top of page

Columbus Rumble on the River

Columbus Area Rivers

August 17th

The Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trail has increased participation with every event and the Columbus Rumble on the River was no exception.

31 people registered at Rooster's bright and early on Saturday morning. Anglers had many choices of eligible water to fish and most were pretty quiet on where they were headed.  Anglers were looking to not only avoid canoe livery traffic but also each other!  Most hit the Scioto, others hit the Big Darby and Alum, and a couple hit the Big Walnut.  Every BKFT event this year witnessed some sort of weather influencing fishing, but this event had near perfect conditions.  The measure-in witnessed 4 fish over 17", 5 fish over 16", 4 fish over 15", and 23 fish between 12-14", and several under 12".   17.25" was the biggest fish of the day and was caught by four anglers!  Many anglers won a prize raffled 

away from our great sponsors including items from MARS of SE Ohio, Land Big Fish, Yak Attack, and J&M Tackle. 


1. Larry Haines - 48.25"

Its only taken all summer for the smallies to be out in force it just happened to be tournament time. During the Columbus Rumble on the River event this weekend, my future father in law and I hit a flow that I considered to be more of a casual section, and a place to get away from the rest of the competitors.
I got a later start and had to be off the water first as well to get back and get things set up for check in so I knew I was going to have to fish with a purpose and keep things moving. To bad the FnL did not feel the same way. He is from PA, and really likes to fish slow, with tiny tiny inline spinners.
Anyways I ended up fishing alone most of the day, weather was in the mid 80s, mostly sunny with a nice breeze at my back for most of the day, making standing/casting very ideal. The water as perfect, maybe high 50's low 60' s degrees with 3-4 ft of visibility.
I started off with a senko wacky rigged, square bill crank and a white spinner bait tied on and switched over to gold early on. After a bag of senkos I put that rod down as the blue gills were vicious, and kept ripping them off every other cast. The Crank was not really effective because of the structure in most of the water, so the spinner bait was king, and allowed me to keep on the move.
What I found to work was a go /stop/burn retrieve. The lure would hit the water, I would reel it out 1-2 ft, and then let it flutter for 1-2 seconds, and then burn it. As soon as the lure picked up speed that's when the magic happened.
I spent the day doing that, standing up site casting at anything wood, with the wind and the pull from the spinner bait keeping me moving a long at an alright pace. I did however make the common mistake of fishing the first half of the float to hard, and ended up having to speed cast and move the last few miles, past a lot of really great water.
Besides that the if you read the "Smallmouth for Dumbies " book anyone would of had an all star day. The fish were just where they were suppose to be, from the moment I hit the water, to the moment I got off around 230 PM. Not only were they there they were hitting like the little freight trains they are.
Best fight of the day came from a 14 inch smallie, this guy was solid black when he came out and blasted my lure. He hit and came airbourne, hit the water and just would not turn. By the time I got him in the boat, and the camera read he had turned back to the normal green color, but still had to take a picture to remember the little guy.
The fish were in bunches though all together I estimate I caught 40-50 fish, I had three 15's 3 hours in, and ended with another 16, and topped it off with a 17.25 giving me the over all highest total for the tournament, and in a 4 way tie for big fish.
To sum it all up, sometimes you have to give something different a chance, and get off the beat'n trail to find what you are looking for, and you never know, you may just be surprised with what you find out there. 


2. Jeff Bennett - 46.75"

"Chigger Craw, Chigger Craw, Chigger Craw...... I developed a strategy that involved the Big Darby and a chigger craw. I knew I had a winning combo. Then a few days before the tourney my hopes and dreams were crushed by none other than Mr. Farley. He wanted to float a stretch of the Darby that was unfamiliar to me. I was lost, didn't know what to do. So Friday night I loaded my SUV with chigger craws and kayaks. Mostly chigger craws. Soon I arrived at check in and told Neil the location of the pick up vehicle and away I went. The morning started out slow. I drug my kayak through shallow rapid after shallow rapid. After an hour I reached fishable water and soon had a 12" smallie. I floated around this short stretch of fishable water waiting on Neil and Aaron to join me so we could drag our kayaks around together. Oh the fun we had. We found about 5 spots of fishable water in which I pulled out a 15, 15.5, and 16 inch smallies. At this point the only other fish we had seen were 12" or smaller. I knew I had a chance at a win. Then came a text from Larry 44" and culling. I tried to find bigger fish but only caught 13" and smaller fish."


3. Todd Burch - 45.25"

I chose to fish a stretch of the Scioto I’ve had some success in before. I used a texas rigged plastic craw the majority of the time and caught my top three fish with it. My strategy was to work the bait around as much rock or wood cover as I could find, especially near current breaks or deeper water. After the first few hours, I had two smallmouth for a little over 29”. Around noon, I was broken off by what I would estimate was about a 3 lb. fish. I thought that was a good time to break for lunch. For most of the afternoon, the best third fish I could get was 13”. On what would turn out to be my last cast of the day, at around 2:45, I caught a 16” smallmouth. I decided I wasn’t going to do much better and time was running short so I packed up and went to take my chances at the weigh-in.


4. Amanda Jones - 43"

I set out to catch a limit of three average fish. I always use a jig with a chigger craw trailer when I fish for smallmouth at home so I knew what I was using during the tournament. Sean and Rylan had spinnerbaits, jigs, and gar lures on however I knew what I had confidence in. One rod had a green pumpkin chigger craw and brown jig, the other rod had a green pumpkin chigger craw and a orange/brown jig. I let the guys fish first and took the last position in the morning. When I got into the middle of the pack I started fishing the middle of the river. Everyone else was casting toward the bank and working their baits back to the kayak, leaving the middle of the river unfished. I hooked a monster smallmouth but failed to land it halfway through the trip. I casted back into the middle where I lost the big smallmouth and picked up a 13" smallmouth. An hour later we got to a wide spot in the river and I put my rod in the rod holder and floated along with current. My jig was dragging the bottom and then all of a sudden I got a hit. It was another 13" smallmouth. Later Russ caught a good smallmouth, not as big as the one as I hooked but it was still a good smallmouth. The trip was almost over and we had made it to the take out and I had the smallest three fish total. I started casting below the dam and I hooked another nice smallmouth. I was sure I was going to lose it again, but after a short battle I had it in my kayak. It was the same length as Russ' smallmouth but 4 ounces bigger. I had went from last to first with one fish, the guys didn't look too happy.  


5. Sean Stone - 42.75"

Sean's report of their trip including Rylan, Amanda, and Russ is listed on this blog at Eat, Sleep, Breathe Fishing


6. Chase Bateson - 41.5"

7. Rylan Hayes - 39.25"

8. Brian Britton - 39"

9. (tie) Neil Farley - 38.5"

If there is one thing the BKFT has taught me is that if I can do away with all the background issues I can catch decent fish.  The Three Lake Throwdown challenged anglers with 32 degree temps the night before and I couldn't get into game mode all day.  During Summer Slam I drove an hour to Indian Lake to realize I left my kayak seat at home.  Both of those things just aggravated me and didn't let me just concentrate on catching fish.  This event started even worse.  First, an angler who will remain nameless, but rode with me to Columbus and takes some really awesome pictures, unloaded his kayak from my truck bed and snapped the rod tip on one of the two rods I brought.  The rod was less than a month old.  This photographer who shall remain nameless apologized and we started to head to the water.  Luckily, Tim Sylvester was at the same put-in and lent me an extra rod to use.   Then, while launching I realized I left my measuring board in my other kayak.  I continue to head downstream and see Jeff, Brian, and Aarron catch a few fish while I still was blanked. About halfway through the trip I got snagged in a tree and decided this was a perfect time to hit the bank regroup and grab a gatorade.  Within 10 minutes of regrouping I hooked up with a fat 15"er and then continued to catch about 6 more bass.  The idea that helped me refocus was the old adage a bad day fishing is way better than a good day at work.   By the way, thanks Tim... your rod caught my biggest fish of the day!

    (tie) Russ McDonald - 38.5"

    (tie) Joel Hains - 38.5"


Big Bass: 4 WAY TIE!!!!  

The following all caught a 17.25" bass:

Larry Haines

Brian Britton

Russ McDonald

Amanda Jones

Sponsored by:





Anytime between 6:30AM and 7:30AM at


     Grove City
     1650 Stringtown Road
     Grove City, Ohio 43123


4:00 PM at


     Grove City
     1650 Stringtown Road
     Grove City, Ohio 43123
    (1 inch deducted every 1 minute late)​

Eligible Fishing Waters
​*This is a "River Only" Event with designated areas:

*Scioto River: Griggs Reservoir Dam downstream to Route 316 (South

  Bloomfield)  - Lake Map & Information

*Big Walnut Creek: East Livingston Ave. downstream to Scioto River

  Confluence - Lake Map & Information

*Alum Creek: East 5th Street downstream to Confluence (Three Creeks

  MetroPark) - Lake Map & Information 

*Olentangy River: West Lane Avenue downstream to Confluence with Scioto

  River (US 23) - Lake Map & Information

*Little Darby Creek: West Broad Street (US HW 40) to Confluence (Alkire

  Road) - Lake Map & Information

*Big Darby Creek: West Broad Street (US HW 40) downstream

  to Route 316 - Lake Map & Information

​***CAUTION*** There are low head dams within the available fishing waters.  Please locate and plan portages accordingly.


$20.00 entry fee with optional $5.00 big fish entry

You can pay at the Check-in location the day of the event or

You can pre-register by clicking HERE

Additional Rules

*Bass only event (Black, Smallmouth, Largemouth; no
  striped, hybrid, or white)
*Artificial bait only
*CPR event (Catch, Photo, Release) : Submit photos of your 3
  largest bass at the "Measure-in".  
*Anglers who use personal phones as cameras must bring the
  appropriate cord to plug in to a USB port. SD cards must be
  cleared before the start of the tournament to save time at
*Photo must CLEARLY show ALL of the following
  (no exceptions):
         *Length of fish
         *Kayak in photo
         *Tag given at check-in

Points Awarded

1st place                                          100

2nd place                                          90

3rd place                                           80

4th place                                           70

5th place                                           60

6th place                                           50

7th place                                           40

8th place                                           30

9th place                                           20

10th-final place                                10

Additional PointsRegister & Attend Measure-in        10


​​Tourney Trail Bonus Points

If you catch a gar over 24" 

during this tournament you will be awarded 30 bonus Trail

points and an additional 10 bonus Trail points if you turn in a photo of the angler in kayak holding fish. These points are added to your total Tourney Trail points and DO NOT factor into this events final standings.  (Only one bonus fish counts)


*Anglers must adhere to ALL Ohio Fishing and Boating Regulations​

*All photos submitted are property of the BKFT and may be used on future media.

Additional Notes


Camping : 

This is one of the closer places that is still on the river.

They could also maybe do shuttle trips for people if they are interested.(People would have to call to get that set in concrete)


Put ins:

Scioto River :


Big Walnut:


Big Darby:


Those are the main 3 flows, the other smaller ones are on that page as well for people to look at.


 As of right now the Scioto is the only river with some freaking water in it, yet really does not have many put in take out places.


Darby and BW have more access points, but are running really low right now. A lot of the put ins are over passes along these rivers and require going either up or down a hill.


Big Walnut in the area outlined for the tournament has some really nice grass beds throughout the river, along with some really deep portions, from when it was part of the Erie canal.


The Darby is national and state scenic river. This is going to have a number of shallow riffles, along with sturcure such as rootballs, and downed trees. 


The Scioto river is going to be the largest river of the three main flows. People are going to want to fish mid river, looking for large rock, or downed trees. Like the other 2, fishing log jams with current , is another good tactic for catching fish.


Small Mouth bass are going to be the main target this tournament, although you will come across Kentucky Spotted Bass, and in slower pools a few Large Mouth Bass.


If I had to bring 3 baits I would go with , some type of shallow crank(Rebel craw, square bill crank, size 5 shadrap or smaller), 1/8 oz jig or smaller with trailer(Smallie beaver, rage tail, papa) and a spinner bait. Do not be scared to go a little larger with the Smallies.


Unlike any of the other tournaments this year people are going to have to watch the clock a little better, and plan a trip out accordingly. Depending on your fishing style, ( people throwing Cranks, and Spinner baits, are going to be moving a long rather well, the tube and jig people are going to have to pass on some places to keep the speed up.


Remember this is a CRP event, Catch Picture Release as quick as possible. Also make sure you dip your board in the water before putting the fish on it. This helps keep some of the protective slime on the fish.


bottom of page