My AFWC (Adventure Fishing World Championship) trip started from New Jersey. I loaded up my car with all my fishing gear checking over my preplanned checklist to make sure I had everything. I hooked up my kayak trailer and double checked all my straps. I was officially ready to leave. NJ and head to Louisiana for the AFWC. My destination for the AFWC was Delacroix, Louisiana, but I needed to make a pit stop in Philadelphia to pick up my teammate.After a long and tiresome 23.5 hour ride we arrived at our camp, along a winding road. We then had to wait on the rest of the gang from New Jersey. The following morning we all geared up and hit the water for some prefishing. We launched from our camp and headed out to explore the local waters fishing every cut and channel we could find. The fish were everywhere and plenty were caught amongst us. We all thought we had it dialed in for the AFWC. We knew where the fish were and what they were eating, or so we thought. Fishing has a funny way of teaching you to remain humble, especially in a tournament as tough as the AFWC.
After our prefishing, we headed to the captains meeting for the AFWC. It was great to meet up with old and new friends, and all of our fellow kayak anglers were ready to fish one of the most complicated tournaments around. The Captain’s bags were not what we were expected from such a big demanding tournament. My hope is this is something that will be updated for next year’s AFWC tournament. We got all of our safety gear checked in, and received our team number for the AFWC. Ready to go, we headed back to camp to get a solid night’s rest.
Tournament day arrived and we awoke to cloudy skies and warm weather. There was rain in the forecast, and we knew we’d be in for a challenge. We arrived at the launch along with 100 other kayak anglers awaiting the maps to be handed out. Once 7:00am hit the clock we tore open our envelopes containing the maps with the checkpoints and planned our attack. We hit the water with a plan in mind that we thought would succeed. As soon as we left the launch, the winds picked up and the rain moved in. We arrived at our first checkpoint and fished the area for the next 2.5 hours with nothing but weeds and bayou mud to show for. We were exhausted and beat up from battling 25 mph winds and strong tides. They don’t call the AFWC the toughest kayak fishing tournament around without good reason. We headed to the second checkpoint and along the way came across another team of anglers who were also exhausted from fighting the winds. After going back and forth for a few minutes,we all decided we’d had enough and headed back to the launch. Many teams remained on the water and fished over the next 11 hours. Giving them credit, I will never under estimate the challenge of the AFWC tournament. Woody Callaway and the Native Watercraft Team proved that they have the most adventurous tournament on the circuit.
11 hours later and 63 tired and worn out teams later we gathered at the award ceremony to see who held their own. The AFWC event was a 5 checkpoint event with a minimum of 3 checkpoints to qualify covering almost 20 miles. It was time to see who had been able to battle the elements and come out successful. The results were in and the first place prize of two Native Watercraft Versaboards were awarded. The winners of this very challenging event were team Chasing Tail with Jeremy Carson and Cody Phillips with 146.75 inches of fish within 4 checkpoints.
The anglers who fished the AFWC were some of the strongest in the country and they showed it during the tournament by proving they had what it took to compete in the most challenging kayak fishing event ever held. I’m looking forward to next year’s AWFC tournament, but truly hope that the prizes are upgraded to match to quality of the AFWC kayak fishing tournament. Congratulations to all of the kayak anglers who participated in the AFWC this year!
1st Place – Jeremy Carson & Cody Phillips
2nd Place – Steve Lessard & Clayton Shilling
3rd Place – Craig Dye & Mike Ernst
4th Place – Jeff Herman & Clint Barghi
5th Place – Ty Hibbs & Russ Pylant
6th Place – Ryan Lauve & Shane Pantoja
7th Place – Steve Fisher & Eric Jackson
8th Place – Jean McElroy & Kevin Whitley
9th Place – Ricky Dembrun Jr. & Chris Holmes
10th Place – Kirk Reasonover & James Harmon
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