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Wednesday, May 31st
Mist - Wind: 6.91 Mph
70.4 °F


Competitive kayak fishing is taking the bass tournament world by storm. Local kayak clubs have been around for years, and are continuing to pop up everywhere. Recently, Bassmaster launched their B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series to go along with already established national tournament circuits such as the Hobie Bass Open Series and Kayak Bass Fishing. The sky’s the limit for this once niche sport. But before you enter your first kayak tournament there are some pieces of essential gear you’ll need to participate safely and legally. Assuming you already have your kayak, rods, reels, tackle, and a phone to take pictures, here is what else you’ll need.


    1. Measuring Board – These plastic or aluminum measuring devices are mandatory for all CPR (catch, photo, release) style tournaments. Ketch is the current standard and is preferred by all tournament trails. These aluminum boards are laser etched with measuring lines every quarter-inch, and provide a solid surface to measure your fish. Other popular measuring boards are the Hawg Trough. Though these have fallen out of favor due to their tendency to bend (and break), they are still accepted on most tournament trails. The Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot has dedicated channels to hold these boards for fast and secure measurement.


    1. Identifier Sleeve – While not mandatory, these little sleeves make life much easier on tournament day. Simply slide your identifier into the sleeve and strap it directly to your measuring board, hand, or kayak to ensure it is visible in every picture.


    1. Life Jacket – These are mandatory for all kayak tournament trails, and must be worn at all times. A well designed fishing life jacket can be the difference between being uncomfortable and an improved fishing experience. The Old Town Lure Angler was designed with a high back to fit nicely with most fishing kayak seats, and is loaded with storage and rigging options to make you more organized and efficient on the water. Most tournament anglers keep a knife, whistle, light, and phone tether attached to their life jacket.


    1. Fish Net – While bass can be lipped without injuring the fish and reducing survival rates, a net will significantly reduce the chance of loosing a fish during the landing process. Most modern bass anglers prefer a floating net in case it gets dropped it in the water, and one with rubberized net material. The rubberized nets don’t get tangled with treble hooks as easily, and do less damage to a fish’s protective coating of slime.


  1. Tackle Crate – Crates, while not mandatory, are found in just about every kayak you’ll see on the water. They keep your tackle boxes organized and safe, and most come with additional rod holders to help outfit your kayak. There are some popular crate designs such as the Flambeau Tuff Krate that are specially designed for kayak angling. Additionally, many folks use a standard milk crate and add a few rod holders using zip ties or screws. Modern fishing kayaks like the Old Town Sportsman line can accommodate multiple crates and storage solutions.


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