Fall Finale Wrap-up
With only two tournament stops remaining in 2013 kayak anglers made their way to the far Northwest corner of Ohio to take on Nettle Lake. The total Trail Standings are getting tighter and tighter and the race is on for Angler of the Year. Anglers knew they had to be ready to tackle fall fishing conditions and some were even aware of other challenges; Nettle Lake lore. After a long period of rain the night before the tournament anglers launched to calm water, cool temperatures, and cloudy skies.
With less than ideal conditions expected it was announced at the launch there would be a 10" minimum on fish caught. That determination was very good news for anglers as the lake began to see a steady wind at 10-15mph and gusts of up to 24mph. Once the middle of the lake began to see a few whitecaps anglers started to find whatever cove or protected water they could find. Fishing was tough and keeping your kayak positioned correctly was even tougher. The first 5 1/2 hours of the tournament saw some small fish caught, but no large fish that hold in Nettle.....that would soon change! With about 3 hours left in the tournament the clouds started breaking up and
Here are the Fall Finale top 8:
1. Jeff Bennett: 14", 14.75", 18.5" = 47.25"
2. Sean Stone: 12.25", 13.25", 18.5" = 44.50"
For a rundown on Sean's day visit: Eat, Sleep, Breathe Fishing
3. Logan Estep: 13", 14.75", 15.75" = 43.5"
"Game plan, didn't have one other than staying awake and away from work.
It was pretty windy out there so all my fish came from the coves while taking
cover from the wind. I caught 2 on the craw and 2 on ribbon tail in 4 ft of water
or less. I ended up losing something big in the grass, probably a pike which
shredded 50 lb. braid. Thanks to all the sponsors and people involved running
BKFT and good luck to those fishing in Dayton."
4. Luke Buxton: 11.50", 14.75", 15.5" = 41.75"
"Fishing Nettle proved to be fairly difficult for me. First thing in the morning the
winds were pretty calm so I decided to start out by throwing a frog around the lily
pads. After missing a few blow ups I started to realize that if I kept going this
route things would turn out like it did at Kiser, meaning I would have a lot of
missed fish and no keepers. So I switched to throwing a Senko and lizard along
the edges of the lilies. Then unfortunately the winds started picking up stronger
than what I like to fish in. So I started to work my way around different areas with
lilies where I was protected from the wind, while throwing a Texas rigged lizard.
This is where I picked up my first, and smallest bass. I eventually made my way
to a cove at the top of the lake which was more or less protected from the wind.
This is where I spent pretty much the whole day just working the shoreline with
different colored lizards and Senko’s. I caught the next biggest fish at about 12pm
in 4 feet of water using a Senko around the pads. I got about 4 strikes in 4 casts to
the same spot with no hook sets, so I switched to a larger hook, and on the first cast I hooked into the fish. After that I went 3 hours without catching any more fish. I was making my last pass along the shore before I needed to head to the measure in when my largest fish bit my Senko. I almost lost the fish because right when I went to net him, he shook his head and threw my hook. Luckily I had his head in the net so instead of going into the open water, he dove right into my net.
All in all it was fun fishing Nettle and I would love to be able to fish it when the wind was a little calmer and also when a cold front hadn’t just come through!"
5. Neil Farley: 10.25", 14.25", 16.25" = 40.75"
"I didn't know the lake very well and didn't come in too prepared. I did know
the lake was known for crappie so I knew at some point I would target them to
try and receive the bonus points for landing a 12"+ fish. I was the last one to
launch and when I hit the water I heard Travis had just caught a small ~11"er
on a topwater frog in 10'+ water. I resisted the temptation to start throwing
topwater and decided to start throwing a spinnerbait and a rattle trap into
skinny water near the bank. I hit many spots with absolutely no luck. I decided to
try the opposite side of the lake and started to paddle across when I began
marking A LOT of smaller fish on my finder with an occasional larger fish thrown in.
I was thinking if I had only brought my rod holders I could start trolling. Well, after
a bit more thinking during paddling I decided I could use my front two scuppers
on my Ride 135 to hold my two baitcasters upright. That is when I made the
decision to do something I rarely ever do and switched over to trolling with the
goal to pick up an occasional bass and possibly a 12"+ crappie. I wanted to cover
different depths in the water column to try and locate the fish so I tied on a dives to 8 ft. shad colored crankbait and a smaller shad colored rattle trap. I didn't have any luck at first because I don't think I was deep enough in the water column, so I tied on a deeper diving crankbait and a Chameleon Gold Copper YO-ZURI SASHIMI RATTL'N VIBE that I had received in a Mystery Tackle Box a few months back (shameless plug....but you will soon see why!). Honestly I didn't really like the color or the weight of the lure when I first received it, but I thought it would probably get down to the depth that I wanted to reach so why not give it a shot. Within 5 minutes of trolling I landed my first bass. It was only 10" but at this point I didn't think many people were catching any fish so I might be onto something if I can get 3 bass trolling and then begin culling. I continued on trolling and nailed about 9 crappie all 8-10", but no 12"ers. I also landed 2 more bass in the 10-11.5" range which gave me a total of 3 fish. All fish were caught on the Yo-zuri! That is when I decided to take a break and grab both lunch and a jacket since it was getting cold out on the main lake while trolling in the wind and waves. I regrouped and started to troll again. Right off the bat I nailed a large fish that bowed my medium-heavy Vendetta rod in half....a 16.5" channel cat....what a bummer. I continued to troll and right about the time the sun appeared I noticed that I wasn't getting any hits. About an hour or so after the sun started shining I decided to quit trolling and hit the North side of the lake and the calm pool that contained lily pads. On my way that direction I ran into Jeff and he said he had 3 fish in the 14" range back in the pool I was headed to. Since most of the anglers I had talked to on the lake hadn't caught many fish and nothing with size I was thinking one really nice fish would probably get me into the top 5 or better. As soon as I got back to the pool I tied on another Mystery Tackle Box item I received...a V&M Baits Black & Blue Glitter Wild Thang worm. Within 10 casts I had a massive bite within 5 foot of my yak. The fish took off under my boat and pulled loose....I had just lost the 18”+ fish I was looking for, but I had found a pattern pretty quickly that worked so it wasn't a complete loss. Right after I lose the fish Jeff and Brian start paddling back into the pool (I figured they would find out pretty quickly that the wind wasn't something they wanted to deal with). As soon as they inched near me I pulled my 14.25” bass out of the pads. As soon as that happened Brian got one right next to me. Then, of course, Jeff pulled out a 18.5” bass within 10' of where I lost the big bass at. I continued to hit the pockets in the sparse pads and landed another 16.25” bass about an hour before the end of the tournament. With a 20 minute paddle to the measure-in I started to head back. My only regret was that I wish I hung up trolling as soon as I had 3 bass and then hit the north pool. In hindsight I think an extra hour back there would have gained me a few more spots in the standings.”
6. Travis Belcher: 11.5", 12.25", 14.5" = 38.25"
7. Jordan Mansfield: 11.25", 12", 13" = 36.25"
8. Rylan Hayes: 10", 12", 13" = 35"
"My day started at 130am. Nettle is quite a drive from central Ohio. I hit McDonald's on the way to pick up Brian Britton, this was a very bad decision. While there the lady at the window offered me free apple and pumpkin pies so I asked her to throw a couple in the bag to take with me. I'll finish that story in a minute. So we arrived at Nettle about 6 am. Upon arriving we seen that rylan Hayes had already arrived. We chatted awhile waiting for the rest of the competitors to arrive. By 730 everyone had showed up, signed waivers, and we hit the river. Brian and I worked our way down the west bank toward the north end if the lake. About half way down the lake I hooked up with a small northern. Quickly landed the fish and headed north. Next I hooked into a decent bass off a lay down. After a few jumps he spit the hook. Same lay down but this time I hooked into a nice northern. It didn't take but a few seconds for him to slice the line. We arrived at the cove at the north end of the lake. At this point we were discouraged but hadn't given up. Brian found a 12" bass at the entrance to the cove. I tossed my chigger craw to the same spot
and landed my first 14" bass. We worked back to the northern most part if the cove and I had landed 2 more fish 10.75 and 10.25. Brian had at this point put down the chigger craw and started tossing a strike king sexy frog. After a few minutes he started getting a few strikes but it was difficult to get the frog down thru the thick pads. I started chucking the frog high into the air so it would crash thru the pads. This was producing strikes. Quickly I landed 2 more 14" bass on the frog. At this point I'm at 42" and feel that I will finish well. Sean paddles back into the cove and I paddle over to see how his day is going. When he tells me not to well I'm starting to feel really good because he is a serious competitor. With no other hits I leave Sean to fish the cove while I head to the main lake. Back to the apple pies. This was a bad idea because my stomach starts to ache and I spend the rest of the day choking back down partially digested apple pies. Anyways at this point the wind is howling a crossed the lake. We fish the main lake for about a hour then head back to the cove up north. This time Neil occupies the cove which kinda discourages me because I'm sure he has spooked all big fish. He tells me he just lost a nice fish on a worm (which I'm sure was exaggerated). I cast my frog to the pads to the left of me and get a good strike, set the hook but miss the fish. I toss it back for round 2, the fish strikes, I wait a second and slam the hooks home. This time I connect on a nice bass 18.5". I try the frog for another 15 minutes without another strike. Since I'm chatting with Neil I had drifted into the pads. I put the frog down and pick up the chigger craw. I drop it into a hole in the pads and get a strike, another 14. I continue this method the rest of the day and upgrade to a 14.75. I had a good day boating 15 bass. I end the day with horrible stomach cramps and 47.25". I had a great time at nettle and look forward to the Midwest river experience. BTW I will be skipping the apple pies that day. "
it became predominantly sunny with shifting winds. This 3 hour window produced the largest bass caught in the tournament and launched many anglers into the top 5. With hardly any fish larger than 14" caught before the sun began to shine, there were two 18.5" bass and several between 14-17" fish caught and many missed fish once the bite turned on. The top 5 anglers all caught over 40" for 3 bass and the big fish was a tie with a 18.5" bass that propelled both Jeff Bennett and Sean Stone to first and second place.
While many anglers caught a lot of 8-10" crappie no one was able to find the elusive 12"+ crappie required for Trail bonus points.
7:30am at the State Boat Ramp located on the south west side of the lake.
4:00pm at the State Boat Ramp located on the south west side of the lake.
(1 inch deducted every 1 minute late)
Eligible Fishing Waters
Entire Lake - Lake Map & Information
$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
*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
*Length of fish
*Kayak in photo
*Tag given at check-in
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
Register & Attend Measure-in 10
Tourney Trail Bonus Points
If you catch a Crappie over 12" 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. (Don't be afraid to ask another angler to take your picture holding the fish! This is the type of picture that usually makes publications we submit to.)
These points are added to your total Tourney Trail points and DO NOT factor into this events final standings. (Only one bonus fish counts)
*All photos submitted are property of the BKFT and may be used on future media.
There are two campgrounds available. The one located on the North side of the lake is on Wilson Drive and is $35/night. The campground on the South side of the lake is on Biscayne Blvd. and is $20 per night. The campground on the Southern part of the lake is very close to the State Boat ramp where registration will take place.
getting their tents set up the night day before the tourney.
arrive as the sun begins to rise.
....that there are big bass in the lake. Logans like...."Yeah Ive heard this story before."
with ideal conditions....but that would soon change.
out the night before launch their Kayaks out of the campground boat ramp.
only a hundred yards from the boat ramp. Travis tells Sean, "I can smell her perfume from here."
blows in and the wind begins to pick up.
but the wind doesn't let up, forcing many anglers off of the main lake.
snooping around seeing what everyone else has landed and liking what he hears...
making a lure change after he found out what Sean was having success with and thinking..... "I don't think I have anything that small."
maneuvering through the pads.
searching for fish.
still looking for bass in the pads!
taking a selfie of his 18.5" bass that propelled him to 2nd place!
showing off his big fish that helped him win the Fall Finale on Nettle Lake!
actually just a few hours late....Sean lands a 21.25" after the tournament ENDS!
pointing to Sean's post tourney bass thinking..."I told you guys there was BIG BASS in this lake!" By the way, I think Travis is more excited than Sean!
Still posing with his POST tournament bass....geesh Sean it still doesn't count AND you are not allowed to carry it over to the Dayton Kayak Fishing Experience!!!