My first kayak tournament…almost

You can imagine how excited I was when I read this post on that informed me of the first kayak bass tournament within a few hour drive of my home!  Planning began almost immediately, including when I could get some practice time in on the lake I’d never even seen before.

One of the nicer fish I caught while practice fishing on Morse Reservoir.

One of the nicer fish I caught while practice fishing on Morse Reservoir.

On the Wednesday prior to the tournament, I took the morning off from work and headed out to Morse.  I had gathered a little local knowledge and studied some maps so I felt relatively prepared for the fishing. However, this was my first time in a kayak on such a big body of water loaded with giant pleasure boats, so I was a bit concerned about how I and my kayak would handle the large wakes.  The first run-in made me especially nervous, but I soon realized that it was a non-issue, and I just had to pay attention and roll with it.  I was also caught a bit off guard by the extreme drops of this reservoir.  My Lowrance X-4 unit was reading depths of 30+ feet when I was sitting only feet from the ends of docks.  So much for using docks for shallow water structure!  No matter, I had a few other ideas, so I headed across the water for those spots.  Time was short, as I had to head into the office in Carmel for the afternoon, but I was able to locate a few fish and identify a few locations I’d like to hit during the tournament.  After finally packing up the trailer at Morse Park (I had two multiple long conversations with random strangers, one asking me about my trailer, and and another asking about fishing from a kayak and my kayak modifications) I headed into the office, totally geeked about the upcoming tournament.

Then Saturday rolls around.  I spent a few hours Friday night narrowing down the tackle I wanted to use, preparing my rods and other gear, and packing up the Trailblazer and trailer to allow me to leave home around 4:30 with minimal lead time in the morning.  The weather predictions for the morning weren’t looking promising, but I held some faith that I would be able to participate in my first event and only have to deal with some rain.  However, once I woke up at 4:00, I was extremely disappointed in both the current conditions and the predicted morning conditions for the reservoir.  I pondered for a bit, then made the decision to stay home, not wanting to battle lightning and possible hail from a small plastic boat on a large body of water.  I kept in touch with Portside Marine, the host of the tournament, via Facebook, to see how things were progressing as they’d decided to continue on with the tournament.  None of the weather predictions were true, with only some rain passing through in the early hours, but fishing was safe and commenced as planned.

Around 11:00, I decided to make the hour drive to Morse Park, the launch and check-in location for the tournament, just to see how things went.  Through my communications on Facebook and, I was recognized by Jim, the owner of Portside Marine, and another angler, Keenan from the message boards.  They were beyond hospitable, welcoming me as if I’d known them forever and even requiring me to be in the group shot, even though I battled out the rain in my recliner instead of the kayak.  This brief interaction affirmed my belief that the kayak fishing community was one I wanted to not only be a part of but to contribute to in any way that I could.  I spent nearly an hour shooting the breeze with Keenan and look forward to trading fish stories with him in the future.

One other takeaway from this event was the absolutely phenomenal kayak made by Hobie, the Mirage Pro Angler.  I spend a lot of time reading forums and watching videos of kayak fishing, many including the Pro Angler, but nothing prepared me for actually seeing one in person.  All of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed on this boat.  Whole E. Cow.  From the rod management setup, to the tackle box management, to the amazing seats, to the feat of engineering in the Mirage Drive System, these things are UNREAL.  Basically all of the things that require some hacking on normal sit-on-top kayaks and add to some frustration on the water have been addressed and solved on these kayaks.  I’m pretty sure I left some drool on Keenan’s 14 footer and Dan’s 12 footer.  Sorry, guys.

The day wasn’t totally lost from fishing for me.  A friend that lives on a private lake in Anderson, IN called me as I was leaving Noblesville to ask for some help with his boat.  After determining that we didn’t have all of the parts needed, we decided to just do some fishing instead.  We were able to put some nice fish in the boat and didn’t get rained on.  Hey, weatherman, I’m sure you’re used to hearing this, but you were WRONG.  Again.

Went 4 pounds on my scales.  I think she would have been a bit heavier last week.  It appeared she had just recently dropped all of her eggs.

Went 4 pounds on my scales. I think she would have been a bit heavier last week. It appeared she had just recently dropped all of her eggs.

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