4.20.2016

The Recent Cheating Scandal - Bad for the Kayak Fishing World or the Tournament World

If you are a kayak angler, I am pretty sure you have heard about the cheating scandal that has rocked our little world. If you haven't, here's a link to get you up to speed on the cheater and how he was caught by the folks at the Kayak Bass Series.

As a kayak tournament angler myself, and as a past tournament director, I have read and discussed so many thoughts and opinions on this and how it affects the kayak community. A friend of mine had mentioned how crappy it is because of his view of the kayak angler community's welcoming, honest, and humble nature. When he talks with random strangers about kayak fishing, this is the point he drives home the most. Like so many of us, we don't care what kind of kayak you have...we just dig kayak fishing and enjoy talking to people about it.

I think that Chris Payne (awesome kayak fisherman and even better writer that has an opinion on everything about the sport and isn't afraid to share it) really summed it up perfectly in his post about this unfortunate event.  Before continuing reading this post, I highly suggest giving his a read.

Now that you are back, I'd like to echo his sentiments. I do not believe that this incident is limited to the kayak community nor will it tarnish our reputation. At the most, this will be a tiny black speck on an otherwise clean blanket.

What really concerns me is how this might hurt the growing movement of catch, photo, release tournaments in all types of fishing. There are shore based tournaments, online tournaments, boat tournaments, and I'm sure there's other kinds that I haven't even heard of that use a system that so largely relies on the honesty of the participants. The bigger the stakes/prizes/money are, the more that I feel like people are going to cheat.

These types of tournaments - outside of the ease of cheating - are a tremendous step in the right direction for the tournament fishing world. There is no doubt that getting a fish back into the water as quickly as possible is best for the health of the fish. Even with today's modern live-wells on boats and even kayaks, there is no substitute for the fish's home body of water.

Don't get me wrong...there have been plenty of cheaters caught in the boat based world of tournament angling as well but having a fish right there for all the judges to see makes it a lot easier to catch someone trying to cheat. Many of these events require an inspection of the boat's live-wells before they launch just to make sure that the angler doesn't already have a fish or five in the boat. I just feel that it's a bit harder to get away with it in these tournaments.

With that, my concern with this latest scandal is how potential sponsors and future "paper tournament" anglers will react to this. Will this slow the momentum of bigger sponsors who are ponying up huge dollar figures that, up until extremely recently, were unheard of in all but the largest fishing tournament stages out there? Will it give them pause when they hear about stuff like this?

As an example, the cheater had used his cheating method to win the November portion of the Angler Combat Series and won $1,000. The organizers of that series, in light of recent news, stripped the cheater of his title and gave the prize money to the rightful winner. The problem with that is that $1,000 had already been paid out to the cheater. I am guessing it will be a long long time - if ever - before they recoup that money so they are in the red for a decent chunk of change. Now imagine if this happened at the KBF open where the winner was awarded a staggering amount of money (over $30,000). If I am a potential sponsor for one of these CPR based tournaments, I'm not going to be too upset over a few hundred dollars in cash or gear. What about $1,000....$5,000....$20,000?? The folks at Angler Combat absolutely did the right thing but at what point does it simply get too expensive to do the right thing?

How do you make it harder to cheat in these things and how does the CPR tournament world of planners ensure major sponsors that a potential cheater won't get caught?

What do you think? Does this hurt the future of CPR based tournaments or will it take more than one bad person to slow the momentum of our growing sport?





3.29.2016

More than 20 years - Father and Son Fishing

Earlier last week, I sent a text to my Dad, "Wanna go kayak fishing with me on Saturday?"

Until this point, it had been more than twenty years since we had been fishing together. It wasn't a point that I had even considered until Friday night as I was getting the kayaks and gear ready.

There isn't really one reason why it had been so long. I suppose it's a long and varying list of reasons that I won't really get into but I was excited when he - despite some nervousness on his part about kayaking for the first time ever in pretty cold water - said yes. I have grown a ton as a son, a person, and an angler since the last time we were fishing together and I was looking forward to the student showing the teacher what I've become.

That morning, we met at my house, loaded the truck and were on the road by about 7:30. I wanted to check out a lake that I have had on my mind for a while. There were no boat ramps and it was going to be a little but of a hike before we could launch. In hind sight, I suppose it probably wasn't the best idea to tackle an unknown path with a first timer but after a few breather breaks, we made it to the water's edge.

After a bit of an instructional on the Hobie Pro Angler 14, he had the hang of pedaling and steering. We set course for the N/W corner of the lake that I really wanted to focus on.

On his lines, I set him up with a mid-sized inline spinner and a small plastic worm on the other. I started off fishing some jigs without a ton of success. Seeing a fair amount of bait and fish within 10' of the bottom, I decided to switch over to a 1/2oz Biovex Stangun Spinner with a Fishing Physics White Grub trailer. It wasn't long before the first fish was in the boat. A short while later, fish number two was in the boat.



Soon after, I looked ahead and saw the old man's rod bent over. The pressure was off as he landed his first. While not his first bass he ever caught, it was the first one that I had seen him catch in a long time. It was also the first time he had caught a fish from a kayak. And it was the first of what I hope will be many.


Not much later, he had another one on the line. I had just about turned the camera on and was about to head closer to catch the action when I felt a slight tick. This was out first double header.



At the end of the day, we caught eleven bass. Most were small with a couple of decent ones mixed in. I had switched up lures to play with a few presentations but the white spinner and a white chatter with various trailers including the grub and a StankX Damsel were the top producers. Everything on my line hit close to the bottom as I slow rolled the bait along the bottom. Pops stuck with the inline spinner and put four in the boat.

Aside from the double header, the highlight of the fishing end of things came when he asked me, "Do you have three of four?" Just as I was about to answer, I got thumped and said "Four!" It was just one of those perfect fishing moments.

Fishing aside, the absolute highlight of the day was breaking that twenty year plus slump. It was great teaching my Dad something when he was the one that taught me how to fish in the first place. I got a text from my sister later that night saying how he had called her all excited and how great of a time he had. He summed it up to her as one of the best days of his life.

That's friggin money!

Here's the video from the day's action and some more pics!










3.22.2016

Square Hatch Install on the 2016 Hobie Outback

I've finally figured out how I want to set up my 2016 Hobie Outback!

Last year, I fished exclusively out of the 2015 Hobie Pro Angler 14 and while I absolutely loved that kayak, there were many times that I missed the speedier and lighter Outback. When it came time to pick my Hobie Fishing Team boat this year, I made the choice to get what I had missed.

The challenge came in rigging. Rather than just jumping in and throwing a ton of stuff on there, I took a bit of time to figure out exactly what was going to work best for me. With the Pro Angler, rigging was easy as could be thanks to the H-Rail system that comes on them. I could easily swap, add, remove, and move any of my Railblaza rod holders, camera mounts, visibility kits, and electronics with a simple flip of a lever.

On top of that, the Pro Angler has a large, water tight, square hatch on the deck that holds a couple of tackle bins. I use these for terminal tackle and little tools that I use almost every time I am out. The Outback on the other hand comes with a round hatch and while it does have a little drop in tray, the amount of space I had for this stuff was greatly reduced.

I was definitely going to miss that versatility of the H-Rails and that extra room in the hatch!!

Then it hit me...

Why miss it when I could simply replicate it?!

So that's what I set out to do and I started off by calling my local sponsoring Hobie Dealer, Quest Watersports, and ordered some parts including a square (rectangle) hatch with the tackle management system and two lengths of H-Rail bars and mounts.

The first part to go on was the square hatch and I thought I'd do a little video of that install incase anyone else wanted to do the same thing to their Hobie Outback!

The video is a bit shaky and grainy as I had to record everything with my phone thanks to some cameras not working (still not sure what's going on there). The entire project took me about 30 minutes and I did a lot of it with one hand while the other hand help the camera/phone. With two hands, the install should be a breeze!!



Here are a couple of pictures of the kayak all set up! I'll be working on another video showing how to install the H Rails on the Outback soon!!




I will also be adding two different anchors on this kayak - the Anchor Wizard and the Power Pole Micro Anchor with the help of some new gear tracks from Lucid Fishing called the On Track System. 

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