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Curiosity caught the catfish.
CredIt: luCIan GIzel
[ t o u r n a M e n t s ]
the Boats
hOW tO Win an OPen fishing
tOUrnament in a kayak
UCIAN GIzEL knew it was only a matter
of time before the guys in the big boats in
fishing tournaments started looking over their
shoulders. Last summer, Gizel, Kayak Angler’s
Great Lakes regional editor, qualified for the
$60,000 Cabela’s King Kat Classic by landing
trophy catfish from his kayak and scoring top-
10 finishes in two qualifying events. Mean- KNow thE wAtER LEvEL. Gardner con- AiM foR stRuCtuRE. Gizel looks for
while, kayak angler and long-time bass tour- siders water level when planning strategy. “A structure-rich, low-light areas where only
nament competitor Johnny Gardner topped a change of one foot can have major impact on catfish and kayaks can lurk. “In these areas,
field of powerboats at a Texas event in July. where fish will be in relation to cover,” he says. you don’t really have to cast,” he says. “With
Gizel and Gardner beat the boats by tak- a kayak, you can get into areas where the fish
ing advantage of the go-anywhere simplicity
Go AGAiNst thE fLow. On the slow-mov-
don’t even know that you’re there.”
of fishing from a kayak. Here are a few of their
ing rivers of the King Kat Tournament Trail,
strategies for success.
Gizel says kayaks have the upper hand when pAddLE A biG boAt. “When a big cat hits,
it comes to targeting hotspots. “In situations there’s no nibbling,” says Gizel. “It just takes
REAd thE RuLEs. “A lot of tournaments where the big boats would need to use a troll- off.” Both Gizel and Gardner prefer bigger
are set up for big bass boats so you have to ing motor, it’s easy to hold your position over kayaks like the Ocean Kayak Big Game and
find ways to play by their rules,” says Gard- the fish in a kayak,” he says. Native Watercraft Ultimate 12 for their in-
ner. Since many team tournaments stipulate creased stability.
that both partners must be in the same boat,
piCK YouR pAssioN. Gardner prefers a
Gardner fishes solo against teams of two.
pitch-and-flip bass fishing technique that’s KEEp it ALivE. Gizel says keeping fish alive
perfectly suited to kayak angling. “Kayaks are in catch-and-release tournaments is the big-
MAKE A GAME pLAN. The day before a tour- a dream for fishing shallow, off-color water gest challenge for kayak anglers. He uses a
nament, Gizel casts sonar for catfish hotspots with short casts and spinner baits and worms,” large mesh laundry bag as a live well. When
with a side-imaging fishfinder. “In a kayak, he says. “I can skim across areas where the big it comes time to transport fish to the weigh-in
you can’t just pick up and go if the fish aren’t boats don’t have a chance.” station, he fills a cooler with water and hopes
biting,” he says. “I use a GPS to map productive for the best. “We’ve had no casualties so I guess
areas within a few miles from the launch site.” we’re doing alright,” he says. —Conor Mihell
BY the numBerS
over 50 hours in the american
Population of the village of
carp society’s 2008 northeast carp, ontario: 1,500
BY conor Mihell
regionals on new York state’s
number of scaled, mirror and leather
seneca river: 36,282
carp imported in 1877 from Germany
Weight in pounds of British pro to a pond in Baltimore, Maryland: 345
golfer Gary hagues’ world record
number of millions of carp
mirror carp, caught in france’s
distributed by the us fish

rainbow lake in 2006: 87.1
commission between 1879 and
according to the compleat angler, 1896 throughout the united states,
Payout in dollars to al st. cyr, written by izaak Walton in 1653, canada, costa rica and Mexico: 2.4
the winner of the 2006 texas “hops and turkies, carps and beer
number of founding members
carp championship in austin, came into england” in this year: 1428
of the carp angler’s Group (caG),
texas: $250,000
number of years of carp fishing which was created in 1993: 30
Weight in pounds of st. cyr’s experience required before an angler
number of potential carp
prize-winning (and texas state can apply to become a member of
“boilie” bait ingredients listed on
record) common carp: 43.2 the British carp study Group: 15
caG member Mario Kok’s boilie
total number of pounds of carp
estimated lifespan in years of mix calculator (available on the
caught and released by 41 teams carp-species fish: 60 caG website): 30

kayak angler spring 2009
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