04-08-2014, 04:38 PM
Join Date: Nov 2013
Q&A with Tournament Fisher Craig Hefner
Grabbed this from a kayak fishing web magazine. Thought you guys would find it interesting.
Team: MKF "Michigan Kayak Fishing" Sponsorship is Johnson Outdoors, I'm an Adventure Team member.
Kayak: Old Town Predator 13
Winning Record: Highlight of my career has to be our team winning 2013 title in World Fresh Water division of Kayak Wars. I believe this is the largest and most prestigious, yet brutal 10 month tournament out there. When the other teams down south are fishing in shorts we are breaking ice, fishing in bulky gloves, heavy winter coats and de-icing our rod guides. That year our team registered 104 Michigan Master Angler Award fish across 10 different species.
Greatest Victory: This has to be my 2013 season on Kayak Wars. Our team has been in first place all season in the Worldwide Freashwater division. Currently we are over 7,000 points ahead of 2nd place team.
Toughest Defeat: This has to be a few years back when teammates Lucian Gizel & Dan Dalton traveled down to Jacksonville Florida to fish the largest tournament in the states Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Classic. We pre-fished all week long and there wasn't a day I didn't catch fish. Big reds, sea trout and flounder. The day of the tournament I couldn't catch one fish.
Go-to Lure: My go-to lure has to be a spinner bait. Lure can be retrieved at different depths, covers a lot of ground and you can catch multiple species from pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and even small rock bass.
Tips for Outfitting: Set up separate lure boxes for the species you are targeting. Also keep your gear organized & easily accessible. The time you spend searching for gear or lures is valuable time you could be catching fish. Always bring a net. This is the time you do not want the big one to get away.
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Gear During Tournament Time: You're in the kayak all day so pick the best kayak with comfortable seating, room for all the gear you will need throughout the day and versatile. That's another reason the Old Town Predator 13 is my favorite and most used kayak. Once I know the area I'm going to set up and fish I will set up two rods in the holders and troll on my way over picking up a few fish on the way. The Predator allows me to troll from spot to spot with two different seating positions and also offers the option of standing from the deck to site fish. The ultimate tournament kayak.
Tips For Rigging: Bring multiple rods. I typically set up two rods with lures for trolling and have my other set up for baitcasting or stillfishing. This way you don't waste time changing up lures.
Suggestions For Getting The Most Out Of Your Tackle On Tournament Day: I make sure all my line on the reels is in good shape and the leaders are long enough to get me through the day cutting off and tying on different lures. I also keep all my lures in their own compartments so the hooks are not a tangled mess.
Tips for local Knowledge: I will get on the internet and look up articles of the lake the tournament is being held. Also talk with my teammates to see if they have fished the area or stop in a local tackle shop.
I have books of all the lakes in Michigan with tons of information from species held in the lake, stocking information and water depths. If at all possible you should pre-fish the lake a few days before the tournament.
Tips For Time Management: I always get to the tournament early and have my kayak rigged and ready to fish before the captains meeting. This way you can fish every minute of the tournament.
How Do You Set Strategy For Tournament Day: Don't waste time trying to catch just one species. If you can't get onto that certain species or they're just not biting, move on to one that is.
What Do You Love Most About Tournament Fishing: I like getting together with other people that love the sport. You are also able to look at all different kayaks and see how the other guys rig them up. If I'm not tournament fishing I'm thinking about tournament fishing.