The weather is warming, the kayaks are getting slimed, and the checks are getting written. It’s tournament season in the kayak fishing world. And that got us thinking; what should kayak anglers expect on their first tournament weekend? We sat down with YakGear Brand Ambassador Holton Walker to find out how he approaches tournaments.
Q: What was your first tournament like?
My First tournament was an online catch/photo/release tournament for Largemouth Bass. The experience really made me realize and understand the difference in using an approach that might land a big fish or two versus a tactic that netted good numbers with consistency in average length.
A friend of mine, Casey Reed, started a site and tournament trail called KayakTournaments.com, The idea of an online based CPR tournament was intriguing to me so I decided to give it a try.
Q: What have you learned in tournament since then?
Some of the biggest things I learned that really help me improve my average finish was that you really need to focus on getting a good average of 5 fish rather than chunking big baits that will net one or two large fish. For example, if Angler A averages five 18.00 inch fish and Angler B averages four 14.50 inch fish with a 24 inch Kicker, Angler A will be six-inches better than Angler B. It’s not always about who can catch the biggest fish. I’ve learned to care more about consistently catching good-sized fish.
Q: Any advice for first time tournament anglers?
My biggest piece of advice for people thinking about entering kayak fishing tournaments is this: BE PREAPARED. Tournaments are never easy. You will be setting yourself up for failure thinking you have a plan to win. Conditions change by the minute and having contingency plan after contingency plan already thought out and pre-rigged will help you turn the page from average finishes to Top Fives.