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College Kayak Fishing Series

College teams representing LSU, Lamar, Stephen F. Austin, and Texas A&M launched kayaks in Galveston recently to fish the College Kayak Series. The event was hosted by the area’s premier kayak and tackle shop, Fishing Tackle Unlimited.

The teams competed for gear, bragging rights; and most important, they were fighting for an invitation to the national championship and a chance to win serious prizes, including scholarship funds.

The College Kayak Series (CKS) was founded by members of Jackson Kayaks Pro Staff to give college students a way to connect and compete in the sport of kayak fishing. The tournament series is made up of a saltwater and a freshwater competition. In only the second year, the series is seeing growth and national recognition.

Team and Individual divisions will compete throughout the year at multiple events. Toward the end of the season (summer) a national championship event will be held consisting of a multi-day tournament to determine the Team National Champion and the Angler of the Year.

Winning team from Lamar University. Photos: Fishing Tackle Unlimited

Winning
team from
Lamar
University. Photos: Fishing Tackle Unlimited

November 16th started out overcast and windy. The three-member teams launched from various locations in the Galveston bay complex. CKS is conservation minded and uses a Catch, Photo, Release format. The cool thing about the CPR format is that with today’s technology, the fish caught during the tournament get uploaded from the anglers’ smart phones, and the public can watch live updates online during the event.

Lamar University’s WiIlie Nelson (no, not that Willie Nelson) was first to upload a fish, which was a 15.5-inch sea trout. Not big, but with the tough conditions getting any fish on the ruler and photo was a good start. Soon after Nelson’s upload, the crew from Stephen F. Austin University found and caught decent fish. Seth Moore from SFA put a 20.5-inch red on the ruler, and then his teammate Travis landed a decent trout.

The next fish was a big one and came on the rod of LSU Tiger Alex Beck. Alex threw a Cajun roundhouse blow and landed a 28.75-inch redfish. That is over the slot in Texas, but in a Catch, Photo, Release tournament it counts. Alex also added a 17.5-inch sea trout, putting LSU in a good spot.

If the Tigers could add some more fish they’d certainly be in the catbird’s seat.

Texas A&M’s Joe Harrison got the Aggies on the board with some very respectable slot redfish. But as the results trickled in it looked to be a battle between Lamar and SFA for the win.

Teams met at Fishing Tackle Unlimited at 3 p.m. for the “weigh-in” and official results. The weigh-in consists of the tournament officials reviewing the uploads and posting the winners online for the official announcement.

Individual winner Alex Beck of LSU.

Individual
winner Alex
Beck of
LSU.

When the final results were tallied, David Roberts, Stuart Flowers, and Willie Nelson representing Lamar University won the team competition. Big smiles and high fives overflowed as the three young men collected their winnings and congratulations from the other teams. Lamar beat out SFA by just 7.25 inches with a total length of 110 inches. The individual win went to LSU’s Alex Beck, his monster 28.75-inch red made him hard to beat.

Aside from the competition between the schools, The College Kayak Series fosters sportsmanship, fellowship, and conservation. The tournament series is ongoing and it’s not too late to get a team together for the next event. Or just put on your college colors, come on down and cheer on your school at the weigh-in.

Get more information on the tournament at takemekayakfishing.org.

 

—Jeff Herman

 

Grapevine Gets USA’s First Indoor¬†Training Center

If you think you are a good shot with a rifle, chances are you are a candidate for America’s first indoor shooter training center that opened recently in Grapevine.

The Sportsman Shooting Center is a first-class facility designed to do one thing—help a hunter attain better, more accurate skills when shooting at wild game, especially animals that are moving.

SportsmanShooting

A unique course involves three stages of marksmanship, beginning with the basics. The course closes with an incredibly realistic test of an individual’s ability to shoot a variety of animals under various conditions. It’s a two-hour experience that will help both the beginner and the veteran hunter.

The course begins at the center’s 100-yard, indoor tunnel located on the bottom floor. You may bring your own rifle, and you are encouraged to do so, whether your rifle is a long-time favorite or one you have recently obtained.

If you have a new scope, an NRA-certified shooting instructor will be there with you to mount the scope for you. The instructor will also assist in sighting-in your rifle or help solve scope- and rifle-related problems.

Each time you fire a round through the 100-yard tunnel, your shot placement will show up on a flat-screen computer located on your bench rest table next to you. This helps you and the instructor see exactly where your shots strike each time you make a scope adjustment.

If you don’t want to bring your own gun, you can use one of the center’s Blazer RBs in .223, .308, .270 or 30.06 calibers. Each is equipped with an AimPoint red dot sight.

Once your gun is sighted in, you go to another room where you participate in an interactive Laser Training Simulator session where NRA-certified instructors teach you a kind of shooting you may not be used to—shooting at running or walking animals.

The shooter uses a specially made rifle to fire a red laser beam at a variety of animals projected on a video screen. Each time the shooter fires, a computer records barrel speed, hits and misses. It also tracks the barrel’s path as the shooter swings on each animal. This data shows whether you followed through with the shot or stopped as soon as you pulled the trigger. A line shows your “swing” as you tracked the animal before the shot was fired.

All this information helps the instructor identify any problems you may have in making a good shot with a good swing.

“A lot of people don’t know how some really small things can affect their accuracy when shooting at a moving target,” Sportsman Shooting Center general manager Randy Skyora said. “It could be the shooter didn’t follow through with the shot, but it also could be the shooter’s body posture, how he is holding the rifle, or something else.”

The third and final session is one of the most fun and exciting shooting experiences I have ever seen except for hunting live animals. It is called the Live Shot Video Cinema Range and is a great place for individual shooting or for three or four hunting buddies to challenge each other’s shooting skills while firing at a variety of animals on a large screen. The target animals include everything from hogs, red deer, bear and moose to numerous African plains animals.

The Live Shot Video Cinema Range includes four bench shooting stands and a projector that displays various real-life wildlife videos on a large screen. An instructor uses a flat screen computer to select which video to use. As mentioned earlier, you may bring your own rifle on this final stage course. Or you can use one of the center’s Blazer RBs and ammunition available at the shooting center.

“We also have numerous women who come here to learn to shoot,” Skyora said. “Many of them have told us they never have gone hunting before other than just to accompany their husbands. You might be surprised how well they have shot. I can’t tell you how many have said they can’t wait to come back to the center to shoot some more.”

Skyora sees the center as a place where groups such as the Boy Scouts, hunter education classes, youth associations, and many others can educate their members about firearms and teach them to be good marksmen. The Sportsman Shooting Center is just across the highway from Bass Pro Shops and close to DFW Airport as well as the Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex.

 

—Bob Hood