The weekend of July 19th I had the opportunity to fish the Bethany Wine Scholarship Fund Tournament. Bethany was a young lady that unfortunately passed away last year from a rare form of cancer. She was a well-known, and well loved, person in the kayak fishing community as well as an avid outdoors woman. This paddle celebrating Bethany also happened to be the same weekend I received my brand new Tarpon 140; I like to think  it was meant to be.

That Saturday morning I woke up to the sound of rain pouring down on my roof- not the best thing to wake up to the day of a tournament. So I got up, made breakfast, poured some coffee and decided to wait out the storm. Once I thought the worst hadOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA passed I made my way to the launch. When I arrived there was a slight NE wind and no rain so I set out for a short paddle to test the water.

I set off in my spankin’ new Tarpon and decided to start fishing. Unfortunately the fish didn’t have the same goal as I did that day! With an hour left until weigh in I decided it was time to get grinding and really go after some fish. After my first small trout I was able to hook onto a solid 27″ red and get him up next to my kayak. That little guy put up a fight! The drag was screaming and my grip was tightening until the red reached an oyster bed and was able to cut my line. Oh well!  Ten minutes later I hooked another and after a short fight he popped my line. I quickly jotted down my notes and made my way to the boat ramp for weigh in. This one was a small trout weighing about 4.36 lbs causing me to miss the leader board. Some you win and some you lose- that’s fishing for you! I told myself there’s always another tournament and packed my gear.

Although my fishing may have been less than fantastic I can not say the same about my kayak. I have been kayaking for over 10 years and I gotta say, my Tarpon is one of the best i’ve paddled. You can’t beat the seat that is on this yak- especially if you need a little extra support for your back. It tracks great, is easy to paddle, and has plenty of storage. The paddle is especially easy when I use my AT Fishstix Paddle. The only thing I would change about this paddle is the color- I’d like AT to make it in Desert Camo to match my yak! Let’s just say the gear didn’t disappoint me like the fish that day!

Overall, the Bethany Wine Scholarship Fund Tournament was a wonderful way to celebrate Bethany’s life and enjoy my new kayaking gear.

Tight lines,

Donald Drabek, ACK Wilderness Systems Ambassador