Janesville70.3°

Event features kayak fishing

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THOMAS J. MILLER
July 28, 2011

Drew Gregory brings his 2011 River Bassin Tournament Trail to Janesville and Beloit this weekend.


He knows the experience likely won’t end up like the one he had in Florida in January, 2009, which ended up on The Discovery Channel’s “When Animals Fight Back” program.


Gregory’s tournament, which makes 12 stops across the United States from Texas to Wisconsin, is the largest paddle-powered fishing tournament trail in the world. The tournament promotes awareness of the eco-friendly sport of kayak fishing.


Participants must fish from kayaks, and use a catch-measure-photo-release format. Anglers fish in area lakes and rivers, and photo any catch on a standard measuring board given to all participants.


Gregory said he was impressed with the bass fishing opportunities this area presents, which he discovered while attending a Madison paddle sports event in March.


“You have some great bass fishing rivers up there and in northern Illinois,” Gregory said in a phone interview Wednesday night. “I think that gets overlooked. I want to show people the fishing available there.”


Gregory, known as “BasserDrew” is a professional kayak angler and an expert bass angler who resides in Charlotte, N.C.


He began kayak fishing while he was in college nine years ago because it was cheaper and more challenging that traditional boat fishing.


“It got started 10 to 12 years ago, but it was only a blimp on the radar,” Gregory said. “In the past five years, it’s really grown.


“Lakes are crowded and everyone is tired of seeing the same party boats and jet skis. It’s overcrowded. Kayaks let you get to water you can’t get access to by some boats, and the scenery is fantastic.”


Plus the sport gives the participant a workout, Gregory said.


“It works out the upper body and core,” he said.


Gregory has designed one brand of kayak made especially for fishing, and has two others coming out. They are priced at about $1,000 each.


Gregory was well known among kayak anglers, but he has become nationally famous because of an incident that happened while he was fishing in Florida.


He had a video camera mounted on a pole in back of the boat for use on his website.


Two geese swam alongside Gregory’s kayak for about an hour. Suddenly, one flew onto Gregory’s back, startling him and causing him to take a plunge into the river. A fellow kayak/angler had to steady Gregory’s kayak so he could return to his seat.


Meanwhile, the goose can be heard “laughing,” and eventually hissing at Gregory.


The incident was captured on video with audio, and can be viewed by googling “Goose Attacks Pro Kayak Angler Drew Gregory.”


“When Animals Fight Back” recently concluded its program with the clip.


“It was the goose that laid the golden egg,” Gregory said about the publicity he has received since the video appeared on You Tube. “It’s like my signature video. The Lord works in mysterious ways.”


The entry deadline for local tournament is Friday, with a mandatory pre-tournament meeting at 7 p.m. at The Rock Bar and Grill, 101 Maple Ave., Beloit. Tournament check-in time is 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Paddle and Trail, 110 W. Grand Ave., Beloit.


Participants can fish any river or creek within a 60-70 mile radius.


Registration fees range from $40 to $60 person.


Gregory will not participate, but will be the emcee the post-tournament awards ceremony.



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