Ok, I know everyone has anxiously been awaiting the pictures of my epic TKAA day. I've struggled to find the right words to describe the amount of dedication and good fortune that goes into catching such magnificent fish while kayak fishing. So I'll just post the pictures. As you can imagine, these majestic specimens really put up an amazing fight. It was touch and go with each. Should I take a photo, or hook'em in the tail and throw'em out as bait? I slapped them on the board and felt a bit of my soul die. ;)
All jokes aside, some monsters were caught during the TKAA, just not by me. One of our fave anglers, Rob Choi, cruised into 2nd Place in the Redfish Division with a 48.5" bull drum. Yes, folks, that is correct. The 48.5" drum was only good for 2nd. That's crazy!
You can check out Rob's TKAA write-up by clicking the following photo.
Yea, his fish was a little bigger than mine. Yes, Rob braved much rougher conditions than I, but I caught 5 fish, he only caught one. Who's the real baller here? ;)
But I digress. Let's get to the heart of this event.
The TKAA Kayak Fish for Charity Tournament benefits Heroes On the Water and Project Healing Waters. Both of these great organizations endeavor to assist our military men and women through therapeutic fishing missions. The tournament is the largest fund raiser for our local HOW Tidewater Chapter. Last year it was the third largest kayak fishing tournament in the country. This year the attendance stayed strong, and the money raised jumped up! The exact numbers aren't' out yet, but all indications point to a record haul. Â Kayak anglers continue to prove themselves a very generous and compassionate bunch.
I took photos from Friday's Captain's Meeting, Â but forgot my camera cord and couldn't upload them, so I had to dump them before tournament day. You must have a clean memory card on tournament day and it's a good thing I followed the rules because......actually it wasn't. You saw my fish. Oh well. :)
After a fun Captain's Meeting evening complete with a BBQ food truck, outside the event headquarters, I headed to bed. The next morning I joined Mark and Kris Lozier, of Native Watercraft/ Werner Paddles/Astral Fishing and Megan Kieninger, our Werner Paddles Rep.
While the fishing wasn't great, the company and the scenery were pretty top-notch.
So I finished the day off with some small catches. Everybody headed back to the tournament HQ, and I stuck around playing with the Wilderness Systems Ride 135. I hadn't paddled it much, so I wanted to check it out. It's a pretty solid rig and like I've always told folks, the tri-hull design on the Ride series provides a surprising amount of speed, stability and maneuverability.
After paddling around and catching a few more small guys, I headed back to Norfolk. The parking lot at the tournament HQ was filling up fast. Kayaks could be seen covering the roofs of cars throughout the lot.
If you look closely you can spy another drone in the air. All told, 3 drones flew over the TKAA tourney. It will be cool to see what footage comes out of it.
The awards ceremony featured many of our fantastic local anglers taking home prizes. Big Congrats to Joe Underwood, of PowerTeam Lures, for throwing down and winning the slam! And Congrats to all the winners! Well done all around!
The Results of the Tournament:
Joe Underwood Williamsburg, VA Slam Total 69.5 slam
(Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14)
2nd- Brandon Poulter Virginia Beach, VA 66.75
3rd-David Langtston Hampton, VA 59
Hurricane Kayaks Speckled Trout Division
1st- Tim Morris Hampton, VA 24.5
(Hurricane Skimmer 14)
2nd- Walt Litchfield, Chesapeake, VA 24.25
3rd-Forrest Short Yorktown, VA 22.75
Appomattox River Company Redfish Division
1st- Jeff Depfer Glen Burnie, MD 51
($500 ARC Gift certificate)
2nd- Rob Choi Richmond, VA 48.5
3rd- Mike Rosa, Olney, MD 48
(3 way tie determined by check-in time)
Wild River Outfitters Flounder Division
1st- Edward Crumb Suffolk, VA 21.25
($500 WRO certificate )
2nd-Jeff Singleton Manassas, VA 20
3rd-Jacob Harmon Troy, VA 20
Kokatat Striper Division
1st- Dan Smullen Virginia Beach, VA 24.25
(Kokatat Hydrus Dry Suit)
2nd-Kris Ron Cagle Hayes, VA 18.25
3rd-Ben Kleeger Virginia Beach, VA 17.5
Wilderness Systems/KayakBassFishing.com Largemouth Bass Division
1st- Tom Hipple Lightfoot, VA 19.75
(WS Ride 115 kayak)
2nd- James Taylor Windsor, VA 17.5
3rd- Josh Dolan Glen Allen, VA 17.25
Dick's Sporting Goods Youth Division
1st- Jacob Mattauch Henrico, VA 28.5 redfish
(Field & Stream kayak)
2nd- Gehrig Girard Linden, VA 18 Speckled Trout
3rd- Lila Oast Bloomsburg, PA Ribbonfish
Female Angler-Largest Fish
Kelly Routh Virginia Beach, VA 27.5 Redfish
(custom paddle from Werner)
Kris Lally Lozier Virginia Beach, VA 22
Temple Fork Outfitters Rod
Bryan Hamel Hampton, VA 10 Species
Ocean Eagle Kayak Adventures Rod & Reel
I had to roll out of the Awards ceremony and hang-out session early, as I had pressing family stuff to do the next day, but it was hard to leave. The Virginia community of anglers, and all the other folks from out of state, is just awesome. I posted a little message the day after the event on my Facebook page and I thought I'd close with it here. It encapsulates how I feel about the camaraderie and community I always experience when I travel down to the coast. Generally i feel this way when I am anywhere kayak anglers are hanging out, but the hometown VA family has a special place in my heart. I haven't been in the kayak fishing game long, but these folks are the reason I ventured into it.
- I've long been a man at home in the mountains, but I have to say, every time I hang with the Virginia kayak angling folks along the coast, my perspective shifts a little bit more. Such an awesome community, full of great people, supporting great clubs, supporting great causes and having a blast along the way. Thanks for welcoming me to the fold. It truly has been a pleasure getting to know soo many of you. As I drove back down to Hampton Roads today, to spend time with family, my mom remarked, "You seem to have met some really nice people in kayak fishing." Yes I have. See y'all sooner than later I hope.
I'd like to close by saying well done to all those involved in making the TKAA Kayak Fish for Charity Tournament a huge success. This was my second year and once again I had a blast. I especially love the opportunity to help out Project Healing Waters and Heroes On The Water. It adds soo much to the experience to know that just by participating, your helping folks do good work and helping our military folks get on the water.