Saturday, April 14, 2018

Bluestone Lake Challenge- April 14th, 2018

We had 41 angkers come and fish in the first SCKBA live event of the year. This event was the Bluestone Lake Challenge and it proved for most angkers to be just that. It was calm and cool early then got bright and a touch windy later. Harper, Jared, Nahodil, Gunter, Micheal Waid, and Rapp all fished at the Bluestone Conference Center. We saw an eagle up close right at 7:00am, when open fishing began. I started off slow but picked up a nice 18.5” largemouth about 45 minutes I’m off of a PB&J Ned rig in about 6 foot of water. That fish ended up being the big fish of the tournament. The corps of engineers pulled water all day make the bite extremely tough despite 58 to 60 degree water surface temps. The lake flowing in from North Carolina is almost 9 degrees warmer than the lower New river right now. I went on to grind out a limit by catching 10 to 11.5” smallmouth from a couple small pockets. All of which came off the Ned rig. To give you an idea of how tough the bite was today only 3 Anglers our is 41 Fishing had a five fish limit! Those three Anglers finished 1,2,3. We had top knotch sticks like Joe Farley (last years SCKBA Angler of the year) weigh in one fish. We had 20 quality Anglers who zeroed today. I felt like I had a good day to be able to endure enough to pull off a win.  This may be the last lake only event SCKBA hosts for awhile. I hate to see Anglers not catch fish on a tournament.  We had our kayak raffle and it was won by Danny Noel. 

Miles Floated= single access
Total Fish Caught = 9
Biggest Fish = 18.5”
Biggest Five Fish = 62.25”
Minutes per Fish = 35
Order is finish = 1st our of 41

* Since returning from the 2017 KBF NC on Kentucky Lake in March of last year my head to head tournament record has been 1163 wins and 59 losses. This includes 4 tournament wins and 3 second place finishes. I do not think I will ever have a 12 month period of tournament competition this good again, I have been extremely blessed, have really enjoyed the journey, and have made some amazing friends along the way. 

One Big Bite - April 12, 2018

Steve Gunter, Bostic, Chasity and myself all floated from Brooks Falls to Sandstone Falls on a warm sunny day that followed only four days behind a day when we had 3 inches  of snow. The water surface temps on the river were 50 to 51 degrees. The bite was extremely tough. I landed only the one fish pictured, Bostic caught 2 in the 15 inch range, Chasity hooked and lost one and that was it. Out of 16 angler hours fished we had only 4 bites to show for it. Something like one bite per fours hours on the water. I know the fish do not know what to make of this weather because I don’t know what to make of this weather. The one bass I caught was a good one and did upgrade my WVKA April online standing. I caught it on a hula grub on a piece of shallow  middle river rock structure that had deeper water all around it. 
Miles Floated = 3.5
Fish Caught = 1
Best Five Fish = N/A (18.0”)
Biggest Fish = 18.0”
Minutes per fish =  240 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

April Snow Bass - April 8th, 2018

I headed to Moncove by myself on a 22 degree morning the day after an April snowfall in search of some bass to fill out a limit for the WVKA April online. I went to my usual spot and had 6 bites and caught 5 in the first 45 minutes. Then the wind picked up sharply at 9am and my bite all but completely died. The water surface temps were 46 to 48 degrees. I moved down to the dam once the sun got high and bright and the wind picked up to gets some shelter. I picked up one upgrade at the dam in front of the water intake that was 14.5”. I nearly froze and my hands stayed cold despite gloves and hand warmers. 
 Total fish = 6 (one additional lost fish)
Biggest Fish = 14.5”
Best Five Fish = 67.0”
Miles Floated= single access put in and take
Minutes per fish = 30

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Last Minute Limit - March 31st, 2018

The challenge today was I had only 3 hours to fill out a five fish limit for an WVKA month long March tournament. I had to work 10 days in a row then, we had two rounds of snow storms, I was out of the state for 8 days and Kentucky fish do not count, them to make it worse the river was flooded out. I headed by myself over to Moncove at daybreak. I went to the lake and started working the Ned rig. It was a cold morning about 27 degrees when I started. I had a solid five fish limit in less that 45 mintes. I kept fishing and upgraded with a 16.0” and a 16.75” all on PB and J Nedrig and Orange Pumpkin Ned rig. I worked around away from my spot and picked up only two more. I ended up with 15 fish in less that 3 hours on the water total. 

Miles Floated = Single access
Total Fish Caught = 15
Biggest Fish = 16.75”
Best Five fish = 75.50”
Minutes per fish = 12.0 

Monday, March 26, 2018

“The Princess and the Dragon” Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship Day 2 - March 24th, 2018

"This lake can treat you like a princess or it can be a dragon" said, Chad Hoover at the first nights weigh in. The goal at this point was simple....go grind out 5 more keepers when so many anglers could not and get a check. I was far enough out to know a win was out of the limit. Today there were only 12 anglers in Smith Bay instead 17 we had yesterday. Today was Saturday and on Kentucky Lake that means bass boat tournaments with literally hundreds of bass boats. I headed to a rocky secondary point in the dark before anyone else could get there. I left Greg to fish the point we had worked the day before alone. In the dark waiting on the 6:30am start I could hear splashing and at day break I saw an otter, a good sign of things to come. I quickly started working my Ned rig in pb and j color. It did not take long, quickly I caught 10 fish that included five keepers. The fish would not chase they wanted finesse or more like it ultra finesse. I moved around all over and landed only more 11.75 to 12.25" fish. I could not upgrade. Finally I upgraded one to 13.75". I then went to the main lake and fished main lake points for 2 hours. The main lake points baffle me, they are like fishing the open ocean. I landed only one more fish out there that did not upgrade. I then returned back into Smith Bay as the wind picked up. Greg had caught 4 but had another 14" fish flop off the board that could have moved him up a log in a field of 752 especially when fish over 12" where so hard to come by. Harper who had such a good day one and started the day off at 48th ended up with only one keeper on day 2. When all the smoke cleared my consistent two day limit moved me from 102 to 44th out of 752. I won $800 that more than paid for my trip. Harper moved from 48th to 147 by only catching one fish on day 2. Nahodil moved from 358 to 97 with a four fish limit. The guy who won 100k was Dwanye Taff from Texas. He fished way up some rivers in the south as did Drew Gregory who finished 5th winning 8K. I wish I knew this had been an option. I am a fair lake angler but spend the bulk of my time on rivers. It was like fishing hell week. Rain, wind, little sleep, hordes of skilled anglers, a tough bite, and a pressure to rise up in a field of the nations best and brightest kayak bass anglers. I will remember this week for a long time but not for the fish or the weather but for the brutal test it was an the endless laugh we all shared throughout the week. Although the winner was from Texas, WV represented herself will with 19 of the top 75 out of 752 who finished in the money were from WV.

Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship Day 1 - March 23rd, 2018

Today was Day 1 of the two day KBF National Championship. 752 qualified anglers from 41 different states and Canada have all ascended on Kentucky Lake in search of the $100,000 first place prize or at least part of the $275,000 overall purse. Spradling, Nahodil, Harper, Steve Gunter, and myself all headed back to Smith Bay because eventhough they were short we had always caught fish there and I had done ok there last year. There were 17 kayaks at the launch ramp at 5:30am waiting on the event to start. Greg and I got to the point we wanted and started catching fish fast at 6:30am once the flag dropped. I caught 4 keepers quick all small but above the 12" minimum then moved up the bay and picked up a 14.5" smallie to round out a limit by 8:00am. Despite going on to catch 34 bass total and more drum I never could upgrade at all. I was sitting in 102 out of 752 at the end of action on day one. Only 12.5% of the field caught a five fish limit. More than 25% of the field blanked and was effectively done. Harper caught a strong 73" limit just around from me and Greg and four keepers.