Almost any kayak fishing tournament involves the use of Catch, Photo, and Release (CPR) to record your fish for the event. Successfully executing this part of the tournament is almost as important as actually hooking the fish. For each kayak fishing tournament, read the rules prior to the event – there are differences which can be important. Here are five tips to help you get your fish properly photographed and counted:
- Using Proper Tools – Most tournaments require a hawg trough measuring device which has a concave design to hold your fish in place and a flat “bump board” on the left end. Be sure to use a Sharpie to draw a line along the area where the bump board joins the trough and to darken all of the measurement lines so they can be easily seen by the tournament director when reviewing the photos. Also, many will add a flotation device or some sort of leash to their hawg trough to avoid losing it on the water. As for taking the photo, you can usually use a digital camera with removable SD card or a mobile phone for the photos. If you use a mobile phone, you will have to hand over your phone password for judges to review the photos at turn in. Note – Some tournaments now use apps such as iAngler Tournament or TourneyX which upload photos directly to the tournament director. If this is the case, make sure your app is downloaded and tested before the tournament begins.
- Photo Basics – Although the rules can vary slightly, make sure you get down the basics. Almost all tournaments require the fish
to photographed on the hawg trough facing left with the nose all the way to the bump board, entire fish in the picture, eye uncovered and with the tournament identifier visible in the photo. The tournament identifier is something unique provided on tournament day to prove the picture was taken during the tournament period. This is often written on a hand or on some sort of card to be included in the photo.
- Rule Variations – After getting down the basics, know the specific rules of your event. Some allow the mouth to be open with the lip touching the board, while some require a closed mouth. Some events allow stringers, clips or other methods of securing a fish and others do not. In some cases you may pinch the fish tail while measuring and in some you cannot. Know the specifics of your event to avoid any deductions or disqualifications during turn-in.
- Avoid Deductions – As mentioned above, not producing a quality photo at turn-in can lead to a deduction. Deductions most often occur in some form related to the Rule Variations discussed above. Mouth is open when it should be closed. Fish clip is used when it shouldn’t be. Can’t read the identifier or the measurement lines on the hawg trough. Fish’s eye is covered or entire fish not in photo. You get the idea! My advice for avoiding deductions is to take more than one photo and then prior to turn-in go through and cull out the bad photos, leaving one of each fish that has all the right attributes.
- Practice – I cannot emphasize this enough! If you are new to kayak fishing tournaments or CPR events you will need to practice this before your first tournament. It sounds simple enough, but during the tournament your blood is pumping, the fish is fighting and bad things can happen. Every event has fish lost off the board that were never successfully photographed. Don’t let that be you!
I hope these tips help you successfully capture the fish you catch and will ensure they count toward your limit total. One of the great things about kayak bass fishing is how much focus there is in the health of the fish. With a CPR style event the fish are only out of the water for a short time and then are returned to the area where they are caught. Good luck!