I recently enjoyed a short tenure as paddle sports columnist for Bait & Tackle Business magazine. The crippling and far-reaching business effects of COVID-19 has put that work on hold, hopefully to return but that’s yet to be determined.
The Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky Lake – a catch, photograph and release kayak tournament – wrapped up Sunday afternoon when Tom Michael of New Jersey rang up a two-day total of six bass that measured 110.75 inches. That was five inches more than Texan Rob Milam, who finished second. Michael pocketed $1,500 and some fishing goodies along with a spot in the Hobie Worlds Championship later this year in The Netherlands.
It was a different type of bass tournament. No weigh-in (photos only; all fish were released at the boat). No group flight or shotgun launch (kayaks could launch from any legal ramp or access). And no power boats.
Hobie www.hobiefishing.com officials insist that kayak fishing is a growing segment of the fishing industry. And they may be right. (It’s one of my favorite means of fishing but I’m hardly a standard bearer.) Tournament director Keeton Eoff was impressed with Kentucky Lake, the state park (Kentucky Dam Village) and officials from Marshall County, Ky., who helped stage the event. Eoff said they would be back – maybe next year.
If that happens maybe Kentuckians will make a better showing on our state’s namesake lake. Kentucky Lake is the best bass fishery in the state and one of the best the country. The tournament, which was barely publicized , attracted 33 fishermen – including 14 from Kentucky. The highest Kentucky finisher was Louisvillian Drew Russell, who placed sixth, after being second after Day 1.
Each of the 33 anglers who climbed into their paddle and pedal boats Saturday at the Hobie Bass Open catch, photo and release kayak (canoes and paddle boards welcome, too) tournament on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley were fishing by the inch and hoping to punch a ticket to The Netherlands.
The Hobie Bass Open is one of four qualifying events for the 2014 Hobie Worlds Championship, which will be October 5-11 in The Netherlands.
The field includes anglers from 11 states and one Canadian province (Ontario). Among the group: 14 Kentuckians, including Louisvillian Drew Russell who finished Day 1 in second place, 5.25 inches behind leader Tom Michael from Mt. Ephrain, N.J.
Yea. The winner in a CPR (catch, photo, release) tournament is determined by total length of fish caught. Each angler can turn in three photos of bass (largemouth, smallmouth or spotted) daily. The fisherman with the largest two-day total length wins.
After Day 1 , Michael had three fish for 57.25 inches. Russell had three that totaled 52 inches.
The winner earns a spot on the Hobie team bound for the Worlds Championship. The top 10 finishers earn a check.