First Tournament, First Impressions

The 2018 YakAttack Tournament snuck up on me this year. So much so I didn’t have time to do any rigging, aside from a pair of YakAttack Omega Rod Holders on my new Hondo Orange Bonafide SS127. No anchor trolley, no electronics, no nothing. I didn’t even have a sticker on the boat. A kayak with no stickers? Can you even do that? Either way it was time to hit the road so I headed to Jensen Beach, FL to pick up teammate Greg Timmer and far too much gear/tackle/supplies to embark on the 15 hour journey to Burkeville, VA for the 10th Annual YakAttack Benefit Tournament.
A side note about the kayak fishing community. We booked a spot in one of the cabins in Twin Lakes State Park to stay with 5 people we had never met. We weren’t really sure what to expect but what we got was friends we will have for life. We spent the week laughing and fishing when we weren’t eating, and we ate a lot. I could write an entire story just on the food. But this is about the SS127 so let’s get on with it.
We fished three days on three different lakes which was a nice change for me. I had only fished Sandy River Reservoir on previous trips so I really enjoyed the variety. We had one decent day of weather but the other two days were pretty wet with scattered storms with heavy rain on the forecast for most of the trip. With the torrential rain tournament day was actually fairly miserable at times.
So what about the boat? Three long, rainy days on the water in the Bonafide and the word that comes to my mind is………easy. Everything about fishing from the SS127 was just easy. Standing and fishing was easy. Easier than any kayak I’ve fished from. Getting to my gear was easy. In fact, the junk drawer may be my single favorite thing about the boat. I was able to keep my rain gear, a hook box and a selection of soft plastics nearby so I wouldn’t have to continuously turn around to get to tackle. Paddling was easy, especially considering how stable this kayak is. It feels much lighter in the water than other fishing kayaks I’ve owned and glides very well. Even answering the call of nature is easy in the Bonafide. Ridiculous stability + removable pod = easy peeee………
This is just a very well thought out and well laid out boat. Everything is within reach and everything makes sense. Although it was a new boat to me, I felt completely at home in it. The design and materials of the seat make for a comfortable perch and the height provides for flexible leg positions so I didn’t feel beat up at the end of the day. Basically I was able to concentrate on fishing and didn’t have to fight the boat all day. Considering all the challenges that come with kayak fishing in the first place, that is a very big deal.
Fishing from the Bonafide SS127 is definitely a highlight of the trip and I can’t leave out the fact I got my first win in the Bass Division (thanks to Steve Owens for choosing the Big Bass Trophy) and I’m not going to lie, that was cool. But all of those things are always overshadowed by the herculean effort of the staff and volunteers who plan and execute this event and the generosity of the sponsors and the nearly 200 anglers who attend and support Heroes on the Water and Project Healing Waters. This is a special event and I feel fortunate to have been able to participate three times.

Daryl Boyd
YakAttack and Bonafide Team Member