The setting for the Hobie BOS last weekend was Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, and as always, it was a well managed tournament. With AJ, Kevin and Morgan at the helm; Michael Christopher on site to address any potential issues with iAngler…the venue at Kentucky Dam Village…Elena Blevins of the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau…the Hobie reps and Calvert City providing incredible meals of barbeque and fried fish… this has become one of my favorite events. I have already written it in ink for next year. If you only plan to fish a single tournament next year…make it this one.
Let’s get the personal recap out of the way…
I caught a lot of fish on day one; Whopper Plopper, Skitterpop, Gary Yamamoto Senkos, Mann’s Classic Spinner Baits…moved from Kentucky to Barkley around ten…caught more fish on senkos. The issue is they all looked the same – like they had been poured out of dink molds onto my Ketch board. I finished in 43rd place (I think) with a tiny limit.
I gambled on Barkley Lake because I cut my teeth on it (well, I learned to fish just south east of 79, but I got as close as I was allowed to home!). The location I chose was not going to be protected from the weather at all…but I was certain I could get an early bite and maybe pull it off, but I also knew the wind would be kicking my butt with the predicted gusts.
The early bite was there, I caught all but two of my fish by circling a clump of grass the size of my house throwing first a Whopper Plopper, then the Mann’s Classic spinner bait (yes, in white with a chartreuse grub – tail always up!). I lost one because I was watching the spinnerbait; I love to watch it coming across and through the tops of grass…then see the flash as it disappears in the mouth of a big ‘un. Well, a BIG ‘UN flashed on it…I saw the mouth open and tried to stop myself…but I pulled as it bumped it…I didn’t wait for it to disappear…and 20 plus inches swam off.
I beat that patch of grass up, moved over behind the Bumpus Mills Marina…yes I just fessed up where I was…and caught two 15s in front a boat guy who seemed to get angry that I pulled them from under a walkway (with a Rapala Skitterpop in pouring rain) as he sat under a dock trying to stay out of the weather…should been fishing is all I can say! Then the bite was over. I caught a couple of 12s, but my day was done early; and the wind beat me up the rest of the day as I predicted.
Anyway…I finished the tournament in 19th overall. Top twenty in the list of anglers at this event…I will take that any day! ‘Nuff about my fishing.
I had an amazing time talking with all of the folks….learned that Tom Monohan thinks his kayak needs training wheels, saw Jay Minor, Ben Meredith and Jim Orr wreck ‘em on day one…didn’t recognize Jessi without her hat; she cleans up pretty good…commiserated with Nathan, Monohan, Lambert, Jimmy (and others) after day one…saw Trey Johnson end up in the front, Kris Hummel in the top twenty…and learned that I cannot flip nor pitch at all, especially onto a cornhole board! Talked with Jaxton, always great seeing this young man do well…but do not make me tell you again…it is Mike not Mr. Cheatham! Finally met Alan Reed properly…laughed with the KBFTN and WTBY guys…had a blast just being part of it!
I have to confess there have been a couple of moments with people I consider my friends that affected me, catching me off guard during the few years I have been tournament fishing. Actually many things and people have touched me; compelled me to share….but three occurred on Sunday as AJ announced the results.
…Jaxton Orr thanked his dad for being there as he talked about his top ten finish; then his father came over to him as he sat back at the table beside me.
I have watched these two over the last year and love that they are sharing these experiences together. It is a beautiful relationship, and that interaction was an emotional one for me; it took me back to good times with my dad.
….that moment when Josh Stewart looked at Kristine Fischer as they both realized she had won the tournament.
The genuine happiness that he showed for a fellow angler (both solid competitors) as he knew it was her…and her reaction will forever follow this ‘ole boy and be something I mention when I talk about why I love this kayak fishing stuff!
Dang it…not since Josh had talked about his grandmother at the National Championship two years ago had I been forced to wipe a tear out of the way. Yeah, I said it…tears.
…the way AJ beamed with pride and the way she smiled at him…I almost felt guilty for being in the middle of that extremely personal moment…but it still makes me happy for them and the future they will share. The hug…
…y’all need to stop…I have a reputation outside of this community and the tearing up is wrecking it!
I am at best (my opinion) a slightly above average angler. I love taking pictures, fishing and writing about fishing with all of the competitors I meet at events. Now and then, I do all right in the tournament…but am ok when I just don’t do as well.
It is the competition and the community that has so captured my soul…I am blessed to be able to be a part of it! Moments like these are all a part of the attraction to me!
Congrats to Kristine, and the top ten!
I know this is not a solid recap of the event (more like rambling about stuff in my head) and doesn’t begin to capture the essence of Kentucky, Barkley Lakes and our hosts, but it is what I love about the community…
…and since I slept about three hours a night after driving back and forth from my house to Kentucky I am too tired to sit up all night writing; my truck smells like wet fish, wet rain gear, wet tackle bags that have started to ferment or morph into something that scared me when I got in it after the event (was worse this morning as I headed to my day job), wet socks – who knows what is forming under the seats…I may circle back and do the event justice…but since I have to put on a hazardous material suit to clean out the Titan before heading to St. Clair for the KBF event next weekend…maybe not. The personal experience for me may just be enough this time.