Central Alabama’s Iron City Kayak Anglers will begin their 2017 tournament season in four weeks. In their sophomore year, the Birmingham-area club will host tournaments on the Coosa River chain and the Warrior River. Like last year, they will name an Angler of the Year again this season. Brian Wilkes was the 2016 ICKA AOTY edging out David Smith by a half-inch at the end of the season.
Also, ICKA will send their Top 10 anglers to the Alabama Classic later this year.
The 2017 ICKA kayak fishing tournament schedule is:
April 1 – Warrior River
May 6 – Neely Henry
June 24 – Lay Lake
Sept 9 – Logan Martin
Oct 7 – AOTY TBD
Oct 21 – Alabama Classic
Most of the ICKA schedule is on water that will be fished for the Coosa Riverkeeper’s Coosa Canoe and Kayak Fishing Tournament Trail meaning anglers should have more opportunities to improve their skills for one or the other events. We recommend you check out both clubs and get involved.
Jackson Kayak’s Matt Ball won the Best of the Best one-versus-one kayak fishing tournament against Hobie Fishing’s Jay Wallen this past weekend in Wetumpka, AL. The event pitted the Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) National Championship winner, Ball, against the KBF Angler of the Year, Wallen on Lake Jordan and the Coosa River below the Lake Jordan Dam from February 24-26.
The three-day event had the anglers fishing below the Jordan Dam on Day 1 and Lake Jordan on Day 2 while the anglers could pick either body of water on Day 3. Both anglers chose to fish on the lake on Day 3. The anglers were allowed to score their five longest fish each day for a 15 fish aggregate.
Ball scored 181.25 inches in 13 fish over the three days while Wallen was only able to catch seven fish for 100.75 inches. Wallen caught the largest fish of the event at 18.25 inches but was unable to max out his stringers on each day costing him the win.
One month from today, the North Alabama Kayak Anglers (NAKA) will hold their kickoff event for their 2017 season, the NAKA Open. This season, they are partnering with the Kayak Bass Series and River Bassin’ Tournament Trail and many of the sponsors from the previous years are returning again for 2017.
For the last two years, the largest kayak bass fishing tournaments in Alabama have been the NAKA Opens which are held at the beginning of the tournament season. The first year the event was held in 2015, it had 60 anglers and was the largest kayak bass fishing event held in Alabama at the time. The next year, NAKA saw 89 anglers enter their Open tournament making it the largest kayak fishing event in Alabama to date.
NAKA events are approachable and affordable. With $30 and $35 entry fees and a family friendly atmosphere, NAKA Opens are a great way to spend a day or two on Lake Guntersville surrounded by beauty, like-minded anglers, and potentially some very big bass. Some anglers will make a weekend of it by camping near the Captain’s Meeting location at Goosepond Colony in Scottsboro, Alabama.
The NAKA Open will once again be held on one of the most popular kayak tournament destinations on the planet, Lake Guntersville. For the Open, the eligible water will be all of Lake Guntersville except water above Crow Creek. Already a massive lake, there will be almost two dozen public ramps from which anglers will be able to launch their kayaks and crafts from the Guntersville Dam up to Crow Creek.
We predict there will be six fish caught over 20-inches with a 23″ big fish winning the big fish pot. Our fingers are crossed for some production this year.
I am often asked “where should I fish out of my kayak on Lake Guntersville”. I suspect a lot of folks think I am being crude when I say “anywhere there is a public ramp”. Really, I know of a 20-inch bass being caught within a short paddling distance of most all public ramps on Lake Guntersville. No matter the water conditions, no matter the time of year, every ramp can put out a monster fish. With the Captain’s Meeting being at Goosepond Colony, ramps along the west side of the Lake will likely see most of the tournament anglers.
We project 72 anglers will fish this year’s NAKA Open. We forecast almost $2000 in cash and prizes will be given out at the event with first place getting near $600 and big fish getting $350. Note, these are only projections and the number may vary greatly.
Lake G Getting Better?
Is bass fishing on Lake Guntersville getting better or worse? Speculation over the last couple of years suggest that the lake is not fishing as well as it used to. However, this year the crappie bite has been one of the best it has in a while and anglers are hoping Guntersville will be back to producing near 30-pound bags of fish in bass boat tournaments. That said, thus far, 20-pounds per day of fish seem to put most anglers on the podium so far in 2017 so it remains to be seen if the lake is going to better for bass fishing than in years past. Bassmaster no longer ranks Guntersville as a top bass fishing lake. Regardless, we are going to go out on a limb and say it will take 58-inches of fish to win the Open event this year. We predict there will be six fish caught over 20-inches with a 23″ big fish winning the big fish pot. Our fingers are crossed for some production this year.
Kayak Bass Series Qualification
The NAKA Open will be a qualifier for the KBS Classic to be held in September 2017 on Lake Guntersville. The top five finishers in the NAKA Open will be allowed to enter the exclusive KBS Classic where $2,000 – $4,000 are typically awarded to the winner.
2017 looks to be another banner year for NAKA. They will be hosting their first event on Smith Lake, a deep and clear lake known to host massive spotted bass. Anglers knowing how to locate fish deep down on Smith Lake will have an advantage. Those wanting to do well in this event will find a fish finder extremely helpful on this lake. This event should appeal to lake fishermen and anglers located near Central Alabama. The exact radius of this event has yet to be released. We expect some Coosa River Kayak Angler and Iron City Kayak Angler members to attend and forecast 47 anglers at this event.
NAKA is hosting a river stop this year. Details for this event will be published at a later date. The exact boundaries will be announced later, but with the weigh-in to be held in Madison, Alabama, expect most all moving water in North Alabama to be in play. The question will be how far south with NAKA allow anglers to fish? We’re hoping that all moving water is open to give anglers more options.
River Bassin’ Qualifier
The NAKA River Stop will also be a River Bassin’ Tournament Trail (RBT) qualifier. Details about that relationship will be announced later in the year.
With the draw of being an RBT qualifier, we project 45 anglers will participate in the event.
The best of the best qualify for this event. You will have to fish multiple NAKA events to earn enough points to earn a spot in this event.
The location of the Classic will be a toss up between all of the previous locations that NAKA has held a tournament. So, the event could be in the Shoals, Scottsboro, Cullman, or Decatur areas. Random draw will be conducted later in the year to determine the location.
NAKA is one of the largest kayak bass fishing clubs in the country. They will be hosting less competitive events throughout the year to include demo days, evening fishing events, and tackle swaps in the North Alabama area.
Angler of the Year
Last year’s NAKA AOTY got some sweet prizes: a NuCanoe Pursuit, a Power-Pole Micro, a Bending Branches paddle, YakAttack swag, and $200 in gift card to Academy Sports and Outdoors. While a new kayak hasn’t officially been announced a prize this season, we expect similar awards for the 2017 NAKA AOTY. It will be well worth anglers’ time to make a run for the AOTY title.
At least one NAKA online big bass event will factor into the AOTY formula this year so we suspect the AOTY will be announced after the Classic, unlike last year when it was announced prior to the Classic.
The top 10 in the NAKA standings will qualify for the Alabama Classic along with the top 10 anglers from the other participating clubs in Alabama. We project 55 anglers will attend the event on the Coosa River with near $2000 in prizes to be awarded to the field.
The will be an “Open Division” at the Alabama Classic meaning that anyone is free to compete. The winner of the event from the “Championship Division” will walk away with the title of “Alabama State Champion” and some swag. Check out the Alabama Classic page and fish on the other participating clubs’ trails to work to earn your spot.
March 11th begins the start of a new kayak fishing trail in an underserviced area of Alabama. The Shoals Kayak Anglers (SKA), based around the Muscle Shoals and Florence areas of Alabama, will hold official events in the northwestern corner of Alabama on some fine kayak fishing waters.
Their first event starts in just three weeks. Their trail will be on the lakes below the Guntersville Dam on lakes Wheeler, Wilson, and Pickwick. Each lake will host two regular season events.
“Northwest Alabama has so much water that we don’t have to travel as far as other clubs do” says SKA founder Silas McGee. “SKA has three awesome lakes within less than 45 minutes of each other”.
SKA has big things planned for North Alabama anglers. Not only are they holding multiple events on lakes that have not traditionally held kayak fishing tournaments, they will be hosting a SKA Classic event at the end of the season and awarding a title of SKA Angler of the Year to one top angler. SKA will be led by club president Chris Bracken this year.
SKA looks to charge a $25 entry fee for each event. Anglers will have the option to buy into a $5 Big Bass pot for each event and the $5 AOTY pot.
The Top 10 SKA anglers will be invited to the first Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic where one angler will walk away with the title of “State Champ”.
We asked Silas why he thinks the SKA trail will stand out this year. His reply: “I think three reasons why Shoals Kayak Angler’s tournament trail this year will stand out is because we are itching for new participants and new people to get involved, we are fishing local and getting to really learn our home lakes, and we are going to have a good, laid back time doing it! We aren’t just a tournament trail. We are a group of friends who want to have fun, fish hard for the title, but still be able to talk like friends after the competition, no matter who wins!”
Anglers that place in the Top 3 of any of the five regular season tournaments will gain entry into to the SKA Classic.
According to Silas, because each lake offers different underwater environments, multiple techniques will be required to be successful throughout the year. Wheeler, Wilson, and Pickwick are definitely some of the lakes in the state. Bassmaster.com perennially lists Wilson and Pickwick lakes as two of the best smallmouth lakes in the US.
The SKA events should draw in anglers from all across north and central Alabama.
For more information about the Shoals Kayak Anglers, check out their Facebook group.
The top 10 anglers over the season will qualify for the Alabama Classic to be held on October 21, 2017 on the Coosa River in Wetumpka, Alabama.
These CCKFT events, sometimes called CRK events, are hosted on a body of water on the Coosa River Watershed. Anglers are allowed to fish any feeder stream that flows into the host lake. In fact, that is what most anglers do as the average angler on this trail likes to fish rivers. That said, a B.A.S.S. pro has been known to show up and kick everyone’s butts by fishing a flatwater lake.
We expect several dozen anglers to fish the entire series. A fly fishing and youth division also helps to draw anglers to these events.
I was talking to someone the other day and said that if it weren’t for these fishing tournaments, I wouldn’t even know about the Coosa Riverkeeper and their cause.
The Shoals Kayak Anglers (SKA) have updated their 2017 kayak fishing schedule. We previously had reported on their schedule and while most of the dates have stayed the same, they did move locations of several events back closer to the Muscle Shoals area.
The Shoals Kayak Anglers are going to have five regular season stops and a year-end Classic event at a location to be determined later in the year. These TVA Reservoir locations should offer excellent tournament fishing for kayak anglers in the North Alabama area.
Their schedule will be as follows:
March 11th – Pickwick Lake
April 8th – Wilson Lake
May 13th – Pickwick Lake
June 10th – Wheeler Lake
August 12th – Wheeler Lake
September 9th – Classic TBD
The Yak Tribe is getting busy this weekend with a great event to clean up the beaches of Dauphin Island. Dauphin Island is one of Alabama’s many natural treasures. Go hang out with some great people for a great cause.
The Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) Trail will host an event on the Coosa River below the Jordan Dam on May 5th and 6th. That particular site has hosted kayak fishing events in years past. It hosted the River Bassin’ National Championship in 2014 that drew dozens of top kayak river anglers from all over the country. In addition to several other club-level events with the Coosa Canoe and Kayak Fishing Tournament and North Alabama Kayak Anglers throughout the years. Of course, kayak bass fishing clubs in the Alabama will be hosting our end-of-the-year gathering and state championship at the Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic at this same location.
KBF Trail events often draw dozens of competitive anglers due to the prizes and cash awards for the top winners. KBF is the same organization that gave away $30,000 to the winner of their “National Championship” in 2016 and they are lined up to do it again in March of 2017 this year. Winners of KBF Trail events in 2016 often walked away with a new kayak and about $1,000 in cash along with a ticket to the KBF National Championship.
Bringing the KBF Trail to the Coosa River is a change up for KBF. KBF events have almost always been held on public or private flat water lakes. This year, KBF is venturing off into riverine environments. They have announced river stops in Georgia and West Virginia this season.
The Coosa River is one of the most scenic rivers in the south. It is also one of the most punishing. Anglers will need to use caution throughout the float below Jordan Dam. It is almost inevitable that given a few dozen anglers, someone is going to loose some gear on the water and perhaps go for a swim.
But the risks can be worth the reward. Magnum spotted bass lurk in those waters. There will be several legit trophy bass caught during this tournament. While not common, trophy largemouth bass are also found in those water. And while trophy fish may or may not be caught, the experience of running through difficult rapids with friends could be just enough to bring you back.
Unfortunately for Alabama anglers, this event is scheduled on the same day as the Coosa Riverkeeper’s event on Neely Henry. Anglers vying to win the CRK’s Angler of the Year or qualify for the Champion Division of the Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic will have a choice to make.
Several kayak fishing clubs from the state of Georgia will be coming to Alabama in 2017 to host kayak fishing events. Up to nine events will take place in east Alabama waters such as the Chattahoochee River, Lake Guntersville, and the Coosa River. The combined schedule for five different kayak fishing clubs in Georgia was posted to Facebook last week. We’ve added it below. As always, check with the respective clubs prior to the event to learn the latest detail.
The Tennessee Valley Kayak Anglers, a kayak fishing club in the Chattanooga area, will host three fishing events in Alabama this year. Of the 13 stops on the TVKA trail, three of them will be on Lake Guntersville.
Each event will come with a twist. The first event will be hosted on May 6th on the waters between BB Comer Bridge in Scottsboro and the US Highway 117 Bridge in Stevenson.