Carbon clouds bury the mountain peaks as I pass the Oak Ridge exit on Interstate 40 in Tennessee. I’m racing to beat the storm to the Nashville Basin and, beyond that, to Kentucky Lake, the largest impoundment east of the Mississippi River. The tempest catches me at Crossville: lightning in gunfight volleys and rain in Oregon waves. I ride the deluge down to the Cumberland Plateau with a 12-foot kayak locked to the roof of my 13-foot car, its hull turned to the sky. We have crossed the Appalachian range on our way to the first National Championship of Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF), and not even Daniel Boone’s fury could stop us.
When a new sport enters the world, it is covered in blood and screaming to be fed. Sports that are the love children of already-established sports, however, grow up fast; consider, for example, the Biathlon, or the swift ascent of Mixed Martial Arts. In America, where we love our boats as much as we love our cars, a growing number of anglers have adopted the kayak (an old Native American technology), replaced its wood frame and seal skins with roto-molded plastic and materials like Kevlar, and coupled it with fishing. It’s not yet a full grown sport, but kayak fishing has plenty of hair on it.
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