Alabama- Land of Plenty, of Kayak Tournaments

Look at a topographical map or the state of Alabama. First thing you will notice will be plenty of green, as the state is still heavily wooded. But next you will notice plenty of blue. That represents PLENTY of lakes, PLENTY of ponds, PLENTY of rivers, and PLENTY of creeks. The people of Alabama have always enjoyed those waters, and they have gotten plenty of exposure over the years. If you haven’t heard of Lake Guntersville, Lake Eufala, and Alabama Spotted Bass, you haven’t been following competitive fishing. Well, these waters aren’t just for bass boats anymore! From March through November, there will be over 30 kayak fishing events held within just the northern half of the state. I am going to tell you about a few of them and share where you can get more information, so that you can join us out on the water.

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Does the word Coosa mean anything to you? Considering you are on the Jackson Kayak page reading a fishing article, I bet it does! The namesake river of two of the most popular fishing kayaks on the market, flows through Alabama. That name wasn’t chosen just because it sounds cool. It does. Say it with me. COOOOOOSAAAAA. So soothing, with a great flow. Well, the Coosa River is the same. That’s it in the picture above, taken by fellow Jackson Kayak Team member Eric Atkins, don’t you want some of that? It also contains some nice largemouth bass, but the top target on the Coosa is the hard fighting stout bodied Alabama Spotted Bass. I tell you all of this to get to the first group of tournaments I’ll mention. This will be the 5th year that Coosa Riverkeeper has held kayak fishing events, that have become perhaps the crown jewel of the Alabama Kayak Tournament scene. They hold these events to raise awareness of the issues facing the Coosa River, to encourage more people to see the river for the awesome resource that it is, and to raise funds to further their work. That’s right 100% of angler entry fees goes back to protecting the resource. How many other tournaments can say that? That doesn’t mean that there is nothing to gain from these events. Lifelong friendships have been formed, great outdoor memories are made, and awesome prizes supplied by generous sponsors are won. Check out their website or Facebook page and come join the fun, and know that you are doing it for the river. www.coosariver.org https://www.facebook.com/CCKFT/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Up in the Tennessee Valley you will find the North Alabama Kayak Association events. The organization has been around for a few years, but made a big splash last year when they launched their fishing series. The first event, outdrew a national tour that was held on the same lake, on the same weekend! They have maintained the momentum to hold a successful first tour, and have another scheduled this year. They hold mostly payout tournaments, but with success comes support, and they also have many great prizes. The NAKA Facebook group is also very popular. Go there, join the fun, and learn more about their events. One warning, if you dive in full bore, better bring your best memes! https://www.facebook.com/groups/376471205707451/

Formed as an offshoot of NAKA was the Coosa River Kayak Anglers. Looking to have more events, the idea was hatched to hold Thursday Throwdowns. These events held on Thursday afternoons, are smaller, with smaller entry fees, and no prizes. Just a good old 100% pot tournament, paid on the spot. It wasn’t possible for the many anglers centered around Gadsden And Lake Neely Henry to make it to the NAKA Thursday events, so another group was formed. In 2015 CRKA held a throwdown every second Thursday, with attendance reaching 20 participants at a few. In 2016 two Saturday events have been added to the schedule. If you want to find a low cost, low pressure event, to get started in competitive kayak fishing, THIS IS IT! Check them out on their Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CoosaRiverKayakAnglers/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Not wanting to be left out of the fun, the folks around Birmingham came together and held a few Throwdowns last year, and have bigger plans for 2016. They are new on the scene as Iron City Kayak Anglers, but having the largest population group, I expect BIG things from them, in the near Future. They have posted a schedule of events, and have a quickly growing presence. You can find them at https://www.facebook.com/groups/IronCityKayakAnglers/?ref=ts&fref=ts

All of this doesn’t count the various national tours that make their way into Alabama, or the great work of the http://www.mbkfa.com/ down south. But, it represents the driving force of the freshwater kayak fishing scene in one of the most water blessed states in the Union. These groups intermingle, and help each other in many ways. If you choose to enter one of these events, I am sure that you will find there will be many individual anglers, looking to do the same for you. We are a community, a danged good one! Join us!

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