Kayak fishing tournaments are becoming more popular each year. If you’re thinking of entering a kayak fishing tournament, there are some things you need to know. In this post, we’ll share tips on how to prepare for a kayak fishing tournament and what you can expect during the event. We’ll also discuss the rules and regulations that apply to kayak fishing tournaments. So, if you’re curious about kayak fishing tournaments, keep reading!
1. Write It Down
For newcomers and veterans alike, preparing for a tournament involves many steps leading up to the moment where you find yourself eagerly counting down the seconds to your first cast.
You want to feel well prepared for the day. You do not want to venture into full-blown freak-out mode that you forgot your paddle, camera, and favorite jig rod at the house. This is why I always recommend making lists. I start my lists while planning for the tournament; I write down baits selections, to-do lists, loading details, and must-have items. It may seem redundant, but it gives you confidence and helps to prevent any oversight that could negatively impact your ability to compete.
2. Do Some Research
Research builds confidence in lake knowledge, and there is a wealth of information both online and offline to assist in breaking down a body of water before launching your kayak for the tournament or a pre-fishing session. Navionics, Google Earth, fishing reports, and forums are all great tools to better understand your next tournament location.
Take screen shots, make notes, and scour the web for any information that might give you the advantage you’re looking for. Printed lake maps are also a solid resource for chopping a body of water into more manageable chunks.
3. Get Charged Up
Kayak tournament anglers depend on many battery operated devices to safely get them through a day on the water. Head lamps, 360º lights, cameras, Fishing Lights, and fish finders are a handful of the items that require fully charged batteries to get you through a tournament day without difficulty. I bring extra AA and AAA batteries with me for my 360º light and head lamp, and incorporate pre-tourney full charge sessions for my camera and 12-volt battery to ensure that I don’t run out of juice at inopportune times.
You may also want to consider bringing a portable USB charger for emergencies. My heart would jump out of my chest if I couldn’t take a picture of a monster bass because my camera’s battery died.
4. Pack Hydration & Body Fuel
Whether you are a food minimalist or you like to pack a 5-star lunch while on the water, it is crucial to pack ample food and hydrating beverages for a full day on the water. Staying ahead of the hydration equation is really important, which is why I recommend drinking healthy hydrating beverages throughout the day.
And don’t forget to take a moment for a break to eat some good body fuel. I like to pack a good quality sandwich, some salty Fritos to replenish my sodium loss, jerky, nuts, fruit, and water. Kayak fishing can burn a bunch of calories, so make sure you replenish that energy for a more balanced energy output.
5. Open Your Eyes & Ears
When I first started competing, I spent a great deal of time observing the seasoned tournament anglers to learn the ins and outs of kayak tournament fishing. Setting up and staging for launch, boat rigging for tournament fishing, and tournament etiquette are a handful of topics that you can learn a great deal from simply observing.
Hanging out with the anglers and listening to their conversations will not only get you out of the shadows, but will also provide good food for thought and usually a good dose of entertainment. Getting to know fellow anglers strengthens the fabric of our community, and there are plenty of opportunities to socialize before and after the tournament, as well as on social media.
Last but not least, rules are the structural component that maintains the integrity of our sport. Please make sure to take the time to familiarize yourself with the rules, and feel free to ask KATS officials or governing body members about any clarifications you may need.
I hope these tips will empower you to have many successful days on the water. Stick with it, because even if you don’t experience immediate tournament success, you’ll learn a ton about kayak fishing, meet great folks, and put yourself in a position to walk across the winner’s stage in the future.