Monday, October 21, 2013

New Boat and New Feelings

A good bit has changed since I last posted, and im pleased to say I believe it has all been for the better. I have almost completed my first year of tournament fishing from a kayak and it has been a pretty good ride so far. The events I did fish so far this year were certianly not the ones I had planned to fish when the new year rolled around. I will say that Shane Smith of Hilljack Catfishing has really began to adapt kayak fishing into his tournament organization well. I secured the spot of points leader a little over midway through the tournament schedule and was very blessed to win a Jackson Cuda 14..


I had set out this year looking for the new boat, knowing that there may be a hitch in the plan if I did manage to win. The thing is, I live in an apartment and 2 things that don't mix well are 14' kayaks and apartments. Nonetheless it managed to work it self out just fine. I was able to make a trade for the Jackson Cruise 12 which happens to be the boat I wanted to begin with. The Cruise fits my fishing style moreso than the other "fishing modles" on the market for 2 main reasons. I really like the clean hull, this boat is a recreation kayak with loads of opportunity.

It comes standard with 4 deck threads that are ready to accept ram mounts, which lead to endless mounting options. The other reason I sought after this specific model is stability and speed, its not the fastest boat on the market by any means, but coming from the 10' model I was in, the speed is quite impressive. Stability is a huge selling point for the boat, it has the same hull as the Cuda 12 which is a super stable design. Add the Jackson seat and I couldnt ask for a better fishing platform.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Tournaments On Home Waters

I have seen this happen many times where a big tournament comes to someones home waters and can become a blessing or curse very quickly. This weekend the Hilljack Catfishing tournament has landed in "my backyard" I live about 10 minutes from where we will be putting in, and as of lately I have fished the water a good bit. I am beginning to feel the pressure of having spots I  know have produced and spots I want to fish and hope they come thru. The main thing is where do I have the best chance of landing a beast. Bait is something else entirely, I have caught fish here using a buffet of things and don't have room in the kayak for 3 types of live bait and thirty bags of different cut bait. I have yet to hook up with a giant catfish from the kayak and want to give myself the best chance I can.

Big blue cat caught out of Ringer Ramp

Not only does the ramp we are using hold some giant flatheads, but the blue cats that have been pulled up are nothing to be taken lightly. Ringer Ramp is what I would call the "transition" area where the Chattahoochee River forms into West Point Lake.

One of the previos weigh-ins at Ringer from the Hilljack Catfishing group
 I do expect to see the bags contain multiple species this weekend, I also expect to see some heavy weights. The great thing about the Hilljack tournament is they have two divisions that fish the same location at the same time, one of the things I enjoyed most about fishing tournaments from a boat was the weigh-in, that is something the kayak tournaments don't have the option of doing if keeping the fish alive is a concern.

Ringer has produced some GIANT flatheads, cant wait to hook up with one from the kayak

The weekend will no doubt be a great time and the hopefully have a picture of me in my kayak holding up one of these huge bottom-dwellers. The number of kayaks this weekend should be close to 10, the tournament series is growing and I have had a blast being part of it. If you have a chance come out and catch some cats with us. Tight Lines.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Give Something New A Try

Over the past couple of months my ideas of fishing have somewhat changed. I was and still am an intense bass fisherman who absolutely loves catching the green fish. I have never thought of other fish as something I would want to chase as much as the largemouth, until I hooked up with some folks that take catfishing to an entirely new level. I can't say enough for the people who I have met through HillJack Catfishing, these fisherman are dedicated to catching giant catfish. I have caught that bug, but I have addressed that in a previous post.
My first year of participating in Kayak Wars has also led me to go after some fish that would normally not make the list of "what am I going to catch today." I have really made the spectrum a little wider and by doing this I feel that me as an angler is growing.

I have considered myself to being a fishing addict for years now, but with the addition of kayaks and other species being added to mix, I may need to attend some group meetings! In the last 60 days I have found myself at boat ramps at 3 and 4 am, throwing cast nets to catch bait, using live and fresh cut bait, driving to Columbus a few times to hit the river to chase the skip jack as they make the yearly run, and catching BIGGER fish.

 I know that a 10 pound largemouth is something to be sought after thru a lifetime of spinnerbait throwing, but a 15 pound striper and 11 pound blue cats are nothing to be taken lightly!! Overall what I am getting at, I encourage everyone to get out and try something new. To many times I found myself caught up in catching bass and that was it. I have found new ways to get my family out on the water and having great time doing it.

Enjoy your time on the water with your family and friends, we spend time fishing in some of the greatest places on earth. Tight Lines, Clay

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Catfishing From A Kayak. Tourney Win #2

I have been dormant for about a month now, sorry for any delay in getting a post up on recent outings. I can say that catfishing has taken me by surprise. During the past month I have been chasing catfish almost every day. This started when I entered the Hilljack Catfishing Kayak Division at Old Creek Town on Lake Eufaula. I was excited to enter my first kayak tournament, so with chicken livers in hand, I hit the water and somehow managed to win the tournament with 3 pounds of fish. That got me started on wanting to target bigger catfish and defend my title.

Since the first tournament, I have accomplished catching my own bait with a cast net, meaning that I bought a cast net, went to the marina after work one night and starting throwing it. The first night, I returned home with a busted lip and almost blacked my own eye, but I HAD CAUGHT BAIT. Now here we are a month later and I have bags of shad in the freezer ready to go.

I also entered the second tournament of the Hilljack season, which was held on Lake Martin, Alexander City Alabama. This tournament was the toughest fishing day I have seen in a long time. There was one fish landed by the kayakers, my 6 pound blue, and for the boats there were a total of 5 fish weighed out of almost 20 teams. I am proud to say that the blue cat was enough to put me back in the winners circle for a second time.

Now its time to get serious, the Skipjack Herring are about to make the run through Columbus GA and this is going to make for catfish GOLD. I do feel like the last month has just been the beginning to landing some giant catfish from the kayak and I think its safe to say I HAVE THE CATFISH FEVER.

Monday, February 11, 2013

1st Kayak Tournament.... Win Number 1

My first kayak fishing tournament is in the books, I am proud to say that I was able to pull a win from the event. The kayak division for the tournament was not as large as some of the other tournaments that I have seen being held, but I do leave that to being this was the first tournament that Hilljack has put on that included kayaks. I expect by the end of the season that the kayak participation will be BIG.

That being said, Shane Smith and Hilljack Catfishing put on quite a show at Lake Eufaula this past weekend. My fishing tournament expedition started with making the two hour drive, I got off work and left the house around 1 am. That put me at the ramp around 2:45-3:00am range. Getting there just in time to eat a quick bite and crashing in the truck. The morning started about 5:45 when I woke up to see I had been surrounded with boats and fishermen getting their gear ready for a day on the water. These guys really surprised me. They are some catfishing machines.

I had made my plan a few nights before and stuck to it once we hit the water, Eufaula is a very wide lake and from the boat ramp the general idea was to get from one side to the other as fast as possible without being a speed bump for a hundred horse outboard. The reason for going straight across the lake was the lakes main channel ran almost up against the far bank, leaving me close to the bank and still having the ability to fish deep water. After making it across the lake we found water that we wanted to fish and began to get our bait to the bottom and try to maintain some tight lines. This was a little difficult with the passing boats and we were almost on the bank but still fishing 30-60 foot water. After a bit Squirt and I made our way into a cove where the water was still in the 25 ft range but well protected from wind and passing boats.
This is where I manged to land the fish that would end up winning the tournament. They weren't large blue cats like the boat division but turned out to be enough to put me in the number 1 spot.

Watching the boaters weigh in was really good, these folks know how to land some big cats. The big fish for the event was right at 30 pounds and the winning sack was over 50. It took 40 pounds of fish to get in the money and it was well earned. After the weigh in there were some sweet prizes to be raffled off from some nice sponsors including Monster Rod Holders, Yeti, and Frabill. 

We also met some other kayaking fellas that were a pleasure to fish with, "Sarge" who is the tournament director from Georgia Kayak Fishing was in attendance, he also fishes bass tournaments with Southern Kayak Anglers. Pat was with Sarge and he also fishes with the GKF. They were some really nice guys and I look forward to fishing with them again soon.

I really encourage anyone who can make it to come to the next tournament at Lake Martin, March 3rd. I hope to see a lot more kayaks on the water.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hilljack Catfishing Kayak Tournament Rules

My hat goes off to Shane Smith of HillJack Catfishing, not only has he been serving our country overseas, somewhere between thinking of his wife and children and everything he had to get home to, he managed to put together another year of competitive catfishing and has included an entirely new kayak division. Now everyone who likes to fish from giant tupperware and has an itch for competition can take part. He has also acquired a giant sponsor The Outside World Outfitters out of Columbus Ga. The winner of the points division will be the winner of a Jackson Cuda 14. That's a big water boat more than capable of landing some huge cats.


1. ENTRY FEE IS:                                      $25 per Kayak **(Paddle boats with the capacity to carry 2 fishermen will pay a $10 additional angler charge which will be applied to the total purse prize)
                                                                    - $5 will go Big Fish pot
                                                                    - $15 will be put towards total purse   
                                                                     - $5 of each entry will be withheld to cover MEGA purse and Admin fees                                          

2. Payouts are based on number of teams fishing. 
                                                                    1-20 boats we will pay the top 3 teams  
                                                                    We will add one paying place for every 5 boats after 20
                                                                    20-24 boats we will pay the top 4 teams
                                                                    25-29 boats will pay the top 5 teams 
                                                                    This will continue infinitely.  
                                                                    Big Fish payouts will remain the same.

3. **POINTS: Points will be awarded as follows.
                                                   a. 100 Point system will be used for all events. Points will be awarded in descending order based on order of finish.
                                                   EXAMPLE:  1st Place team will receive 100 points. 2nd Place team will receive 99 points. 3rd Place team   will receive 98 points. This will continue thru all teams that weigh in fish                                      during the tournament. Paying teams that do not weigh fish will receive equal points; 2 points less than the team with the lowest weight
                                                 c. Bonus points will be awarded for the following:
         - Finishing in the money: If 5 boats are being paid, then 1st place will receive 5 bonus points and continue in descending order. 5th place would receive 1 bonus point.
         - Big Fish at each event will receive 5 bonus points.

4. Points Champion will be determined after the final qualifying event. Mega is NOT included in the points race.

5. **Teams best 6 points events will count towards the championship, however, Teams that fish all 9 events will receive 10 bonus points.

6. MEGA: There are 3 ways to qualify for the Mega event
                                                   a. Finish in the top 10 in the points championship
                                                   b. Compete in 6 of the 9 Qualifying events
** Points Champion will receive free entry into the Mega event.
** 2nd Place points will fish Mega by paying 1/2 entry fee.
** MEGA entry fee for Kayak Division will be $50.

7. Competitors must sign annual waiver/rules agreement upon joining the club. This agreement will remain valid thru all future events.

8. Competitors MUST assist in running/administering 2 events throughout the season to be eligible for Points Championship. Members who fail to assist will be deducted 20 points.

9. Teams will consist of 1 to 2 persons based on the capacity of the "Paddle Boat". (Keep in mind that a 2-person team will pay $35 to fish and must weigh their fish as 1 team). **2 TOTAL Rod limit will apply.  Team members will ensure that they are in compliance with state fishing and boating regulations, including the use of PFD’s.  Fishing and boating licenses are the responsibility for the team members.

10. Team members must be designated upon completing membership agreement. There will be no combining of points by members of separate fishing teams. Members can be substituted but points from other teams will not transfer.

11. ALL team members must be in one boat. Team members can only get on bank to weigh fish and take pictures of fish.** No fishing rods can be in the water while team member is on the bank.  No team member will be authorized to leave the boat to fish from the bank. BOATS MUST LAUNCH AT THE DESIGNATED SITE, no trailering will be authorized. Boats must load at the designated site as well.
12. Kayak teams will launch 15 minutes after boat teams have departed (safety precaution) and will have an additional 15 minutes to submit their "weigh in chip" to the weigh master.
13. No fishing will be permitted within 50 feet of another boat that is anchored (participants or otherwise). All fishing holes are first come first serve!
14. All competitor boats are subject to inspection prior to start of event and upon completion of event.
16. Sign up for the event will begin 1 hour prior to the posted event start time. All persons participating in the event must complete registration and sign the release prior to the event starting. Start times can be adjusted to allow for registration or inclimate weather. REGISTRATION WILL END 15 MINUTES PRIOR TO TAKE OFF, UNLESS YOU HAVE CONTACTED ME BY PHONE
18. Chumming is not authorized.
19. No fishing on the event body of water 12 hours prior to the event start time. Violators will be disqualified.
20. Any legal bait may be used.
21**2 Rod Limit for Kayak (Paddle Boat) Teams (regardless of number of people in boat)
22. Kayak Weigh in:
                 a. Kayak teams will be issued a control item at the time of registration.
                 b. Kayak teams must present a camera memory card at registration; memory card must be BLANK. Any photos on card will    be deleted prior to tournament start. Card will be marked by tournament officials.
                 c. Kayak teams must present working digital scale at registration. Scale operation will be verified by tournament officials.
                 d. Kayak teams will submit 2 photos of up to two (2) fish at weigh in.
                                  - 1 photo must show control item and the entire fish being submitted
                                  - 1 photo must show control item/Digital Scale reading/at least half of the fish
23. **Each Team will be issued a “Weigh In Chip” upon registration. Teams Weigh in Chip must be turned into the designated weigh master (collection bowl) prior to the  official tournament end time. Failure to turn in Weigh Chip will result in disqualification.
24. All pictures of fish weighed in become the property of the tournament. No exceptions.
25. There will be no early weigh in.
26. In the event of a tie for weight (total weight), the team with the biggest fish will be declared the winner. If there is a tie for Big Fish, then the winner will be decided by a coin toss.
27. No alcohol will be consumed during the event or while conducting the weigh in.
28. The use of mobile communications devices such as cell phones or marine radios to communicate fishing information is not authorized.
29. Any protest must be made in writing to the tournament director within 30 minutes of the final weigh in. Protest must state which rule was broken and provide evidence of such. The tournament director’s ruling will be final.
30. HillJack Catfishing reserves the right to use all audio statements,  images or videos obtained during scheduled events for the promotion of the trail through any and all media outlets you deem necessary.
31.HillJack Catfishing reserves the right to modify these rules as necessary in order accommodate those with disabilities or special needs.
32. All contestants are required to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy and conservation and to conduct themselves in a manner that will be a credit to themselves, the sport of fishing and the efforts of HillJack Catfishing to promote the sport. Any persons or team that Cheats, Disrespects other members of the event, or demonstrate excessive poor sportsmanship will be banned from future events and will forfeit all fees associated with the event.

Kayak Wars 2013

Fellas the 1st of February is almost upon us. Everything is prepped and the game plans have been made. I think this will be an on-going post throughout the year with updates and uploads of some of the larger fish that will be turned in via Kayak Wars.

Let me introduce the 2013 Squad. The Backwater Team has come together with Jeff Hall and Michael Anderson of YakDevils Fishing Team. The teams together will cover most of the state of GA and we plan to venture across the southeast region to fish tournaments and new waters for new species.

Jeff Hall

Jeff is the founder of YakDevils. He started the team and his blog to begin logging his kayak fishing expeditions. He had the plan of building a team for kayak wars on his mind from the beginning.

Michael Anderson

Michael is a close friend of Jeffs and they are fishing partners. These two guys hit the water together often and have some "honey holes" in their pocket to produce some large numbers each month.

Myself Clay Hewett

I am getting really pumped up for the season to begin. I didn't have a definite plan for fishing the Wars this year, that is until I talked with Jeff a few times. The points scale really makes this a tournament for the well rounded angler. I like the idea of chasing multiple species in a single day. Putting a monthly team cap on a specific species will make the teams chase more than there favorite fish.

James Whitten

James is a solid multi species fisherman, he likes his bass as much as the next, but has some secret catfishing methods sure to put some hawgs on the board.

Overall we have a solid fishing team and I think this will prove to be a great year for all 4 anglers. We will try new things and hit new waters. If nothing else we will certainly fish with new folks, make some new fishing buddies and have a good time.