I have been involved kayak catch, photo, and release (CPR) tournaments for the last couple of years, and in that time I have personally been penalized length from a catch, been bumped down a place or two, and even had fish disqualified due to a bad picture. Sometimes it was a big price I paid, but with every mistake there was a lesson learned that has prevented me from committing costly errors again.
During weigh-ins I have heard many similar stories from others where they pay a big price for a small mistake, many of which happen when taking the scoring picture. Taking pictures of your catch when kayak fishing makes things even more difficult because you are very close to your catch which can easily flop out of the boat at any moment.
In a recent tournament I was able to photograph Chris Ravello going through the process of taking pictures of his scoring catch and wanted to share it you. Chris is a experienced tournament fisherman which is evident in his picture taking.
In the below picture you will see that Chris makes sure to have the measuring device in a readily accessible location where he can reach it without taking a hand off of his catch. He then places the fish on the board and places his token in a location where it will be clearly visible in the picture. The last thing Chris does is get his camera (all this is done without taking a hand off of the catch).
In the following picture Chris pushes the redfish toward the end of the board making sure that the nose is touching the end and the tail is lightly pinched. Chris then puts the camera overhead and takes a picture.
Before releasing the fish, Chris then verifies that the token, nose and tail are clearly visible and that the numbers on the ruler are legible.
After that it is time for a hero shot and quick release
Chris now has a picture of his catch recorded where he will get the maximum length alloted to him and will not be in risk of being disqualified due to absent token or the nose/tail not being in the frame. Here is the final product:
When fishing deeper water and getting out of the kayak is not an option, the same principles apply. I like to leave the board by my feet where the tips of my toes support the top of the board leaving it at a comfortable angle to photograph and one where the fish is still securely in place looking something like this:
I hope this is informative to some of you and that you don’t have to learn the lessons I learned the hard way.