Professional kayak angler and guide Rob Alderman of Norfolk, Va., has always been about the military. Alderman, who operates Outer Banks Kayak Fishing, was never a member of the armed services due to a history of sports injuries in his youth, but he is surrounded by relatives who have or are serving.
His passion is kayak fishing, and like a lot of kayak anglers, he is proud to support the Heroes on the Water (HOW) program, which helps soldiers and veterans from all branches of the military unwind with a rod and kayak paddle in hand. What looks like a day trip of paddling and fishing is something much deeper and long-lasting for these veterans.
Founded in 2007, HOW allows participants a chance to decompress from combat stresses and the rigors of rehabilitation on guided fishing trips in local communities around the country.
Alderman (www.outerbankskayakfishing.com), who has run several kayak tournaments in and around North Carolina’s Outer Banks, decided it was time to hold a tournament with all proceeds going to HOW. To get participation from outside his home base, the Seeing Red tournament will be online and include waters in four states: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
It isn’t a 2-, 3- or 4-day event, but a competition that runs from May 15 to Oct. 31. Alderman said funds from the tournament will be dispersed evenly to participating states’ HOW organizations.
“It’s important that we recognize what these people have given to our country, and I believe it is our duty to support these people in every way we can by raising money for the program and bringing awareness to the Heroes on the Water Program,” he said.
The event will be administered through TourneyX, an online kayak tournament service that provides real-time updates via computer or smart device app.
The entry fee is $40 per angler, with $25 from each entry going to HOW, $5 to the entrant’s online registration app and $10 for administration fees. Each participant will be able to see real-time scores and photos through the Tourney X app.
Alderman has already received nearly $3,000 in prizes for the winner and said he’ll be picking up more as the tournament approaches.
“Wilderness Systems has stepped up and donated a Wilderness Systems RADAR 135,” he said. “The winner gets to choose the color, and Adventure Technologies is donating the paddle for the top prize.”
Alderman said the Appomattox River Company is donating a Helix Pedal Drive for the boat if the tournament gets 50 or more participants. He is guaranteeing prizes down to at least 12th place.
The general outline for the tournament is as follows:
You may fish for red drum in all four state, based on the honor system.
Fish between 18 and 22 inches will count as one point. Fish between 22 and 26 inches will receive two points. Fish between 26 and 30 inches will earn three points and any fish 30 inches or longer will be worth five points. The angler with the most points wins.
All redfish entered must be measured on an official Hawg Trough and photographed with the badge that will be e-mailed containing your participant number and identifier following registration.
Any ties will be determined by the angler with the most number of entries in the tournament.
In order to enter the contest, applicants need to log on to www.tourneyx.com and click on the “Seeing Red Kayak Tournament” button.
“I would encourage anyone who is interested to participate in this great event for a great cause,” said Alderman. “Originally, we would have a 3- or 4-day tournament somewhere along the Outer Banks, but me and the folks who are supporting me felt we could raise more money for the cause and invite more anglers if we opened it up online.
“It’s going to be a fun tournament, and I’m sure there will be a lot of trash-talking on social media when things get going. Please let your friends know and share this event.”