Categories : LowerGear Outdoors News
We run a series of kayak fishing tournaments in nearby waters to us every year in the Phoenix area and 2023 was another great one with events at Roosevelt, Saguaro and Bartlett. We track the results for each participating angler at each event and award points based on the position of each angler – for example, if there were 72 entrants at an event, the top finisher earned 72 points; #2 earned 71 and on down the line. Consistency in performance and just showing up can pay off, and this year the angler with the most earned points at the end of the series was Kyle Helms, 2023 Angler of the Year!
We took a few minutes to talk with Kyle to share with our kayak fishing community:
What has been your evolution in fishing over the years?
My dad would take me fishing as a child. Usually from shore. Every now and then he would rent a little aluminum boat and we would do some bass fishing. Fishing with him is some of my fondest memories. I started fishing again when i moved out here to AZ. I lived next to a canal and would spend nights with a rod in the water. I discovered the app “Fishbrain” and met fellow tournament angler and entrepreneur Dustin Choan. He was already involved in kayak bass fishing. Dustin and I would wade through the Salt River bass fishing. My first kayak was terrible. I can remember almost sinking multiple times and filling the hull on the water by melting a Senko. I upgraded to another kayak but overloaded it with weight and almost sank in a heavy storm. In January of 2022 i decided i would purchase a real kayak. that's when i got my Old Town AP120.
Where did you grow up and what do you do for a living?
I grew up in southern California. I work in the trades and specialize in custom shade structures. Luckily I have a beautiful girlfriend (Banana) that lets me fish whenever I want!
What are your go-to lures and techniques to achieve the consistent results you had across the several lakes we’ve fished at this year’s tournaments?
My go-to lures are Keitech swimbaits used in multiple ways. But a Keitech is nothing without the right lead behind it! i also love to throw frogs, Damiki rig and jigs. I have never used a drop shot during any tournament. I hate it because I suck at it!
When you have time to go wherever you want, what’s your favorite water to hit and timing?
I love just about every lake equally. I would call Pleasant my home lake with Saguaro a close second. I also love to fish Tempe Town Lake. I love to get out early in the morning any time of the year. i also love to get out on summer nights with friends and a couple cocktails!
What advice do you have for your local angler contemporaries that want to achieve the consistent success you had this past year?
I attribute my success to a more relaxed state of mind. When I first started competitive fishing I would spend most of my time running around the lake. I try to break down an area a lot better and I never ever leave fish to find fish. If i have to junk fish because i can’t find a pattern, I will cover more water than any other angler on tourney day Guaranteed. the most important thing however is to remember that I'm there to have fun. I try not to take it too serious. For a lot of the events, camping with the guys is just as much fun if not more fun than the fishing itself.
Congratulations to Kyle and the hundreds of other anglers that participated in our tournaments this past year. We’re at it again in 2024 with 5 more events, new prizes and more fun!