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#11136653 - 09/30/15 09:19 AM What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments?
Coach P Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/24/13
Posts: 173
Loc: Garland, TX
Right off the top, I want to say, I'm not knocking the work the several organizations and kayak outfitting shops do to present a tournament or the even more complicated series of tournaments. I in fact applaud them for their efforts. I am just one guy, hoping that there could be a better tomorrow.

I enjoy participating in tournament events and would like to see them continue to grow in popularity. Our southern buddies seem to have if figured out. Their events often draw 100 people to participate each time. I find it odd that with the population of avid kayak fishermen in the DFW area that our events seem to only number half, and that's on an amazing turnout. The fact is most only number 20-30. My perception has been that with more anglers it is easier to find sponsors for events and create a more attractive payout, thus attracting more individuals to sign up.

My proposal is a community outcry for a better tomorrow. The fall is fast approaching, and soon the fishing season will dip to its low while the chilly temperatures keep most of us at home dreaming of the spring time. That seems like a good opportunity for the many organizations to coordinate and become ONE!

Imagine one organization, one schedule, 1 large event each month (or maybe just every 3 weeks, since we all seem to get the itch if it's too long) where our favorite shops and organizations were able to pool their collective resources and offer some truly amazing prize packages for lower cost entry fees. There could be an amateur or fly division as well to feed everyone's passions. I love seeing the friends I've made at each event and I like the almost carnival atmosphere some of the tournaments have provided with larger participation. I have felt torn in the past season between which events to fish and it's even worse when they are scheduled on the same day. I can't fish them all, even though I'd love too! The cost of time and money becomes prohibitive. I even feel guilty at times choosing one event over the other.

My fear is that one day the minor conflicts will become great divides and force both event organizers and anglers alike to choose sides and drive the sport I have grown to love into extinction. I invite a discussion to begin with ideas and solutions to what I see as a potentially catastrophic end or the continuing struggling existence of DFW kayak tournaments.
_________________________

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#11136736 - 09/30/15 09:59 AM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
Coach P Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/24/13
Posts: 173
Loc: Garland, TX
Who would love to fish a tournament series coordinated by Anglers Pro Tackle, Backwoods Sports, Mariner Sails and Mountain Sports (listed alphabetically thumb) all at the same time?! I know I would!
_________________________

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#11136752 - 09/30/15 10:12 AM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
The Black Hammer Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 04/11/08
Posts: 857
Loc: Grand Prairie
amen brotha, we hear your woe's. Trust me when I say we are all working on this.
_________________________


www.mariner-kayaks.com
www.mariner-sails.com
www.kjscustomlures.com
www.supernovafishinglights.com

"So why The Black Hammer?"
"Because it's more intimidating... who's gonna be intimidated by The Pinkish Hammer?"

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#11136775 - 09/30/15 10:26 AM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
Rhino68W Online   content
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 11/06/14
Posts: 5649
Loc: Benbrook, TX
That definitely sounds interesting. I know for a guy like me living in Fort Worth it's next to impossible to make it over to Mariner Sails. Which sucks because they have given me great opportunities with the working mans tourneys. A series that is put on by multiple shops would be beneficial to us but maybe not so much them.

Either way I am interested. Prizes, entry fees, and locations all play a roll in what tourneys a lot of us do around here. Not to mention the fact that some of us rookie anglers don't want to pay a high entry fee when we know the better and more experienced kayak tournament fisherman will be there. It almost feels like throwing away money.
_________________________
Goats are like mushrooms. If you shoot a duck, i'm a toaster.

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#11136820 - 09/30/15 10:43 AM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
Todd™ Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 3359
Loc: On my kayak
This has been the big question for several years now. Tournament fishing isn't for everyone. A bunch of guys on here that post pics of big bass all the time don't show up and they could compete with the best of us. IMO we just have a small community of tournament fisherman. We've had only one trail for several years and the same group of guys show up and that was only about 25. We've had different entry fees and the higher it was with bigger payouts the less people showed. The more simple and small entry fee the better turnout. Getting prizes from sponsors is not a problem but yes they would like big turnouts at our events. This year was my first time running a tournament other than the working mans and I'll tell you it's not easy. It's hard to run a trail and fish a trail too so every trail we've had, only last a year and somebody else had to take it over.

Year before last we had CCKF come around but yes the same 25 guys showed out of the all the bass guys in north Texas. We had a kayak bass fishing club that had better turn outs on average so I tried to copy that this year to bring up participation in future trails. Same with the other event organizers. We've all tried to hit other areas to make these fun and different. You worry about a conflict and yes that could happen but we (the organizers for the different sponsors) are all part of the usual 25 and we want to fish big tournaments and are trying to get more guys involved. The guys from the other stores and I actually planned our events to not conflict with each other.

This year has been the biggest participation I've seen so far in north Texas with a lot of new faces so maybe next year will be different. I'm hoping we have a great trail next year because I need one after sitting tournament fishing out this year.
_________________________

http://www.mariner-kayaks.com/

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#11136838 - 09/30/15 10:50 AM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
Jason Delfraisse Offline
Angler

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 365
Loc: FORT WORTH
What if it was one trail with 8 events each shop sponsored two events each with a classic at the end. AOY points race pro division, AOY points race social decision AOY points race fly division. That would be awesome! And instead of divide it would grow!

I do know your feeling of guilt fishing one trail or the other! Having friends that fish all different trails I want to be able to hang out an fish with all of them but same day schedules and every day life prevent me from doing so.

What I have found is best for me is to just fish the lakes I like on the days I can and hope some of my friends make it out so I can bs at the weigh-in.

Good write up Jay!

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#11136850 - 09/30/15 10:52 AM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
Grease Bath Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/15/11
Posts: 1692
Loc: Ft. Worth
It seems to me if we all worked together instead of jockeying for our piece of the kayak pie our kayak community could grow exponentially. Unfortunately right now it's an us against them mentality that seems to keep things sect up. I think you are on to something Jay, the whole tournament scene is watered down with too many tournaments right now. If all of our shops played nice and worked together we could easily have something as awesome or better than Austin. I too look forward to a more united and better tomorrow. Fish on brothers and sisters fish
_________________________
Matt Scotch
Kayak Pro Staff - Bass Pro Shops


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6kXRrri6p7NJFYTvNmEaHA
http://www.lonestarkayakguide.com/home.html

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#11136889 - 09/30/15 11:04 AM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
JJ4MEL Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 01/21/09
Posts: 962
Loc: McKinney, TX
I would like to see more junior divisions in each tourney. My daughter is 12 and wants to fish in kayak fishing tourneys, but makes no sense to pay an entry fee for her to fish against experienced men. She is my best fishing partner, so I will probably not fish any tourney unless she can come with and compete on her own.

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#11136935 - 09/30/15 11:21 AM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Grease Bath]
Todd™ Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 3359
Loc: On my kayak
Originally Posted By: Grease Bath
It seems to me if we all worked together instead of jockeying for our piece of the kayak pie our kayak community could grow exponentially. Unfortunately right now it's an us against them mentality that seems to keep things sect up. I think you are on to something Jay, the whole tournament scene is watered down with too many tournaments right now. If all of our shops played nice and worked together we could easily have something as awesome or better than Austin. I too look forward to a more united and better tomorrow. Fish on brothers and sisters fish

I'll admit that too many events will cause issues but this is the first year we've had this. What's the excuse for the several years we only had one trial run by either Josh, Rob, Robbie and Beau. They gave away kayaks and all kinds of great gear for prizes. That was 4 year worth of the same 25 guys fishing against each other. I think you guys have a point we should be careful of but it's not what has been the issue.


Edited by Todd™ (09/30/15 11:35 AM)
_________________________

http://www.mariner-kayaks.com/

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#11136971 - 09/30/15 11:37 AM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
Coach P Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/24/13
Posts: 173
Loc: Garland, TX
I understand that many people feel a combined series would be great! And Todd brings up an excellent point; it'd be great for "us". So what's in it for them? I admit I've never personally organized an event (nor would I want too, after some of the horror stories of how much work it is). But I would think there are several advantages to the shops as well as the pro-staff that organize many of the events.

For instance... a combined schedule means easier event planning w/o stepping on anyone else's toes. Many anglers have heard the rumblings of "shop A" intentionally scheduling over "shop B" in efforts to squish the competition and rule more of the pie. The business practice while sound, (we are a stronger brand and can survive) does still create some residual anxiety in the customer base. Any business would agree, happy customers are better.

Coordinating combined events would lower the sponsor obligations for each individual event and allow larger offers for the remaining events. (a sponsor aka kayak dealer, fishing equipment manufacturer, has a set budget of what they can give away, and a lot of hands being held out means less for each event, fewer hands, larger samples for the remaining).

A combined effort would mean lower staff resource requirements. Instead of having a few people for each series, you'd have a pool of individuals to run the combined events. Leaving pro-staff and owners the opportunities to participate in events, build relationships with customers and further their potential customer base. (you know every pro-staff wants to fish the "big" events, but has to balance their obligations as well).

The prize pools could be coordinated, and with higher participation, the entry fees could be lowered. 100 people at $30 a head is still a $3000 payout, instead of 30 people at $100 each. A lower risk would attract more anglers. Each shop already finds a way to offer a "big prize" at a year end event, why not spread it out and have one at EVERY tournament. There would be opportunities for prizes for the above-mentioned youth anglers (let them fish for free for some sponsored prizes! We all saw the barbie pole girl real in her 20" all by herself.)

There are certainly many more opportunities and advantages for combined events. And "we" all have some great ideas! "We" just need a combined voice to ask for the resolution of escalating tensions and a few brave organizations to step up and be the FIRST to commit.
_________________________

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#11137141 - 09/30/15 12:50 PM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
crabtrap Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/03/04
Posts: 1009
When I started the KATS many moons ago, it was based on offering a low cost alternative to PB bass fishing tourneys. I also selected lakes within 50 miles of the center of Austin. Everyone that signed up got a goodie bag full of kayak fishing stuff from sponsors I solicited. There was no raffle, everyone entered got a chance at a drawing for nice free stuff (usually half the field won something). My wife and others prepared hot food for all anglers entered. Games were played while the scoring took place. Nice trophys were donated for each event. I reserved $5 of a $30 entry fee for Paypal and food...the rest went into a 100% payout spread out over a minimum of 5 places. 7 day Off limits were strictly enforced. There was no "Classic", if you won the series, you were top angler for the year. It was fun, which is the reason I got out of my PB and into a kayak...simplicity.
Now a days, everyone wants to act like a professional bass fisherman. If kayak fishing tourneys are to grow in the metroplex, it'll take a strong leader making common sense judgements that keeps the playing field level for all to compete in some form. Good luck fellers, I'm out...gone fishing ;-)

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#11137189 - 09/30/15 01:10 PM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
jamesmc454 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/28/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Austin,tx
This is an on going battle.. I remember when Dennis started the Kats and it was a great event. Now it seems like there are battles over all kinds of stuff. I for one usually try to fish both the CCKF and KATS, but this year the KATS dates and the CCKF overlap causing people to choose one over the other even though CCKF released tournament dates before hand. I probably opened a big bag of worms with that... anyway I choose CCKF trail and the Dallas area should see a lot more Austin guys coming up and fish the Dallas dates. I totally believe in the if you build it they will come, but its important that every trail works with each other on picking dates and events. I hope the Dallas area picks up it would be great to fish against y'all!

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#11137238 - 09/30/15 01:32 PM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
PayneFish Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 06/30/08
Posts: 6743
Loc: Temple, TX
I have lots of thoughts on this. Take them with a grain of salt by someone who has been on every side of this fence. I'd love to see a big trail happen but it is more than just agreeing to work on it together.Here are some things to consider.

1. Kayak Fishing Tournaments are a money losing endeavor.
It is hard to put together a business plan as suggested above that people will be able to sign off on. You ask for shops to run it but they are also opened on a lot of tournament days. Saturdays are some of the busiest retail days yet you would ask for staff to run an event. That's a hard sell. Asking the same shop to donate some kayaks to entice more people to fish the trail is a $$$ drain for the shop as well. Even if volunteers run it for the shop, how weary will they grow of not being paid and spending 12+ hours at least one Saturday a month for a good part of the year watching everyone else fish? I work three big tourneys a year, they average 150 people at each. I get compensated for my time there. I am absolutely exhausted when it's done. A three day event takes seven days of time there for a big event with coordination of entities, lodging, tech, registrants prefishing, judging, prizes, cash, accounting, travel and the list goes on and on. If you are paying people, you have get that money from somewhere. You could pull it out of the prize money but then it would be shamed on the internet for not being 100% payback. That is why you see so many charge "membership fees" to fish their trails. It costs money to do events and anglers want everyone else to pony it up. What is the end gain of sponsoring a trail? Exposure, maybe you'll sell a few more kayaks? Brand awareness?

2. Location
Austin has hot water lakes with low fee or free access and spring fed lakes where fish are abundant and anyone can catch fish. We had a few guys locally drive to Austin to pay higher fees on a Thursday tournament because of the lakes. Pride eats at a lot of tournament fishermen. If the lakes are tough they'd rather not go than show and zero. Yes, you read that right. We had multiple guys drive 80 miles to Austin one way to fish a $25 entry fee on a weeknight against guys who fish those lakes weekly rather than staying local, paying $20 and fish their home lake. Austin is kayak bass fishing Mecca. Duplicating its success will be hard. I understand Lake Fork is in the DFW area but honestly it is two hours away from a lot of people. Monti is a ways off too. Austin has a 12 month fishing season and growing season. DFW doesn't. Realistically, 100+ anglers once a month when conditions can be as tough as they are is a hard ask. If Lady Bird and Bastrop which are both within 30 minutes of most of the Austin area anglers were instead located in Arlington, you'd have something.

3. The model
KATS, which is the big numbers trail, is supported by 1 shop. And a big one at that. In management systems you learn as the contributing voices get too many in number, progress slows. There is a happy sweet spot for contributors. Then, after all of that, who is going to run it and have final say? There has to be a buck stops here person. And from experience, I can tell you it ain't fun to be that guy.

4. The motivation
What is the motivation for wanting a big trail? Do you want more prizes or more money? Do you want to sell more kayaks or are you looking to grow the community?

Community growth is done over food, fellowship and fun times. Some people have a good time at tournaments but MOST new people who are thinking about kayak fishing aren't interested in fishing for money. The best times I've ever had have been at get togethers, river floats, buddy trips etc. I can't remember ANY tournament that I enjoyed more than a G2G. Not one. I've had fun and been entertained but when you take the money stress out of an event, the attitudes of so many people relax. That relaxation moment, the deep exhale of shedding the week's stress with that first paddle stroke is what we should share. Community growth sells more kayaks. Community growth helps everyone, especially the hosting shop.

Tournament growth is done over prizes and cash. You have to get out of the mindset of trinkets if you want to get big. You have to develop relationships with companies who will put money into the prize pot, not just a paddle or cup. Forging large company relationships help. Prizes and the like work well for social divisions but if it is a payout you are after, thinking beyond just three or four local businesses is a must. The way I see Dallas and the Metro getting 100+ people to events is by convincing bass boat guys to come chase kayak money. Show them that they could win $5,000, $10,000 or more with a good stringer out of a kayak that has pedals or a paddle or even a trolling motor. A $4,000 kayak setup is a drop in the bucket to what these guys are spending. People "graduate" from kayak fishing to power boats for money and sponsorship opportunities. Cultivating those same sponsorships in kayaks will attract them back and gain a new market share.



So is it possible to do community growth and tournament growth at the same time? Sure but you have to think bigger. People won't show up in droves for trinkets and a chance unless there is another draw. A G2G with a tournament is a good start. People will travel from 2,000 miles away for a chance at $25,000. If you could combine the two on a big scale and do an Outdoor Retailer style paddle fest, tournament, bbq dinner and fund raiser all on the same weekend then you would have the ear of the big sponsors. Chambers of Commerce would fight over you if you held events at a local venue that could draw 500+ people over multiple days. Especially if they are getting hotel rooms. Have something for the whole family to do while one of them is out chasing a check. Make it a show!


So, that's my feedback. Take it for what you will. You have a few things in your favor and a few that aren't but with enough people it might just happen.

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#11137314 - 09/30/15 02:03 PM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: PayneFish]
APT Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/10/06
Posts: 2027
Loc: N. Richland Hills, TX
Originally Posted By: PayneFish
I have lots of thoughts on this. Take them with a grain of salt by someone who has been on every side of this fence. I'd love to see a big trail happen but it is more than just agreeing to work on it together.Here are some things to consider.

1. Kayak Fishing Tournaments are a money losing endeavor.
It is hard to put together a business plan as suggested above that people will be able to sign off on. You ask for shops to run it but they are also opened on a lot of tournament days. Saturdays are some of the busiest retail days yet you would ask for staff to run an event. That's a hard sell. Asking the same shop to donate some kayaks to entice more people to fish the trail is a $$$ drain for the shop as well. Even if volunteers run it for the shop, how weary will they grow of not being paid and spending 12+ hours at least one Saturday a month for a good part of the year watching everyone else fish? I work three big tourneys a year, they average 150 people at each. I get compensated for my time there. I am absolutely exhausted when it's done. A three day event takes seven days of time there for a big event with coordination of entities, lodging, tech, registrants prefishing, judging, prizes, cash, accounting, travel and the list goes on and on. If you are paying people, you have get that money from somewhere. You could pull it out of the prize money but then it would be shamed on the internet for not being 100% payback. That is why you see so many charge "membership fees" to fish their trails. It costs money to do events and anglers want everyone else to pony it up. What is the end gain of sponsoring a trail? Exposure, maybe you'll sell a few more kayaks? Brand awareness?

2. Location
Austin has hot water lakes with low fee or free access and spring fed lakes where fish are abundant and anyone can catch fish. We had a few guys locally drive to Austin to pay higher fees on a Thursday tournament because of the lakes. Pride eats at a lot of tournament fishermen. If the lakes are tough they'd rather not go than show and zero. Yes, you read that right. We had multiple guys drive 80 miles to Austin one way to fish a $25 entry fee on a weeknight against guys who fish those lakes weekly rather than staying local, paying $20 and fish their home lake. Austin is kayak bass fishing Mecca. Duplicating its success will be hard. I understand Lake Fork is in the DFW area but honestly it is two hours away from a lot of people. Monti is a ways off too. Austin has a 12 month fishing season and growing season. DFW doesn't. Realistically, 100+ anglers once a month when conditions can be as tough as they are is a hard ask. If Lady Bird and Bastrop which are both within 30 minutes of most of the Austin area anglers were instead located in Arlington, you'd have something.

3. The model
KATS, which is the big numbers trail, is supported by 1 shop. And a big one at that. In management systems you learn as the contributing voices get too many in number, progress slows. There is a happy sweet spot for contributors. Then, after all of that, who is going to run it and have final say? There has to be a buck stops here person. And from experience, I can tell you it ain't fun to be that guy.

4. The motivation
What is the motivation for wanting a big trail? Do you want more prizes or more money? Do you want to sell more kayaks or are you looking to grow the community?

Community growth is done over food, fellowship and fun times. Some people have a good time at tournaments but MOST new people who are thinking about kayak fishing aren't interested in fishing for money. The best times I've ever had have been at get togethers, river floats, buddy trips etc. I can't remember ANY tournament that I enjoyed more than a G2G. Not one. I've had fun and been entertained but when you take the money stress out of an event, the attitudes of so many people relax. That relaxation moment, the deep exhale of shedding the week's stress with that first paddle stroke is what we should share. Community growth sells more kayaks. Community growth helps everyone, especially the hosting shop.

Tournament growth is done over prizes and cash. You have to get out of the mindset of trinkets if you want to get big. You have to develop relationships with companies who will put money into the prize pot, not just a paddle or cup. Forging large company relationships help. Prizes and the like work well for social divisions but if it is a payout you are after, thinking beyond just three or four local businesses is a must. The way I see Dallas and the Metro getting 100+ people to events is by convincing bass boat guys to come chase kayak money. Show them that they could win $5,000, $10,000 or more with a good stringer out of a kayak that has pedals or a paddle or even a trolling motor. A $4,000 kayak setup is a drop in the bucket to what these guys are spending. People "graduate" from kayak fishing to power boats for money and sponsorship opportunities. Cultivating those same sponsorships in kayaks will attract them back and gain a new market share.



So is it possible to do community growth and tournament growth at the same time? Sure but you have to think bigger. People won't show up in droves for trinkets and a chance unless there is another draw. A G2G with a tournament is a good start. People will travel from 2,000 miles away for a chance at $25,000. If you could combine the two on a big scale and do an Outdoor Retailer style paddle fest, tournament, bbq dinner and fund raiser all on the same weekend then you would have the ear of the big sponsors. Chambers of Commerce would fight over you if you held events at a local venue that could draw 500+ people over multiple days. Especially if they are getting hotel rooms. Have something for the whole family to do while one of them is out chasing a check. Make it a show!


So, that's my feedback. Take it for what you will. You have a few things in your favor and a few that aren't but with enough people it might just happen.


I've been in the fishing industry for many years, and I have to say you nailed it.

I would also like to invite the owners of the other retail stores in the DFW area, along with those who are running tournament trails to a sit down so we can discuss the future and how we can all work together. I've attempted this in the past, with no success, So I'm reaching out again to offer the opportunity. I can be reached at 817-503-2333. I hope we can put this together soon.
_________________________
Rick Wallace


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#11137320 - 09/30/15 02:05 PM Re: What's wrong with DFW kayak tournaments? [Re: Coach P]
bert Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 2141
Loc: Garland, TX, USA
So I was reading through this and all the days of big bass boats and chasing green fish on Saturdays and prefish came rushing back to me and it made me think about why I quit it more than anything. The pressure takes the fun out of it, period. I love fishing and want it to be a stress reliever not inducer so I fish for what is biting and have fun. If pushing yourself to chase bass when they don't want to bite and the weather is not agreeable is what you want to do by all means take up tournament fishing.

I had more fun in draw formats fishing bass clubs, the camaraderie with someone I never fished with before and the learning/teaching experiences were far better days than getting the snot beat out of me fishing in 25 mph wind to get 5 bites and cash a check.

So my question to you guys is why have you not tried a draw format instead of pro/am divisions? Then the pros can have their format for cashing and check and the 'backseaters' can have an alternative format. Both anglers will learn from each other and everyone benefits from that.

Remember we are here as kayak anglers and are known for innovation and thinking outside the box, leave the box for the guys with the bass boat and you may find the solution to your conundrum.
_________________________
Bert

"Ipsa scientia potestas est"-Knowledge in itself is power - Sir Francis Bacon

"Beware the lolipop of mediocrity, one lick and you could suck forever" - unknown author

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