Crate for gear and tackle storage - I use the Tuff Krate
Rod floats - read here for clever installation instructions
Sun protection - Especially for you newbs! Kayak fishing is NOT the same as walking the bank all day! Personally, I use a combinations of UPF clothing, sunscreen, gloves, a buff (face cover), hat, and polarized sunglasses (and occasionally, if it's going to get ridiculously [dangerously] hot, I'll even launch near a bridge for shade)
Cooler with ice packs and cold drinks - in the summer, pack what you think you'll need, and then add a few more
Snacks - I like to pack simple stuff like granola bars, string cheese, turkey wraps, and apples
Bug spray - CAUTION: DEET will melt any plastic it comes into contact with! Picaridin, on the other hand, does not melt plastic, and works just as well. If you insist on using a spray with DEET, apply before you get in or near your kayak.
So I decided to alter one of my boards [by cutting off the end] to fit directly under me, for easier picture-taking - and now, if a fish jumps the board, they land inside of the boat!
I haven't had any problems using it in any tournaments, but make sure to double check before you take a hacksaw to your board!
I do carry my full size board as well - because you never know when that MONSTER is going to lay into your lure! [Or when your board might break]
Pay attention to your submission pictures to avoid these common rookie mistakes...
Be on time for the Captain's Meeting and Weigh In
Be mindful of yourself and others
Offer help to others loading in and out - and ask for [and accept] help when you need it
Try your best to make room for others on the ramp or shoreline where you're launching
If you need to pass someone, leave a good distance between the two of you, and pass behind them - DO NOT CUT BETWEEN THEM AND THE BANK OR WHERE THEY'RE CASTING!!!
Don't be a creeper...being stalked by another competitor who is trying to copy where and how you fish - throwing where you're actively fishing - is ENRAGING
DON'T. CHEAT. You will get caught. You will be shunned. You will be torn to pieces on social media. You will be banned from all future events. You may even go to jail.
Stay in bounds
Dead fish don't count
Just say "NO" to snagging
Pack out your trash
Don't act like a brat if you lose
Congratulate the winners
Definitions & Slang
TD = Tournament Director
Captain's Meeting = The place you go before the tournament to have your gear checked, pick up your identifier, and hear important information for the day. It's also the best place to ask last-minute questions!
Weigh In = The place you go at the end of the tournament to find out who won
Landing or Boating a Fish = After hooking the fish, and reeling it in, "landing" or "boating" means you physically have the fish in your possession
Foul Hook = You caught a fish by accidentally hooking them on their body - which typically disqualifies the catch
Snagging = Intentionally throwing and dragging a large treble hook(s) to "snag" the body of the targeted fish - this will disqualify you immediately
Identifier = The number or words that must be shown in submission photos to validate where and when you caught your fish - they can be a general identifier for all competitors, or unique for each individual
DQ = Disqualify
Stringer = The total number of inches from your 5 longest fish [over the minimum length], combined. Example: 5 fish that each measure 20" = 100" stringer
Big bass = The longest fish caught overall
Big bass pot = There is typically a side pot of money that you're able to buy into to compete for the biggest bass of the tournament - the buy in is typically optional, and not required to participate in the tournament
Most importantly - HAVE FUN!!!
Because at the end of the day - win or lose - you got to fish, participate in an event with some cool people, and spend time out on the water.
And a day out on the water is really what it's all about.
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