Kayak fisherman throughout Louisiana know how good our fishing is. So good in fact that the word continues to spread.
As more out-of-state ’yakers catch on to what we’ve always known, kayak tournament organizers are also taking notice. 2015 offers a broad mix of ’yak fishing tournaments that appeal to newbies, serious competitors and those looking for something just a little more challenging.
Louisiana is blessed to have several kayak fishing clubs that host a variety of tournaments throughout the year. These vary from large, single-day events to year-long series that convey Angler of the Year status to overall winners.
The first and foremost thing to know is that tournaments are not only for seasoned fishermen. While some do attract more-serious and accomplished competitors, many events are well suited for anglers of all experience and skill levels. You don’t have to be a die-hard angler to compete in a tournament, and doing so will result in you becoming a better fisherman.
Prizes at tournaments range from simple trophies to fishing and kayak gear to brand new kayaks and wads of cash.
Louisiana’s Ride the Bull tournament continues to hold the record as the world’s largest kayak fishing tournament. This unique event takes place in Grand Isle in August and attracts kayak anglers from across the country. One of last year’s participants even made his way from New Zealand.
The event is as much about luck as it is skill, and is great for kayakers of all levels and ages.
The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club holds two large tournaments each year.
Paddle Palooza is a live-bait-allowed tournament held in the spring. In fall, the club’s Fall 'N Tide tournament allows only the use of artificial lures. Both tournaments award thousands of dollars in cash and prizes, with top prizes going to kayak anglers who successfully weigh in a three-fish “Cajun Slam” (a speckled trout, a redfish and a flounder).
The club also hosts a year-long tournament series that consists of five events with varying locations and formats.
Another popular BCKFC tournament is the Massey’s CPR tournament. This is also a year-long event during which club members submit photos of fish caught throughout the year. The catch, photo, release format utilizes a special token that must be included in each image for verification of each fish entered. Anglers are allowed to upgrade their entries as the year progresses.
Prizes are awarded for monthly specific fish as well as overall winners. The tournament has separate divisions for conventionally and fly rod-caught fish.
The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds a series of six tournaments across South Louisiana. Cash prizes are awarded for each event, and club members accumulate points toward an overall series winner. At the end of the series, the angler with the highest points wins a new kayak.
In conjunction with the popular Inshore Fishing Association’s Redfish Tour boat tournament, the IFA holds the Kayak Fishing Tour with several divisions across the southeastern U.S.
The series of catch, photo, release events allows anglers to enter the total combined length of one redfish and one speckled trout. The fish are entered by submitting photos of the fish caught during the event on a provided measuring board. A token is provided at the captains’ meeting for the event and must be included in the photo to provide verification.
By fishing a minimum of two divisional events during the year, anglers qualify for a year-end final tournament that for the last few years has been held in Louisiana. The location of the 2015 finals will be Oct. 9-10 in St. Bernard Parish.
New to Louisiana this year is a unique tournament that not only pits contestants’ fishing skills but also adds in other challenges such as endurance, navigation, strategy and team work.
The Adventure Fishing World Championship will be coming to Delacroix Island for its 2015 event. The tournament will utilize a catch, photo, release format on a combination of redfish, speckled trout, bass and drum.
A series of checkpoints will be set throughout the Delacroix marsh, and anglers will be required to fish and navigate to each of these points and make it to the final point by a prescribed deadline.
This challenging event will see anglers paddling or pedaling as much as 15 to 20 miles over the course of the day. This is where the strategy, endurance, kayaking and navigation skills will play a big role in the anglers’ success.
Checkpoints will remain secret until start time, and no suggested routes will be provided. The anglers may fish their way to/from the checkpoints in any order they choose, but must return to the final location before the deadline.
The competition will consist of two angler teams, and the largest total combined fish length per team wins. Tournament organizers stress all potential competitors to not underestimate “the extreme difficulty of the event.” Anglers must be totally self-sufficient, and no outside support will be allowed or provided through the course. All teams will be required to carry specific safety equipment as designated by tournament organizers.
The tournament will be held out of Sweetwater Marina in Delacroix on April 4. The previous two year’s events were held in South Florida.
In choosing Delacroix, tournament organizers cited the size and numbers of fish available, as well as the vast marshlands providing a serious challenge to all competitors.
Several other clubs and organizations will hold kayak tournaments across the Gulf Coast in 2015. From laid-back parties to all out competitions, there’s a ’yak tournament for everyone. Some dates are set, others will be announced soon.
For information on participating, check out these websites:
Lake Charles Kayak fishing Club
Bayou Pirates Kayak Fishing