If you've been following the inaugural Huk BASS Nation Kayak Series at Logan Martin powered by TourneyX presented by Abu Garcia, you know the TourneyX Leaderboard has been very busy.
At the time of this writing, the field of 222 kayak anglers -- from all around the country -- have complied over 500 fish on the day, with the current big fish measuring 21 3/4 inches. Jonathon Lessmann's five-bass limit totals out at 84 3/4 inches, which has him in first place currently.
According to Steve Owens, Tournament Director for this event, 95 inches will generally equate to a 20-pound bag. That indicates the benchmark for not only getting paid, but also having a shot at the title. On Logan Martin, 20-pound bags, or a 95-inch limit between five bass won't happen often. It happens, and there are some big fish in this lake, but 17 to 18 pounds more often wins at Logan Martin.
Again, at the time of this writing, the Top 5 are registering limits measuring 84 3/4, 84 1/4, 83 1/4, 82 3/4 and 82 1/4 inches respectively. While Bassmaster members and fans are used to overall weights being the unit of measurement, it's easy to see how this format works; lengths are tight within this system -- as you'd likely expect from Logan Martin.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the leaderboard is visible to the anglers as the day wanes on, unlike BASSTrakk where the Elite pros are not allowed to view it. Each kayak angler places their catch on a pre-approved bump board, takes a photo with a unique event indicator known as the "tournament identifier." If the fish and image meet the preset criteria, it is approved and added to the angler's catch. If not, the catch may be disqualified.
However, there is always a group of anglers who "sandbag" the leaderboard, which means they save their pictures until after the TourneyX Leaderboard is shut down for the day -- meaning the anglers and fans won't be able to see official results until final lengths are revealed. The leaderboard is typically deactivated for fans and anglers an hour before lines out to keep up a level of suspense for the field of anglers.
At this event, "lines out" is scheduled for 3 p.m. CST, meaning they must cease fishing at that time. TourneyX leadership, however, has implemented a submission period between 3 and 3:30 p.m. local time, for anglers to access adequate cell service and make sure all their fish have been submitted. At 3:30, submissions are no longer accepted.
Thanks to the timestamp on every image submitted, the judges can determine if a fish was caught and submitted outside of those time restraints. While the honor system is in play at these events to program that keeps everyone honest.
In other words, whatever inadvertent gaps exist within the sport for someone to cheat or be dishonest are closed and eliminated due to the technology TourneyX has implemented for the competitive kayak community. It's pretty amazing.
This event will wrap up as follows: The TourneyX Leaderboard will be shut down at 2 p.m. to maintain the excitement of the incoming tournament results, official check-in is scheduled for 4 p.m. CST at the Pell City Civic Center where the awards ceremony will take place. At that point, places 11 through 30 will be paid their prize money.
But this is where it gets somewhat complicated for this specific tournament: Because it's Classic week, the Top 10 of this event will have to wait until tomorrow (Friday) to see how they finished. Just before the Classic contenders weigh-in on following the first day of official competition on Lake Guntersville, the Top 10 kayak anglers will walk across Classic stage, learn their spots and a champion will be crowned.
If you're in the area Friday afternoon, make sure you visit Birmingham's BJCC for all the action.