An interview with Nite Ize Field Team Member Chad Hoover
Professional fisherman, TV show host and Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) Tournament Series founder Chad "Knot Right" Hoover has dedicated his life to providing the best possible leadership to help grow the sport of kayak fishing.
What led you to fishing?
I couldn’t tell you. That’s like asking somebody, “Hey, so what made you want to walk?” I grew up in Louisiana where we were surrounded by water. As a kid, fishing was what you did when baseball season wasn’t in. It was just one of those things that everybody did.
How did you discover Nite Ize?
I'd been using Nite Ize products for a long time, but the first place I ever saw the Gear Ties was at a Batteries Plus and I just thought they were so clever. I owned a kayak shop at the time, I saw the Gear Ties and immediately knew that I could use them for everything from bundling rods together to hanging my boat to deer hunting. With all the different sizes, I’d use them for almost anything you can think of.
What made you decide to start the Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) Tournament?
Competition drives innovation and competition drives marketing. There’s no sport that exists without there being a competitive series that is its figurehead. There’s MLB for baseball, NASCAR for car racing, PGA for golf – There is no sport whether it involves four wheels, two wheels, a ball, skis, that isn’t driven by a competitive series. I knew there was a need and an opportunity for that to get established in kayak fishing as a subset of the overall fishing industry.
I did the first online tournament in 2009 and the first live event in 2012. Today we are the premier organization of kayak bass fishing and we are pioneering the Catch, Photo, Release (CPR) format.
Tell us about Catch, Photo, Release.
It’s a movement we started 21 years ago and it resonated across the country. With most catch and release tournaments, participants would drive around with their fish in the tank all day, often killing the fish due to nitrogen build up. I see Catch, Photo, and Release as being the future of fishing tournaments. It helps preserve the natural balance of the fishery. You don’t need to have 150 boats go out and catch 5 fish apiece, then all the fish are released in one location. With CPR, we’re helping to preserve the resource that we depend on to make a living.
How does conservation affect the fishing community?
It’s at the root foundation of what I do. If I can make catch, photo, release popular and mainstream, I don’t have to vilify people who kill fish for the sake of a tournament. I don't believe in being divisive within my own community. I believe in finding a better solution instead of telling someone they're doing it wrong without offering a solution. I see it as my responsibility to promote and market a better way to fish, but not to vilify and denigrate the other way.
As participants in this earth, we want to get out there and appreciate it. If conservation is only an ideology, but not an actual part of your life, then it's not going to be as important to you. For me, the number one thing that we need to do as conservation minded people is to get people to out using that resource. The more people using the resource, the more we ensure that it will be valued and that there'll be people willing to fight for it.
Who should give competition fishing a try?
Everybody. We have kids that are six years old competing in the series with their dads. We have single mothers who have four kids and all five of them compete together. We have a young guns series with kids up to 16 years old and we give away scholarships.
Start wherever you’re comfortable. Start slow and start small. That’s why we’ve developed a tiered system with the KBF tournaments. We have an online series where you pay a $20 entry fee for the whole month. You fish wherever you are, you catch it, photograph it, and upload it. With four tiers of competition from online to national championships, there’s a place for everyone to compete.
What’s your favorite snack when you’re on the water?
Beef jerky. The spicier, the better. If it’s so hot that it makes me sweat when I eat it, it’s perfect.
If you had a magic wand, what would you do with it?
I’d probably do an attitude adjustment for every American in the country for a middle ground for all the divisive issues. It seems like there should be some type of moderation because everyone seems so divided over everything. There’s so much energy and efforts spent on dividing and fighting each other. Think of all the good stuff we could accomplish if we put that same energy into positive actions.