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YAK IT UP! A NEW WAY TO WIN IN 2020

Propel your way into the record books as the winner of The Fisherman’s inaugural Coastal Kayak Clash.
By Toby Lapinski
YAK IT UP! A NEW WAY TO WIN IN 2020
Do you have what it takes to be crowned the champion in the 2020 Coastal Kayak Clash and take home the Grand Prize, an Old Town Sportsman Autopilot 136? Be sure to scroll down for a video review of this awesome new boat!

Fishermen have been plying their local waters from atop self-propelled craft since the first shore-bound angler realized he was staring at untapped angling opportunities spread to the horizon. In recent years, anglers up and down the coast have similarly discovered the opportunity presented by the kayak when targeting inshore—and even some offshore—saltwater species. Advancements in how an angler propels their craft has evolved in leaps and bounds, going from almost exclusively paddle-driven craft, to pedal-powered, to even adding differing levels of power to the simple kayak platform by way of both electronic trolling motors and small outboard engines. This evolution of propulsion options has been most beneficial to the saltwater kayak angler, making hands-free maneuvering while battling larger and larger gamefish possible.

Due to these factors and more, we have seen the explosion in popularity of the fishing kayak within our readership, and the time has finally come for The Fisherman Magazine to kick-off the first annual Coastal Kayak Clash here in 2020.

The ‘CKC’ as we’re already abbreviating it around the bait cooler, is a season-long, multi-species fishing tournament open exclusively to Fisherman Magazine subscribers who work over their local waters from the comfort of a kayak. Whether you paddle, pedal or power your yak, you’re eligible (as long as you’re also a Fisherman subscriber, of course!) with no additional entry fee required. You will need to register at TheFisherman.com (the link will go live in April) prior to participating in the tournament and entering any fish, but that’s just a formality to ensure your acknowledgement of the rules (you know how those lawyers can be!)

So now that annual Fisherman Magazine subscription not only delivers you the best local fishing articles, videos, reports and more, it now includes entry into an exclusive season-long kayak fishing tournament, the Coastal Kayak Clash.

Fishing in the CKC begins on May 1 and concludes on November 31; that’s a full 214 days of fishing, so let’s get started!

FISH, ENTRY AND SCORING
As for eligible species, we don’t limit you to just one fish in the CKC, oh no, we have eight divisions including nine of the most popular and sought-after inshore species for you to target throughout the season including weakfish, porgy/scup, fluke, sea robin, bluefish, black sea bass, blackfish/tautog and a combo ‘hardtail’ category which includes both false albacore and bonito. And what’s even better, there is no requirement to harvest a fish to participate (although you may do so after photographing for entry so long as the fish meets local requirements for same) as scoring is based on the total length of the fish.

As noted, fish entered in the Coastal Kayak Clash do not need to be harvested and/or weighed-in. Instead, participants must simply take a photo showing the complete and unobstructed length of the fish alongside a standard ruler with a free-standing rigid ruler, taped to your paddle ruler or a bump board measuring device being acceptable. A bent or curved fish length by way of a flexible sewing-type ruler will not constitute a valid entry. The entire ruler must be visible, and the official Coastal Kayak Clash tournament tag must also be visible and legible in the photograph with the photo taken on your kayak. The nose of the fish should begin at the ‘0 mark’ and the tip of the non-pinched tail of the fish denotes the length. Measurements are to be made to the nearest ¼ inch. This means that if the measurement falls short of the nearest 1/8-inch mark then the length is rounded down, and if the length exceeds the nearest 1/8-inch mark then the total length is rounded up (tournament judges will have the final say on a given fish’s length.)

Fish entered in the CKC need not be harvested as scores will be based on total length of the fish entered. (Photo courtesy of Jose Negron)

Photos may be taken with a camera phone or standard digital camera, just be sure that the photo is clear and both the ruler and tag are completely legible. The official tag will be available for download from TheFisherman.com at the commencement of the tournament beginning at 12:01 AM on May 1. You can save the tag to your phone to display on the screen in the photo, or alternately you can print it from the website. If you opt to print the tag, I suggest that you laminate it or simply pack it in a zip-lock bag to keep it dry. Some anglers have even covered their tags for other similar tournaments in clear packing tape, essentially making a poor-man’s laminate!

After photographing the fish you can keep fishing if you choose or submit the entry right away (there is no limit to the number of fish entered but only one entry in each species category will be counted towards scoring), just be sure to submit the fish entry within 5 days of the catch to be eligible for scoring. Entries are uploaded electronically via the submission page at TheFisherman.com (link will go live on 5/1/2020), or emailed to a unique email address to be announced at the beginning of the tournament.

The top three fish in each species category will be assigned points—3 points for the longest fish, 2 points for the second longest fish and 1 point for the third longest fish. Only a single position may be held in any species category by a given angler, but entries may be upgraded with longer fish by an angler throughout the duration of the tournament. Anglers accumulate points across the eight different species categories with the official leaderboard at the conclusion of the contest deciding the final standings and winners.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Now for the good stuff, a look at what’s up for grabs! Anglers in the Coastal Kayak Clash are not just vying for bragging rights as the winner in the inaugural event, they’re also working their way towards winning a brand-new, fully tricked-out Old Town Sportsman Series Autopilot kayak. This kayak was just debuted to the public on March 5, and now's your chance to win one of your own! Check out a video of the awesome new boat, here.

The flagship model in the Old Town Sportsman Line is the exciting, all-new Autopilot, a state of the art fishing kayak that delivers the ultimate hands-free fishing experience. Available in two sizes, the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot 136 & 120 use fully integrated Minn Kota 45 lb thrust saltwater-safe motors with GPS Spot-Lock virtual anchoring to put the craft exactly where you want it. Controlled with the touch of your thumb using the iPilot remote, your hands remain free to catch fish. In varying tide, current, or wind conditions the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot 136 & 120 will change the way you fish from a kayak.

Click on the above image for a video overview of the Grand Prize in the 2020 Coastal Kayak Clash, a brand-new Old Town Sportsman Autopilot 136!

I got a chance to experience this kayak first-hand recently (it can really only be described as an experience), and I must say that I was quite impressed with it on many levels. Look out for the April issue of The Fisherman for a full review of this awesome craft in the ‘2020 Kayak Buyer’s Guide’ as we roll out a slew of awesome new fishing kayaks for the upcoming season.

In addition to the top prize of the kayak package for the angler who accumulates the most points at the conclusion of the tournament, the second- and third-place finishers will receive some awesome prizes from the likes of Humminbird, Fenwick and more; be sure to follow back up with us for all of the prize details in April.

So beginning in a few weeks, be sure to visit TheFisherman.com to register for the tournament, review the official rules, and acknowledge acceptance of same. Once you’ve done that it’s time to hurry up and wait as we inch ever-closer to May and the kick-off of the inaugural Coastal Kayak Clash!