Bienville Plantation Sunrise

Tactics for the Four Styles of Fishing Tournaments

by Henry Veggian Henry Veggian on Facebook

Every kayak tournament angler who approaches competition with a game plan (or two) increases his chance of leaving with a check in his pocket. Carolina Kayak Angler and writer Henry “Hank” Veggian’s “Tactics for the Four Styles of Fishing Tournaments” breaks the challenge of creating a winning strategy into bite-size chunks that will benefit both novice and veteran. [Photo: Michael Ernst]

Tournament Tips

Note: some of the other content in articles on this page may refer to expired products or products that are no longer permitted for use in competition.For example, as of 2021, Ketch Boards are the only permitted measuring boards allowed in KBF TRAIL competition. Likewise, the majority of 2021 KBF events will use Fishing Chaos (select events such as KBF One Night Stands and Regional Challenges will use TourneyX).

  • Print off a couple spare identifiers. Better too many than one too few.
  • Take multiple photos of each fish with your camera, an ID visible in each one, then upload to Fishing Chaos or TourneyX from your camera roll. That leaves you with backups and alternate images in case the first one you submitted gets dinged.
  • Identify the closest place with wi-fi or a good data signal and bear in mind how many minutes you are from it.
  • Put the TD’s cell phone number in your contacts. His name and phone number are on the Fishing Chaos or TourneyX Event page. Text, call, PM, or email him to alert him to technological problems that may be systemic. Also, you can transmit photos to him for manual uploads if necessary.
  • Test your TourneyX  or Fishing Chaos dashboard login and photo submission functions minutes after the competition start time. Take a photo of your ID and KBF-approved measuring board (Ketch board only for KBF TRAIL events). to make sure your camera is working and that you can upload. Might be a good time to test the “cull” feature, too.
  • Carry backups. Cell phones rarely float. A second digital camera in a waterproof bag adds little weight and takes up little space in your gear crate.
  • Speaking of floating, add flotation or a tether to your KBF-approved measuring board.
  • Print the ID code on your identifier form. (You’ll find a sharpie is also useful for turning a spinnerbait, soft plastic, or crankbait into a nighttime lure or adding camo to a frog.)
  • Have a USB cord or spare removable media and batteries for a digital camera.
  • Under the “it goes without saying,” make sure to top off your cell phone charge as you drive to the lake, and turn off all unused apps that slurp up power and shorten a battery charge.
  • A pre-flight checklist is not a bad idea. D.J. is an experienced tournament angler in my club. He realized he’d left all his fishing rods at home as he was putting his boat in the water. Rods…check.

Pre-competition Checklist

  • Paid KBF Membership dues no later than 11:59 p.m. CST the evening before competition. Note: AmBASSador, Competitor, or Lifetime Members may all compete in KBF Challenges. Competitor or Lifetime Membership is required to compete in KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments.
  • KBF-approved Measuring Board on your kayak, possibly secured with lanyard. Good idea to have a backup stowed under the deck since they don’t float.
  • USCG-approved chest-style PFD (life jacket) in good and serviceable condition, properly sized, fastened and adjusted; worn at all times for KBF competition when in the watercraft, wading, or fishing from shore.
  • Paddle (even if you pedal).
  • “At hand an electric torch (flashlight) or lighted lantern showing a white light that shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.” (USCG)
  • Whistle or other audible signaling device (required by USCG) that can penetrate the whine and roar of a bass boat’s 2-stroke motor to alert boater of your presence or to signal for help.
  • “Anchored Vessels, At night: All vessels at anchor (in or near a narrow channel, fairway, or anchorage, or where other vessels normally navigate) must display anchor lights…an all-round white light visible where it can best be seen from all directions.” (USCG)
    Note: A 360° elevated light, preferably one equipped with a bright-colored flag for daytime hours, can alert boaters to your presence. Recommended, though not required, by KBF or USCG, for use between dusk and dawn. A steady, white, slow-moving light a meter above the water’s surface 50 yards away can be mistaken for a shore light across the lake, so keep a bright flashlight close at hand to signal approaching vessels.
  • Set up Fishing Chaos or TourneyX free account (and for those with two, three or four accounts, contact TourneyX to delete unused ones…please!)
  • Read, understand, and agree to compete by terms and conditions of KBF Competition Rules, which are in two parts:
    • KBF Competition Rules Standard:
    • KBF Event Rules Addendum, on the KBF Website’s Calendar Event Page.
  • Registered for event on Fishing Chaos or TourneyX (no later than deadline shown in Rules Addendum).
  • Printed and cut out a supply of current KBF Identifier Cards:
  • Obtain KBF Event ID Codes in one of three ways:
    • Posted at 7:00 p.m. CST on KBF Website:
    • Log into Fishing Chaos or TourneyX in a web browser and obtain through Dashboard at 7:00 p.m. in the event time zone shown on TourneyX or Fishing Chaos
    • TourneyX or Fishing Chaos app dashboard shows the Event ID Code at Start of Competition time.
  • Spare KBF Identifier Card blanks and Sharpie in your glove box, in a plastic bag in your gear bag, in your PFD pocket….don’t be caught on the water without one on you, and be prepared to lose one to wind or waves. (A TourneyTag is very popular with kayak competitors; just make sure you don’t cover the next two numbers past the fish’s tail fin if you strap it to the measuring board.
  • Recommended: spare measuring board, dry towel, space blanket, warm clothes, fire-starters, and personal first aid kit in dry bag stowed under hull.