regular kayak. It was a Hobie. I started paddling and felt the difference – like how it was more-steady, and lightweight. How I could stand on it and even jump and it didn’t tip. But the most memorable thing of the day at Camanche was the feeling that I got being a fisherman, down close to the water like that. It was much different than being in a bass boat and gave a whole different feeling to the body of water. It was amazing. That day the guys told me about kayak tournaments and about Yak-A-Bass.
WB: So, you plunged right in?
WILLIAMS: It turned out at the time, I was in the middle of wanting to upgrade my bass boat and selling my house and moving to another. I wasn’t sure how long that was going to take and what I would do for fishing. I looked on YouTube and saw how to customize my Costco kayak into a fishing kayak, drilled some holes, added some rod holders and a crate. I tried it out for fun and went out got 4th place straight off in a tournament. I didn’t really know what I was doing; but I had so much fun.
WB: In your first season in a kayak, you qualified and went to the Hobie World Championship in Australia. How did that happen?
WILLIAMS: There was a Hobie tournament at Shasta. I was going to go up there with my Costco kayak and one of my guys lent me a Hobie fishing kayak because he had two – one for his wife. I took his wife’s kayak, went up to Shasta and ended up winning it and that is what qualified me to Hobie World.
WB: How did win that change your kayak plans?
Williams: I had been thinking I was just having fun while I was waiting to get my new boat, but after I won that, I started getting deeper and deeper into it and just fell in love with it. Especially because of the bond with the people. Kayak fishing guys are some of the nicest people. There is a big difference in the crowd at a boat tournament than a kayak tournament. In a boat tournament, you show up in
the morning and everyone’s trying to
get their stuff together, you leave to go fish, you come back to weigh, most everyone leaves, and you only stay if you get a check. During a boat guy’s practice, everyone stays at different hotels or resorts, and they’re all spread out. With kayak tournaments, everyone camps together for a couple of days, practice, and event. You get a better bond with the people before and after the tournament. It is just a different vibe. I just loved it and the kayak world showed me so much love coming in.
WB: How did you end up with your own kayak?
WILLIAMS: I think it was a week or so after Shasta, it turned out a kayak fell into my lap and my buddy Dan at Headwaters got me into a Native 12 kayak. That was amazing. It hadn’t even been that long since I tried one out and now, I had my own.
WB: How was the Hobie World championship?
WILLIAMS: It was the best tournament that I’ve ever been to. I could have done without the flight. It was 16 hours, but when I got there, it was so beautiful, and everyone was so nice. There were nine or 12 countries involved. They pulled out all the stops, fancy dinners, performers, gave us cruises, all kinds of things! It was amazing. One thing was crazy though. They don’t allow trolling motors in Hobie World, and I had already been spoiled by a trolling motor by the time I got there. The first spot was like five-miles away, and I wasn’t used to that. But the other competitors were. There were guys like 300 pounds paddling ahead of me, so far, I couldn’t even see them anymore. I thought I was in shape, but I was in last place huffing and puffing and sweatin’. I’ve never been a part of anything like that before and it was the most amazing tournament that I’ve ever been to.
WB: Are there many other guys that are going from boat to kayak?
WILLIAMS: I want to say I was the first – at least out here. But I would recommend that every fisherman try it. You have to fish out of a boat and a kayak. For
me, I also like that I get a workout while I am