For many years, we have organized a series of kayak fishing tournaments on local waters around the Phoenix area, and we continue forward in 2023! Each tourney event offers cash and gift prizes for the top places, along with a nice wall plaque. AGAIN FOR 2023 - ENTRANTS QUALIFY FOR A NEW HOBIE OUTBACK! And here's the kicker - still no entry fee!
We've designed these events as a get-out-and-have-some-fun with other anglers that share your passion for kayak fishing, without any financial risk. There's usually some camping the night before, and fun hanging around afterwards. Bring family members so they can join in - it's all good. It's a great way to meet other anglers, see how others have their kayaks rigged up, and learn what to cast based on conditions, time of day and time of year.
For 2023, here's the schedule, at times subject to change by the Tonto National Forest admins.
March 4 – Saguaro-Butcher Jones – 6:30 am
April 15 – Roosevelt Cholla – 6:00 am
May 20 – Bartlett-Jojoba – 5:30 pm
September 16 – Roosevelt-Windy Hill (Ramp TBD) – 6:00 am
October 14 – Bartlett-Jojoba – 6:30 am
The times above are estimates; the day-time tournaments start at first safe light in the morning. Most events are 6 hours out on the water. Dates, times and launch points can change, so watch our Facebook page for the latest updates, or give us a call at Lowergear at 480-348-8917. For 2023, you can sign up on Eventbrite for all events up to the day ahead of each event. On-site registration is also an option.
Here are the general rules:
• There is no entry fee to participate.
• $100/$60/$40 cash prizes and plaques for top 3. $20 store gift certificates for places 4 and 5, so plenty of opportunity to win
• Raffle for a new Hobie Outback (details below)
• Angler of Year Points for special recognition and AOY wall plaque
• Catch, Photo and Release - Grand total of your top 3 longest measured largemouth or smallmouth bass
• Measuring device must be a single piece, store-bought trough style (Hawg Trough/ Ketch, etc) with easy to read lines (not a flat ruler style).
• Bass - facing left on trough style board, dorsal fin toward top of photo, tail centered and in a relaxed, un-pinched condition, mouth completely closed - with jaw / lip touching fence of measuring board.
• Bass length is determined by its tail touching or crossing a quarter-inch line on the measuring board.
• If it falls short of a line, the length is rounded down to nearest 1/4 inch mark
• Tie breakers - biggest bass in group. If still tied, then earliest timestamp on photo of biggest bass in group
• Digital photographs of each bass submitted must meet these requirements:
Legible - photo must be clear enough to read identifier and judge length accurately
Eligible - photo must have been created within the official competition start and end times
Kayak and ID card clearly visible in photo, and accurate time stamp available
• Anglers must be registered before each tournament launch begins. Each event will have a signup opportunity on EventBrite. You can also register at the time of event on site, but it's best to do so in advance. Anglers must be at pre-tournament check-in for final instructions and issuance of a unique score card for that event. All participants subject to inclusion in event-related photos. There is potentially a cap on the number of entrants per event that varies by month and location, so sign up early.
• First three positions place: First Place awarded $100; Second $60; Third $40. Each receives a wall plaque. Next 2 places win $20 gift certificate. Each placing winner has the responsibility to share at least one successful technique that led to their catch with other participants as part of the educational purpose of this event.
• Side, optional pools are usually available for big and small fish. For example, $10 put in for big/small fish pools with a 90-10 split between big and small winners. Big fish winners split 80-20 between first and second place. We also often have random drawings among the attendees for various fishing goodies.
• Every participant will receive a raffle ticket for a season-ending drawing for a new Hobie Outback. See additional rules for this prize at the end of this rules list.
• Participating anglers must be 18 or older or accompanied by an adult.
• Anglers must follow all AZ Game and Fish and event locale rules.
• Single and tandem kayaks, canoes and float tubes allowed. Electric motors allowed. Each angler in a tandem must be registered as an individual participant and no pooling of catches allowed.
• No live bait; artificial lures only
• No fishing in designated off-limits areas, such as marinas
• No use of alcohol or drugs during event
• All bass must be caught on rod, reel, line and hook only. An angler may only have one line in the water at a time.
• No late returns - must be back at the designated check-in station by stated end time so allow enough time to be out of the water and back at the station in time - otherwise you are disqualified
• Additional rules if applicable will be covered at the event. Any disputes resolved solely at discretion of Lowergear.
Angler of Year - Points system winner acknowledged with special plaque at end of the season events. All anglers who catch a fish at any event earn AOY points. Winner of an event receives a point total equal to the number of registered participants in that event; 2nd Place earns a point total equal to the number of participants minus 1; 3rd place -2, etc and on down the line. Angler with most points at end of series is Angler of Year, with a personalized plaque recognition.
Hobie prize rules - At the end of each event, each participant will earn a raffle ticket onto which we will write their name and drop in the ticket bowl. At the season-ending event, we will draw from all collected raffle tickets and award the winner a new Hobie Outback. The winner may be able to optionally apply the value of the awarded Outback toward a different model of higher value if preferred. The more times you participate in the tournament events, the more tickets are entered with your name and the better your chances to win.