Monday, February 18, 2013

Bluegrass Yakmasters

This is going to be an extremely exciting year for kayak fishing in Kentucky, and it will largely be due to the formation of a new club that goes by the name of Bluegrass Yakmasters. I began hearing rumors of these guys back in the fall. My Dad messaged me one day and told me to look them up on Facebook, a bunch of guys he works with had been talking about them. I looked them up and did the usual "Like", but didn't see much activity until closer to the end of the year. They had apparently just went official and were in the process of pulling together sponsors and a 2013 tournament schedule, and they definitely did not disappoint.

One of the major sponsors is HOOK1. HOOK1 has quickly become one of the leaders of the kayak fishing movement, providing all of the most highly sought after and sport specific products that kayak fishermen are looking for. What impresses me most about HOOK1 is their customer service and overall presence in the sport of kayak fishing. I've dealt with them several times when ordering accessories for my boat, and will be placing an order here soon for a new boat for my wife. I directed several of my buddies to HOOK1 for their needs, and one of them was especially impressed just lately with how quick they received their brand new "Knot Right Camo" Wilderness Systems Ride 135. 13 hours from order to receiving their boat at a local shipping hub! (It should be noted though, that this time can vary according to your shipping location. It helps that in this instance, the boat was going from TN to KY, but the 13 hour time frame was still impressive regardless. It takes most places 24 hours just to process an order, much less ship it out, so this is still an impressive feat!)

Chad Hoover, the frontman of HOOK1, is basically everywhere. When he's not filming episodes of KayakBassinTV, he's in the HOOK1 shop answering phones and taking orders, or he's out fishing or attending trade shows. In all fronts, Chad and the rest of the HOOK1 crew have been great advocates for kayak fishing, and is recognized by many as being one of the driving forces in bringing more visibility and interest to the sport.

Other sponsors lined up for the Bluegrass Yakmasters include Shimano, Hobie Fishing, NuCanoe, Kayak Angler Magazine, Cabin Creek Bait Company,, Logic Lures, Power Team Lures, Bending Branches, NRS, The Rod Glove, and ALE81. It's especially exciting to see some of the local companies such as Bullfrog Baits and Cabin Creek Bait Company on there. Those guys make some great baits and it'll be great to see some local places get more exposure.

I'm also very happy to see NRS and Bending Branches step up as a sponsor. I've used NRS for years as my go-to supplier of whitewater gear, and I LOVE my Bending Branches Angler Classic paddle (check out my review HERE). It's also impressive to see a big company such as Shimano step up as a sponsor. It goes to show, these guys mean business!

Now that we're done giving some much deserved credit to the sponsors, lets talk about the 2013 tournament schedule for the Yakmasters! There are several locations on the schedule that most people are familiar with or have at least heard of. Lake Cumberland and Green River Lake are well known for their quality of fishing, but I'm even more excited to be fishing the Elkhorn Creek and Cedar Creek Lake. The Elkhorn is quickly becoming THE go-to spot for smallmouth bass fishing. It's been proclaimed by many as the best creek in the state, if not the nation, for smallmouth bass fishing.

Cedar Creek Lake is quickly becoming one of the premier lakes for bass fishing. It was built with the sole purpose of being a trophy bass lake, and is already popping up on the radar as one of the top bass fishing lakes in the US, coming in at number 30 in the 2006 Field and Streams list of “The 35 Best Bass Fishing Waters in the U.S.” To give you an idea of just how impressive this achievement really is as well as how well this lake has been managed, Cedar Creek was impounded in 2003. It took just 3 YEARS to make the list as one of the best, and it's only gotten better since! I will be posting a completely separate article on Cedar Creek soon with more info and recent pictures/videos of this impressive body of water.

Here's the official 2013 Tournament Schedule for the Bluegrass Yakmasters, as copied from their Facebook page.

--- April 6th, 1st Annual Bluegrass YakMasters Open Tournament @ Cedar Creek Lake For the following 'Qualifying' events, participants must be a registered club member
--- April 27th @ Lake Cumberland
--- May 18th @ Green River Lake
--- June 8th @ Elkhorn Creek*
--- June 22nd @ Stoner Creek
--- July 27th @ S. Fork of the Licking River
--- August 10th @ Elkhorn Creek*
--- August 24th @ Beaver Lake
--- September 28th @ Guist Creek Lake
--- October 26th & 27th Bluegrass YakMaster Classic Championship @ Cedar Creek Lake+
* Tournament will be joined with the Elkhorn Creek Fishing Series, and will be open to the N. Fork, S. Fork, and Main Stem.
+ To fish in the Classic Championship, club members must participate in 5 of 8 Qualifying events.
For the coveted Angler of the Year Title and healthy prize package members will be trying to earn as many points as possible through the season. Members will receive 'Participation Points' for every event they fish. Members will also receive 'Placement Points' for how well they finished. Anglers can count all 'Participation Points' but only their best 5 'Placement Points' toward that total.
We will factor in water and weather conditions before each event to ensure safety of our participants.

One other thing that has been announced on the Bluegrass Yakmasters facebook page, is the raffle that will be after the 1st Annual Bluegrass Yakmasters Open Tournament on April 6th...
"BIG Announcement: We are going to have a raffle after the open. The Grand Prize will be a Wilderness Systems Ride 115 rigged by Chad Hoover of HOOK1. You can purchase tickets 1 for $10 or 3 for $25. Additionally if you sign up as a member at or before the open you will receive 1 ticket as well! Everyone has a chance to win this and other great prizes but you must be present to win!!! "

As I mentioned above, I'll be writing another post exclusively on Cedar Creek Lake, but I'll also be writing periodically on some of the other locations listed on the tournament schedule.  It's going to be a big year for kayak fishing here in Kentucky, so you'll definitely want to stay tuned...maybe even come out and fish with us!  The 1st Annual Open Tournament on April 6th already has 43 people listed as "going" on its facebook page, with well over 50 expected to register, it's going to be a huge event!  Click HERE to check out the Bluegrass Yakmasters, and HERE to check out the 1st Annual Bluegrass YakMasters Open Tournament.

See you on the water!