You just caught a good fish, one that will surely put you in the winners’ circle for the kayak tournament.
The problem is that the tournament was yesterday or tomorrow.
Whether they admit it or not, all kayak fishermen are competitive. Some thrive on high-pressure tournaments, and love the stress and planning that comes with fishing a tournament. Some have a more laid-back style and are happy to just come out on top of their friends.
The Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club offers a tournament that appeals to all kayak anglers.
While the club holds two large-scale tournaments during the year, as well as several smaller events that are part of a series, those are the high-pressure events some shy away from. These one-day events are highly competitive.
As an alternative, members can also participate in a year-long event, in which they are actually competing every time they fish. They leisurely enter eligible fish as they catch them and can upgrade over the course of the tournament.
Sponsored by Massey’s Professional Sports, the BCKFC “Fish Pic” tournament runs for 11 months, beginning Jan. 1 and ending Nov. 30.
The tournament is free to enter, and allows all BCKFC members in good standing to participate and potentially catch a contest-winning fish every time they are on the water.
The tournament is billed as a “CP” (catch and photo) tournament, and the fish does not have to be released. However, the healthy release of trophy size fish is encouraged.
Eligible fish photos must be submitted with an official catch entry card within 14 days of the catch to be a legal entry.
The photos and catch-cards can easily be submitted electronically via email or sent by regular mail.
To verify the entry was caught during the tournament time frame, the fish photo must contain the official tournament token.
The premise is simple. Club members, if they choose, participate in the tournament every time they fish in their kayak. The only requirement is that they have the token and a fish measuring ruler along for the photo.
The tournament has a variety of categories and species to appeal to kayak anglers. Prizes are awarded for conventional rod and reel, fly fishing and a kids’ category for anglers 12 and under.
The rod-and-reel and kids’ divisions include redfish, speckled trout, flounder and largemouth bass. The fly rod division is the same, but omits flounder.
Anglers accumulate points based on their combined catch, and the highest combined total points at the end of the tournament wins that particular division.
Fish entered into the contest are scored by total length. The longest fish in each category receives 100 points, the second longest 99 points and so on.
Anglers are scored for only one fish per species per division but can upgrade their entries as they catch longer fish.
There is an official page on the club’s website that is regularly updated with the list of fish entered and their current rank.
Winners of the conventional and fly divisions win kayaks. Additional fishing-related prizes are awarded to the kid’s division winner, as well as a big-fish prize for the largest single species in each category.
Anglers are limited to winning in only one category.
The rules for the tournament are simple, but strictly enforced. Only fish caught by means of paddle or pedal craft are allowed. Wade and bank fishing is allowed, provided the kayak is launched and within 100 feet of the angler.
Trolling motors are not allowed, except for handicapped anglers that provide a state-issued handicapped ID to the tournament director.
All fish caught for the tournament must be caught in publicly accessible waters within the state of Louisiana. An approved PFD must be worn at all times while in the kayak.
Catch photos are not difficult, but there are a few tips to make sure the photo meets all of the eligibility requirements and provides maximum length of the fish.
A quality measuring board, with highly visible length markings, is advised. Live fish are sometimes hard to keep on a board, so if a fishing partner is nearby, get help holding the fish down while the photo is taken.
It’s advisable to make a couple of copies of the required token and keep them in your wallet, tackle box and other places to ensure you have one with you when that potential winning fish is caught. Having the paper tokens laminated helps keep them from becoming an illegible, fish-slimed mess.
The rules require that the token, complete fish, measuring device and kayak all be visible in the photo. This can be difficult to do on the water. If possible, paddle to shore and take your time and get the best photo possible.
Pinching the tail to gain maximum length is allowed. A thin, Velcro wrap or a stout rubber band may be used to hold the tail pinched while the photo is taken.
The tournament has become wildly popular among the club’s members, who like the fact that they are competing every time they fish. There’s no rush to make weigh-in, no stressing over where to fish for a single day or under prevailing conditions.
By keeping a simple token, measuring board and camera with them on all trips, they have a chance to win great prizes by simply doing what they love to do — kayak fish.