Robert Leon Reels in Lake Conroe

Conroe Sunrise

Re-posted from FishKATS.com

Robert Leon reeled them in on Saturday catching the days’ only limit totaling 85.25 inches and securing first place for over $500 and a custom engraved Yak Attack Blackpak! Sam Gutierrez, a rising star within the KATS crowd took second with 47.75 inches. He is currently also in the lead for Kayak Angler of the Year. In third, Ryan Herzog scored 42.5 inches and a winning big bass of 22.25 inches. Robert Leon holds the current lead for King of the Fish with 130 total inches over the first two events of the season.

Robert Leon wins 1st Place!
Robert Leon wins 1st Place!

In the Social division, Dawson Merrill (13 years old) is keeping his winning streak  with a first place finish for an 18.75 inch bass. Larry Fisseler who took first at Decker placed second on Saturdays tourney. In third was a newcomer to the series, Kirk Beverung. See the full results for Lake Conroe here.

The totally free raffle prizes were amazing thanks to our generous sponsors, and most folks went home with new addition to their kayak gear shop! Dan Arnold, a young participant of KATS took home the charity raffle Xsporter 500 Pro, compliments of Platinum sponsor Thule. As always, a special thanks to our 2014 Patron sponsors, Bending BranchesMalone Auto Racks, and Ocean Kayak for their continued support!

Our next event will be in the Austin area covering two lakes, Lake Austin and Ladybird Lake(Town Lake). We are the biggest freshwater tournament in Texas and would love for you to join us. No membership fees, tons of fun, and great fishing! Learn how-to fish a KATS event!

To stay informed on upcoming events and the 2014 KATS series, please visit www.fishkats.com and subscribe to our email list. You can also find us on Facebook!

Garcia Wins Big at Decker – KATS 2014 Update

Re-posted from FishKATS.com

Holstine with a nice bass. Photo Credit: Shoot to Capture by Autumn Villanueva
Holstine with a nice bass. Photo Credit: Shoot to Capture by Autumn Villanueva

The KATS 2014 season kicked off on Saturday with the largest field of competitors in the series to date. There were 83 registered anglers that competed for a large prize pot, big bass payout, and a custom engraved YakAttack BlackPak. Windy conditions followed a beautiful morning at launch and made for tougher fishing for most of the tournament.

Steve Garcia, 2012 Kayak Angler of the Year and King of the Fish, took first place in the Pro Division with an even 100 inches. In addition his big bass of 23.25 inches secured the $550 big bass pot and custom engraved BlackPak. Garcia was awarded with $1251.25 and trophy for his excellent performance!

In a very close second place, Marcus Villanueva took home $682.50 with 99.25 inches. In third place, Clinton Holstine, a newcomer to the series, secured $341.25 with 93.75 inches. Both also took home a KATS Decker lake trophy! Robert Dockery has returned to the kayak fishing scene placing 4th place with 92 inches and winning a $100 Malone certificate. And with 91 inches, Robert Supak took fifth and $50 Scotty certificate.

Front Row (left to right): Kristian Kolflat, Dawson Merrel, Robert Dockery, Steve Garcia, Clinton Holstine. Back Row: Nick Fisseler, Larry Fisseler, Robert Supak & Marcus Villanueva.
Front Row (left to right): Kristian Kolflat, Dawson Merrel, Robert Dockery, Steve Garcia, Clinton Holstine. Back Row: Nick Fisseler, Larry Fisseler, Robert Supak & Marcus Villanueva.

In the Social Division, Larry Fisseler won a $297 ACK gift card with 65.5 inches, with his nephew Nick Fisseler taking second with $162 ACK gift certificate with 33.5 inches. One of our youngest competitors, Dawson Merrill (13) took third and an $81 gift card with a big 21.25 inch bass! A big congratulations to all who placed and huge thank you to everyone for joining us on Saturday! See the full results here!

The next KATS event is coming up fast, the Lake Conroe tournament is scheduled for January 25th! Please show your support to the sponsors who make this series possible! We thank you for being a part of KATS and hope to see you at the next one! To stay informed on upcoming events and the KATS 2014 series, please visit www.fishkats.com and subscribe to our email list. You can also find us on Facebook!

Big thank you to Autumn Villanueva of Shoot to Capture for taking photos at the event.

Keep Up To Date With KATS 2014!

Have you heard the latest about KATS 2014?

2014 KATS is already off to a great start and earlier last month I announced our event dates and locations. I wanted to share them here in case you hadn’t already caught them at http://www.fishkats.com. Check it out:

KATS 2014 Dates & Lakes
KATS 2014 Dates & Lakes

12/7 Bastrop River Run Pre-Season Event- completed

1/11/2014  Decker Lake -Austin Area

1/25/2014  Lake Conroe- Houston Area

2/8/2014 Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake – Austin Area

2/22/2014  Lake Wood  – San Marcos/San Antonio Area

3/1/2014 Lake Bastrop  – Austin Area

3/29/2014   Austin Area Lakes – KATS/Operation Angler Strength Partnered Event

4/12/2014 Lake Sam Rayburn – Houston Area

4/26/2014  Lake Fayette – Austin/Houston Area

5/10/2014 Lake Ray Roberts – Dallas Area

5/31/2014 Choke Canyon – San Marcos/San Antonio Area

9/27-9/28 Classic Championship – To be Announced

***Tournament Director reserves the right to change/alter schedule, rules, etc at any time.***

Haven’t Heard of KATS?

KATS Anglers at the 2013 Canyon Stop.
KATS Anglers at the 2013 Canyon Stop.

The Kayak Angler Tournament Series, or KATS, is Texas’ largest freshwater kayak angler’s tournament series!

Our competitor field is made up of kayak fishing fanatics and enthusiasts with a deep rooted passion for catching while paddling and they compete in forces numbering 80 and up (expected to grow this year) for prizes, payouts, honor, and several prestigious titles including Kayak Angler of the Year, King of the Fish, and Classic Champion!

This is the 8th year for KATS and the 3rd year for Austin Canoe and Kayak to host this growing series. I will be heading KATS again and looks forward to seeing the die-hard regulars along with some fresh faces amongst the crowd. Stay up to date on all things KATS by visiting: http://www.fishkats.com.

Kayak Angler Tournament Series (KATS) 2013 Season Wrap-Up

For its second year, ACK hosted KATS (Kayak Angler Tournament Series) in the Austin, Texas area. Competitors from all over Central Texas and beyond gathered at 6 events beginning in January and finishing up Saturday, September 7th at Inks Lake State Park for the Classic Championship.

2013 Saw Growth for the Kayak Angler Tournament Series

The Bastrop event had 77 Anglers in attendance!
The Bastrop event had 77 Anglers in attendance!

The first five tournaments were qualifying events in which contestants could compete in one of three divisions: Pro, Semi-Pro, and Rookie. Those looking for a more serious competition would choose Pro and keep track of their progress over the season for a stake in the Classic Championship and for prestigious titles such as Kayak Angler of the Year and King of the Fish. Those looking to get started in the sport or improve their skills joined in the ranks of the Semi-Pro and Rookie divisions competing for lots of amazing prizes and certificates donated by our generous sponsors!

2013 is the biggest KATS season yet and lured in over 116 different individual competitors with single event participations as high as 77 anglers! New for this year is the www.fishkats.com website, home to all information regarding the series including but not limited to rules, dates and locations, results, photos, registration, and discussion.

Brandon Campbell Wins Angler of the Year & King of the Fish!

2013 was a good year for Brandon!
2013 was a good year for Brandon!

Brandon Campbell earned the Kayak Angler of the Year title in the 5th event of the season at Canyon Lake. His stellar performance won him a fully outfitted Malone Microsport Kayak Trailer courtesy of Patron Sponsor Malone. Brandon also won King of the Fish, a title for the angler who catches the most inches over the entire series, and for this he will be paddling a brand new Amigo kayak courtesy of local Texas Patron Sponsor, Diablo Paddlesports.

Classic Championship Tests Top Anglers

From Left to Right: Mark Nordstrom, Steve Garcia, Ryan Herzog, Chris Coufal and Brandon Campbell.
From Left to Right: Mark Nordstrom, Steve Garcia, Ryan Herzog, Chris Coufal and Brandon Campbell.

The Classic Championship took place on Inks Lake and tested the skills of the Top 20 contestants from the series. A tough day of fishing on a hot September day made for grueling competition allowing long-time KATS veteran Ryan Herzog to win Classic Champion with a 69 inch stringer. Next in line was Steve Garcia (2012 Kayak Angler of the Year and King of the Fish) with 35.5 inches, and taking third place was Mark Nordstrom with 31.5 inches. An informal and fun casting competition took place following the Classic and tested the casting distance and accuracy of several die-hards with Chris Coufal beating out his competition: his prize a fossilized relative of the modern day shad, estimated at 50 million years of age.

When asked, “What’s the best part of running KATS?” tournament director Kristian Kolflat, answered “seeing the camaraderie and fun that the competitors have all the while hosting a fierce competitive battle for cash, prizes, and pride!”

Brothers Dylan (left) and Kristian Kolflat kept things running smoothly. Johanna and Joseph helped too.
Brothers Dylan (left) and Kristian Kolflat kept things running smoothly. Johanna and Joseph helped too.

The KATS Staff wishes to thank all of our sponsors for their continued support and for making this series possible. We’re all looking forward to 2014 and beyond!

2013 KATS Staff:

Kristian Kolflat (Tournament Director)

Joseph Dowdy (Assisstant  Director)

Dylan Kolflat (Event Specialist)

Johanna Kraus–Darden (Event Specialist)

2013 KATS Series Overview

Competitor 'yaks lined up at Fayette.
Competitor ‘yaks lined up at Fayette

The qualifying 2013 Kayak Angler Tournament Series season was buttoned up at Canyon Lake in May and the Classic Championship looms on the horizon for the Top 20 anglers! Five qualifying events, a whole lot of fun, and some excellent kayak fishing made for a great season in ACK’s second annual hosting of the series.

The 77 Anglers at Lake Bastrop
The 77 Anglers at Lake Bastrop

Big thanks to all of the participants that came out to the events this year allowing for record turnouts including 77 anglers at Lake Bastrop! 116 different anglers fished one or more KATS tournaments including many KATS veterans and lots of new faces!

A total prize value of $40,000 in gear and guided trips were handed out over the season and about $10,000 was paid out in cash this year. In addition, trophies were handed out at each event!

For the top 20 anglers of 2013, the Classic Championship location will be announced sometime this summer and will take place on September 7th. KATS competitors can expect to see an additional event over the summer before we head into the 2014 season.

Left to Right: Steve, Brandon, Chris & Kristian
Left to Right: Steve, Brandon, Chris & Kristian

Brandon Campbell took home the big win for Kayak Angler of the Year at the fifth stop (Canyon Lake) and is currently in the lead for King of the Fish as well. Steve Garcia (2012 Kayak Angler of the Year) took 2nd place, and Chris Coufal third place, although it was a very close race until the end with these three anglers fighting for inches at Canyon. Brandon Campbell also placed third in the pro division at Canyon lake and won big bass with a 19.75 inch bass!  Congratulations to all!

Tournament Director, Kristian Kolflat and the staff of KATS and ACK wish to extend a big thank you to all participants, and to our very generous sponsors whom made this series possible! We look forward to the remaining events in 2013 and hope to see you all (and new faces) in 2014!

More information to come regarding the Classic Championship, 2014 KATS season, additional 2013 events and of course to keep up to date stay tuned on www.fishkats.com.

See the gallery below for some season highlights:

 

Go Play Day with the Remix and Commander

Working at an outdoor gear company does mean that I spend a lot of my time outdoors and being active. However, some days, us outdoorsy folks do enjoy a day inside and reaping the benefits of the city life. For my latest Go Play Day (a quarterly perk of working at ACK) I decided to meet in the middle.

I brought my dad along with me and started the day at Elevation Burger (a nice burger made from organic grass fed beef, and homestyle fries) and then headed for the ACK Austin store. At this point, we hadn’t decided what we would be paddling but ultimately we loaded a Wilderness Systems Commander 140, and a Liquid Logic Remix XP 10. Both of these boats are available for rental at the shop.

A couple of hours of paddling on Ladybird Lake in downtown Austin on a warm ‘winter’ day was really enjoyable. We swapped boats halfway through to get a feel for the differences. The commander is a very comfortable and stable boat, so much so that you can stand in it – a cool feature when paddling down a crystal clear creek. The Remix, is more of a creek boat. I had fun toying around with the small rapids at the bottom of Barton Springs Pool. Do not be fooled, the Remix can track very well on flat water with its built in drop down skeg! To cap it all off, we stopped in at North by Northwest for happy hour (a good one to remember), and had some in-house crafted beers and appetizers. Slightly different than my usual adventure days, this was a nice relaxing day with a little bit of adventure.

How do you incorporate a day of paddling into your daily routine?

Kristian @ACK

2013 KATS – Official Kick Off!

It’s time for KATS! The 2013 series is coming up fast in the central Texas area. Dates and locations have been announced and the first tourney will kick off on Decker Lake (Walter E. Long Lake) here in Austin on January 26th.  KATS (Kayak Angler Tournament Series) is a local kayak anglers tournament series comprised of 5 qualifying tournaments and a Classic Championship. These anglers, with a deep rooted passion for kayak fishing, compete in forces numbering 60 and up (expected to grow this year) for prizes, payouts, honor, and several prestigious titles including Kayak Angler of the Year, King of the Fish, and Classic Champion!

This is the 7th year for KATS and the 2nd year for Austin Canoe and Kayak to host this growing series. I will be heading up KATS again this year as Tournament Director and I look forward to seeing the die-hard regulars along with some fresh faces among the crowd. Last year’s drought and challenging weather made for a tough competition, and with similar conditions expected this year you can expect the competition to be even more fierce.

Steve Garcia ran away with KATS last year with three first place qualifying wins, Kayak Angler of the Year, and King of the Fish titles. His grand prize of a fully decked out Malone Kayak trailer with two boats (a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 and a FeelFree Moken 10 Angler) made for a happy competitor after a season of dedicated perseverance. While Steve harnessed the spotlight in 2012 several other competitors made big statements about how serious they are. Bobby Lebeuf had an impressive win for Classic Champion and Lake Bastrop with a 100.25 inch stringer. It won’t be a surprise to see names like Villanueva, Hebert, Nordstrom, Moccia, and Campbell among the top ranks this year as they were among those who caught the most inches last season.

This year KATS is introducing a new division structure. There is a Pro division, a new Semi-Pro division, and a Rookie (any size bass) division allowing more flexibility for anglers in choosing how much they want to compete and against what stakes. The veterans of AKF and KATS should be competing in the Pro Division while those who perform on a less consistent platform should consider the Semi-Pro. The Rookie division will replace last years’ Amateur Division and will bring in a big change in that any size bass will be counted towards the score.

KATS is always looking for sponsors for the series and help with the series!

For more information on participation, sponsorship, etc., please visit FishKats.com.

Kristian @ACK

2012 Kayak Angler Tournament Series – Stillhouse Hollow Report

1st Place Pro Winner Steve Garcia

The only words appropriate for describing the fourth and final qualifying event of the KATS series on Stillhouse Hollow Lake this weekend: “brutally windy”. Thirty competitors faced a tough day of fishing and some strenuous paddling throughout the day at Dana Peak Park, but a few managed to put themselves on top of fish.

The competition was again preceded by a camp out of diehards the night before allowing for fish tales, additional smack-talk and some interesting interactions with park host, “Handlebar Dave”.  The Pavilion lights were switched on just past 5am and while competitors geared up for a breezy day and stern competition, ACK owner Chris Hackerd and staff member Joseph Dowdy filmed interviews amongst the troops with a comical spin (stay tuned). With the end of the series nearing, some competitors made predictions on what the Top Ten Leaderboard would look like; Bobby Lebeuf managed to make a close prediction, including his very own entry into the Top Ten after a hard day on the water.

As the horn blew and a few folks paddled in place against the wind, the tourney began with a race for the bests spots. The fishing was very tough this time around and the winners circle was full of familiar faces in the pro division with Steve Garcia (86 in.) once again taking the 1st place title, followed by a very close second for Marcus Villanueva (85.25 in.), and third by Matt Moccia (61.5). The amateur division had a first place winner Jacob Toy, a last-minute newcomer to the series.

1st Place Amateur Winner Jacob Toy

The Top Ten Anglers of the series are now locked in for the Classic Championship in June. Five additional spots will be battled for by the remainder of the competitors at the Wildcard event on May 12th at Decker Lake in Austin, TX. The Wildcard event will be a one-division tournament with attractive prize packages. All anglers who have fished two prior events are welcome to participate. The 5 wildcard spots will only go to anglers who are not already qualified for the Classic.

Thanks to everyone that came out to join us at this event and we cannot thank our sponsors enough for providing the amazing prizes given out at each event so please do make sure to check them out and support them when you can.

If you have participated in at least two of the first four tournaments, please join us at Decker Lake on Saturday May 12th for the Wildcard event by signing up here.

To see the complete results, click here. Want to see more pictures, check out and like our very own Kayak Angler Tournament Series Facebook page.

Kristian @ACK

 

2012 Kayak Angler Tournament Series – Lake Travis Report

1st Place Pro - Brandon Campbell

The third event of the KATS series took place this past Saturday at Pace Bend Park drawing over 50 anglers! The recent heavy rainfall made for a tough fishing day due to a “chocolate milk lake and blueberry sky” as one competitor Kevin Hebert described it.

The competition was preceded by a camp out of diehards the night before, making for an early start with a short night for some of the anglers! At 5am while competitors were unloading, gearing up and registering, ACK Owner, Chris Hackerd and ACK Marketing Director, Roland Jimenez conducted interviews (watch the footage here). With a recent headline on the Kayak Anglers Magazine’s Tournament Wire titled “At KATS, they’ll be gunning for Garcia“, the competition was sure to be fierce and cross-hairs surely locked on a few of the top ranked anglers.

1st Place Amateur - Jeff Kellington

A cool foggy morning turned into a warm clear, blue sky afternoon as competitors began checking in at the scoring table. Limits were scarce on Saturday and new faces dominated the winning crowd. In the Amateur division, Jeff Kellington took home 1st place and the Big Bass prize (20.75 in.) after having purchased his kayak only a week before. In Second place, Lindzey Sandefur had just caught her first fish out of a kayak that day! Third place Nathan Henderson along with Jeff and Lindzey took home some of Bending Branches’ newest angler paddles, yet to be on the market!

In the Pro division Brandon Campbell came in 1st with 82.5 in., followed by Chris Coufal, David Lyon, and Ryan McDermid — all anglers who had not yet placed in this series. With these changes the leader-board for the series has changed quite a bit as well, the next event at Stillhouse Hollow, will be crucial and high-stakes for many.

Thanks to everyone that came out to join us at this event and we cannot thank our sponsors enough for providing the amazing prizes given out at each event so please do make sure to check them out and support them when you can.

Join us at Stillhouse Hollow Lake on April 28th for the fourth and last qualifying event of the series by signing up here.

To see the complete results, click here. Want to see more pictures, check out and like our very own Kayak Angler Tournament Series Facebook page.

Kristian @ACK

 

Ever Dream of Paddling?

Ever dream of paddling? Whether its something I conjure up during my sleep or while daydreaming at work (just kidding of course), I usually end up trying to find a way to turn it into reality. That is, unless its a nightmare. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to find myself paddling in exotic places such as Hawaii, the Atlantic coast of France, Corsica, the Everglades, British Columbia, the Texas Coast, the Florida Keys, Switzerland, Colorado and various lakes and rivers in Texas and other states across America. There are tons of places I still intend to visit and do a little paddling. How about the Sea of Cortez, Costa Rica, Iceland, Alaska, New York, Oregon, Tahiti and New Zealand for a start. I want to encourage everyone to keep an open mind about paddling abroad and also to consider renting kayaks while traveling. As for the nightmares, try not to find yourself overturned in a dark sea cave prone to being underwater when the tide rises. I made it out without  scratch but it still creeps me out to think what might have been swimming beneath me.

What are some of the places you dream of paddling, or some of the favorite places you have been fortunate to visit and paddle?

Kristian @ACK