Morning folks! Kayak Wars 2014 is due to commence on 1st Feb with registration open from the 17th Jan onwards. So what exactly is Kayak Wars and what’s it all about?. Well it’s an annual International competition that runs regionally across the USA, Canada, Caribbean, Australia, and as of last year, Europe. I set up the European side of the competition early in 2013 and to be honest it was very much a trial, just to gauge what interest, if any, existed. As it happens there was quite a lot of interest with 55 anglers registering for the European side of the comp, with over 900 anglers internationally. So a bit more about the comp. More information and the rules themselves can be read at www.kayakwars.com . However, you’ll probably get somewhat bogged down with the rules, so I’ll try and simplify them below: It’s a team competition, and for the European side teams are comprised of 3 anglers. There’s an extensive list of freshwater and saltwater fish that you can target, all have qualifying sizes and ‘trophy sizes’, with points awarded against both. For example, if you caught a 45cm Pollack (qualifying size is 30cm) you’d be awarded 10 points. However, if the Pollack had been 62cm (trophy size is 60cm) you’d be awarded an additional 75 points. Of course they need evidence, so all fish need to be individually digitally photographed with the date/time correctly set on the camera. A measuring device is required for all fish under 50cm (though use wherever possible!-especially trophy fish), a 1 metre length of guttering with an off the shelf tape measure glued into it would suffice. These photos can then be uploaded onto the Kayak Wars website, you will have your own page/login once you’re registered. It may seem like a faff, though once you’ve done it a couple of times it’s actually very quick. Last year was a very simple affair, with all qualifying fish and trophy fish were awarded the same point, i.e 10 and 40 respectively. However, this year has seen a lot of change to that system with consideration being given to rarity, difficulty and physical effort to catch a fish. So at the extremes of the awards, a mackerel may get you only 10 points, whereas a Common Skate would bag you 300 points. This is also reflected in the freshwater species, though the bigger points are to be found in saltwater. It’s all about points and overall length at the end of the day. Now if you think you can go out and catch 100 mackerel to log, you’d be wrong!. Your team is limited to 20 fish per species per month. So you could log 20 of those mackerel and the rest would be bait for the freezer, nothing else. You may have maxed out on mackerel, but you can log as many other species of fish as possible in a month, again, a maximum of 20 fish per species. So for example, your team may log 20 pollack, 16 bass, 20 mackerel, 3 tope, 12 pike in a month. However, at the beginning of a new month the counters reset and you can start logging all species again. Points and length are NOT reset and carry on month to month, with a grand total being created at the completion of the comp. From here, the winners will stand out. For 2013 (European side of the comp) there was a winning team, a winning individual angler and a runner up angler. Trophies are awarded to all. There’s no money in the competition, though it is sponsored and there may be some prizes for the lucky few. For the European side of the competition there a very active Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/123867451120548/ , which apart from being full of good banter (you may need a slightly thicker skin that normal), sees regular posting of catches from around the European area. It’s a great place to ask questions and a good opportunity to make new friends. You can also download the European points/sizes chart from the group. Last years winning Team was Dutch, the winning angler was Dutch and the runner up Irish. Clearly this is unacceptable!, we need a UK team/angler to take the crown!. Last year saw entrants from Ireland, Wales, England, Netherland, Belgium and Germany. This year Scotland and Sweden are registering anglers, with more yet to come. Yes it’s a competition, but it’s also a lot of fun and very relaxed. If you’re interested please feel free to join the FB group. You don’t have to be in the FB group, though I would need to have the names of team members as well as a catchy team name!. You’d also need to register on the Kayak Wars website after the 17th Jan. Any questions just shout, I’ll do my best to answer them.