Hey! You There!

Hey! You there! You in the 10ft sit in kayak. I know you don’t have a rod holder and that kayak you are in may or may not be sold as a fishing kayak but you know what? You’re doing it. You are getting off the bank. You are diving into a new sport with what you can and that is what counts. I’m proud of you for doing that.

You also should know I was and in my heart still am one of you. I did whatever it took to get off the bank. For more than six years I fished in a Pelican Endeavor sit in kayak. It didn’t track well, it didn’t come with anything but a seat and I loved it. I was off the banks and in areas I could never reach before. It was a liberating experience.

Social media and fishing forums were small back then. I didn’t know that I was paddling an “inferior” kayak. To me it was a joy and I still think fondly of that kayak. I caught a lot of fish from it. I have a lot of great memories centered around that kayak. Here is the thing: Don’t get caught up in thinking you have to have the premier kayak before you paddle a single stroke. When you are ready for one though, come back and ask lots of questions, try a lot of different kayaks out and make an informed decision. I’d be more than happy to help in any way I can from finding a dealer with world class service or taking a glance at a Craigslist ad. Whatever will help, I’m willing to do or find someone who can.

I paddle a different kayak now. It’s more expensive, it has way more features and is looked at as a desirable kayak to own. You know what that gets me when you get it down to nuts and bolts? Off the bank. The exact same thing that original kayak did. Are the features nice? Yes they are. I am just now, in the last 12 months able to really afford a kayak that had some of the features I wanted. Will I go back to that simpler time? Probably not but if I needed to financially I would. It is the fact that we all want to be in a kayak and fishing that makes us brothers and sisters in the sport. We share a passion that more and more people come to understand every day.

I can’t speak for every kayak fisherman out there but I would venture to say that most of us are proud you are out there and doing it. When the time comes to upgrade or if you are one of the lucky ones and you can pick any kayak you want, many of us will be there to let you paddle our boats or a buddy’s boat or invite you to a get together to try all of the kayaks. Everyone is different as every kayak is different but one thing remains constant throughout- we all love to kayak fish.

I don’t care what boat you are in right now. I care that you are out there and kayak fishing. If you want to fish with me, please come up and say hi and let’s paddle and fish. Never be embarrassed by your fishing kayak. You don’t have to explain you have very little money. It’s ok. I swell with pride every time I meet someone new on the water and they are asking questions. That lets me know our sport is doing a lot of good things. Some of the coolest rigs I have ever seen have been ingenious ways to get on the water. There will come a time down the road when you get to upgrade. You’ll have a very nice kayak and a new kayaker in a $100 garage sale kayak will paddle up and marvel at your new boat. Don’t let them be discouraged. Remind them where almost all of us start and remind them it’s the fact that they are out there kayak fishing that makes us happy to share water with them. Some day their time will come too and hopefully the kindred love of kayak fishing will again be shared. 

Kayak Fishing Etiquette

In Monday’s post “The Pause Button” I talked about being patient, slow to anger and paddling away when conflict arises. In the multitude of comments came the reminder that not all of the kayak fishermen or boaters for that matter know these perceived rules that many of us operate under. 

Here are my thoughts from an academic perspective:

Etiquette is only able to be followed when a potential offending party knows the boundaries in which they are expected to act. If they do not know the boundaries, our disdain for the subject and the offending action is more of a reflection on us rather than them.

A little more down to earth reading of this statement would be:

Don’t get mad they break the rules when we haven’t told them what the rules are.

After much discussion with several folks across the country, the overwhelming desire was to open a dialogue and talk about some of the things everyone should know to keep the peace a little easier. Please feel free to add to this collection as needed via the comments field here or in other social media.

Kayak Fishing Etiquette 101: The Rules

If you are paddling near another kayaker, it is courteous to wave. Small talk is optional but almost always appreciated. If you are getting yes/no answers, say have a good day and keep paddling.

If you see someone catch a fish that you do not know, it is ok to congratulate them and engage in small talk. Again, yes/no answers mean keep moving. Do not paddle straight for them and crowd the location they are fishing.

When fishing, if you do not know the people you are fishing near, keep a distance of 50 yards. This changes on some water systems but better safe than sorry.

Observe the direction that the fisherman is moving down the bank. It is not ok to paddle 50 yards ahead of him and start fishing. Try fishing an opposite bank. If you feel you must paddle by it is expected for you to ask if you can slide up the bank a ways and fish. If allowed, make sure it is 100 yards or so up the bank. If you do start catching fish after an allowable pass, it is courteous to invite the angler to come fish that new spot with you.

If you are invited to fish a location with a local, do not give away the spots they show you. If you are the host, it is usually customary to ask the guest to not give away your spots. Set the expectation early.

If fishing in tight quarters, if you must pass between a fisherman and the bank, please ask before going through, especially if he is throwing toward the bank. The best bet is to avoid it as much as possible.

If loading or unloading on a boat ramp, please be quick and efficient. Picnics should not be on the ramp.

If you are loading or unloading with a group, offer to help others take their boats to the water or vehicle.

If you are fishing in a group it is most polite to share what the fish are biting on. If you have additional baits to share, that is a huge plus but not mandatory.

Do not disparage other kayakers if their boat does not meet your standards or brand preference.

Share ideas on rigging and compliment when you see something you like, even if it wouldn’t work on your kayak.

Always help a kayaker in distress.

If you are a spot stealer, expect to be labeled as such in the community. We may not post it publicly but we will all know and you will find yourself fishing alone more and more.

Carry extra gear if possible. 360 lights, paddles, PFDs and rope are a good start. You never know who forgot what.

General manners, like saying thank you, go a long way.

People get tight lipped around tournament time. Don’t ask. If they want to share their report, they will.

Some folks have sponsors. Some don’t. Both sides of the argument need to be ok with each other’s situation. Don’t be pushy.

There is no perfect kayak. Always remember that.

There are no perfect people. Always remember that.

This is just a start to the list and my hope is that others will add to it. I’m not the expert that decides these things, just a guy trying to help others know what some of the other folks are thinking and expecting. Feel free to chime in.

Additional submissions:

If it is dark do not leave your vehicle parked at the ramp with the lights on. It blinds other people backing down. Just leave your parking lights on until you pull out.

The Pause Button

Can you smell that? That coming rain smell? This morning in Central Texas the skies are a puffy gray, bloating with rain and just waiting for the right moment to let the dry ground drink. It feels like Spring. It smells like Spring but it's still January. Basketball is still going strong but more and more people are venturing out on the water.

Inevitably as more crowds emerge, more problems will as well. In short order we will start to hear more complaining about a certain person or kayak or power boat in "my spot". The talk of "meet me at the ramp" will bluster up and someone will get hurt. Sometimes the cops are called, sometimes not. One of these times it will escalate and someone may well lose a life, maybe not intentionally but it will happen. Someone will slip when pushed, hit their head and the lights will fade out. A family will be in mourning because of a dust up over "rights" to be somewhere or do something involving fishing.

This year needs to be different. This year we need more fishermen to hit the pause button. While the pause button is a metaphor for self control, it works in practical application. The fact of the matter is, when we get upset we need to step back and hit pause. Especially when we are fishing. Look at this rationally right now as you sit at a computer reading this. Do you fish to provide your family's only food source? Most of us will answer no. Do you fish in a tournament to provide electricity and shelter to your family? Most of us will answer no. Will the fish in this "spot" have a tattoo of your name along their lateral line saying they belong to you? No. They won't.

Will your world change if you can't fish that spot right now? No, it won't.
Yet, a lot of people act like it will. I've been guilty of the grousing that comes with finding someone already located where you want to fish. It's disappointing. Is it worth a life? No. Most folks won't evaluate it that way. What's a little yelling? Maybe a little pushing? The fact of the matter is, you don't know what the other guy will do. You don't know what you will do if the adrenaline gets going. Don't let it get up. Be a bigger man and understand: IT'S JUST FISHING.

No one should have to pay fines, go to jail, get seriously hurt or die because you WANT to fish a spot. It won't always be the other guy who gets in trouble. We have to be more like men and less like school yard kids. Hit the pause button and think about what you are upset about.

Some may say this is not an issue. I've personally witnessed three fights in the last two years. It never ends well. It also doesn't speak well to the sport we all love so much. Refined sportsmen react with patience and are slow to act on anger. Take a deep breath and paddle on. We need more sharing and less flaring to truly make others feel welcomed.

Share some time on the water with friends this week if the weather cooperates in your area and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. Enjoy the brushstrokes of purple and orange as you watch a sunset from your kayak. Hit the pause button and soak it all in. And remember, keep that remote handy in case you have to hit the pause button again when someone else catches a fish in your spot. Instead of wanting to slap them, slap them a high five and share in their success. Stay level and have fun. That's why we do it, right? To have fun. 

How to Really Grow Kayak Fishing

The buzz is in the air. As spring approaches rapidly, anglers start prepping for the ice out, the prespawn staging or the white bass run and the buzz grows louder. Kayak fishing is growing across the world and rapidly but not as fast as it could or as well as it could. The buzz about industry growth can be seen and heard everywhere. Think of the options you now have for kayaks and the retailers that sell them. Think of the number of manufacturers who have angling specific options. Think of the number of posts you have seen on the internet from various forums and Facebook groups on "Which Kayak Should I Get?" There are tons of them.

So why would I say we can do better when it appears the snowball is rolling downhill? My view is that the snowball is lopsided. It's not a perfect sphere. It may never be a perfect sphere but a well formed snowball, spherical in shape will go farther and build greater momentum than a lopsided sausage shaped snow mass rolling down a hill.

So how would I change it?

The first thing I would do is to plead with kayak fishermen everywhere to slow a little bit on the brand pushing. I understand you are passionate about your SuperJohn 987.M super stealth kayak with a jet motor on it. It's cool. Almost everyone who sees it thinks it's cool. The problem is it may not be the best fit for all of the folks looking to get into kayak fishing. We can't put them all into the same category. The people looking to get into kayak fishing make between $0 and $1Billion dollars per year. They are men. They are women. They are tall, short, chunky and skinny. Some drive sedans while some drive trucks. They can lift 0 pounds or 500 pounds. They are young and they are old. Some of them even have red hair!

So with all of these different variables  we should  be purposeful about what we recommend. I visited yesterday with the owner of a business that sells kayaks about the best kayaks for 10 year old kids. The most expensive kayak was not the best fit. Not even close. He gets it and that's something I really appreciate in a business. Custom fitting to your customers' needs. I realize most of us are not dealers and most folks are not repping for a business but I would ask that you use forethought and questions to help people find the right boat, even if it is not the one you like or paddle/pedal. Some prospective kayak anglers only have $200 to spend. Pointing them to a used boat on Craigslist could be a great help. Talking them through questions to find the right boat is usually very helpful. The sheet I designed is a start. Regardless of the boat they choose, offering to meet up and fish together is a HUGE step in building the sport. Kayaks are cool but kayak fishing with good people and having a great day on the water is something that creates memories and an urge to tell other friends about it. Offer to let them paddle your kayak around for a demo, offer to bring an extra kayak just so they can get on the water and offer to help them rig their kayak when they finally purchase one. Camaraderie will help make that lopsided snowball much more of a sphere.

I know lots of people that do tall of those things but I also see the infighting amongst kayak anglers. And it's not one particular brand. To an insider it may seem you have a great passion for your SlugSlime Deluxe but to an outsider who wants to be an insider, it can come across as, "Unless you paddle a SlugSlime you are inferior".
True kayak fishing ambassadors don't care what boat you paddle/pedal, they care more about getting you kayak fishing. Very few of us started in an expensive boat. Let's not forget our roots. I paddled a Pelican sit in for almost seven years. It was a great boat for me at that time and for what I could afford. It taught me a lot and I was lucky to be mentored by people who just wanted to show me how much fun kayak fishing could be.

If we pass on the true generosity, acceptance and great joy we all experience kayak fishing, the sport will grow and that will push our sport even faster into the lives of so many in need of the joy, peace and great times on the water. Help me make it a sphere. I'm not saying don't recommend your favorite brand. We need passion. Just make sure it is the right fit and we always include anyone who wants to join in.

The Baits You Should Know About

My style must be different. I'm not sure what it is but often when I chat with other fishermen on the water about what I'm using I get weird looks. Maybe it's because it's not a super-mega brand, maybe it's because I  take a lot of recommendations or maybe it's my affinity for custom baits. Any way you slice it, many of us have a bait we tell folks about. Some of us have multiple. I fall into the latter category. So what should you try next with that gift card or that extra $20 you found in your jeans? Try these:

Hag's Tornado Bait 

Featured last week on the Split Shot Rig post, this bait has been a go-to for me for a while. The rattle chamber in the tail allows this bait to stand straight up on a shakey head, float a worm hook and drive fish crazy suspending on a carolina rig. My favorite size is the small F4 which is a 4" worm. All of the baits have water displacing ribs that draw attention under the water and allow a slower descent through the water column. At about $4 a pack, this is worth a look. Check them out at a local tackle shop or http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Hags_Tornado/descpage-HAGS.html

Warbaits Slayer Swimjigs 

My frustrations with jigs hanging in rocks or brush were reduced greatly when I started throwing a Warbait Swimjig. A very narrow head allows it to come through cover with the precision of...well, a fish. I fish this jig both as a swimmer and as a slow hopper on the bottom. Always looking for a slow descent, I prefer the 1/4oz version in Bream but the jigs come in multiple sizes all the way up to 2oz. Check them out at http://www.warbaits.com/armory.html

Paul Krew Custom Baits 

If you always wanted a hot pink, chartreuse, black polka dotted lizard with blue stripes, Paul can make it. I found out about Paul on Facebook, which is good because that's the only place he takes orders currently. If you can dream it, Paul can make it. He makes more than just lizards too. Drop shot worms, fat head minnows, paddle tail, curly tail, beavers, frogs and more. The selection is amazing and the colors are only limited by your imagination. Check him out if you're on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/paul.krew.9?fref=ts

3:16 Lure Co. Minnow 

What constitutes a swimbait is always up for discussion but there is no doubt this is a swimbait. Of all the soft swimbaits I've ever used, this is the best thought out. It has a wide profile, a huge tail thump and can go through the nastiest slop without an issue. Don't let the name fool you, this swimbait weighs over an ounce just by itself but outshines all the others in every condition. You don't need a several hundred dollar swimbait setup to throw this swimbait worth more than its weight in gold. (Don't sleep on the sissy color.) If you want to check them out, go to http://www.316lurecompany.com/baits/minnow.html

6th Sense Lures Crush 50X

Before 6th Sense grew into a mainstream name, I bought some Threadfin Shad 50X's. Now that they are available at Tackle Warehouse and several other places more people have come to know them but they still are an up and comer in a market filled with Strike King and Lucky Craft. Some of the best paint schemes I've ever seen, the 50X should be a squarebill in your box. (If you want a diver check out the 300DD).

I'm always looking for an edge as I think many of you are but it's always nice to share. If you have a bait you think I should know about, leave a comment! Or if you want me to keep it a secret, shoot me an email. However you choose to share your info, always be on the lookout for the next great thing and stretch those horizons a bit. It'll make you a better fisherman and help those small businesses.


Disclaimer: I was not,at the time of this writing, sponsored by or receiving discounts on any of these baits. ( I am now on the Hag's Tornado Bait Team).I was not receiving them for promotion or for the purposes of this article. These are baits that I bought, usually online, through the recommendations of others. While I am not opposed to pro staff deals or sponsorships, it is important that if one exists, it is disclosed. In this case, the one that does exist is now disclosed. If another deal were to arise with one of these baits, this post would again be amended to state as such. 

Do You Remember?

Do you remember the person who took you fishing for the first time?
Do you remember the first really good fish you caught and who you were with?
Do you remember the first time you went camping?
Do you remember the first time you really connected with nature whether on the mountain or lake or river?

Today I find my heart swelling and heavy at the same time thinking of my fishing heritage.

When I was very young, I remember both of my grandfathers taking me fishing. Sometimes it was on their boats, sometimes it was on the bank and sometimes in a float tube. I learned to catch perch, crappie, catfish, bass and carp. I learned different techniques, about different lures, how to cast different reels and how to watch a line. Probably the most important lesson I learned was to appreciate nature for its great intricacies. All of the serious conversations I had with these formative men revolved around fishing stories and metaphors. I learned how to speak with adults half a century my senior when sitting at the Whataburger either before or after a trip. Nickel Mug coffee and Breakfast on a Bun still represent fishing and breakfast to me even though I can have neither.

These men were completely opposite in their personalities yet so much alike.

 Papa Jim was very stoic and appeared to be the long lost brother of Lee Van Cleef. He taught me to work hard to enjoy the rewards of time off. His last words to me, as he lay in a hospital bed, were " Chris, you look bad. You're working too hard. You need to go fishing." I went that next day with my family and I caught the largest smallmouth bass I have ever caught, with my son right there helping me. He understood the seed he had helped plant had intertwined with my soul. It was something he could offer a remedy to. Though we spoke less and less as I grew older, moved away, and started a family, a glimpse of me could tell him what I needed. I miss that man every time I get on the water.

The other is a joker. PaPa always has been and will always be the court jester. My four year old has all of his spunk and fire so I am constantly reminded of him even though I don't visit enough. The first question we always ask about is a fishing report. This is a man who has pulled my leg hair with needle nose pliers, told girls I brought to the fishing hole I said they were ugly,  and could find a sore spot to tease a rhino. I have always had fun when I am around him. He makes fishing fun. He always likes to compete too. When I was in high school and even into college I would spend spring break with him fishing at area lakes and keeping score the whole time. I can't count how many times we have been fishing but it's a lot and not enough at the same time. When Papa Jim passed it was Papa that I hugged the longest. I sobbed so much I must have soaked through the shoulder of his suit. He's a fighter and very strong behind all the jest. I hope I never lose him but I know better.

I see my Dad doing the same things with my son as my grandfathers did with me. I hope they come to feel this strongly for him. I am almost sure of it. Fishing, camping or even just spending time in nature with the grandfathers in your life should be a cherished time. It eventually ends and the torch may some day be passed on to you.

It's important to remember. Do you remember?

The Split Shot Rig

Lots of people have been asking me this morning, "What is a Split Shot Rig?"

It’s not a new thing but, it’s my thing. 

Hag's Tornado F4 in Real Shad
I have used this little setup to put a lot of fish in the boat in some of the toughest conditions. Lots of people look at me like I am crazy but it is versatile and it works year round. I’ve been using a setup similar to the one I describe below for 25 years. I came across it one afternoon while fishing with minnows. I ran out of bait and put a 4” Ringworm on my hook. It started catching fish and I’ve been using it since. I feel I have it to near perfection with more purpose and a better worm.

So, what is it? Simply put, I tie a 1/0 Gamakatsu hook on 6-8lb copolymer or mono line. Then I look at my depth finder. If I am fishing a rock, mud or sand bottom that is clean, I’ll pinch a 1/16th oz split shot 18 inches above the hook. If I am fishing in submerged weeds I try to put the split shot at the height of the weeds. When it’s windy (above 15 mph), I’ll bump up the weight to an 1/8th oz.

That seems pretty simple but that’s not all. Now you need a worm to put on that hook. Most soft plastics sink when on a hook. There are a few that are buoyant but most of those are very plain. I don’t use those. I need maximum fish attracting movement in my bait. That’s why I use the Hag’s Tornado F4. It’s a 4 inch ribbed worm with a hollow rattle chamber. It floats but also sends vibrations through the water when it moves. It’s the best finesse worm on the market for what I am looking to do.
Some of you may be wondering why I change the position of the split shot when fishing submerged weeds. If you have a reasonable growth off the bottom (less than 5ft), you set your weight at that same depth. Then, when the weight falls, it will be on the bottom and the worm will be floating right at the top of the weeds just like the natural baitfish in the habitat. It’s been working for years for me and those I have shared this technique with.

All in all, I suppose you could call it a finesse Carolina rig or reverse drop shot or others. But, when you need to catch fish and your confidence is wearing thin, try a Split Shot Rig. You might be surprised!

For further proof, check out the new video “Split Shot Rigging…” on the Videos page or on this page. I had to try six different colors before I found something they would eat but once I tied on the F4 Real Shad, the bite was on. The last time out on the same lake it was a completely different color they wanted so make sure if you are going to buy some Hag’s Tornados, you get multiple colors. I get most of mine from Tackle Warehouse

I Want A Kayak! But Which One?

It's that time of year. It's cold outside and people have a chance to sit inside and dream of the spring. This is also the season when people start thinking of boats and kayaks. Every winter the kayak fishing forums light up with requests about which boats to look at, which one is for me and myriad other questions.

So which boat should you get? It's not that simple.

You may as well ask which one main dish your town would like to eat every day for the next year. It just isn't that simple.

People have different expectations for everything. We are all unique individuals with very specific things we are looking for. Kayak fishing is no different.

So what do you do? No one will give you the answer. So what now?

Here are a few steps to help make the right-for-you decision.

#1 Make a List

You need to make a list of all the things you are going to do in the kayak and how it will be used.
Are you fishing in big lakes, the ocean, rivers, bays or all of the above?
Are you wanting to troll, drift, sit, stand, paddle, pedal or use an electric motor of some sort?
Are you fishing for bass, crappie, cats, specks, reds, flounder, anything you can catch or all of the above?
Who will be using the kayak? Will it be just you or will others be sharing it?
How will you transport it? Do you have a truck, trailer, car, van? Do you have a roof rack? Do you have cross bars on the roof rack?
How much storage do you want the kayak to have?
Do you fish in the cold much?
Do you fish in the wind much?
Where will this kayak be stored? How much room is in that place (size limits)?
Do you have any health issues that will play into your decision (bad back, bad heart, arthritis, etc)?
How much weight can you lift above your head? How much weight can you raise to your waist?
How much does the heaviest person weigh that will be using the kayak?
How tall is the tallest person that will use the kayak?
What weight capacity, gear and people, will the kayak need to have?

This is by no means the full exhaustive list but it will get you in the right frame of mind to discover what you need.

#2 Budget

This one is tough. Most people decide they want to get into kayak fishing with a max cap of $500. Some have a smaller budget than that. The problem with that number is that will usually only get you a kayak. Let's say you go to Academy and by the Perception Sport Pescador 12 ft kayak (the old Tarpon 120 body). It'll cost you $500. After tax you are already over budget. Now you need a paddle, lifejacket (PFD), and whistle just to be legal and able to go to the lake. This adds another $60 if you get the absolute cheapest stuff that's made. Throw in tax and your $500 budget is now at $670. This is when most people start to look at used boats and settle on a boat in their price range. Usually the kayak doesn't fit that list of things you wanted and more often than not, your $450 you spent on a used kayak turns into a loss because now you are selling the used kayak and stuff for $350 on Craigslist because kayak fishing just isn't for you.

Don't blame the kayak. If you take a date out to McDonald's and tell her to order off of the Dollar Menu only do you think you'll get a second date? Rarely. When you buy a used boat on the cheap that you've done little research on and doesn't meet your needs, your time in kayak fishing is usually, not always, but usually short lived.

Make a realistic budget for what you can do and stick to that but make sure it meets your list. If it doesn't meet your list, save up more money to expand your budget or keep waiting. Trust me here. A boat that meets all of your needs rather than just the desire to get on the water will make you much happier in the long run.

#3 Demo, Demo, Demo

Before you make a purchase, demo lots of kayaks. Technically speaking, there are demo days almost every day of the year. Lots of dealers will meet you at the lake with a few boats you want to try. Meet up with folks who have the kayak already and give it a try. Please don't buy a boat without trying it first. It usually ends in heartbreak. Take your list and check off how many of your desires each boat has. If it is out of your budget, look for a used one or save some more money and get the one you really want.

#4 Research

Talk to people who have the kayak you have narrowed it down to. Do some web research. Look at the manufacturers website. What would they change? How did they rig their kayak for fishing? Would they buy that kayak again? Make an informed decision.

Even if you follow all of these steps, it doesn't guarantee a perfect kayak for you. Chances are, you'll change boats a few times in your life and that is good too. As your preferences change, possible so will the type of kayak you need. But, the chances of you buying the right kayak the first time without any of the above steps is not a very likely scenario. To try to make it easier, I have made a sheet for you to take to the stores, dealers, boat shows, etc. Try it out and see how you like it! If you hand this to the knowledgeable folks at a kayak dealer in Texas like Mariner Sails, APT, Mountain Sports or others, they'll be able to help you find that kayak that is the right fit for you. If you are a little further east than Texas, HOOK1 in Hendersonville, TN or YakCity in Lake Wylie, SC are the best of the best and will have you paddling the right boat in no time at all.

Click to increase size and then right click to save or print

Kayak Bass Fishing Open Looks to be Largest Ever

Always looking to push the limits, Chad Hoover of HOOK1 and Kayak Bass Fishing may have out done himself already in 2013.

Set to start on March 14, 2013, the Kayak Bass Fishing Open and the Kayak Bass Fishing Invitational following is assumed to be the largest freshwater kayak fishing tournament(s) ever held and before it’s all said and done, will be possibly the largest kayak fishing tournament regardless of water type. The venue is a 100 mile area of the Santee Cooper chain of lakes and is centered in Cross, South Carolina. Black’s Fish Camp will be the host site (1370 Black’s Camp Rd. Cross, SC, 29436) and cater to up to 300 anglers. Not all entrants will stay at Black’s though many of the festivities will be centered there.

The KBF Open is the last qualifier for the KBF Invitational which starts on March 16th at a different, private water venue nearby. Both the Open and the Invitational have $100 entry fees with approximately 80% of that paying top finishers. The remaining 20% will go to fund future events and charitable contributions to groups like Heroes on the Water, a group that works with disabled service men and women through kayak fishing across the country.

The Open will be a two day event. Day 1 starts at 30 minutes before sunrise and ends at 4:30PM. Standings after Day 1 will be determined by a Catch-Photograph-Release (CPR) format of each angler’s best two fish. The Day 1 leader will get an automatic bid into the KBF Invitational and continue on to fish Day 2 where they will be joined by the other 100 top finishers (depending on ties) for that day. At the start of Day 2, all previous catches are erased and all anglers start at zero. Starting again at 30 minutes before sunrise, Day 2 goes until 5:30PM. The winner of Day 2 (also a CPR format) will win the Open and proceed with the top 10-15 anglers to the Invitational the next day. It is estimated that the top 20 anglers of Day 2 will receive a check though payout is based on percentages and number of entries. For all the official rules of both the Open and Invitational please visit www.kayakbassfishing.com or find Kayak Bass Fishing Open or Kayak Bass Fishing Invitational on Facebook.

The KBF Invitational will also be a two day event but will be held in Summerville, South Carolina at the private waters of VIP Adventures. These waters hold trophy bass and will up the stakes for the grand prize. The champion after two days will receive an estimated $8,000 in prize money, a new Wilderness Systems kayak, a new Bending Branches paddle, a $250 gift certificate to HOOK1 and many other prizes.
Being known as the Grand Champion of the Kayak Bass Fishing Invitational is in the hopes and dreams of many as anglers from Texas, New Jersey and other far away locales are planning caravans and overnight trips to make sure they have a chance to be crowned champion. With one of the most illustrious payouts ever in freshwater kayaking, it’s no wonder so many are cashing in a week of vacation and a year’s worth of kitchen passes to make the journey. It will be a memory none will soon forget.


If you have further questions please connect with Chad Hoover on Facebook, on Twitter @knotright, on Ustream : KayakFishingGearTV or on kayakbassfishing.com. 

My Goals for 2013. What are Yours?

Welcome to 2013! The Mayans were wrong. We're all still here and we need to keep moving forward. The last four months of Payne's Paddle Fish has been a great one and I sincerely thank those who have visited and keep visiting the site. I couldn't have predicted what has become this truly great experience. I have met so many bloggers, fishermen, kayakers, interested onlookers and outdoors types since August and look forward to meeting, fishing and paddling with many more of you in 2013.

I have, for as long as I can remember, been against making a resolution on New Years. When I think about what I would resolve to do, it's often things I don't want to do in the first place and it becomes counter productive. They are great for most people, just not me.

Instead of resolutions, I like to set goals. I try not to make them too lofty but also not too easy. For 2013 I have several. A list of goals helps me forecast the year, see progress when it is made and refocus energies when necessary. If you don't yet do this, I encourage you to pick one or two things you really want to work on this next year and write them down. Even better yet, make them public. When others know what you are working on, they will often provide encouragement, ask about progress and keep that fire stoked to push through the slow times.

Without further ado, my goals for 2013.

1. Sponsored Fishing Partnerships-

As of today, I don't really have any fishing sponsors. I work with a couple of really great vendors and do some gear reviews etc but the long and short is, I pay for almost all of my stuff. Reels, rods, boats, paddles, pfd, fishfinders and other gear comes out of my pocket. I feel I have a lot to offer as an ambassador to the sport of kayak fishing. I have a platform that is both informative and has a worldwide reach to those into kayak fishing and just curious onlookers with many questions. I would love to be able to travel to trade shows and talk to more people about kayaks, rigging, finding the right kayak for each individual person, fishing in both fresh and saltwater, gear, gadgets and more. I'd like to be able to pair with a company that feels the same way I do about the sport, wants to grow the sport as much as I do and in the end, I can refer people to this company and know they will be taken care of individually and not just put in a boat. Ideally the company would be able to furnish a kayak or two for me to demo with people and then refer them for purchases. I know these opportunities are few and far between but you dream big to achieve big.

2. 300% Growth in Monthly Visits-

The site is still in a growth pattern but has averaged a few thousand visits per month. I'd like to grow that number to 100,000 visits for 2013. It's an aggressive number but I think that as our sport grows more and more people are searching for content, instruction, humor, recommendations and answers. I hope that I can be one of those places that are sought out. I also hope that visitors will visit the sites that I read. Alan, Pat, Bert and others do a great job of providing fresh new content. You can see their newest posts linked on the right column of any page.

3. Participate at Three Trade/Boat/Tackle Shows-

Helping others understand the intricacies of kayak fishing is important. Finding the right boat fit, rigging and gearing up are all important aspects of kayak fishing that are done too hastily and too cheaply at times. Being a 10 year alum of the School of Hard Knocks with a major in Kayak Fishing has taught me many things (and cost me lots of money). If I can save just one person the headaches and money pit that I endured, it would be worth the trip. This is a venue (or 3) that would allow the largest reach for a live audience.

4. Instructional Videos-

I will produce 12 instructional videos over the 2013 calendar year on different kayak fishing topics. Some people just don't like to read column after column on X or Y. They want a 5 minute video showing them what they need to know so they can go on about their business. I want to reach that market in 2013 and give those folks what they are looking for.

5. My First E-Book-

I have been working on and plan to release a kayak fishing book in the late spring. It will be an E-book so I can offer it for free. It will have some stories, some instruction, some insight and really highlight the fun and adventure kayak fishing can bring to anyone's life. It's not so much about a budget as it will give options regardless of available cash flow. I hope everyone enjoys this book and it becomes a resource for teaching others why we love this sport so much.

6. Tournament Fishing-

I plan to fish 8 tournaments this year. I won't be able to start fishing them until March so it will mean some cross trail fishing but that's okay. In fact, it will allow me to meet more people who share the passion. This year won't be about placing as much as fishing and networking. I look to fish in the NTKBF, NTKT, PKAA, KATS and KBF events this year. The NTKT will be a primary focus for me.

Maybe these goals seem out there to some or too easy to others, but the important thing is, they are out there now. If we cross paths on the water or at a trade show, ask me about them. I hope to meet even more of you on the water this next year. If you would like to partner with me on any of these goals please send me an email : paynefish@gmail.com.  Have a great 2013!!!