Showing posts with label growth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label growth. Show all posts

Bring Solutions!

The question has been posed. The tables are being set now. The eyes of many are now turned to what was once a few. The direction of kayak fishing tournaments and their future are being decided. Right. Now.

More retailers are selling kayaks than ever before. Retailers that once only carried a couple of kayaks are expanding their fleet of options. Companies like Dick's Sporting Goods, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's all want a piece of the pie.

Big Box Retail Store Kayak Display

Our sport is growing and companies see that.

 With growth comes new ideas, new people and new problems. People who may not have the years of experience that some of the old guard do are wanting to advance the sport. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but the direction they want to go is met with mixed emotions.

The overwhelming divider is whether kayak fishing needs a national tournament trail, a governing body and a standard set of rules. Some people want to leave it as 100 different little local trails that do their own thing. Others want a trail like Bassmasters Elite or FLW to really up the prize money and national draw. So which is right?

The Future?

They both may be right. Just because there is an FLW tour doesn't mean local bass club tourneys don't exist. Just because we have Cap City in Austin doesn't mean we can't have TNT weeknight tourneys.

The discussion is everywhere across the internet but is really sprouting in a Facebook group that has 720 members called the "Angler's for the Advancement of Kayak Bass Fishing Tournaments".  Tournament anglers from all over the country discuss logistical, theoretical and idealistic ideas that they feel will aid in guiding the direction of tournaments into the future. Well, at least that's the idea. Beau Reed is the groups creator. He runs a kayak bass tourney trail in Texas. Check out the Mission:

The Mission of the Anglers for the Advancement Group

The problem is the group can be a think tank for some but a pulpit for others. Rather than talking about ideas, some have made it their priority to point out flaws in any person's idea yet never offer a solution themselves. Always the critic. Never the creator. We have plenty and don't need anymore.

We have a rule at my office. It's ok to bring problems to the boss, but think about and bring possible solutions when you present the problem. Bring solutions! I think that's what the group needs. Problems + Solutions = More Fruitful Conversations.

So why bring this up?

It's important for many voices to be heard as this discussion is formed. I'd love for more people to join the conversation. Most of it is helping move the sport forward and allowing participants and directors to exchange ideas from across the country. It is my belief that this COULD be the basis for a mainstream trail in the near future. If that's the case, are there things you have questions about, want to give input on or discuss with people from the other parts of the world? This is a great place to do that.

I would encourage you that when you bring a problem, also bring a proposed solution.

Want to join and see what the buzz is about? Click here:
Anglers for the Advancement of Kayak Bass Fishing Tournaments

How to Grow Kayak Bass Tournament Fishing

A great discussion is going on in the kayak fishing realm right now. The venue is a Facebook group and the participants are spread across the US. The discussions could very well be the beginning ground swell that launches kayak fishing tournaments to the next level. At the very least, it is putting all of the issues on the table. The mission of the group (which is open) is this:

Mission- To promote the efforts of kayak anglers across the United States to encourage mainstream growth of the Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament scene. This forum can be utilized by anyone interested in the growth of kayak bass fishing tournaments only. This is not a public forum made available for company advertisements. These are individuals that feel that it is time that the companies, local business leaders, industry innovators, and anglers within the world fishing community take notice of the kayak bass fishing tournament scene’s upsurge in popularity.

Some of the things being discussed are:

Live Weigh In vs CPR format

Should anglers use the Cath-Photo-Release method or would a live weigh in be better. Some have voice concerns on mortality rate of fish who are out of the water so long while being photographed and that their protective slime that helps prevent disease is being damaged. Does a live weigh in do more damage or less? Could some kayaks be fitted with livewells or would this become dragging fish around on a stringer?

Road Runner vs Single Launch Point

Some voice concerns that road runner tournaments (where you are allowed to launch from anywhere on the lake) allow people to cheat by potentially leaving the venue, going elsewhere and fishing and then returning to weigh in. On some lakes this just isn't possible or practical. On some it is. You also give an advantage to certain styles of kayaks from a single launch spot. Where is the balance? Is there middle ground?

Standardization of Measurement Device

Many concerns abound about measuring devices. Some like that Hawg Trough, others hate it. Many suggestions have been made about what an ideal device would look like yet it hasn't been made yet. Some voiced concerns that the current boards are doing damage.

How Best to Grow the Sport

Do we need a promotional organizer? How do we get people interested from a spectator point of view? How do we get more participation? How do we get enough sponsors? Will it be worth the drive? How do we develop a trail? This question is really wide open.

Divisions- Are They Needed and What are the Qualifications

This question got into the weeds quickly because some tournaments aren't used to having divisions and some are. Others want to change the names from "Pro" and "Amateur" because there are really no professionals in our sport. Semantics got the better of the discussion for a bit but now the discussion is wandering back toward qualifications, longevity and differentiators if divisions are done. 

The discussions are all good and have remained very civil. Even if the only thing to come out of this is the discussion, it is a great start to what appears to be a very bright future for kayak fishing. Some are worried it will become too commercialized. To them, I will point to professional bass angling from power boats. You can have a tournament trail that is a professional or as laid back as you want. You also don't have to fish tournaments at all. Fishing is what YOU make it and your level of involvement depends on YOU. Just because a pro trail exists, it does not ruin the sport. People are free to participate or not. The ideal state is for more people to discover the love of kayak fishing that more and more people have every day. 


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.

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