Kayak Angler Tournament Series

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kayak Angler Tournament Series (KATS) is a local kayak anglers tournament series comprised of 5 qualifying tournaments and a Classic Championship. These anglers with a deep rooted passion for kayak fishing compete in forces numbering 60 and up (expected to grow this year) for prizes, payouts, honor, and several prestigious titles including Kayak Angler of the Year, King of the Fish, and Classic Champion. This is the 7th year for KATS and the 2nd year for Austin Canoe and Kayak to host this growing series. Tournament Director, Kristian Kolflat, gives us the details.


What first drew you to this style of angling? When was that?

Central Texas is known for its phenomenal bass fishing. With lots of dedicated anglers, and specifically those looking to target these fish from a kayak, it only made sense for this series to be born.


When did the tournament begin?

KATS originated many years ago, fueled by the passion of Dennis Hermes. KATS has grown tremendously over the years, providing an opportunity for local kayak fisherman to compete, have fun, and learn a lot about bass fishing from a yak. For the second year, Austin Canoe and Kayak has owned and operated KATS; it continues to grow. The latest tournament [Feb. 23, 2013, at Lake Bastrop] had a record roster of 77 anglers.


What is it about KATS that draws so many competitors?

It is tried and true. There are a lot of good people involved with KATS, and it has become a tight-knit community. After every event we think of ways to improve, and you will notice that things are ever-evolving with KATS.


What food and/or music fuels your drive to the put-in?

The fuel for KATS is diversified. Some fuel it with Monster energy drinks, some coffee, and others cold air. Many have refused bananas and muffins in an effort to avoid a difficult situation out on the water several hours later. Music taste ranges from hard core head banging rock to banjo filled country folk songs.


Who, specifically, is shaping the future of kayak angling?

The kayak angling community shapes the future. Not only are manufacturers catering to these important customers, but design ideas and features are heavily sought from this crowd.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With regard to kayak angling, what issues are important to you? What, if anything, can be done about them?

There are several concerns associated with a fast growing sport segment. What will its impact be on the public lands? Will the sport lose its “coolness” as more and more people join? Due to the growth, can more regulation be expected? In addition, there always looms the challenge of how do you keep something that’s growing very quickly from losing what makes it special to begin with.


Barring money or logistics, what is your dream kayak angling trip?

Loading up all of the KATS competitors, their kayaks, and gear, onto jets to fish in the Amazon on a rugged, multi-day, river trip.


What’s in your milk crate?

My milk crate has thousands of lures, baits, hooks, weights, ropes, anchors, rods, and dry boxes. My milk crate is full of hope and opportunity.


Tell us about your best day on the water.

KATS’ biggest event thus far was just held at Lake Bastrop. Seventy-seven anglers registered for the event. It wasn’t the best fishing day for everyone, but it was a heck of a tournament!


What is the kayak fishing lifestyle?

The kayak fishing lifestyle is very diversified. However, the core aspects remain common, such as the passion for fishing, the competition, and the camaraderie.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tell us a story, any story.

There was once a kayak angler that traveled to the Florida Keys in hopes of catching Tarpon or Bonefish in the flats. Although it was not the best season for these fish, and his knowledge of the area very limited, he made the best attempt to catch something. He paddled out on the Atlantic side on a nice calm day and found a shipwreck about 50 yards out. The water was probably only about 15 to 20 feet deep here as you could see the top of the yacht when the tide was low. He thought to himself “if there are any fish around here, this is it”. At first he caught a very weird, dangerous looking fish. He caught two or three more of those. Then he caught a tiny perch. He placed the tiny perch on the end of the hook, and minutes later he felt a tug. The tug then began to make the all beloved sound of a reels’ drag keeping the line from expelling too fast. The battle began. As he reeled the fish in closer he began to see a gray tail. A hammerhead shark he thought. No, could it be? Maybe a baby hammerhead shark? Later, after releasing it, he identified it as a full size Bonnethead shark. Pleased with his day of fishing, it was time to return to shore, to start pouring those infamous Hurricanes Jimmy Buffet so often sings about, and fire up the grill. As he reels in his last line, he finds himself tangled up with another fish. This time a beautiful Mangrove snapper appears, and that Mangrove snapper made for a beautiful sunset dinner of grilled fish with a hurricane in the background.


How have you seen kayak fishing tournaments grow over the years?

Like mushrooms. They are taking off around the country and growing every day. With the ability to host online tourneys and many manufacturers starting their own as a promotional tool, they are definitely becoming popular.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What separates KATS from other kayak bass fishing tournaments?

KATS has a local aspect and a group aspect to it. We make the captains meeting mandatory as well as the weigh in. Other tournaments exist where you wouldn’t have to come in contact with another person at all.


What does the future hold for you?

KATS wants to grow. We want to grow, but we also want to make sure we can keep it fun and successful. Doubling participation is only a good thing if you can still host a welcoming event!


 

Leave a Reply

*