5 Common Mistakes Kayak Anglers Make During Tournaments.

After a long day of grinding to catch fish during a tournament, the last thing you want is to be disqualified or penalized for an infraction that could have been avoided. I have made a list of the common mistakes I have made and have heard about others making during a tournament, it’s the little things that end up costing you the most.

1. Not wearing a life jacket properly

2. Unreadable Identifier

3. Forgetting to turn on location for photos

4. Submitting the same fish twice

5. Signing up on time

Not Wearing a Life Jacket Properly.

Make sure your life jacket is zipped or buckled all the way, if it isn’t worn like it’s meant to be, you can be disqualified, or at the very least, the submitted fish will not count.

Before submitting your photos, make sure that your life jacket is on and zipped up. It’s an easy step to overlook, we don’t look down at our life jackets very often, it’s a set-and-forget item. 

The photo you are submitting is the most crucial part of kayak tournaments, most mistakes are made during this portion of the tournament.

Unidentifiable identifier.

Every tournament has an identifier code that is written on an identifier card and placed on the ketch board or a location to be seen in the photo.

It’s a good idea to bring extra identifiers with you just in case one gets wet or the ink smudges, both of which will cause a fish to be disqualified. The other element you should take note of is the location of the sun, you want to prevent glaring or dark shadows that would make your identifier unreadable.

Double-check that you have the correct code written down, you will be surprised at how often this mistake has been made.

Image by digital designer from Pixabay

Forgetting to Turn Location On.

Not having your location turned on will disqualify a submitted fish, often a tournament director will call or message you and let you know that you need to turn your location on.

I take a photo at the boat ramp and verify that the location shows up in my photo before the event begins. It’s the little things that get us in trouble, that’s why it’s important to have a checklist.

Submitting the Same Fish Twice.

This is a common mistake on those days were you are catching a lot of fish, and your photo gallery is an unorganized mess, you don’t know where one fish ends, and the other catch begins.

This can be the reason for a fish to be submitted twice. I have found that taking a photo of my depth finder or landscape between catches helps with separating each fish and making for a more organized photo gallery.

This mistake has caused me to not only duplicate a submission but also caused me to miss a submission that could have gained me a few spots in the outcome of the tournament.   

My unorganized photo gallery. I missed submitting two fish this weekend.

Signing Up on Time

Most tournaments have a deadline for registration and if you don’t sign up before the deadline it could keep you from competing that day, at the very least it will cost you extra to register.

Tournament directors put in a lot of time and effort behind the scenes, knowing how many people are registered helps them prepare for the event. Most monthly online challenges have a strict deadline and won’t have the option for a late registration fee.


A lot of mistakes are made during the photo portion of the tournament, it is important to pay attention to the details while taking the photo.  Make a habit of double-checking your photos before releasing your fish. You have time, you don’t have to rush the photo-taking process, most of us are focused on keeping the fish on the ketch board more than the half dozen little things that are just as important.

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