Tournament Kayak Bass Fishing

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 iamyodaddy@someemail.com or partyjunkieone@otheremail.com, 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.


This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

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Mike Cheatham

ABOUT Mike

May 2016, sat in my first kayak. October 2016, skunked in my first tournament. Spring of 2017, placed 11th in the KBF Open and have chased the addiction since. Fishing is the one place my mind gets quiet, the place I have always found peace. To do it competitively with a great bunch of folks is just a bonus. To have an opportunity to combine my love for fishing with writing...I feel like I have finally found a place in this world! I do have the support of a wonderful woman who understands my need to be on the water; she supports my dreams fully....life is truly good.

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