Dave Lefebre Competes in his First Kayak Tourney and Wins
By Rachel Dubrovin
October 5, 2018
No experience was no problem for Major League Fishing Pro Dave Lefebre when he was competing in his own front yard. In September he entered a kayak tournament on a whim and won $10,000.
Lefebre says he just recently got into the kayak scene and he even picked up a kayak sponsor. He says it’s a nice change of pace to get out of the bass boat and closer to the water.
“It’s a stress relief and you can get into places where you can’t get your bass boat,” Lefebre said.
When he heard about the kayak tournament that was coming to his hometown of Erie, Penn., he had no intention of throwing his hat in the ring...or his kayak in the water.
“I was thinking about just helping, just showing off my kayak to the guys that are at the ceremonies… I wasn’t planning on fishing. It just kind of turned into everybody saying, ‘Man, you should fish. You should fish.’”
Three days before the tournament, Lefebre decided that it would be fun to try something new.
“A kayak tournament on Lake Erie. That’s just funny to say.”
At that point, it was time to get to work.
‘“It was a whirlwind, all of the sudden I’ve got to rig the boat, get my kayak ready, I’ve got to find some fish.”
He already had the kayak, but he needed to soup it up for the competition.
“I just took advantage of all the gadgets, and the top-of-the-line Lowrance stuff, the Power Poles, the motor.”
It was an exciting but stressful time for Lefebre. He says many of the fishing tournaments held on Lake Erie are canceled due to bad weather, and he was preparing to travel up to a mile from the shore in his kayak.
“It’s extremely scary. Especially for a rookie like me. I’ve been in my kayak maybe a dozen times at most, ever. And I’d never been out on Lake Erie before,” Lefebre said.
Lefebre says he knew the fishing was going to be tough, so he used three GoPros to record the entire tournament. You can watch some of it on his YouTube channel:
The format of this kayak tournament is similar to MLF’s catch, weight, and immediately release. But there’s no room for a boat official on a kayak, so Lefebre would catch a fish, lay it on a measuring board, take a photo of the fish, and submit it through an app on his phone. The five biggest fish caught each day were scored.
At the end of the two-day tournament, Lefebre came out on top. He says he found some of his best bass right in his own front yard.
“My wife sat on our bench on Lake Erie and literally watched me fish for two days. I was probably an eighth of a mile from my front yard, where I won,” Lefebre explained.
Lefebre walked away with a trophy and $10,000. He says he’s fished plenty of tournaments on his home lake, but never for that high of a payout.
“The most I’ve ever fished for around here was around $3,000,” Lefebre said.
Right now, Lefebre is on the fence about whether or not to fish another Kayak tournament.
“The fishermen are really stout. It’s not like taking candy from a baby. I got lucky to win that. It might be a good thing to just bow out gracefully and continue to fish for fun.”
So what was he catching them on?
Lefebre says he was drop-shotting the entire tournament, with an 8-pound Sufix NanoBraid with a 6-pound fluorocarbon leader.
“I caught them on a Yamomoto Shad Shape worm,” he said.
He says his Lowrance HOOK2 was crucial for finding the fish.
“I would have caught zero fish without it,” Lefebre said, “That unit is very feature-rich and it’s extremely inexpensive.”
He says he fished fast, running from one boulder to the next while steering the kayak with his feet.
A Trend to Try
Lefebre won’t be giving up his spot in the Bass Pro Tour for a kayak tournament trail, but he says kayaks are a growing trend. Not to mention, they’re budget-friendly. Instead of spending $50,000 on a bass boat, Lefebre says you can get a great kayak for a little over $1,000.
“I think that’s the main reason that it’s growing so fast right now because for a minimal investment you can get a top-of-the-line machine.”
You can watch Lefebre compete in the 2019 Summit Select in just a few months. The new season of MLF will premiere on Saturday, January 5 from 2-4pm ET on Outdoor Channel.