For many years, we have organized a series of kayak fishing tournaments on local waters around the Phoenix area, and we continue on for another year in 2024!  Each tourney event offers cash and gift prizes for the top places, along with a nice wall plaque.  AGAIN FOR 2024 - ENTRANTS QUALIFY FOR A NEW HOBIE OUTBACK!  There's still no entry fee required, but in 2024 we have a buy-in series tier for "Top Dawgs" - an option for those wanting to shoot for a bigger payoff!

See our Facebook tournament page for the latest updates and past event results.

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.  

Here's the 2024 schedule, subject to change by the Tonto National Forest admins.  
March 2 – Saguaro-Butcher Jones – 6:30 am
April 20 – Bartlett Flats – 5:30 am
June 1 – Roosevelt-Cholla (night) – 5:30 pm
September 7 – Roosevelt-Cholla – 5:30 am
October 19 – Bartlett-Flats– 6:00 am

The times above are estimates; the morning-time tournaments start at the above times or first safe light thereafter, whichever is later. 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 2024, you can sign up right from our web site for each event, up to the day before each event.  On-site registration is also an option for free-entry participants.

Here are the general rules:
• There is no entry fee required to participate, but new for 2024 there is a optional entry fee of $29 per event for winner-take-all, 100% payout for 1st place at that event (more below on the "Top Dawg" option).  
• $100 (or Top Dawg pot)/$60/$40 cash prizes and plaques for top 3. $20 store gift certificates for places 4 and 5.  
• 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 (cannot be 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 the measurable 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 to judge length accurately 
    Eligible - photo must have been created within the official competition start and end times
    Include - Kayak and ID card clearly visible in photo, and accurate time stamp available

• Anglers must be registered before each tournament launch begins. You can register as a free participant at the time of event on site, but to be in the Top Dawg pot, you must do so in advance via this web site. 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 (at least) $100; Second $60; Third $40. Each of top 3 receives a wall plaque. Next 2 places win $20 gift certificate. 
• Top Dawg Hawg optional series:  This replaces the traditional "big fish" side pots we've had in previous years.  Pool entry is $29 for an event, paid in only via advance registration.  Pool is then paid out 100% for First Place (only if the winner was a Top Dawg participant in that event).  Examples - if a free-entry participant comes in first, they get $100 and the entire Top Dawg pool rolls over to the next event.   If a Top Dawg participant comes in first, they get the entire pool from that event and anything rolled over from a prior one, instead of the $100. If a free participant wins, the top prize is $100 that we fund.  For the last event of the season, the pool will be paid out to the highest placing Top Dawg participant regardless of overall placement (does not have to be #1 overall).
• Awards for places 2-5 are the same for free and Top Dawg participants
• 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.
• 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.  Allow enough time for you to get 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 and the Facebook page header image for the following year. 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.

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 a season-ending event, we will draw from all eligible raffle tickets (those with minimum of 2 entries) and award the winner a new Hobie Outback. The winner may be able to optionally apply partial 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. See prior winners below!

Season ending event – Details to be determined

First-time participants - watch this video!

kayak fishing tournament phoenix

kayak fishing arizona

Young kayak angler

kayak fishing plaques for winners