People that know me, know I love to fish kayak bass tournaments. This year, I’m participating in events on 4-5 tours and a handful of online tournaments as well. All told, I’ll participate in close to 20 events this year. All of those events will be fished within the borders of Georgia and most will be with local clubs. This is a testament to the growth of our sport. What’s surprising to me though is that despite that growth, participation at lot of these events is … lacking. I’ve asked a lot of kayak anglers why they don’t participate in kayak fishing tournaments and most of the time they give me one of three responses:
(1) “It’s too expensive,”
(2) “It’s too competitive / It’s too much pressure,” and
(3) I’m not good enough to enter a tournament.”
I thought those same things before I started fishing tournaments.
“It’s too expensive” – Yes, there are a half-dozen or so “national” events and the entry fee for those events can easily top $100. Let’s put those aside – if you’ve never fished a tournament you’re not likely fishing a national level event to start. Let’s talk about local/club events. Here in Georgia there are five club/tours hosting events as well as a statewide organization. For most of these clubs/tours the entry fee for the event is $20-30 with an optional $5 big bass pot. That’s a price point I think just about all kayak anglers can afford.
“It’s too competitive / It’s too much pressure” – Yes, you’re competing against other anglers for money and/or prizes. Let’s put that aside also – you can’t control how other anglers do. Instead, try looking at tournament fishing as a chance to compete against yourself, a chance to assess your skills as a kayak angler. How well do you prepare? How well do you read the water? How easily do you adapt to the conditions? Those key skills are your real competition in an event, not the other anglers. If you focus on doing those things well, you’ll be successful no matter where/when you fish.
“I’m not good enough” – Yes, you are. On tournament day, everyone on the water is good enough, no matter their skill level. I’ve seen some really good kayak anglers get skunked and I’ve seen some very novice kayak anglers have very good days and even win events. Whether you place first, last, or somewhere in between really doesn’t matter as long as you have fun. That’s what fishing is all about in the first place anyway.
There are a couple of other reasons to participate in kayak fishing events that I like to share with people as well, reasons that don’t really fall into the categories above.
- Tournaments are a great way to get out and explore new water. A lot of anglers, myself included, can fall into the rut of going to the same bodies of water that we know well. Fishing with multiple clubs/tours enables me to get out and spend time on some of the great bodies of water in Georgia I might otherwise miss.
- Tournaments are a great way to meet new people that share your same interest in kayak angling. Two of my regular fishing buddies now are guys I met though one of the tours. I’ve learned from both those anglers, tips and techniques that have helped me get better as a kayak angler, things I might not have learned otherwise.
Well hopefully you’re excited to get out and participate in a kayak fishing event sometime soon. Stay tuned for my next blog entry called “Plan. Execute. Adapt.” where I’ll share with you my approach to tournament preparation, including how I research new waters and develop my plan of attack for an event, and how to stay “in the moment” when you’re out there on tournament day. Until then, if you have any questions or would like more information on clubs / tours across Georgia, feel free to send me a message through Facebook or you can always email me at “Jonbassinthru” [at] “gmail.com”. Until next time… Jon Hummel