Kayak fishing tournaments are more than a competition to see who can catch the biggest fish. These gatherings often host hundreds of paddle and pedal anglers and create a community of enthusiasts sharing experiences and fish stories. Kayak anglers can compete at in-person events or online tournaments.
At in-person events, anglers meet up to compete in a one- or two-day competition head-to-head in a specific region or waterbody. Online tournaments allow anglers to fish anytime and anywhere. Using a smartphone app, competitors enter an online tournament and submit photos of their best catches. At the end of the time limit, tournament officials calculate the results and announce a winner.
While many anglers join a tournament for the camaraderie and challenge, big-money competitions are growing across the world pushing the sport to a higher level. Whether you sign up for fun or to win a fortune, there is a kayak fishing tournament in the coming year for you.
By type of fishing
Kayak bass fishing tournaments
Largemouth and smallmouth bass live on every continent except Antarctica. These aggressive alpha predators are active year-round, making them a perfect target for competitive anglers. For kayak anglers, bass are an easy target in rivers, lakes and ponds. In the past decade, kayak bass tournaments have gone from grassroots gatherings to big-money events with hundreds of participants and winners taking home thousands of dollars. There are local tournaments sponsored by clubs and outfitters, and huge events in the world’s most famous bass destinations drawing pro anglers who battle it out for thousands of dollars in prize money.
In between meet-up events, anglers fish online tournaments. Anglers fishing an online tournament sign up online and register their fish and keep track of their score using a phone-based application. Kayak fishing tournaments revolutionized the catch-photo-and-release (CPR) format. To log a catch, the angler uses their phone to take a photo of the fish lying on a measuring board along with a tournament identifier. The photo is uploaded to tournament officials who determine the length of the fish and add it to the angler’s score.
Not only do participants see what other competitors are catching, but fans can follow the action from home. Kayak bass tournaments are super accessible for any level angler. Wherever you live, however you fish, there is a kayak fishing tournament waiting for you this weekend.
- Oct. 3: Hobie Bass Open Series, Coosa River Chain
- Oct. 3: Kayak Fishing Series, Three Lake Smackdown
- Oct. 7-9: YakAttack KBF National Championship
- Oct. 7-8: KBF Challenge Series Championship
- Oct. 9-12: KBF Columbus Day Regional Challenge
- Nov. 13: Hobie Bass Open Series Shootout
- Nov. 14-15: Hobie Bass Open Series Tournament of Champions
- Nov. 21: B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series Lake Chickamauga Regional
- Nov. 21: Maui Veterans Day Invitational “Kayak Clash”
Kayak crappie fishing tournaments
An easy way to get the whole family involved in tournament fishing is a local crappie tournament. Not only are crappie easy to catch, but many tournaments allow anglers to use live bait, so it’s great for kids and new anglers.
On the other end of the spectrum, pro crappie anglers will pull out every trick to catch the biggest slabs and heaviest stringers. Many big-time boat-based crappie tournaments are now adding a kayak division. As well, many online tournaments have recognized the popularity of crappie fishing and local kayak fishing tournaments are including crappie prizes to attract a wider base of participants.
Crappie fishing tournaments are done for 2020. Check back for 2021 dates soon.
Saltwater kayak fishing tournaments
Modern kayak fishing was born on the coasts and the first kayak fishing tournaments were focused on saltwater fishing. Today, saltwater kayak fishing tournaments are annual events with huge turn outs. With a vibe like kayak-fishing Woodstock, huge meet-up tournaments with a party atmosphere attract hundreds of anglers to target popular species like striped bass, redfish and yellowtail.
In the south, several inshore tournament series combine regional events into a multi-tournament trail crowning an overall Angler of the Year. And, there are plenty of opportunities for anglers to participate in online events for redfish, sea trout and flounder. Anglers looking for a bigger challenge and a raucous good time should check out saltwater kayak fishing tournaments.
- Oct. 24: BCKFC Fall N Tide Tournament
- Oct. 10: Southern Indiana Yak Anglers Klub: Greene Sullivan State Forest
- Oct. 24-25: Grass Roots Bass Yakin
- Oct. 1-14: TKAA Speckled Trout Tournament
- Oct. 17: Northern Virginia Kayak Bass Anglers Classic
- Oct. 24: Basscast Kayak Bass Series Championship
- Nov. 1: TKAA Redfish Tournament
- Dec. 1: TKAA Striped Bass Tournament
Online fishing tournaments
Online fishing tournaments allow anglers to fish anywhere and anytime while competing for cash, prizes and bragging rights. After registering for the tournament, anglers use their smartphone to send photos of their biggest fish lying on an official tournament ruler with an angler identifier in the photo.
Results are updated in real-time so competitors can see where they stand. Watching on their smartphones, fans can follow the competition from anywhere. At the end of the tournament period, results are calculated and a winner is announced. Online tournaments are popular with new anglers and old salts.
These app-based competitions cover every corner of the world and many of the most popular species of fish. There are different formats, time limits, species focus and other features that make online tournaments a big hit with anglers at all levels of the sport.