Prepping For Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament Season
I will start by introducing myself. My name is Tyler Cole; I am a 41-year-old father of two girls living in eastern Iowa. Even though I have been fishing my whole life, it has only been four years ago that I took up kayak bass fishing. I got into tournament fishing to see how I stacked up against other anglers. So far, I have been the Angler of the Year for Iowa Kayak Anglers, twice in three years (I was 3rd the other year), 2017 Tournament of Champions winner on Lake Fork in Texas, Hobie Worlds 7 participant in Amal, Sweden, KBF central region aoy runner up and ranked 28th in the nation in 2019. I truly cannot get enough of chasing big bass!
As the tournament season gets closer, I find myself rummaging through tackle, cleaning up rods and reels, and figuring up travel strategies for the 2020 season. This year I decided to forego the state level competition and focus more on national events. With some amazing options this year between BASS, Hobie, and KBF, there are some great opportunities to compete at a higher level. My first event will be fishing the famous Lake Fork in Texas on March 14th. Often, people ask what I do to get ready for fishing season, so I figured I would share my routine with you.
Setup a Game Plan
First things first, I put together a plan for my season. Picking events that fit my schedule and do not put too big of damper on the checkbook! This year I focused on picking bucket list lakes: Lake Fork, St. Clair, Mississippi River, and Table Rock (just to name a few). I normally try to have my schedule done early so I can get to the planning. Finding campgrounds, checking out lake maps, seeing what patterns work for that specific time of year. Doing lots of research at home with Navionics and Google maps definitely helps when it is time to hit the water.
Inspect Gear Top to Bottom
Next is getting my gear in order. Checking my rods over. Checking the eyes, reel seats, and handles for anything that could cause problems. In addition, as we all know, you cannot fish a new year without a new rod or six. I wipe every eye with a q-tip. Checking for any knicks in the guides. I clean every one with water and Dawn dish soap. I check all the reel seats for looseness. Same with the handles. Your rods and reels are the biggest tool for tournament fishing. Having them at 100% is crucial to no failures on the water.
Reel & Fishing Line Maintenance
Next, I go thru my reels. Taking every one apart. Cleaning, greasing, and oiling as needed. I then clean them with a mix of water and Dawn. Stripping all the line and starting fresh every season. I carry nine to eleven rods for every tournament. A mix of line types is key to me. Some braid, some flouro, and even a couple with mono. I decide every year what I am going to use for each technique. Braid for frogs, jigs, and flipping baits. Flouro for bladed jigs, spinner baits, and a few jig applications. Mono I use for crank baits and some top water walking baits.
Organize Tackle For Every Tournament
Then it is on to tackle. Different techniques are effective on each lake. Using my map and technique studies, I write down in a notebook what is effective. Things I have and things I need to order. I travel heavy and my trunk looks like a small tackle shop. I use Plano 3700 boxes to keep things organized. I label each box to what is inside. Keeps me semi organized while on the water. I try to keep everything organized technique specific. Tackle storage is key in a kayak with limited space. So leaving some tackle behind is almost a given at every event.
Check Electronics, Batteries & Other Equipment Work Properly
Now it is on to the kayak. I use a 2016 Hobie Pro Angler 14. It is equipped with a Lowrance Elite 9ti, Power pole micro anchor, Amped Outdoors 100ah lithium battery; 30lb Minn Kota trolling motor. I start with the kayak and check it over for any issues. Then on to the Mirage drive. Checking tension, fins, pedals, and anything else that could go wrong. Finally, I check the rest of the equipment. I carry many extra parts both on and off the water. Equipment failure can ruin a trip fast. So checking it all over is a crucial element to tournament fishing.
Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament Season Kick Offs At Lake Fork
Traveling long distances, the last thing you want is an equipment failure that costs you the weekend. Simple checks give a big piece of mind. As the tournament season is about to kick off in a big way, start prepping now and it will make the season go smoother. Throw up some comments below on the things you check over before season. Thanks for checking this out. I will be putting out more content on breaking down the lakes I am fishing, tournament updates, and technique write-ups. Stay tuned in here at Savur Outdoors for all those articles.