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story.lead_photo.caption Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista Jason Adams holds a measuring board that can be used in a kayak fishing tournament. Kayak fishermen win based on length of the fish since weighing a fish is impractical in a kayak.

Jason Kincy chose a new sport so he could remain competitive as he grew older, but he didn't realize that his new sport required some serious multi-tasking. On Thursday of last week, Kincy told the Bella Vista Fly Tyers about kayak fishing.

Kayak fishing is gaining popularity, Kincy said. It's not expensive to get started and anyone can do it.

2019 Kayak Tournament Schedule

March 17

April 13

May 18

June 29

July 27

August 24

Some Bella Vista lakes are excluded on certan dates. More information is available at

"You're not tied to one lake," Jason Adams added. "You can load your kayak and go anywhere."

While Adams spent years fishing from the banks of lakes in the region, Kincy is brand new to fishing. Now both compete in kayak fishing tournaments which, they said, are a little different from a traditional bass tournament.

In most fishing tournaments, the fish are weighed to determine the winner. Usually, the fish are brought back for an official weigh-in, which means most traditional fishing boats are equipped with a compartment that can hold live fish. There's no way to hold a live fish on a kayak.

Kayak fishermen don't use weight to measure their catch since there's no place to keep a scale. Instead, they use a special board that measures the length of the fish. During tournaments, the angler must lay the fish on the board along with a unique identifier that is provided by the tournament judges and then take a picture.

It's not easy to hold a squirming fish on a board on your lap in a kayak with one hand while using a smartphone to take a photo with the other hand, Kincy said. Kayak fishermen often lose equipment overboard before they master that skill.

When one of the Fly Tyers asked about potential kayak fishermen who don't use smartphones, there didn't seem to be a good answer. Tournaments require photographs and most anglers download their photos directly to the tournament website, Adams said. That way judging can start before the tournament is over.

Kayak tournaments, Kincy said, are technologically driven. In fact, the software used by tournament judges can identify individual fish by their markings so every fish can only be counted one time, he said. That and the unique identifier that must be in every photo keeps kayak fishermen honest.

If the photos happen to show a fisherman who isn't wearing his lifejacket correctly, he will be disqualified, Kincy said.

Kayak fishermen are a community, Kincy and Adams agreed. They are always ready to help each other. Adams said, if a kayaker loses a paddle, another kayaker is usually close by and will come and help him retrieve it.

They also share information. Kincy showed photos of the bass that were caught in tournaments and the lures that were used to catch them.

A series of tournaments is being planned for this summer. Unlike most bass tournaments, kayak tournaments give fishermen the freedom to choose which lake they would like to fish. For more information about the tournaments, go to the Fish It Forward web page,

Sports on 01/30/2019

Print Headline: Kayak fishing requires multitasking

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