This past weekend, April 4th through the 6th, I was able to open up the 2014 kayak fishing tournament season by travelling south with my buddy Aaron to Cedar Creek Lake Kentucky for the first tournament in the Bluegrass Yakmasters Tournament Series. It’s difficult to explain how amazing this experience was. It was definitely full of “ests”.
This was the farthest I’ve traveled for the sole purpose of fishing. From home, to Indianapolis to pick up Aaron, to Danville Kentucky where the host hotel was located was just over 250 miles each way. I was very nervous about how my Harbor Freight trailer would handle it, but it performed flawlessly hauling my Hobie Pro Angler 14 the entire weekend.
As part of the 2014 Hobie Fishing Team, Portside Marine Sales in Westfield provided me with a Hobie Pro Angler 14. I was able to pick this up on Wednesday, April 2, just a few short days prior to leaving for the Cedar Creek Lake event. This, along with all of the other packing and planning I had to do for the trip, made this the quickest rigging and setup job I’ve done. Much of this was made possible by the outstanding engineering of the Pro Angler, requiring me to have to do very little to be tournament ready. I mounted some YakAttack GearTrac for accessory duties onto the replaceable mounting boards on the Hobie. I also mounted the transducer and ran the cables for the fish finder, which only took about 30 minutes in the dark. This was also the quickest I had to learn the ins and outs of a kayak, having only about an hour and a half on the water Friday before the tournament.
The tournament day began at 7 AM and check-in was at 4 PM, making this event the longest duration kayak tournament I’ve fished to date. While I would have undoubtedly been uncomfortable by the end of the day in my previous kayak, the Vantage Seating and Mirage Drive made the long day not only comfortable, but enjoyable. Also fitting under the longest category is the distance I covered on the water thanks to the Mirage Drive.
It was 38 degrees when we launched in the morning. Enough said there, I think.
The Bluegrass Yakmasters group definitely have their stuff together. Everything about this tournament was well-run and seemed, to me at least, to move along like a well-oiled machine.
To date, this is by far the greatest time I’ve had at a tournament. When fishing a lake the caliber of Cedar Creek Lake, nobody likes to walk away without a fish, but for me this tournament was much more than putting fish on the board. There were many successes for me outside of this. I made many new friends in the kayak fishing community, discovered a tournament series that’s not horribly far away, and fell in love with the Hobie Pro Angler (more on that later). This was a very successful trip and I’m looking forward to more of them this year.
I’d like to extend hearty thanks to my buddy Aaron for joining me on this excursion, Bluegrass Yakmasters for the event, and all of the event’s sponsors for sweetening the deal on an already sweet event. I can’t wait to do it again!