliminates challenge of caring for a fish throughout the day.
3. Kayak fishing is poised for continued growth. I honestly did not think moving to a kayak would be for me because I love the competitive side of tournament fishing. From clubs to local and regional events it has been a part of my fishing experience for close to five years now, but out of a kayak? Well lucky for me I’m coming into kayak fishing just as kayak bass tournaments are growing in popularity. Take for instance the Kayak Bass Series (http://www.kayakbassseries.com). This series has kicked off in 2015 and stands to become the B.A.S.S. and FLW of the kayak bass fishing world. Furthermore, events like the Kayak Bass Fishing Open (www.kbfopen.com), has tremendous manufacturer support and provides some of the largest cash payouts in kayak fishing, thanks in large part to the hard work of Nik Brown and Chad Hoover. Last but not least there is the River Bassin Trail, (www.riverbassintrail.com) founded by Drew Gregory, this trial host tournaments all over the country. All of these events plus local club tournaments give kayak anglers of all skill levels plenty of opportunity to compete and expand their kayak fishing abilities.
While this is only a small sampling of things I’ve learned so far by moving to a kayak I know there is a lot more to learn. For me one of the beauties of fishing is that you never stop learning, chasing these fish keeps engaged and determined to better understand them. Honestly moving from a powered boat to a kayak has only changed my distance from the water, but by being closer, I think I’m going to learn that much more.