Living only two states away, I am always amazed at the quality of bass that some of the Indiana kayak anglers pull out of their local waters. Adam DeBard is one of those anglers. Pulling a 22.5" smallmouth out of any body of water is a major accomplishment and Adam has done just that. A relative newcomer to the sport, Adam actually started his kayak journey after winning a Vibe SeaGhost 130 in a contest. Once he got it out on the water, it was full on kayak fishing for this Vibe Kayaks Pro Fishing Team member and Indiana based angler.
Adam DeBard Lebanon, Indiana
Have we fished together yet? If so, do you remember where?
Not yet, but I’d love to!
What kayak do you use for tournaments?
My first and only kayak - my Vibe SeaGhost 130. I was extremely fortunate to win this kayak in a Facebook contest put on by Gone Fishing Pro. Before I won the SeaGhost, I had been kayak fishing a handful of times with one of my friends, but I was mostly a bank & bass boat fisherman. I immediately fell in love with kayak fishing once I had my own, and it was all downhill from there!
When and why did you start kayak bass fishing competitively?
When I received my kayak, I became obsessed with the sport. I started looking for ways to get more involved in the kayak fishing community and stumbled upon Indiana Kayak Anglers and joined their White River tournament just a few weeks after paddling my kayak for the first time.
What are some of your accomplishments that you are most proud of in the sport?
I’m very new to the tournament scene, but I’m proud that I was able to finish 6th in a field of 50+ anglers in my first kayak tournament.
What are some of the companies that you are sponsored by or pro staff for?
What is your biggest fish to date and what did you catch it on?
My biggest largemouth to date was caught last fall on the White River near Indianapolis on a Rapala Deep Scatter Rap, and it measured 22.5”. I didn’t get a weight on her, but she had a shad down her throat and a belly full of them. I don’t want to be “that guy” so I refuse to estimate the weight.
My biggest Indiana smallmouth was just caught a couple of weeks ago on Sugar Creek. I caught her on an Xcite Raptor Tail Jr. rigged on a shaky head. My biggest smallmouth overall came out of Lake Erie in a bass boat and weighed just shy of 7lbs, but I am especially proud of my Sugar Creek PB because you don’t find very many 22 inch smallmouth in Indiana creeks.
What are your biggest challenges either during tournaments or leading up to a tournament?
I face quite a few challenges when fishing tournaments just because I am such a newbie. I’m primarily a river and stream fisherman, so I have a lot to learn about finding fish in deeper water, and on pressured lakes, but I am learning and plan to put my knowledge to the test this season!
Sleep in the car, arrive the morning of the tournament, or grab a hotel?
I’ve only fished local tournaments, so I haven’t had to worry about that. If I do fish out of state, I imagine I’ll be roughing it and sleeping in the truck.
One piece of equipment that you wouldn’t consider fishing a tournament without?
My confidence lures, especially the Rapala Scatter Rap that I caught my PB on.
We all have preconceived notions of what we were getting into before that very first tournament. Have there been any surprises along the way for you? If so, what were they?
I have been extremely surprised at how stiff the competition is, even in my local Indiana tournament trails. I came in to my first tournament way too confident and learned my lesson quickly.
Who is one person you would love to kayak bass fish with?
Jon B. Love him or hate him, you’ve gotta respect how he’s achieved his dreams of making a great living doing what he loves. I’ve been watching him since he first started on Youtube and I wish I had his drive when I was younger.
What body of water is your favorite to fish a tournament on? Why?
White River. It’s close to home and I have tons of confidence when I fish there.
Are you an old school “rely on my instincts” angler, or do you employ technology more in tracking down where you are going to fish?
I guess I am more old school. I do use technology to my advantage when it comes to planning. I am constantly studying Navionics charts and Google Maps to plan out my fishing trips, but once I get on the lake I tend to rely on my instincts more.
What would be one piece of advice that you would give to someone considering entering the sport?
This is coming from someone who just entered the sport last year. Make lots of friends, ask lots of questions, and become a part of the kayak fishing community.