Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Tournament Series Part 1

Photo Courtesy of Nick Doumel
     Waking up the morning of the event I was full of nervous energy.  It was 4am and I was off to Lake Delavan to compete in the first stop of the Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Tournament Series.  We would be fishing for northern pike and although I have plenty of experience with this species of fish, I had never been in a tournament situation before.  My attempts to pre-fish the lake didn't work out and much to my dismay I couldn't even scout online since the most recent Google Earth images showed a lake locked in ice.  I was gonna be fishing blind and needed a game plan.  I decided that I would look for emerging weed growth and target pike the same way I do here on the Madison Chain of Lakes.
That's a lot of Hobies...
      Arriving at the launch I checked in at the registration table and surveyed the lake.  It was a lot bigger than I anticipated.  My Native Slayer would definitely have an advantage.  That Propel pedal drive can really eat up water and I was confident that this was gonna be a great day.  At the very least my arms wouldn't be shot from paddling.  
   Once unloaded I quickly went to work setting up my kayak.  As I finagled my way down to the water I was greeted by some of the nicest anglers I have ever met.  They had a lot of questions for me about my boat.  I was happy to answer all the questions and explain why I did the things that I did when I was rigging my kayak over the winter.  It was kind of surreal to be surrounded by so many anglers with the same passion I have for kayak fishing.
Photo Courtesy of Nick Doumel
     After a quick participant meeting to discuss the rules for the event we all launched our kayaks shotgun style and raced across the lake.  I however was soon back on the shore line because I drank a little to much coffee on the drive down.  Paddling back out I was shocked by how clear the water was, you could easily see down a good 20 feet.  I tossed my Echotails up and around every dock, crib, and rock pile I could find.  Nothing, the water was so clear that I could actually see the fish holding tight against the bottom.  It was driving me crazy!!!  At one point I actually watched my lure bounce off the head of a decent sized pike.  The thing just casually swam away.  I had no idea why they wouldn't eat.  Around noon I decided that I needed a break and headed into shore.  Arriving back at my truck, I discovered that the lunch I had made was still at home on the counter.  Luckily, I was able to scrounge a decent (though questionable) meal out of the vending machines near the boat launch.
     For the second half of the tournament I decided I that I would focus on a side channel.  It looked muddy and I thought it may be a few degrees warmer.  As I turned the corner into the channel my Garmin proved me right and I proceeded to throw everything I had in my tackle tray in an attempt to find a pike.  All I caught was 2 bass, and they weren't even big enough to warrant a photo.  It was a tough day to be on the water.  Soon the time came to start making my way back to the launch point.  I wondered if anybody else had any luck?
     It turns out that a number of anglers did catch a pike.  A couple of them even caught multiple pike.  Due to the high number of participants first place ended up taking home over $500 in prize money.  In fact the tournament paid out cash all the way to 6th place.  It was a great event and I want to thank F&H Decals and all the other sponsors for the cool door prizes.  The next stop is in Illinois fishing for bass, and since I'll be a little more in my element I hope to have a good showing.  If you own a kayak you should join us, it's a great way to spend a day on the water.  For more information about the Great Lakes Fishing Tournament Series follow the link here.
     Tight Lines.

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