Saturday, July 31, 2010

Virtual Fishing

Most kayak fishing tournaments are done in the CPR format, which stands for Catch, Photo, Release. Usually, competitors meet just before the tournament starts and are given a unique photo identifier that must be in all of their fish photos. Then the tournament begins, and everyone meets back at a certain time for the "weigh-in," which is actually more like a slide show where tournament judges look over all the photos and determine the winners. During the event, the fish are laid out on measuring devices with the photo identifiers lying next to the fish, and a photo is snapped.

It's a pretty good system, for tournament organizers, anglers, and the fish, which are let go immediately in the same area they were caught, unlike tournaments that release fish at the docks after live weigh-ins.

Chad Hoover has taken this tournament format one step further. There is no captain's meeting, and anglers compete against other fishermen all over the nation. The unique photo identifiers are printed out by anglers, and photos of fish are posted on the forum. Each tournament lasts a month, and prizes range from Hobie kayaks, Wilderness Systems kayaks, G. Loomis rods, and Secret Weapons Lure packages, to a copy of Hoover's book, Kayak Bass Fishing.

Aside from the monthly tournaments, there is an overall Hobie Pro Angler Big Bass season champion. This award goes to the angler with the 4 biggest fish caught during the year.

Sign up now for the Awful August challenge where the angler with the biggest bass wins a Wilderness Systems kayak valued at $1275. Entry fee is $20, and you don't even have to rent a hotel room to fish a designated spot. You fish your own waters, and you don't have to worry about giving away those honey holes to competing anglers, most of which live hundreds of miles away from you. Check out the website at to see all the challenges.

PhotoByBrianCope: This largemouth put me in 20th place in the July "Sweatin' the Points" challenge, but I was knocked out of the top 20 on July 30th.

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