Sometimes it all just comes together. A Facebook post asking about a fishing spot goes viral and before you know it an entire event is formulated. Even more impressive than the turnout was the geographical reach that a little get together had.
The seed planter, Walker Nelson of Nelson Custom Rods, had no idea an inquiry about fishing would turn into what it did. With fishing writers, industry trades folks and kayak fishermen from all over Texas wanting to get together, the resulting weekend gathering needed a name. After much thought it was deemed the 1st Annual Texas Kayak Bass Fishing Conference hosted by Keep Austin Fishing.
The KAF folks are a group on Facebook who promote kayak fishing in the Austin area. Known to frequent Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, the Lower Colorado and more, Jesse Reynolds, Beau Reed, Chewy Linton and others bring true passion to the sport.
I met Jesse over the winter months when I inquired about fishing Lady Bird Lake. He met me at the ramp and proceeded to show me several great spots to fish. He didn't have to but that's just the kind of guys the crew at Keep Austin Fishing are.
|First Lake Austin Bass. 20.5"
While the fishing was pretty good, the real gem of the event for me was the campfire discussions. Having such a wide variety of people from different walks of life makes for great stories and lessons. I learned a lot about rod building, reel repair, fishing techniques, kayak preferences and more. I got to visit with Michael Lammers about my Native Slayer review. Michael has a Slayer and confirmed what I thought to be true: The preferences of the fisherman really dictate whether or not the Slayer is a good fit. That seems pretty simple and applies universally but it was good to see the kayak had made him happy and fit the bill for what he wanted. The thing I really enjoyed about the conversation is the open exchange of information and being able to see things from different perspectives.
Marcus Villanueva and his wife Autumn of Shoot to Capture were there and she captured some great photos of the event. Having good photos to capture the event was a huge added bonus! For you guys that missed out, if you're on Facebook, check them out here.
I finally was able to meet some folks like Bobby Clark I had known through forums and the like for quite a while and get some time on the water with Will Norvell, Jerry Hamon, KJ (Kevin Jackson) and of course Walker. I also had some great conversations about lighting with Dez Davis of Supernova Fishing Lights and Lance Nickel who just moved back to the area less than a month ago.
I can't express my appreciation enough to KAF, Beau at Papa Chops Rod and Reel Repair and everyone else involved for getting this up off the ground and for helping this become such a great time. With plans to continue doing this, I can't wait to see what the next one holds, where it will be and who will be the host.