Drifting around a lake in a kayak with a fishing pole in hand is a pretty spectacular way to spend the day. Add the possibility of winning money for the fish you catch and you’ve got a day in the outdoors that’s hard to beat.You can do just that on Sept. 8 on the lakes of Bella Vista. Enter the upcoming Kayak Bass Fishing tournament anytime between now and Sept. 8. Show up at Riordan Hall in Bella Vista on Sept. 7 for the Captain’s meeting. Organizer Jason Adams will go over all the rules, safety and pass out identifiers.During the tournament, competing anglers must include their identifier in every picture of fish that they catch. The fish are released and the photos are uploaded to a website. The fish are scored by length instead of the more traditional bass fishing score by weight.“This is good for the fishing environment because we put the fish right back,’ Adams says. “We touch them as little as possible.”Anglers are encouraged to upload their photos right after a catch. “We want them to upload it immediately because we have an hourly Big Bass contest,” Adams explains. “They never know who will have that big bass that hour.”
The tournament takes place from dawn (or first safe light) to about 3:30 p.m. You must have your own kayak and fishing gear. The Bella Vista tournament requires a minimum of 30 anglers. First place pays a minimum of $1,000, the amount increasing with the number of registrations. The Big Bass Brawl, which costs an extra $45 at sign up, pays out as much as $950. Registration is $75 for the tournament plus $11 per day for Property Owners Association (POA) fees. Register online at TourneyX and learn more about the www.kayakbassfishing.com.Established in 1965, the member-based, recreational community of Bella Vista has a POA to manage the wide array of natural and man-made amenities; although it is now governed by a mayor and city council by incorporation in 2007.The tournament will be held on Bella Vista’s seven lakes. Anglers choose which lake they want to fish.“I’m an angler who likes to fish these tournaments and I’ve wanted to bring theses kayak tournaments to Bella Vista,” Adams explains. “So I partnered with Kayak Bass Fishing and made connections with the POA and City of Bella Vista.”Stress RelieverAdams started kayak fishing as a stress reliever. “I work at Walmart and we work really hard. My co-worker said,’You need to do something more than work.’” His friend started taking him out on his boat to fish. Adams didn’t have a boat so when he fished alone he would fish from the banks of lakes at Bella Vista. “I kept thinking if I had a kayak I could get to so many more places,” he explains. So he bought one. Then he went to his first kayak fishing tournament and won it as well as most of the ones he entered the rest of the year. “I started competing across the country,” Adams says. “The people you meet and the places you get to fish, it’s just a lot of fun.”Adams says interested anglers might also enjoy attending the kayak demonstration event at Lake Ann in Bella Vista on June 2. All major brands of kayaks will be available for people to test and look at. Taking place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the boat ramp, the event is free.
“This is good for the fishing environment because we put the fish right back,’ Adams says. “We touch them as little as possible.”
Those coming into town for either event can book a stay at unique Bella Vista lodging - vacation rental homes, perfect for storing your kayak when not in use. Book your authentic experience at Vacation Rentals.There is plenty of other fun to be had in Bella Vista. With a population of about 30,000 and growing, the city boasts 36,000 acres offering a picturesque, activity-based lifestyle. It has more than $35 million in recreational amenities, including six golf courses, swimming pools, lighted tennis courts, pump track, trails, parks, pavilions, recreation centers, a gun range, a dog park, an RV Park, a Veterans Wall of Honor, and more.
By Jill Rohrbach