Well another year has come and gone and was full of memories that I will never forget. I was fortunate enough to fish all along the coast; I caught fish, got to see a few new sights and met some great people along the way. I can only hope that the New Year brings half of the adventures I enjoyed in 2015.
If you know me, you also know that I like to make photos. I never leave my house without a camera. I try to capture every aspect of the outdoors while I am kayaking; the wildlife, the battle of a big fish and of course a sunrise and sunset. I always enjoy sharing my adventures and my view of the world with other people. I also like seeing other kayaker's viewpoint of the sport.
Every year, Yak-Angler holds the Kayak Choice Awards and they have a nomination for just about every category that is kayak related. Last year I noticed that they did not have a "Kayak Photo" category, so I took things into my own hands. I got with some of the guys that run the Saltwater Boys Kayak Fishing Club here in Southeast Texas, pitched the idea of holding a kayak photo contest and they were in. Fortunately, they are an awesome group of guys and were able to get some great prizes donated to the winners. The contest was a hit with over 100 photos submitted and it exceeded my expectations.
Since we had great participation, it is time to host it again! I am hoping this year we can arrange more prizes and send some new products out to the lucky winners. Last year I was able to award 6 people in 3 different categories; the top prize being a custom made rod and swag. I want to try and double that this year and possibly add another category.
So here is how it works. When I created this I wanted it to be simple and fair, so the rules are pretty basic. The image must include a kayak and it has to be shot in Texas. Keeping it local makes the contest fair and keeps everyone on a level field. Luckily Texas is a big state so there is plenty to see. The diversity of places to kayak is what makes this contest intriguing.
As of now there are 3 categories to submit photos for; "Best Overall", "Best Catch" and "Yak-View." If I can round up enough prizes this year I am going to add another category, "Best of Texas." Here is a rundown of each category.
"Best Catch" is a no brainer. I want to see the best catch that you landed while fishing from your kayak. The winner was Fil "Fishman" Spencer with him releasing a redfish in Rockport.
The "Yak-View" consists of a photo taken from your point of view sitting in a kayak. To be eligible, the bow of your kayak has to be visible in the photo. I want to see your perspective of the sport. The winner last year was Travis Foshee. The image was comprised of him hooked into a good red while fishing near Hitchcock.
The "Best Overall" is also pretty self-explanatory; the photo that stands out the most to the judges and best represents the theme of kayaking. The winner last year was Mike Evaristo with an image captured near Corpus Christi. It was a tough decision between his and Brady Sullivan's "Fog on the Brazos." After a discussion we chose Mike's work. Our reason being was because he was in the right in the middle of a frenzy and that, we felt, is what kayaking is all about!
The additional category I plan on adding this year is going to be the "Best of Texas." I want this photo to stand out and scream Texas when I see it! Like I have said, we live in a very diverse state with numerous sites. As the landscape goes, there is not one place in this state that is the same as another. And as an individual, you are a Texan! If you are doing something on your kayak that you can only do in Texas, I want to see it.
After the deadline, which is January 31 at midnight, me and a group of select judges will sit down and decide on the winners. The judges are two of my fishing buddies from the Saltwater Boys and the other two are good friends of mine who are outdoorsmen. I am only there to make a final decision if a tie is to occur, which does sometimes happen.
So here is a rundown of the finer details. The contest will run from December 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016 and entry is FREE. Contestants can enter up to three photos and MUST be taken in Texas. All photos have to be an original work of entrant and submitted by a single individual.
Please email all photos to TexasKayakChronicles@yahoo.com before the deadline at the end of January. Send the photos in the following format, "Photo Title", location of photo and submitters name (i.e. "Sabine Sunset", Sabine Lake, Texas, David Roberts). After receiving photos I will upload them to my Facebook page: Facebook.com/TexasKayakChronicles.
Last year we had plenty of lures, gift cards to yak-gear, fishing apparel, a rod and more swag. If someone would like to help donate a few prizes for the winners please contact me. Your generosity is what makes this contest possible and for that I am grateful. I had great participation last year and I anticipate receiving more entrants. Kayaking is rapidly growing and everyone has a different perspective of it which makes it a one of a kind sport. So email me your photos and stay in touch with the other entries on my Facebook page. I am ready to see your outlook of Texas and the sport.