YakAngler: So, Woody, tell us how this tournament idea came about.
Woody: My friend John Grace put this on. He’s a good friend, extremely good kayaker, adventure kayaker, videographer, and filmmaker. We’re good friends - he works with Native Watercraft a lot, and we have spent a lot of time together over the years. He and I were traveling, doing some filming and fishing in Florida. We hit a couple of tournaments but neither of us had ever been to a fishing tournament before. We were just driving around and saw all these beautiful places. We went down to the Everglades, and it was just one of those things where we said, “You know, what if you did this or what if you did that?” This tournament took us about a year and a half to talk through, and to be honest John really took the bull by the horns and started planning it out.
YakAngler: Can you lay out the format of the tournament for us?
Woody: It’s a team event, and a team consists of two anglers. It’s a Catch-Photo-Release tournament with five checkpoints within various distances of each other. At the start of the day, all the contestants will get a map of the checkpoints. Anglers will start strategizing with their teammates about where to fish, how long to fish there, the distance between checkpoints, and other tactics.
YakAngler: Does a team have to hit all five checkpoints?
Woody: To be scored you’ll have to hit three out of the five checkpoints. Teams will have to get to a checkpoint get their token, take a picture, and turn the token back in before they leave that checkpoint.
This hasn’t been worked out yet, but we’re pretty sure that one of the checkpoints is going to be way the hell out there. Teams who paddle to the “bonus” checkpoint will get their inch totals doubled. But remember - you still have to check in at two other checkpoints, even though you paddled all the way out there.
YakAngler: When we spoke before, wasn’t your idea for this to be a multiple day event where you would have to camp?
Woody: Yeah, that’s the idea, but John and I want to get this one under our belts. Next year we’re looking at multiple days. That’s where we see this tournament really standing out and becoming the adventure tournament of the kayak fishing community.
YakAngler: You said that the checkpoints will be points on a map. Do you mean literally points on a map, or will everyone get GPS coordinates?
Woody: As of now, yes - literally, points on a map. That’s going to be part of the strategy - how do we get there? You’re going to have to navigate and find these checkpoints, and figure out how to get to the next one.
YakAngler: Are you going to allow folks to carry some type of GPS in case they get lost?
Woody: Yes, everyone is going to be allowed to carry a phone or VHF radio, but only for use in case of an emergency. Teams are not to be communicating with a spotting boat sitting somewhere.
YakAngler: What type of measuring device are you going to use?
Woody: We’re not really sure just yet. What do you think? We’ll probably reach out to some locals down there and get some of their opinions.
YakAngler: So, Woody, what if I paddle way the hell out to the bonus checkpoint and just slay’ em, but I get lost on my way back and you have to come get me? Do my points still count?
Woody: Hell no! Especially if I have to be the one to come get you, you’re definitely out!
It was great getting the opportunity to catch up with our good friend Woody, and we really look forward to this event!
To find out more about this tournament please visit: http://adventurefishingworldchampionship.com/