FishUSA 5 Live Shootout Presented by Cashion Rods

There is something new happening in the kayak fishing community. With tournaments brought to almost a complete standstill, people are finding more and more ways to remain competitive and in the public’s eye. For the past couple of weeks, Scott Beutjer Fishing has hosted the FishUSA 5 live shootout presented by Cashion Fishing Rods.  

Five anglers are chosen to fish (by invite only), in the no-entry-fee events for a $1000 prize. In addition, Rogue Fishing Co. has put a $250 BIG BASS BOUNTY on the table to sweeten the pot.  The live events give anglers and their sponsors some air time amidst all of the social distancing; also allowing the rest of us to follow along online.

FishUSA 5 Live Shootout | Format

The 5 Live Fishing Facebook page sets the format; 

“These five anglers will launch from five different states across the country at 9 am (ET) on their chosen body of water. They will have thirty minutes until lines in, from there it will be a two-hour shootout in the best five fish format (CPR).  The live stream hosted will broadcast all of the action live, with play by play commentary and on the spot angler interviews. Anglers have been given instructions to fish any body of water they choose as long as they are able to broadcast the YakAttack Camera View.”

Those who have competed so far have had great things to say about the format, but also admit that it can be extremely different when compared to a normal tournament. The winner of the first event, who had his limit in no time at all, Derek Brundle of Massachusetts, said that the event was “2 hours of heart-pounding, gut-wrenching pressure that either works out or it doesn’t.”  From his finish, I would say that it worked for him during the initial event where he took the first check back up north. He was paired with anglers Jody Queen, Josh Stewart, Jamie Broad, and Casey Reed.

Brad Case, a Mississippi angler who took home the win during the second live event, also commented about the pressure of an online event. “It is a whole different style of tournament to fish. Just two hours. And the stress is there.  You have to fish like there is no tomorrow”, while Alabama’s Tim Perkins shared Brad’s mentality that there are no second chances. “That’s basically it. Your swinging for the fence, base hits don’t count! You got to be on fish and your regional area has to be lined up as well.” These two anglers battled Jamie Denison, Dylan Fuqua and Mike Elsea.

We all fish tournaments, but they span an entire day or days. The 5 Live format has it narrowed down to a very specific timeframe.  

Jamie Broad of Louisiana said of that short window to fish; “It was the fastest-paced 2 hours of fishing I have ever been a part of. I can’t wait to do it again.

FishUSA 5 Live Shootout | Preparing For These Events

So how do you get ready for the events? A couple of Virginia guys, Jody Queen and Casey Reed, shared similar views. Jody, always a solid angler, thinks “the strategies are different for the anglers. Do you go for a quick small fish limit or swing for the fences?” Casey thought that those decisions are the most critical.  

“This two-hour format leaves no room for mistakes. Makes your decisions so much more valuable.”

But, Indiana angler Mike Elsea believes that flexibility is just as important. “It’s a 2-hour mental test.  You gotta be on your game and be able to make decisions instantly.

The format with multiple venue(s) comes with challenges. Putting five anglers on five bodies of water in different states, then tying all of that together for a live presentation is not simple. Perkins and Queen were quick to point out some lessons to future competitors. Tim wants to remind them that “phone signal is probably the most overlooked factor!” Jody shared his thoughts on this too; “don’t forget also that you are at the mercy of your phone signal.

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Event three is already lined up and as the anglers learn more about camera angles and how to manage their time; these events are only going to get better. Y’all make sure to check out the next round featuring Cory Dreyer, Matt Ball, Jaxton Orr, Mel Ashe, and Dusty Yakker. It is sure to be a good one as one more person wins a spot in the championship!

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Tournament Kayak Bass Fishing | What Do The Next 5-Years Look Like?

Where is tournament kayak bass fishing headed over the next five years?  If I had a crystal ball to predict that, I would use it for the lottery… and then I could predict the fact that I would be fishing every day ‘cause I would have lots of money! But, I have no money, no crystal ball and am not enough of an insider to have all the answers.

What I can say is that with the growth of KBF, the Hobie Bass Open Series and a B.A.S.S. Nation Series and high school kayak teams growing across the U.S.; we are definitely growing fast and it is a beautiful thing.  You could feel the potential with the short FLW series from last year… but with B.A.S.S., it feels like all of the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. Top anglers from the recent Logan Martin event are being courted by companies; the same companies that just a short time ago seemed a bit less interested. With offers to represent kayak companies, rod companies, bait companies, etc., it feels, at least for the moment, that the opportunities to fish from a kayak full time may be just over the horizon.  

I for one am glad to be here at this point in kayak history and sad to be old enough to know that I may miss the summit that others will enjoy. I do see a future where more of my friends get offers bigger than 10% off sponsorships, I see their faces in ads and commercials… I know that they will be the beginning of the kayak education for the rest of the world. They will be the ones who teach the next generation of young kayak anglers how it works… how to carry themselves… how to bring the rest of the world into our community.

Tournament Kayak Bass Fishing | How Anglers Present Themselves

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This is the point where I want to play dad (in my dad voice) and tell you that I think all of us need to start considering that eventuality. 

At every event, at every gas station where when we are pulling kayaks, when we visit communities for tournaments, it is going to be more important how we present ourselves than ever before. If you have dreams of rising to the top, you might want to think before you act in those settings. There is more media coverage than we have ever seen, and I personally think that we need to be aware of how every interaction affects our image – not just yours.

This is especially critical when it comes to social media. Now before you blast me, I want to share how real this is in corporate America – and with big sponsors, you are going to be crossing from my friend’s lure company to larger entities.  

I lead a team of 14 engineers, with four interns reporting to them. Our company runs background checks before we invest in any employee, and in addition, we do some more personal looks into their social media persona. When we get a resume with an e-mail address like or, we search to see who they portray themselves to be and that is all we may ever know about you. If @imagethigh’s social media posts are mid-week debauchery, or rants about my %#$&&*!! neighbor, or that #%#^#& that cut me off… we question if they will fit on our team of engineers. We are also a very culturally diverse company, so posts that talk about how wrong “this or that race/religion/culture” is… or how a single interaction with a person outside of your nationality offended you by just being alive… you are not likely to make it far in the interview process.  

Just something to consider the next time you tweet or post.

Now, that being said I want to add one other paragraph on the subject. Again, don’t blast me, just being the old guy in the crowd; consider how you appear to the outside world when you bad-mouth different trails, tourney directors or different opinions publicly. If you are willing to belittle one guy or trail, how can we know that you will not talk bad us when you get a bee up your butt about something we did? Your behavior, the persona you create on social media (whether it is really you are not) is who you are to us. It is you to the outside world… it is how you will be judged by others. I said earlier that I am sad to be the old dude in the room and that I might miss the wave of what is coming in the kayak tournament world over the next years. But I am thankful that there was not Facebook and Instagram to document the years that I was incapable of sobriety… that there is no record outside of my memory and those I hurt.  

Turning off the dad voice and returning to the excitement about what is coming.

Tournament Kayak Bass Fishing | A Tsunami of Change

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I hope that I am not wrong, but it feels like there is a tsunami of change just off the coast and we are about to get the opportunity to ride that to the bank!   

KBF, Hobie BOS, B.A.S.S., the high school trails…the local grassroots and all trails that have fallen to the wayside that introduced new people to our community all have/had a role in that growth and I couldn’t be more ready to see it happen.  

I am waiting for the day that I see Rus Snyders, Derek Brundle, Ron Champion, Kristine Fisher or Jay Wallen (or any of you or maybe even me) during breaks in the evening news touting the best cell service for submitting fish – or maybe which tires give you the best ride to the ramp. It feels close. So close.

The Inaugural Huk B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series on Lake Logan Martin Recap

Clear Creek.  

It wasn’t the only place that anglers found fish, but many who cashed a check in the inaugural Huk Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX presented by Abu Garcia had launched somewhere along its banks. Pell City, Alabama was the host city for the event which saw over 200 kayakers launch on Lake Logan Martin, a body of water with limited ramps. It wasn’t uncommon to find over thirty kayaks at each launch and Clear Creek was no exception.  It was full.

The check in for the event was held at Pell City Civic Center and the anglers were met with golf cart rides offered by the Pell City Fire and Rescue Station located next door. They were driving the competitors back and forth to parking in the pouring rain. Once inside the center, the community and B.A.S.S had set up the venue making everyone feel welcome. Steve Owens led the event, and as always, he was impressive in his management. Dwayne Walley was on hand to ensure that TourneyX functioned, providing live results so everyone could see how the day was progressing. Scott Beutjer recorded the event with his camera; images that will remind us of how big the day really was for kayaking.

Everyone in the room knew that we were a part of something that was going to change the face of kayak fishing; a milestone in the history of kayak bass fishing. You could feel the excitement and anticipation among all of the anglers as they signed in for the first time at a B.A.S.S. Nation event.

B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series on Logan Martin: Pre-Fishing

The water was low, it seems it had been dropped two weeks before in anticipation of more rain.  Like most events, reports were all over the place from “I figured out something” to “well, at least I got to be here”. One of the most common conversations was that the white bass were chomping about everything. Even Senko’s were drawing the swarming fish.

Jim Davis, who traveled with friend Ben Rayfield, had gone out the day before to his spot and had caught a lot of little fish. 

“We went way up river and checked out a few back water pockets, and caught a few good fish, but since we travel together we have to launch together and knew those areas did not hold two limits. We chose to fish Clear Creek”  

Mark Edwards arrived Monday evening and checked out three ramps.  

“I started just below the dam and thought it could be won there, but the current was just so strong. I made my mind up that I could catch fish in Clear Creek. I spent my next two days of practice covering Clear Creek. I went out on the main lake and the water temp was 51… and I could see fish, but they wouldn’t bite. If you got back into the pockets, the water was almost 58 degrees. And I was catching fish in those pockets.”

Friends Sam Jones and Allan Reed felt like maybe they were on to something outside of the bays and along the river channel. Gene Jenson was certain that his launch point would land him in the top, and Jake Harshman felt he had figured it out.

Jon Lessman talked about his decision to fish Clear Creek.  

“Jim Davis and I fished in some of the same areas. We were probably 300 yards apart.  Mark, I had seen him pre-fishing; he was maybe a quarter a mile away from me. Cory Racer (who would finish in the top ten) was just outside of the area that Jim and I were fishing. I found a drainage ditch that had just a little drop in it during pre- fishing and threw a Carolina rig in there and caught a couple of fish and thought, this is it. Everything set up just the way I wanted it to.”

Many other anglers had found patterns that would give them anywhere from seventy to the mid-eighties in inches, but everyone knew the weather was changing. The water was not going to be the same and the chances of the fish being in the same locations and acting the same was at risk. The forecast: colder, rain and rising water.

B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series on Logan Martin: Tournament Day, or to Quote Mark Davis, “Gameday”

The forecast was rain, and from the time anglers stepped out onto the ramps, it rained; between intermittent drops of big rain, there was more rain; then rain. And the water in places like Clear Creek was no longer clear. Thirty plus kayakers had also launched from Poorhouse Marina which also had a creek feeding the bay; it had turned from clear to chocolate milk overnight.  

Eriq Siddiqi had found a choke point far from Clear Creek that would land him in fourth and Jimmy Mcclurken was just on the other side of the same spot; finishing 7th. Both were using ambush points provided by the current; like many who found success in the tournament.  

Mark Edwards Day on the Water

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Mark Edwards ended the event in 2nd place.

Mark Edwards had caught over 80-inches both days of pre-fishing and he struggled early in the morning.  

“When it is tournament day and you only have 3 fish at 12:30, and you have fished all of your best stuff… I knew I could catch one out on the river in some pockets, but it was going to take me thirty minutes to get there.

I thought that maybe I go back to the bridge, but people were fishing it, so it was crowded.  I moved back out of the creek and I went back to where I started. 

 The wind had picked up, I went from a jerk bait to an A-rig….I got my limit and checked the leader board, I am in 12th place. I go back up there and caught another one.  And I caught 4 fish in four casts.”

Mark gave this advice, if you are fishing in water under 60 degrees and its pre-spawn; you better be fishing an A-rig!  

Jim Davis’s Day on the Water

Jim Davis was also beating the conditions, but had not found fish with the baits he had used pre-fishing.  

“I don’t care what anybody says, it is all about being in the right place at the right time! You know, it’s not about me being better than anybody else, or out fishing them… that’s kayak fishing, you make the wrong choice and you have to live with it for the day.

By 9:30, I hadn’t caught a fish. I moved to the rocks and they started biting. I happened to be in the right spot and didn’t know it. I passed the spot where all the fish were and came back and started to see all of the shad spinning out.  

The place I was, there were rocks coming off the bank and the current was moving past it. What I think was happening, those bigger fish were sitting behind it and then running out and eating the shad, feeding up, then going back to rest behind those rocks. I was just sitting off and hammering the spot, and I was always catching little fish, and waiting for those big ones to come out. You just have to pay attention to what is going on around you. If I hadn’t seen those shad, I would have missed the bite.”

It was a very unexpected bait that helped Jim to have success on Logan Martin.

“I made the right choice that morning, got to the right spot, happened to have something in my box that mimicked what I was seeing. I had some jerk baits and other things that I thought were the right color, but I didn’t have anything that I thought was small enough. I threw the jackhammer and a swimbait, they didn’t want it. The only thing I had that was close to the bait size was a spy bait. I threw silver with a black back.  

I broke it off… because I didn’t retie. And switched to a sexy shad. I don’t usually throw anything with a treble hook; I would rather have my eye poked out than throw a treble hook, but with the wind and current, plastics were not going to work.

I caught over 40 fish, and when the leaderboard went off, I was an inch and a half behind Jon Lessman. I still had a 14-incher on the board.

I moved with 40 minutes left… and didn’t catch a fish, so I went back to my spot around 2:30 and with 10 minutes left I caught a 19-incher. I took the pic, submitted and then laid all the crap down in my boat.” 

Jon Lessman’s Day on the Water

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Jon Lessman had also changed his tactics.  His experience like Jim’s had taught him to look at the conditions and adjust.

“Tourney day, I unloaded at the end of clear creek. I went to where I caught the fish and bam, bam; I caught 2 back to back on a Carolina rigged brush hog. Not killin’ it, but hey, I would work on a limit then go after some size.  

I knew with the conditions it was going to be tricky.  

I had marked a lot of fish a little farther down in some narrows, but they were not there. I ended up with a five hour dead stretch. I told myself it wasn’t working. I said stop, took a deep breath, and assessed the situation… I had wind blowing me one way and I was paddling old school so I was dealing with all of the elements; the rain, wind, and current.  

I told myself to go back to where I was, nothing was working. The standard chatterbait, the Carolina rig; nothing I threw, crankbait or swimbait, was working.

I decided to throw a Nate’s Custom Baits spinnerbait (a buck tail spinner bait) with a white 4-inch twisty tail trailer dipped in orange. I chucked it and bam… a twelve incher. I let the wind carry me, then I kept making circles. I was trying to stay parallel to the bank and was in clear water fishing mudlines. I would fish it slow, letting it hit the bottom, then reeling it in. Nothing special, just slow. I caught over 25 fish doing this.”

B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series on Logan Martin: The Winner Is…

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In the end, Jim Davis had beat the competition by 3-inches to be crowned as the winner of the first BASS Nation kayak event. His adjustment to the changing conditions, and trying a bait that would seem unconventional had allowed him to stand in front of the stage in Birmingham during the 50th Anniversary of the BASSMASTER Classic!  

The top thirty received a check, and the top 44 earned a spot in next year’s kayak classic.  

B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series on Logan Martin: The Top Three

Jon Lessman

Jon is from Gallatin, Tennessee on old Hickory but moved to Madison, Alabama for the fishing.  He is retired from the Army, and if you get a chance to talk with him about his life, I recommend you do so.

Jon got into kayak fishing and has always been a big fisherman, and always been competitive.  

“I used to fish local tournaments when I was younger, and fished some catfish tournaments.  

It was Brad Case who got me into one. In 2014 I was about to retire. We were stationed together in the same unit and I was having some difficulties and he said well come on let’s go kayak fishing. I said kayaking and fishing, ok. So we started doing it a couple of times and I said I really like this. It started getting to the point that I couldn’t load the big boat by myself and kayaking just kind of took over. I enjoyed it so much more and it became a release to some of my mental issues due to my PTSD, TBI and all the other alphabet they give you; it really became a release for all of that and started changing me mentally and physically. My wife could tell a big difference, all the other providers could see it. And I was like, this is it, this is what I have found and what I want to do. So I went full bore.

I like the kayaks because we are so close to each other. We may only talk at two or three events each year, but no one skips a beat. It is right back to “hey, how you been”… like we had just seen each other yesterday.”

Jon is a Team Bonafide member (in a Bonafide 127) and has sponsorships from HT Rods, Union Sportsman Alliance, Tourney Tag, Spro, Wicked Weights, Yak Attack, Frog Toggs (which worked well on Logan Martin), Fish Grips.  He also added Dakota Lithium and Gator Guard.

Mark Edwards

Mark is from Pipestem, West Virginia where he builds transformers for TVA, Duke and other companies. More than just an avid fisherman, he also serves on the board of the West Virginia Bow Hunters. 

“My first tourney in a kayak was 2016, there was a KBF open on Bluestone Lake (part of the New River) and I borrowed a kayak. On day one I was in the teens… I over slept on day two and went to a different part and only caught one or two fish. Dropped to fiftieth something place.

The next year I bought a kayak. I signed up for Stonewall Jackson lake because I saw the National Championship prize amount KBF was offering. I had a great practice. I finished 17th.  I realized that day that I needed a pedal drive. I didn’t have enough confidence to practice from a kayak, so I fished from a bass boat. I didn’t even have a fish finder on my kayak. I would run over spots and try to remember exactly where I had been.  

It is trying to beat the fish to me. I am trying to beat the fish not the people. When I have a hard time, I keep trying to figure them out.” 

Mark is sponsored by Fishing Online, and after the event he became a team member of Native.  He is currently in a Native, but is about to get an upgrade. He did share the best lure out there – in his opinion – “The best lure in fishing is confidence.

Jim Davis

Originally from Missouri, Jim grew up in Minnesota before picking a spot on the map and landing in Dandridge, Tennessee just outside of Knoxville.  He is a retired engineer; was partners in an engineering company until they sold the company a couple of years ago. He decided to fish, mess with old cars and build trailers for a while.  

“I will be busy building trailers when I get home. I started building them so I could have a lightweight trailer, but then I started selling them. (Y’all reach out to Jim if you are looking for a nice lightweight option.) 

I have been kayak fishing for 15 years; what’s crazy is during the first years you couldn’t find anyone to go with you… now all you have to do is say I am going fishing.

I had a bass boat and never had time to use it… sold it and found a guy that had two used kayaks for sale. A three year old Liquid Logic Manta Ray and a Hurricane Phoenix, sold one to pay for the other one and I started fishing out of a 28-inch wide liquid logic.

I have been competitively kayak fishing for 5 years; I started fishing all of the KBS stuff and in 2016 I won angler of the year. My first tournament, one of my buddies said he was going out to Rayburn to fish a tournament, and it was snowing all across the south, so I went. Then moved into the throw together tournaments… fished KBF, tried the Hobie… I will most likely only fish the B.A.S.S. and local tournaments in the future.

I wasn’t sponsored. I fish for Frontier Outdoors but kind of took off the last year to get some things straight. This was the first time I had been out since getting flipped by two walleye boats in La Crosse, Wisconsin last year. Two boats passed me and it rolled!” 

After the BASS event, I signed up with the Old Town National team and will be in a new Old Town Predator PDL with the auto-pilot.”

B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series on Logan Martin: Thoughts on the Experience

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Great Picture of one of the hottest kayak anglers, Rus Snyders (ninth place), as he waited to go on stage.  

I was at the event and was thrilled to see the excitement generated by the introduction of the B.A.S.S. series. It was a welcomed opportunity to be a part of the next stage of kayak bass fishing history. I didn’t make it to the stage, but I was fortunate to talk with the top three about what it was like, what has happened since… and I listened with a bit of envy.

Jim Davis told me, 

“I keep thinking that this has got to be over soon… then there are ten more posts and all the sudden my phone doesn’t quit beeping for three more hours.

When you’re standing up there waiting to go up on the stage, it’s cool, but when you get down to the final three, and you move to the center of the stage; it gets real all of the sudden!

When they said I am going to announce second first, and he said Mark, I just blanked out. I didn’t hear a thing. And they had to tell me twice to go hold the check, and twice to go out front. I had just spaced out man!

This is what we all worked for the last however many years. I mean we all imagined it, but who would have imagined it would get this big! I never thought it would be this big!”

Mark Edwards felt the same.  

“It’s overwhelming but man, I am smiling the whole way. I am floating on clouds. We all dream of it, you know, ‘I can win this thing!’ It has been surreal. You can’t knock the smile off my face.  They kept showing us on the stage all through the expo and by Saturday, I walked through and people were stopping me… ’you’re one of the kayak guys’… it has just been incredible!

They took us all behind the scenes to do interviews. Then they asked the top two to go to the media room. There is a media room with banners on two walls, there are three or four podcasts everywhere. I told them I hadn’t eaten anything and they feed me. I got a big ole plate and sat there in the media room and talked with anglers about fishing.  

I was riding with others in a truck to get outside and they passed a hat back. They were asking the guys in the truck with me to sign it, and I asked if they wanted me to sign it… and I signed my first autograph!”

Jon Lessman was also a bit shocked by it all.  

“Being on the stage was totally unreal. There are not good words to describe it; I could try cool and neat, but there is not an adjective to really describe it. Those are not it at all. All my life I have watched that Bassmaster stage and wanted to be up there. I remember Hank Parker and all of those guys being up there. 

I figured that some people would say stuff to me, but I had a lady almost maul me, she was saying that ‘you’re that kayak guy! You are our favorite, you’re so big!’ And she hugged me. It was awesome. I thought it was wild when some of the elite guys would come up and say hi and say, “you’re that kayak guy right?

The Growth of Kayak Fishing Over the Last 10 Years

If you were to graph the growth of kayak fishing over the last ten years, it would follow the path of an exponential function; slowly increasing, the turning upward swiftly.

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I used to fish Yellow Creek in my old beat up Jon boat and never see a single kayak. You would occasionally see a canoe or two, but never a kayak. Then four years ago, I could go to the same place on some days, and it felt like I could walk across the creek using kayaks as stepping stones.  

The first kayaks I started seeing were the small sit inside type, but it was just a couple of years (or how I remember it anyway) before those were replaced with the sit on top versions; with all of the gadgets people could attach.  

I can remember running through the television channels before I had a kayak and seeing Jim Sammons and Chad Hoover fishing out of them; thinking to myself, “Hey that looks like a great way to get on the water!”. These two may not have been the first in kayaks, but they have introduced many of us to what the sport is about.

Now the growth of the kayak tournaments is hard to keep up with! 

The Growth of Kayak Fishing | Tournament Growth

KBS, River Bassin, and tons of local trails started popping up allowing a lot of opportunity to compete out of the plastic boats. KBF had several events throughout the U.S., Hobie had a few opens that allowed you to try to get into the Hobie Worlds. Redfish events on the coasts were ramping up to full swing. 

Kayaks were everywhere and it felt like it happened overnight.

It was just a few years ago, the first KBF National Championship was held; then they partnered for the first FLW event last year! Now they have a Pro Series that allows you to try your skill on a slightly different level.  

Then came the Hobie Bass Open Series last year; a different format for anglers to compete for two days on some of the best bodies of water in the country.  This series culminating in the Tournament of Champions which pits the best on the Hobie trail against each other.

Now, the old standard for everyone who grew up thinking about being a professional bass fisherman – BASS – is beginning its inaugural kayak season with five events. The first was held in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the Bassmaster Classic! It was the catalyst that got some of the top kayak angler’s national recognition. Hopefully, that allows some of them to consider doing this full time… with real sponsorship deals!

One thing for sure, it doesn’t seem like the sport has peaked. We are still pedaling/paddling up that exponential curve as fast as our kayaks will take us. If you haven’t jumped aboard yet, this is a great year to get your feet wet.  

You can still start in the grassroots clubs, move to some KBF trail events or to the Hobie BOS…or just dive off into the BASS events!  The choices exist, and I do not see it slowing soon.

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Taking care of yourselves – and each other – is what is most important right now, and while the realities of our world are changing daily, it’s good to know there are places to find healthy spaces outside to fish, paddle and refresh the heart and mind.

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The Vibe Kayaks Family

Kayak Fishing Superstitions | Do They Float Your Boat?

I was sitting in Kentucky Lake’s Ginger Bay eating a banana when I learned I was not supposed to eat a banana in a boat. 

I was also catching bass on topwater during a snowstorm on the same trip… so I’m not sure I really believe in that superstition, or any for that matter.  

Since that trip, I’ve learned that there are many superstitions surrounding boats. Before my research, I had no idea that telling someone good luck was bad luck. Try telling Kristine Fisher it is bad luck to have a woman onboard the next time she is beating everyone else. 

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Jean Wilson even has a custom banana mount for her ride!

And how do you explain to every red-haired person that they are doomed before they launch? Anyone whistling on board is extremely annoying and distracting, but bad luck? Dolphins good, sharks bad — well, that that seems like more of a statement on the reality of the food chain. And I love a red sky in the morning or at night – it is just kind of cool.

Kayak Fishing Superstitions: My ‘Behaviors’

I like to call them my behaviors. There are a couple that I follow for each tournament. 

Having my duck on the boat – it was given to me by my wife, so it is a part of her with me always. 

Before each launch, I say “here we go” out loud as I push off from the ramp.  

It was the way I set up my gear that allows me to follow steps while launching: step in the boat with your right foot. It just naturally forces it, so I got lucky. (Oh wait, can I say lucky without being unlucky … maybe if I am on the couch and not the kayak?)  

I named my boat for fun, so I am not “tempting the seas” in an unnamed vessel. And, as much as I love what I named my first Hobie (BoHobien Rhapsody), I have refused to rename it. (Or use that name again … so maybe I am superstitious?) But the reason I don’t launch on Fridays has nothing to do with it being a bad idea… it has to do with bad career choices that have left me working much later in life than I meant — and I can’t always get off on Friday.  

Kayak Fishing Superstitions: My ‘Wasted Cast’

I was a bit surprised to find out how many of you make a “wasted” cast away from your intended target before you officially consider yourself fishing the event. It seems that this is a highly copied behavior along the kayak trails. Not sure if there is a superstition involved, but there seems to be a very strong tradition among many anglers.

Marlin Cassady explained this a bit.  

“I always do a short cast for my first cast. Seems like every time I catch a fish on the first cast, the rest of the day is slow. So, I short-cast and reel it in fast.”

Kayak Fishing Superstitions: The ‘Ignored Leaderboard’

I never look at the leaderboard during the day. Not sure of everyone else’s reasoning, but for me it was the added pressure of knowing.  

Brian Aliff agreed.  

“I never look at the leader board or check my placement. Not sure it’s a superstition but I don’t want to know, it adds an element of pressure, and the stress makes me make mistakes I could otherwise avoid. I can deal with bananas if they’re in chip form.”

Not looking at the leaderboard can be hard with so much social media and texts. All of your friends want to encourage you, but some of us don’t want to hear it! I had to tell my wife not to even call, because I can hear how I am doing in her voice.

Kayak Fishing Superstitions: Some Other Superstitions

Matt Spencer

“I pour a little of my coffee onto the floor of my kayak and let it drain out so the fish can wake up and have a nice trail of coffee scent.”

Chris Condor

“Don’t have my first ‘on-the-water dip’ until after the first fish. Or whenever I start fiending with withdrawals, whichever comes first.”

George Nemeth

I have a dedicated spot for one particular rod that never changes. Where the rest go don’t really matter and they’re roughly in the same areas day after day but the finesse jig rod is in the same place every time.

My main superstition is I always pay the ramp launch fee and have a current fishing license. It seems not everyone is as superstitious as I am on that subject but that’s my biggest one. Karmically speaking, I can’t afford any bad juju and not paying my couple bucks seems like a great excuse for the universe to spit the hook on me. (NOTE:  This is actually on the top ten list if you google “superstitions”… pay your debts!)

Nathan Hartley

Sometimes I will go out on an empty stomach as if I’m trying to live off the land or something. Funny enough though I’m strictly catch and release. So it’s just psychological I guess.

Then there is Ryan Marshall who has to kiss every fish. Having met him, not sure that is so lucky for the fish.

And Ron Himmelhaver has a fish dance.

“Super secret, mystical dance that was passed down to me by my father.”

Kayak Fishing Superstitions: As For Mine

I’m not superstitious. I don’t walk under ladders because stuff may fall. I don’t break mirrors because I am fairly certain it increases your chances of being cut. 

And spilt salt should be cleaned up. But if you throw it over your shoulder, couldn’t that just increase the chances of folks walking behind you slipping on it?  

But … is there something to all of this?  

I don’t know. I did learn that looking like a pirate is a good thing, so maybe that night in my late teens when I got drunk and pierced my earlobe with a corsage pin was good. My parents definitely did not share the belief that I had done a good thing – but then they were not seafaring (ok, kayak bassin’) folks. 

And I did catch myself looking for a cat to sit beside my duck on Amazon for the next season after reading all of this.

Just like the fact that I shouldn’t have been throwing a Rapala Skitterpop in a snowstorm (but I was catching fish), I cannot un-know anything I learned!  

So, this is the outfit I am considering for 2020.

Kayak Fishing Superstitions(2)


What are your kayak fishing superstitions?