Big Bass on Hand for the Kayak Angler Tournament Series in 2014
By Paul Lebowitz
The Kayak Angler Tournament Series, known for short as KATS, starts its 2014 competitive year this weekend at Decker Lake in central Texas. Kayak Fish talked with KATS organizer Kristian Kolflat as he readied to yell, "Game on!"
KF: What's the best advice you can give to a tournament angler, maybe someone new to competitive fishing?
We just published a blog with step by step directions on how to fish KATS. Some people spend tons of time prefishing. One thing? I think it comes down to, day of, having your gear ready to go. Have your kayak loaded up with everything you'll need. Rig your rods with everything you might want to throw. Make sure you're able to adapt quickly, for instance if the weather changes. Gear preparation is really important.
KF: Texas is known for its legendary big bass water. Will this year's expanded schedule deliver the biggest ever seen in KATS history?
I think our biggest [previous] bass was in the 23-inch range, definitely a nice bass but no Sharelunker. Like Lake Sam Rayburn, a lot of the lakes on our schedule are famous for big fish or rated and ranked by Texas Parks and Wildlife as top bass fisheries. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a big bass caught.
KF: The KATS is one of the longest-running kayak fishing tournaments in the country. How did Austin Canoe and Kayak come to run it, and what is the store's role in the series?
ACK inherited the series. It was a small local friends club type thing at the time. We're putting events on for people to come out and have fun. There's no money in the events themselves. We're doing it to support the scene. It's a tough game to get into if you don't have the backing of the industry. It's kind of like marathons. You rely on your sponsors. The registration money comes right in and goes back out.
KF: What's new for KATS in 2014?
We added a two-day championship, location to be announced. We've grown significantly. This year there are 10 qualifying events in greater Texas, not just the Austin area. Each event is $50 for the Pro Division and $40 for the Social. There are no membership fees, no dues of any kind. We'll also do raffle tickets for charity and sell t-shirts.