The Colorado Kayak Fishing Club (CKFC) was established in 2012 with the purpose of promoting fishing education and conservation while enjoying the sport of kayak fishing. Since its establishment the club has put on tournaments for human powered vessels including float tubes, canoes, and of course kayaks. The club has two tournament series in which anglers can compete in: the Bass series and the Multi-species series. The CKFC primarily communicates through their Facebook group
while utilizing the club’s website
for tournament registration, rules, results, etc. Anglers competing in the tournaments have an opportunity to win cash, prizes, and angler of the year points. The top five anglers in each series are also invited to compete in national tournaments at the end of the season.
When I joined the club I was primarily fishing from shore and a float tube. At the time I felt like I wasn’t ready to compete in the club tournaments, but was always looking forward to the day I would get my first kayak and enter my first tournament. I ended up purchasing my first kayak in the summer of 2016 and spent the rest of that year learning the ins and outs of kayak fishing. When the 2017 club tournament schedule was announced, I saw that the first bass tournament was on Boyd Lake, a lake that resides about 3 miles from my home. Although I was a little nervous about entering, I felt this was a great opportunity to get my first tournament under my belt.
I began pre-fishing
a couple weeks in advance to prepare for the tournament. I was able to get out on the lake 3 times during that time. My first day out was pretty slow as I only managed a few smaller bass on a jerkbait. The second day was more productive as I found a solid pattern fishing crankbaits around boat ramps. However, the water was so low at the time that there were only a few boat ramps in the water, limiting the potential of utilizing this pattern. My third day out was cut short due to high winds, but I had managed to catch a couple bass in an hour period using a spinnerbait.
The day of the tournament came and I was ready to put my strategy into play. After launching, I immediately paddled across the lake to fish one of the boat ramps. I was able to catch a few fish off this ramp with the most notable fish being a nice smallmouth. After fishing this ramp I moved on to the next one where I was able to fill my limit of 5 bass and begin culling. However, after fishing this ramp I had to move on to my other patterns. The rest of the boat ramps by that time were either too far away or had already received pressure from other anglers so I took out my spinnerbait and began fishing weed lines.
The spinnerbait pattern proved to be more effective than I had originally anticipated. I began catching bass on what seemed to be every few casts. Most of these fish, however, were around 13” and weren’t helping improve my limit. That is when I hooked into a better sized fish. I pulled in a bass I estimated to be around the 20” mark. My lack of tournament experience revealed itself as I was too eager to land the fish and ended up snagging my spinnerbait on the anchor rope I had hanging over the side. The bass was pinned to the rope just out of reach and came unbuttoned. This was a tough pill to swallow, but I was able to shake it off and continue fishing with confidence.
As I continued to fish weed lines, I was able to dial in my spinnerbait pattern more and more. I ended up covering water more quickly, fishing the weed line until I would get bit. At the first sign of a bite I dropped anchor and fished that area for only a few minutes. If I went 5 minutes without a bite, I picked up anchor and moved on down. Using this strategy, I came across a school of largemouth all in the 15 to 17 inch range. This school allowed me to cull my 13” fish quickly to put together a respectable 5 fish limit of 81.5”.
The tournament came to a close and it was time for the weigh-in. My lack of tournament experience showed up again as I turned in my biggest 5 fish pictures to the tournament director. The smallmouth I originally caught had its mouth slightly open in the picture. The other pictures I had taken of this smallmouth were also of low quality, so I ended up taking a 1 inch penalty on this fish bringing my total to 80.5”. Fellow kayak competitor Eric Allee
also turned in a 5 fish limit of 80.5” and we had tied for first place. The tie-breaker was to take the largest fish turned in by either competitor to determine the winner. As it turned out, Eric and I each had a 17” largemouth for our biggest fish. Our second biggest fish was the same length as well. It came down to our third largest fish in which I was able to edge him out by a quarter inch.
I made it interesting with my lack of experience, but that helped me grow as an angler which would help in future tournaments. The next tournament was scheduled to take place a few weeks later at Chatfield Reservoir. This was a place I had heard a lot about but had never visited. It was time to begin preparing for Chatfield in hopes to keep the momentum going!