The first live stop of the 2011 GKF Tournament Trail was a great one! Conditions were tough but many fish were caught and everyone had a great time!
The weather leading up to the tournament weekend was fantastic with mild temperatures, calm winds, no rain. But being a GKF event, there was no chance this was going to hold out. A major storm system decided to blow through the south east the night of the Captain’s meeting. Tornado warnings were in effect in nearby counties, tournament organizers even considered putting up all the participants who were camping in a nearby hotel.
The oncoming storm had many anglers second guessing their fishing plans. In this tournament, anglers were going to be able to choose between fishing the lake at Big Lazar WMA, or a nearby section of the Flint River. A strong storm would likely have blown out the river and made it dangerous to fish.
Check out this weather data from Talbotton on Friday and Saturday. Notice the significant pressure drop Friday night into Saturday morning showing the storm cell that blew through.
Luckily only a small amount of rain fell in the immediate drainage of tourney waters, the river would be rising all day, but fishable until all the rain made its way down from South Atlanta.
Those that chose to take a risk on the river cashed in big time! Conditions on the lake were less than favorable, a recent fish kill due to lake fertilization and over 500 fish being relocated from the lake for a kid’s fishing event. On top of that, take a look at the weather conditions above, with sustained 20 mph winds and gusts up to 30!
Winning angler Wayne Harris from Alabama chose the river and reported the wind was mild and paddling up-current was a breeze! His virtual stringer showed that the fishing was great too! After flipping through big numbers of culled fish including his first ever shoal bass, the dust settled with a 14.5” spotted bass and 7” panfish earning him 21.5 points.
Wayne went home with an $800 prize package that included a brand new Char-Broil grill, Werner paddle Stohlquist Piseas PFD courtesy of The Outside World, Hobie Sunglasses, a Backwater Paddles Predator hand paddle and an assortment of rigging gear from Yak-Gear.com
2nd place and Big fish on the fly came from Matt Luczynski, who battled the tough conditions on the lake and came out victorious with 18.25 points!
Matt earned a $560 prize package that included a Surf to Summit Seat, a $150 gift certificate to the Atlanta Fly Fishing School, an Aquabound paddle from The Outside World, Kayak Fishing Tales Game On DVD, a Backwater Paddles Predator hand paddle, and an assortment of rigging gear from Yak-Gear.com
3rd place went to another Alabaman who chose to fish the river, AJ Regner. AJ is mainly a lake fisherman, but he used the Big Lazar tournament as a perfect excuse to go catch his first shoalie on the Flint. He claimed that if he caught a shoal bass that would be enough to make the whole trip worth it, and catch a shoalie he did! He brought a solid 15.25”er to hand, among some other smaller fish, and earned 17.5375 points to secure him 3rd place.
AJ took a $75 prize package home that include a Kayak Fishing Tales Game On DVD, a Backwater Paddles Predator hand paddle and an assortment of rigging gear from Yak-Gear.com
Big fish honors went to lake angler Craig Dye. Craig was having a rough day battling the wind much like everyone else, but over came on his way back into the boat ramp. He tossed a swim bait behind him while making his run back to the boat ramp and a few strokes in to his troll, he managed this nice 17” Largemouth.
The never give up attitude got Craig $50 worth of rigging gear from Yak-Gear.com and bragging right until the next tournament!
After the award ceremony anglers and volunteers enjoyed a nice chicken sandwich meal and the chance to swap tournament stories and strategies.
Given the weather, two well established kayak fishing tournaments a few hours away and the fact that this was Henry Jackson of Flint River Kayak Fishing’s first tournament, GKF calls this a huge success! A few hundred dollars were raised for the Georgia Kayak Fishing Foundation and rest assured that money will be used to do some great work across our state!
Check out the full scoreboard at http://www.kayakfishingtrail.com/results