Jason Griffith 24/12/2016 | Posted in Event Coverage, Fishing, Fishing Tournament, River Bassin Tournament, Tournaments, Wrap Ups
Let’s start this article by giving you a little insight on the River Bassin’ Series in case you are not aware of its existence or how it’s run. River Bassin’ was founded to give anglers a new environment to compete in, outside of the standard lakes, bays, or other static water we are used to fishing. It’s a one day event, with live online scoring, and you get to choose the river and/or stretch of river you wish to fish for the day as long as it falls within a predetermined radius from the Captain’s Meeting site. That’s right, it’s a free for all as long as you stay within the boundaries and are fishing tournament legal waters. Anglers can enter individually or team up with a friend and enter the team division. Entering the team division automatically enters you into the individual division as well. The event also caters to males, females, and youth anglers, so everyone can come out and enjoy a great day on the water and test their skills. A typical River Bassin’ event will have a very laid back and fun Captain’s Meeting the evening before the event where anglers can pick up their identifier and the Tournament Director (usually Drew Gregory) will go over the rules and scoring procedure, as well as answer any questions that may come up. Anglers head home after the Captain’s Meeting to get a good night’s sleep (hopefully) and can head straight to their launch spot in the morning. The event typically starts at a predetermined time, usually around sunrise, and launch and first cast typically coincide. Throughout the day anglers will submit their photos for scoring and at the end of the day all anglers must check in to the awards ceremony location. Once back at the awards ceremony location, anglers will typically be treated to food and drinks, and the River Bassin’ staff will hand out a plethora of prizes. Place finishers always walk away with a bag full of goodies, and you might also find yourself up on stage to play a game for a prize or to spin the prize wheel. It’s not uncommon for a Jackson Kayak to be raffled off at the conclusion of the event also!
Two years ago I broke out of my comfort zone of fishing lakes exclusively and tried my hand at river fishing and fished my first ever River Bassin’ event, having had zero experience on a river in a kayak. I have canoed many of the rivers in southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas while growing up, and I have rafted down gnarly rivers, but I had never been down a river in a kayak. Not being from a part of the country where there are a lot of fun species of fish to catch in rivers, I never really put kayak fishing in a river as a priority, or even an option. This experience was a life changer for me and here are a few reasons why…….
First, River Bassin’ gives me an opportunity to fish new waters that I would typically not fish. In many parts of the country, rivers just aren’t a feasible fishing environment for various reasons. I enjoy traveling to Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas to compete because I can fish new water and put my skills to the test. Not having many fishable rivers near my home in the suburbs of Kansas City, I will typically do my research prior to the tournament and throw my kayak on a new river or new section of river I have never fished before. Since I don’t get a lot of time to fish rivers, I mainly use River Bassin’ as an excuse to get out and have a great day exploring a new body of water and I often time just end up horsing around with my fishing partner and just generally having a really fun and relaxing day. If we win, we win, if we don’t…..at least we had a fun day on the water! This year I was lucky enough to be the acting Tournament Director for the Noel, MO event, and I had such a great time fishing a new part of the Elk River that I’m planning a couple trips back in 2017 just to have fun and revisit the beautiful stretch of river I discovered at River Bassin’ this year.
Second , traveling to River Bassin’ events in my region has given me the opportunity to meet many of my Jackson Kayak Team members that I had not yet met in person, but it has also allowed me to make many new friendships and open doors for me to revisit those locations and have new friends to show me around and fish with in the future. The day before the San Marcos, TX event, I was fortunate enough to float and fish a stretch of the San Marcos River with Drew and Christina Gregory. Even though I had lived in Austin, TX (30mi away), I had never taken the time to float the San Marcos River. It was, hands down, the most beautiful river I have ever been on, and getting to spend the day with Drew and Christina was an experience I’ll never forget. Had I not traveled down to TX for this event a day early, I would have never had this opportunity. It was definitely worth skipping a day of pre-fishing to get out on the water with friends and explore a new river. I encourage anyone interested in trying a River Bassin’ event to reach out to the local anglers in the area ahead of time and introduce yourself. Most anglers will be pre-registered and should be easy to email or find on Facebook or other social media sites. Often times you might just get pointed to a great stretch of river to compete on, or you may get invited by the local anglers for a really fun weekend of casual fishing with new friends.
The last, and probably most important reason why I enjoy the River Bassin’ events as much as I do is the commitment of the River Bassin’ staff to support ALL kayak anglers. Many tournaments around the country cater to seasoned tournament anglers, or don’t have a youth division. River Bassin’, above all else, encourages anglers of any sex, age or ability to come out and have a great time and create comradery on the water. If you’re looking for a great way to meet new friends to kayak with, a fun environment to fish your first tournament in, or you just want to get out and try your fishing skills on the river, I definitely encourage you to check out the River Bassin’ schedule and get involved in your area!