Kayak fishing has been rapidly growing in popularity over the past five years. With origins in the coastal waters of California, Texas, and Florida, the sport is attracting paddlers and anglers alike. Now the kayak fishing phenomenon is moving inland to the rivers of the Southeast. With this year’s successful debut of the River Bassin’ Tournament Trail, river kayak fishing now has a flagship event. Sponsored in part by NuCanoe, this event was the first of its kind and attracted attention in the Southeast and beyond.
The River Bassin’ Tournament Trail is an eco-friendly river bass fishing tournament. Anglers fish in their favorite local rivers in the paddle-powered boat of their choice. It is a catch, measure, photograph, and release tournament. Anglers take photos of their catch next to a measuring device and the tournament team compiles results to determine the winners. The 2010 tournament trail featured events in N. Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. Prizes went to competitors in three divisions – Avid Angler, Casual Angler and Young River Bassers.
The overall tournament 1st place finisher, Lance Coley, received a swanky outdoor support vehicle from True North. Ben Adrien, the 2nd place finisher, won an all expenses paid peacock bass fishing trip to the Amazon courtesy of Amazon Expeditions. The 3rd place overall Tournament Trail finisher, Sean Brodie, went home with a 12’ NuCanoe Tandem Adventurer! (See picture at right.) The 2nd place finishers in the Avid Angler division at each tournament stop also received a 10’ NuCanoe. And NuCanoe sponsored the “Big Fish” awards at each stop, with a variety of prizes going to the competitor in each category who landed the day’s biggest fish.
“NuCanoe was very glad to be a part of the inaugural River Bassin’ Tournament Trail,” said Blake Young, Director of Business Development at NuCanoe, Inc. “The trail attracted attention from anglers of all ages during the tournament stops and will continue to grow as participation in kayak fishing spreads through the angling community. It is such an easy, cost effective, and fun way to go fishing.”
Highlights from the five tournament stops follow:
ATLANTA, GA – May 1st, 2010
The 2010 River Bassin Tournament Trail kicked off in Atlanta, GA with 24 anglers from 6 different states. Jon Freeman of McDonough, GA (photo on left) brought in a 20-inch shoal bass, earning him a 3 fish total of 50.5 inches and a second place finish. Up the River Outfitters of Budford, GA presented him a 10’ NuCanoe Solo Adventurer and he earned 90 points towards the River Basser of the Year award!
SEIVERVILLE, TN – May 22nd, 2010
Next stop on the tournament trail was Seiverville, TN. 30 anglers from 7 states competed for over $5000 in prizes and points towards the River Basser of the Year title. Justin Wallace of Bowling Green, KY (photo on right) won the 10’ NuCanoe Solo Adventurer, presented by Appalachian Outfitters of Murphy, NC, and 90 points for his second place finish. His three fish total of 52.75 included a very nice 18.75-inch smallmouth bass!
BIRMINGHAM – June 5th, 2010
The Alabama leg of the trail saw 22 competitors in some brown, muddy water. Recent rains turned the bigger rivers into the consistency of a chocolate milkshake! But these anglers proved you can always find some semi-clear water, and that good river bassers know how to find smaller tributaries with fishable water. Riverside Fly Shop was present to send John Japuntich of Georgia (photo on left) home with the second place prize of a 10’ NuCanoe Solo Adventurer and 90 points. John posted a hefty 3-fish stringer of 53.25 inches. He caught most of his fish on a spinnerbait, but later went back through his same area with a 4-inch Texas rigged Senko to finesse that final kicker fish.
CHARLOTTE, NC – June 26th, 2010
The NC stop boasted the largest fishing area in the tournament, as anglers could cast in North and South Carolina and parts of Virginia. 32 eager participants from 7 states turned out to vie for prizes and tournament points. NuCanoe dealer Frank Bandy from Tar River Paddle Sports made an appearance at this stop, and had the pleasure of presenting a 10’ NuCanoe Solo Adventurer to Caja Ormand (photo on right, with Blake Young of NuCanoe). Ormand used a common strategy at these tournaments – fish big water first and have a backup plan on nearby smaller water. His three fish total was 52 inches - good for a second place finish and 90 points towards the big win!
MACON, GA (Tournament Finale) – July 10, 2010
The tour’s grand finale in Macon brought the biggest challenge for anglers on the tournament trail. 48 contestants from 7 states faced serious Georgia heat and humidity, making for tough fishing conditions all around. Ben Adrien from Johnson City, TN (photo at top of page, with fish) survived the heat to take 2nd and bring home the 10’ NuCanoe Solo Adventurer and 90 tournament points with a three fish total of 47 inches.