Doug Stewart is a Central Texas kayak angling enthusiast who really wanted to get involved in local kayak fishing tournaments.
Tightlines Premium Fishing Tackle, in addition to being a top-shelf bass tackle dealer and Bass Cat fishing boat dealer, was strongly considering organizing a kayak fishing tournament series to meet the rising interest in the sport from people like Stewart.
Tightlines already had the experience in organizing tournaments hard-won from their many seasons organizing the 3X9 Series for bass boat-based anglers. So, when Stewart and Tightlines joined forces in mid-2018, the groundwork for the 2019 Tightlines Thursday Night Kayak Series was laid.
The first Tightlines Thursday Night Kayak Series tournament is now scheduled for early March.
After two pilot events conducted prior to the late October flooding in 2018, Stewart felt a catch-and-release event making use of the popular TourneyX app would be the way to go in 2019.
The TourneyX app allows a solo kayak angler to catch a bass, place the bass on a cradle-shaped measuring device called a “Hawg Trough,” snap a photo while following set guidelines, release the fish and then upload the fish photo and length data to the app so the tournament results can be tracked in close to real time.
Additionally, a unique code issued for each tournament must be displayed in the photo as proof that the fish was caught during the event. A complete description of the TourneyX concept is available at tourneyx.com/app.
The tournament winner would be determined based on which angler landed the three longest fish of legal minimum length for the event. While anglers may capture more than three fish, only the longest three would be counted toward their end result.
Stewart has earmarked Thursday, March 7, as the date for the inaugural event which will launch out of the four-lane boat ramp inside Stillhouse Park, adjacent to the Stillhouse Hollow Marina.
Over the course of the series, which will run bi-weekly from March through mid-September, the launch location will move to different ramps on Stillhouse, including Cedar Gap Park and River’s Bend Park, in addition to the Stillhouse Park location.
These events will begin at 6 p.m, with a lines-in time of 9, and a return-to-ramp time of approximately 9:30.
The series participation fee is $45 per angler, with a $40 fee per tournament thereafter. The events will pay out 95 percent of the tournament fee as prize money to at least the top three finishers in each event.
Although event registration can be accomplished on-site prior to the tournaments, Stewart encourages participants to pre-register at the Tightlines location at 5902 E. Veterans’ Memorial Drive in Killeen.
There is no age limit for participants, but those age 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult present at the tournament launch site.
Interested anglers may contact Stewart, a former U.S. Army armor branch non-commissioned officer now working as a field engineer at Central Texas College, at 254-338-0432.
3X9 SERIES BEGINS MARCH 5
Just two days prior to the Tightlines Thursday Night Kayak Series making its debut, the Tightlines 3X9 Series will kick off its fifth season on Tuesday evening, March 5.
This is a more traditional bass tournament geared toward bass boat-based angling teams of two anglers each.
For those anglers who do not own a boat, Tightlines makes a concerted effort to pair such anglers with boat owners.
As the name implies, the goal each Tuesday is to catch the three heaviest fish by the 9 p.m. tournament end time.
The 3X9 Series is scheduled for a 30-tournament run every Tuesday evening beginning at 6, with no breaks until the last regular-season event on Sept. 24.
This year’s membership fee is $10 per angler, and there is a $50 per-boat-per-tournament entry fee for each tournament fished.
Eighty percent of the $50 per boat fee will be paid right back out at the end of each tournament to the top finishers, and the remaining 20 percent will be retained as prize money for the end-of-season championship event scheduled for September 29.
Additionally, the angler awarded the Angler of the Year title, based both on points accumulated for tournament participation and weight of fish caught, will take home $500.
Those teams fishing all 30 events will earn free passage into the championship round, whereas all other qualified teams will pay $125 per boat to participate. Teams qualify by fishing a minimum of 15 of the 30 regular season events.
Although the legal limit of bass for a two-man team is 10 fish, the 3X9 Series limits each team to weighing in only three fish. This effort is undertaken specifically to reduce handling and stress on the fish, thus enhancing captured fishes’ chances of post-release survival.
All events are scheduled to launch out of the Stillhouse Hollow Marina.
Tournament director Dean Thompson encourages participants to take care of membership and tournament registration early and in-person at the Tightlines Premium Fishing Tackle store. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, and is closed on Sundays.
Interested anglers may contact Thompson at 254-290-1937.