2017 Kayak Bass Fishing
Kentucky Lake & Barkey Lake
March 25 - April 2, 2017
Over 360 kayak anglers from across the country congregated to Kentucky Lake for the 2017 Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship! The event took place on March 31-April 1. I placed 3rd last year in the North Central GL September 2016 KBF RCS, which qualified me for a berth in my first national event. My friends Grant Carston, Jay Suhsen, and Jeremy Curtiss also qualified for the national championship, and Shane Olson and Zach Gibbons competed in the KBF Open. Jay was very kind to loan me his Hobie Outback.
I met up with my buddy Grant at his house early Saturday, loaded up, and except for a few gas station visits for fuel and restroom breaks along the way, Grant pretty much drove us straight to the campground in about 12 hours or so. Once we arrived, we set up camp, rigged up a rod and went down to the shoreline to make a few casts before bed. I slapped on a white D&M Piranha Swim Jig. On my third cast I hooked into what we would be my biggest bass to date, a 23", 6-7 pounder! I fished for another hour with the guys and hooked into 3 other bass. Little did I know that would be my most productive fishing day of the week.
Sunday morning came and we pulled out the Hobie kayaks. We had a southerly wind so I ended up working inside of the fingers in Panther Bay. My highlight of the day was hooking a school of nice slab white crappies! Monday morning we had breakfast at a local diner and decided to head south of Kentucky Lake for some scouting. We got on the lake for a short half hour when strong thunderstorms rolled in quickly and rained the entire afternoon. Tuesday morning we had a late start waiting for our trailer friend to come back into camp so he could watch our stuff while we were gone. We went into Cypress Creek, had lunch at the diner at the boat ramp. We fished a good 4 hours or so, and I hooked into a couple of shad and small bass. Wednesday morning we decided to scout out Boyd Bay but the road leading back into the boat ramp was a unpaved, gravel road filled with potholes, fallen trees, steep hills, and lots of twists and turns. It was almost like a scene in Dukes of Hazzard. I felt bad for my buddy Grant's new jeep he had just bought a month prior to our trip but we were amused and laughing along our adventurous journey. We ended up fishing Ginger Bay and didn't have a whole lot of luck there either. I caught a shad and small bass. Thursday morning, Grant and I decided to just stay and fish within Panther Bay. I caught 2 bass that day, largest was 22" on an X Zone Mega Swammer along a rock wall. In the evening at the Captain's meeting, Grant and I were stumped as to where to catch fish for the tournament. Jay gave us a tip and we went into Barkey Lake.
Friday morning, the first day of the tournament, we headed there and I hooked into a 18" largemouth on a chome Rat-L-Trap. Grant also hooked into his largest of the trip, a 19.5", on a jig. He ended up catching 3 other bass. Saturday morning, we decided to stay in Panther Bay and we both ended up catching 1 bass each. Just not enough to move up very far in the standings.
All in all, it was an honor to be part of this great group of Minnesota kayak anglers. I learned a lot, met new friends, caught some nice fish, and had a wonderful memorable experience!
Notable Places to Remember: Mama Mea's, Ace's Restaurant, & U.S. Bass Hunting & Fishing Tackle Store
From L to R: Jeremy Curtiss, Shane Olson, Nam Nguyen, Zach Gibbons, Grant Carston, & Jay Suhsen