Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trail
In 2020 we went into the season with the intent to have a new format. The format would now include three 'SERIES'.
The Multi-Species Series, Online Series, and Tour Series.
Unfortunately the Trail, Ohio, and the country was thrown a massive curveball: Covid.
The year was a challenging year to say the least and we had to pivot due to Ohio regulations/restrictions put into effect.
In April the decision was made to essentially make every Tour Series event an online event, which resulted in no measure-in's.
Once the tournament was over we shifted to a virtual setting and released our YouTube channel to release payouts, prizes, and 50/50 drawings.
At the end of the season 24 anglers were invited to THE CLASSIC with 19 able to attend.
There were still two titles up for grabs, of course The Classic Champion, but also the 2020 Angler of the Year still wasn't decided.
The Trail also implemented a new format for the event. It was decided a MLF Style drawing would happen the night before the event.
As most anglers camped at Kiser Lake campground one of Kiser Lake, Indian Lake, Lake Loramie, or CJ Brown Reservoir would be drawn and set the lake for The Classic the following day.
CJ Brown was drawn and had anglers scrambling as it was a completely different type of watershed compared to the other 3 choices. For starters it was the only lake that was dam controlled and was in full draw down mode at the time of the tournament, but it also was a lake known not for bass quantity but for smallmouth & largemouth quality. Anglers would also have to deal with a bunch of pesky by-catches as white bass, walleye/saugeye, and especially musky as they were all going to be actively feeding.
After near freezing temperatures overnight while camping, the tournament day was cold and rainy with wind gradually picking up as the day progressed. The history of CJ held true with only 22 fish caught the entire day, but the average length was slightly over 15".
The top bass were a 17.25" largemouth bass caught by Chris Hannegan, 17.25" largemouth caught by Neil Farley, 18.25" largemouth caught by Shawn Skidmore, and a 20.5" smallmouth bass caught by Reece Stoughton. In the end The Classic Champion crowned was the only angler to find a 5 bass limit; Darrell Cornelius with a 74" total. The full results can be found HERE.
With the Classic Champion decided there was still the outcome for 2020 Angler of the Year on the table. Jason Isaac's entered the tournament with a good lead and would likely take the title as long as he scored a single bass. This was no typical pressure to catch a scorable bass though. It was a lake in draw down, cold, and raining sideways kind of day on a lake not known to give up a lot of quantity. After a long fought season it would all come down to exactly that. As the day progressed and Jason, along with half the field struggling to find a single bass opened the door for two other anglers to lay claim to the title. Reece Stoughton posted a 4 fish bag including that 20.5" giant smallmouth and Chris had his single 17.25" bass on the board. In the end Chris's 17.25" bass and his work throughout the season was enough to lay claim to his first BKFT Angler of the Year title!
When all the dust settled in 2020 the following titles were awarded:
2020 Angler of the Year - Chris Hannegan
2020 The Classic Champion - Darrell Cornelius
2020 Online Warrior - Jason Isaacs
2020 Multi-Species Angler of the Year - Russell McDonald
The full final 2020 Standings can be found HERE.
The standings for each individual 2020 event along with every fish submitted can be found HERE.
BKFT, a partner club of Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF), is also a pathway for the KBF National Championship. BKFT awards spots based on the end of year trail points. Due to Covid the event was pushed back from the typical spring event to October 13-15, 2021. The event included 308 anglers on waterways near Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana. A good recap can be found HERE. Several BKFT anglers attended the event and top anglers included Jason Isaacs finishing 14th, Ken Morris 23rd, Robert Weiker 34th, and George Nemeth 48th.
In 2020 BKFT also became a partner club hosting the first ever B.A.S.S. National Kayak Championship qualifiers for Ohio B.A.S.S. Nation. There were three events where participating anglers totaled their two best scores. 10 anglers qualified for a spot to fish in Texas at Possum Kingdom Lake and an opportunity to become the 2020 BASS Nation Kayak Champion. Those anglers were Jason Isaacs, Aaron Stallbaum, Reece Stoughton, Ryan Havlicek, Ryan Parker, Chris Hannegan, Tim Crabtree Jr, Darrell Cornelius, Billy Chambers, and Everett Sheets. With such a long drive and COVID still playing a factor in many decisions only two anglers made the trip to Texas; Billy Chambers and Ryan Parker. With a long drive, an unknown lake, and a short window to pre-fish our two anglers had a tall task ahead of them. On day one of the two day tourney Billy was only able to track down 1 fish and sat in 122nd place out of 146. Ryan found a limit that included a 22.5" Texas tank and had him in 30th place headed into day 2. Day 2 went on to see 51 anglers blank and it unfortunately included Billy and Ryan. The full 2020 standings for the 2020 BASS Nation Kayak Championship on Possum Kingdom Lake can be seen HERE.