A snook almost too big for my measuring board – 1st place in the tournament

By Gary Rankel

Nature Coast Kayak Fishers

I just happened to catch my biggest snook in 12 years, this 35 incher that was almost too big for my measuring board. To top it off, I got her during our annual catch-photo-release kayak fishing tournament, leading to a first place finish for biggest fish, a nice trophy, a new fishing rod, and a $200 check.

Life is good.

BTW, another little known benefit of the Wavewalk, is its cockpit design which better supports a measuring board while photographing fish prior to release. This task really requires 3 hands, and is much more difficult to accomplish in mono-hull yaks where it’s harder to stand up or, otherwise, get farther away from the fish with a camera to capture it entirely on the board, while keeping it from jumping off, so judges can verify its length.

Maybe it will be possible to have a measuring device inscribed or attached to the platform of your new S-4 vessel, making it even easier to get this job done.





Read more about Gary’s kayak fishing trips »

Read Gary’s review of his Wavewalk 500 fishing kayak »

8 thoughts on “A snook almost too big for my measuring board – 1st place in the tournament”

  1. Wow!! 😀
    Congratulations Gary! Awesome!

    The best part, IMO, is that you got a nice cash prize instead of some lame SOT or sit-in fishing kayak or SUP board that you’d have had to offer for sale while feeling somehow guilty for doing so 😀

    Between us, sometimes I feel sorry for kayak manufacturers who donate a fishing kayak as a prize in a fishing tournament, only to see the winner of this expensive prize offer it for sale to other participants at the end of the ceremony. And such things are not uncommon in these tournaments, because there are many pro-staffers who participate in them, and these anglers for hire have a contract with their ‘sponsor’ by which they get paid for hooking fish out of a kayak from the sponsor’s brand.


  2. Actually, Yoav, they did have a sit-inside yak donated by one of the local yak shops that they raffled off. Needless to say, I didn’t buy any tickets.

    I just hope my snook survived the measuring / photographing process. It took her a long time to recover, and she swam away slowly.

  3. Congratulations Gary!

    Maybe, the yak tournament community, as a matter of environmental stewardship in catch & release contests, should require an on board observer to witness the fish capture and assist in speedy capture, measurement, documentation, and return to the water. That seems a lot for one person to do. Why risk killing future brood stock?

    The W700 and S4 boats can easily meet compliance with the environmentally conscious “monitoring mate” on board.

    Those boats that cannot carry the load should not be allowed to compete based upon their potential damage to the environment. Kayakers should not need to be a part of destroying a resource for simple competition.

    Hopefully, that big Snook will breed for many seasons and you will find a fine looking mate with two more hands to assist you getting your fish back to the water ASAP.

    Good job, Gary,

    Larry J.

  4. Larry,

    I can’t stop laughing when I try to imagine one of those regular SOT and sit-in barges with a “monitoring mate” on board 😀


  5. Thanks, Larry – you really do need 3 hands (one to hold the fish from jumping off the board, one to pinch the tail to get a good measurement and one to take the picture).

    I was wondering the same thing, Yoav, plus I don’t think I want a monitor in my 500 spying on all my “secret” techniques and lures, not to mention spooking the fish by making too much noise!

    Unlike the many tournaments held up here, Larry, where anglers have to bring back their fish for measuring at dockside, ours at least is a catch-photo-release tournament (although, of course, legal fish can be kept after photographing).

  6. Gary,

    Personally, I would be happy to have a properly attired “monitoring mate” on my W700 or new S4. Thong bikinis qualify as proper attire.

    This is why I recommend the light colored saddles in South Florida. Fried inside thigh meat is better served up by KFC.

    But, that was a darned nice snook…

    Larry J.

  7. I agree, Larry……thong bikinis might even be permitted in my W500.

    That snook hit my topwater lure about 20 feet from my W, and then proceeded to jump 5 or 6 times over a 30 minute period before I managed to get her in. That one experience made up for a bunch of recent slow fishing days.

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