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Recap: 2017 Alabama Classic on the Coosa River

What a weekend at the first Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic held on the Coosa River in Wetumpka, Alabama this past weekend!  48 anglers from Alabama and surrounding states came to this beautiful river to fish against some of the best anglers in the region.

The beautiful Coosa River in Wetumpka, Alabama

Jared Atwell, with his 56-inch three-fish stringer, took home the trophy and title of “Alabama State Champion” while Michael Cooper, a just 40.74 inches, took home the title of “Open Division Winner”.  Lance Coley, an angler known for many podium finishes on this and many other rivers in the southeast, finished just a half inch behind Atwell to take second place.

Jared Atwell, the 2017 Alabama State Champion

The Classic represented a year-end grand finale for all the major kayak fishing clubs in Alabama.  The event was co-hosted by the North Alabama Kayak Anglers, Coosa River Kayak Anglers, Iron City Kayak Anglers, Coosa Riverkeeper’s Coosa Canoe and Kayak Fishing Tournament, and the Mobile Bay Kayak Fishing Association.  Each club was able to send the 10 top anglers from their 2017 kayak fishing trails to the Championship Division ensuring the top anglers in the state were battling it out on the same body of water.  Note, due to a leadership change, the now defunct Shoals Kayak Anglers were not able to participate in the event meaning 10 fewer anglers than anticipated were in the field.

Results: Championship Division
Results: Open Division

Atwell, who gained entry into the Classic’s Championship Division by way of the Iron City Kayak Anglers, also claimed the “Best Bass”.  His 21.25 inch Alabama spotted bass was the longest bass caught on tournament day.  That fish would go on to anchor his stringer along with two other Alabama spotted bass of lengths 18.75 and 16 inches.  Coley’s stringer consisted of 20.5, 17.75, and 17.25 inch bass.

Atwell’s winning stringer
Biggest bass of the Alabama Classic

Atwell ended up taking home over $600 for his first place finish and $100 for the biggest bass.  Of note, Atwell likely caught the largest fish of the weekend as he netted a 25-pound catfish on Friday while prefishing.

Jared Atwell with a Coosa River catfish during prefishing

The Classic brought out several anglers who had never fished the Coosa River as well as an angler who had never fished in a kayak fishing tournament.  In attendance were also anglers from the Mobile Bay Kayak Fishing Association and their large 14-foot-long kayaks, some of which actually made the pass through the rapids on the Coosa River.  On Friday, the river saw packs of anglers who had never met each other guiding one another through the rapids and sharing fishing tips.

Chris Gravely in his NuCanoe Pursuit on the Coosa River

While large stringers were reported by those at the top of the scoring board, many anglers struggled to find large fish through the day.  Strong headwinds as the sun got higher in the sky was just another element anglers had to deal with on the day of tough fishing.  On tournament day, it seemed like the bigger fish were in the deeper pockets of the slow moving water.  Many small fish were caught on soft plastics, fish that normally would not have been worth pursuing expect on a tough fishing day like this.  Grinding out small plastics to catch three 14-inch fish would have paid off as it would have taken just 41-inches of fish to take home the Open Division title and trophy.  The topwater bite was near dead and we are close to declaring the death to the Whopper Plopper.  Had Lake Jordan been open to competitors it is quite likely that there would have been different winners in each division.

Coley’s stringer just 0.75 inch shy of 1st place
Dylan Mason’s 3rd place Championship stringer
Michael Cooper’s winner Open Division stringer

The Classic event brought out some anglers from as far away as South Carolina.  Stewart Venerable (we heard he rented a house on Lake Jordan for the weekend) is a member of the NuCanoe fishing team and it was a pleasure to see such a talented angler with Coosa River experience in the field.  With Venerable unable to boat multiple large spotted bass, it should have signaled to the field it was going to be tough day of fishing.

It was a pleasure to have Brian Carson, the leader of the Heroes on the Water South Alabama Chapter, participate in the event.  Carson made the trip up from lower Alabama with Kayak Bass Series angler and noted lake fisherman Stacey Martin.  Carson was able to quickly share details about upcoming Mobile Bay Kayak Fishing Association events and a bit about what Heroes on the Water does.

Phil Thompson running a rapid on the Coosa

Plans for the 2018 are still in the works but for the most part the Classic Board has agreed that the format for entry into the Championship Bracket will remain the same.  Goals include getting more dealers, clubs, and organizations involved in 2018 as well as standardizing the requirements to be co-hosts in 2018.

Club leaders from each of the Classic co-hosts gave quick talks about what to expect in 2018.  For the most part, 2018 will look a lot like what 2017 did for each club.

Thanks to our amazing sponsors, every angler walked away with something.

Josh Tidwell scoring a large Alabama spotted bass on tournament day

Big Will’s Outfitters stepped up in a big way at the event giving away $500 worth of products included 10 Hawg Troughs to anglers in need of a measuring board.  BWO also donated a pair of polarized Costa Del Mar sunglasses, 100 koozies, a Gillz fishing shirt, an Orion Coolers tumbler, a Gerber River Shorty knife, and a VIBE Kayaks 20-quart cooler.

YakAttack, the leading kayak fishing accessory maker, provided various items including Anchor Trolleys, Rotogrip Paddle Holders, Vertical Tie Downs, YakAttack buffs, and Multimount Cup Holders.

Eric Atkins won the VIBE Kayak giveaway

VIBE Kayaks provided a SeaGhost 110 kayak to one lucky Open Division angler.

Bending Branches, a premiere builder of paddles, provided nine hats, six shirts, and two buffs among other items.

Red Fox Wireless provided a Rover which is a battleproof, weatherproof, drop-in-the-bottom-of-a-lake-proof waterproof speaker with YakAttack mount.

They stayed happily married!

The Coosa Outdoor Center provided outstanding hospitality as usual.  They allowed us to camp on several acres of land along the river and provided 100 hotdogs and fixings to the field during the weigh-in as well as multiple shuttles to Jordan Dam to retrieve our vehicles.

Robby Cook with a nice Alabama bass

Robby Cook provided several dozen of his custom shaky head jig which would have come in handy to the pesky spotted bass on the Coosa River that day.

The North Alabama Kayak Anglers graciously donated a $100 gift card to Academy Sports and Outdoors.

The weigh-in and awards ceremony at the Coosa Outdoor Center

Frank Chitwood, of the Coosa Riverkeepers, did another great job hosting the Captain’s Meeting, weigh-in and awards ceremony as well as manning a jet boat during the tournament.  His professionalism and river-conscious attitude helped make this event the success it was.

Frank Chitwood handing the winning check and trophy to Atwell

We look forward to the 2018 club trails and 2018 Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic.  No doubt this website and Facebook page will provide coverage of kayak fishing news and events happen in 2018.

Pat Hoffman of Mobile paddling a Moken 14 through the rapids

Of note, this event on the Coosa River ended up being the largest kayak fishing event held on that body of water this year.  To boot, so far in 2017 Alabama club event attendance has always topped attendance by national and regional trails hosted on the same body of water and that has been the case for at least the past two years.

NAKA season finale. Watson wins national trails on Guntersville.

Several major kayak fishing tournaments took place over the weekend and a familiar name walked away with a nice payday.

North Alabama Kayak Anglers Classic and Anglers of the  Year

Nate Mayfield with his NAKA Classic check

Alabama’s largest club, the North Alabama Kayak Anglers, held their season finale NAKA Classic on Pickwick and Wilson lakes in the Shoals area of North Alabama.  Near 100 anglers competed on the NAKA Trail all season long for a chance to earn entry into this 5-fish black bass event.  23 anglers ended up qualifying for this event.

NAKA Angler of the Year, Jason Lack

Nate Mayfield walked away as the Classic champion while Jason Lack was crowned NAKA Angler of the Year (AOTY details).   Mayfield scored a 86.25″ inch 5-fish stringer edging out John Tayler by three inches.  Mayfield also had the biggest fish of the event, a 19″ largemouth bass.  Over $1100 in cash was handed out to the field along with over $1000 in prizes.  A recap of the event and details about sponsors of the NAKA Trail can be found here.

NAKA Youth Angler of the Year Riley Johnston with NAKA HKAIC Nate Mayfield

The NAKA Youth Angler of the Year was Riley Johnston.  His consistent top youth performances earned him the Youth AOTY prize, a 2017 Skipper fishing kayak from Jackson Kayak.  Details.

Watson wins two national trail stops

Randy Howell, pro B.A.S.S. angler, handing the check to Watson

The story of the weekend was how Brandon Watson won both the Kayak Bass Series and Kayak Bass Fishing events held on Lake Guntersville.  Since both events were hosted on the same eligible bodies of water, Watson was able to fish both events and coordinate weigh-in times for both.

Watson with his Kayak Bass Series check

Watson caught large stringers on fish on both days.  With a 97-inch 5-fish stringer he won the KBF Trail event by over 10″ and earned a $2,250 check.  His 81-inch Day 1 and 98.75-inch Day 2 during the KBS Classic gave him a 29″ win over the second place angler.  Incredible fishing against the sport’s top kayak anglers.

There are only a few fishing events on the calendar for the rest of the year.  Click here to get a look at what is to come.  And everyone is invited to come get introduced to kayak fishing at the first annual Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic in late October.  That event is hosted by the major kayak fishing clubs of Alabama and is billed to be a fun time for kayak anglers of all skill levels.

Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic is October 21st!

Kayak fishing clubs, outfitters, and organizations from around the state of Alabama are coming together to put on a “end of the year” celebration and gathering in Wetumpka, Alabama on the banks of the Coosa River.

The event is open to the public.  There will be a public fishing division and a “qualifier” division where anglers who have fished in Alabama kayak fishing club trails this year have qualified.

REGISTER HERE:
http://coosakayakfishing.com/?p=1160

RULES: http://coosakayakfishing.com/?page_id=1164

ELIGIBLE WATER: The Coosa River from below Jordan Dam to the start of the Alabama River.

Measuring your fish:  A Hawg Trough measuring board is required to score your fish!

Camping:  Free camping at the Coosa Outdoor Center has been covered by the Coosa Riverkeepers.

For more details, please see our Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic event page on this website and see the Facebook event page.

Heroes on the Water Event 2, NAKA River Stop, ayou La Batre Kayak Classic, more

The North Alabama Kayak Anglers are hosting their “River Stop” fishing tournament this weekend.  Anglers can fish any small flowing body of water in North Alabama.  Creek and small rivers are the targeted eligible body of water for this event.  For a boundary map and rules for this event, check out the NAKA Facebook Event page for this event.  Oh, it is also a qualifier event for the River Bassin’ Tournament Trail.


North Alabama’s new Heroes on the Water chapter is already positively impacting the lives of service veterans and others.  The upstart club is hosting another event on August 5th at the Town Creek Fishing Center near the Guntersville State Park.  The last event saw near 40 people and dozens of kayaks from 8 or 9 different manufacturers.  This is a great time to relax and try out other people’s boats while supporting a good cause.  Details about the event can be found on the HOW NA Facebook page.

Courtesy: Bayou La Batre Kayak Classic

The annual Bayou La Batre Kayak Classic is on August 5.  This is a big laid back family-friendly event and all around good time.  Check out their website for pictures of past events and details about what is going on this year.

Here’s an outlook of other events happening with Alabama kayak fishing clubs in the coming weeks.

  1. July 22 – NAKA River Stop
  2. July 27 – CRKA I-759 (5pm)
  3. August – NAKABIGBASS, Demo Day, and NAKAFUNFISH
  4. August 5 – MBKFA Black Ops
  5. August 5 – Bayou La Batre Kayak Classic Fishing Tournament
  6. August 5 – Heroes on the Water North Alabama, Town Creek, Guntersville, AL
  7. August 12 – SKA Wheeler Lake
  8. August 12 – CKA Tallapoosa River, Wadley, AL
  9. August 17 – CRKA Canoe Creek County Ramp (5pm)

For a list of all kayak fishing events in Alabama, check out our kayak fishing events listings page.

Also, folks are starting to get excited for the October 21st  Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic.  Anyone and everyone is invited.

Weekend Results: CRK, CRK AOTY, TVKA, YakTribe, KBF

There were four kayak fishing events in Alabama on May 6th, 2017. Let’s break them down:

  1.  44 anglers attended the Coosa Riverkeeper’s Coosa Canoe & Kayak Fishing Tournament (CCKFT) on Lake Neely Henry making it the largest kayak fishing event in Alabama this past weekend.  A new “Angler of the Year” was crowned and the second longest bass in CCKFT tournament history was caught.
    Robbey Stanford, CCKFT Neely Henry 2017 winner. Photo: Coosa Riverkeepers

    Robbey Stanford won the Neely Henry stage with a big 57.5-inch three-fish stringer.  His large stringer was anchored by a 20.5-inch spotted bass and takes home $500 for his effort.  Brian Wilkes finished second with a very respectable 56-inch stringer.

    Calloway’s giant fish. Photo: Coosa Riverkeepers/Calloway

    A 23-inch long largemouth bass was caught by Brandon Calloway making it the second longest fish in CCKFT history.  Unfortunately, Calloway could not cull the 13.5” fish on his stringer and he finished in 5th place 4-inches behind the winner Stanford.

    Top 5 – CCKFT Neely Henry 2017:
    1) Robbey Stanford – 57.5
    2) Brian Wilkes – 56
    3) Coley McGowan – 55.75
    4) Lance Coley – 54
    5) Brandon Calloway – 53.5

    Nine anglers had stringers longer than 50-inches.  For complete results, see this Facebook post.

    Lance Coley, 2017 CCKFT Angler of the Year. Photo: Coosa Riverkeepers

    On the year, Lance Coley’s consistent presence atop the season’s leaderboard landed him the 2017 Big Will’s Angler of the Year award for the CCKFT series.  Coley scored a 159.75” cumulative stringer on the year and won a 2017 Jackson Kayak Coosa for his outstanding fishing this season.  Last year’s CCKFT Angler of the Year, Jared Atwell finished 2nd in this year’s AOTY race and was 11.5” inches out of first place.

    Jack Freeman, CCKFT Best Youth. Photo: Coosa Riverkeepers

    The Best Youth Angler in the CCKFT series this year was Jack Freeman, a very respectable angler no matter what his age is.  The Best Female Angler this season was Kristen Woods.

    Kristen Woods, CCKFT Best Female AOTY. Photo: Coosa Riverkeeper

    For more information about this year’s best anglers and the AOTY race, see this post.

    Due to their terrific performance on the year, ten CCKFT anglers have qualified for the “Championship Division” of the Alabama Classic, an end-of-the-year kayak fishing celebration hosted by the bass fishing clubs of Alabama.  CCKFT will be sending the following anglers to the “Championship Division” of the Alabama Classic:

    CCKFT Qualifiers for the Championship Division of the Alabama Classic. Photo: Coosa Riverkeepers

    Lance Coley – AOTY
    Jared Atwell – 2nd Overall
    David Meeks – 3rd Overall
    Patrick Smith – 4th Overall
    Josh Tidwell – 5th Overall
    Jack Freeman – Best Youth
    Kristen Woods – Best Lady
    Barry Walker – Lay Lake Best Bass
    Lanny Watkins – Logan Martin Best Bass
    Brandon Calloway – Neely Henry Best Bass

    These anglers have earned a shot of the title of “State Champ”.  Others not qualifying for the “Championship Division” are welcome to enter into the “Open Division” and to try to win prizes there as well.  See the CCKFT website for more information.

  2. 41 anglers attended the Kayak Bass Fishing stop on Lake Jordan this past weekend. Georgia’s Mitchell White scored an 87-inch 5-fish stringer and won $2,000.  Alabama’s top finisher was Jake Garner with an 82” 4th place finish.  Twenty total Alabama anglers participated in the event.
    Results from the KBF event can be found here.

    The KBF Lake Jordan Top 5 were:
    1) Mitchell White – 87
    2) Ron Champion – 85.25
    3) Joshua Stewart – 84.5
    4) Jake Garner – 82
    5) Stewart Venable – 78.5

    Check our Alabama Kayak Fishing Events page for a look at KBF and other tournament events in Alabama this year.

  3. The Tennessee Valley Kayak Anglers held their fifth event of the year, this time in Alabama on Upper Lake Guntersville from the BB Comber Bridge to Stevenson. 26 anglers battled tough fishing conditions and struggled to put together a three fish stringer.  However, Robert Barnett managed to trick a 21” largemouth into biting earning him the longest fish of the event.
    Tennessee Valley Kayak Anglers Lake Guntersville. Photo: TVKA

    Seth Lassitter won the tournament with a 49.75” 3-fish stringer.  The top 5 finishers were:

    1. Seth Lassitter – 49.75
    2. Couth – 47.00
    3. Ryan Lambert – 43.00
    4. Jake Davenport – 42.50
    5. Steve Owens – 40.50

    Those aren’t typical Guntersville numbers.

    Full results from the TVKA event can be found here.

  4. Ambassador Club, the YakTribe, held an impromptu gathering in Gulf Shores over the weekend.  A dozen like-minded kayakers showed up to fish together and socialize along the bays of Gulf Shores.
    YakTribe members in Gulf Shores, AL. Photo credit: YakTribe
    Gulf Shores yakkin. Photo: Xavier Raymond

    If you are looking for a lifestyle club, check them out at yaktribe.com.

Results: Coosa River Kayak Anglers Throwdown May 3rd

22 anglers showed up to fish the Wednesday night tournament held by the Coosa River Kayak Anglers.  Fred Minyard took first place with a 32-inch two fish stringer.

Wednesday evening anglers. Photo: Robby Cook

The Coosa River Kayak Anglers seem to have great turnouts during their evening quick events with their attendance rivaling many weekend tournaments.   In fact, most of the CRKA events will be evening tournaments held during the weekday.

Full results from last night’s event can be found here.  This event factors into the CRKA Angler of the Year race.  Here are the latest standings according to CRKA.


Here’s a lot of the CRKA schedule for the rest of the year:

It isn’t too late to get involved with CRKA or the other clubs in Alabama.  We’re tracking dozens of other kayak fishing events to take place in Alabama.

 

Heroes on the Water – North Alabama headed to Guntersville June 3rd

Alabama now has three Heroes on the Water (HOW) chapters to help military veterans get out on the water.  The North Alabama chapter of HOW is holding their first event of 2017 on June 3rd at Lake Guntersville.   The Facebook event page is here.

You can help out by guiding a vet, loaning gear, or giving your time or money.

Details about this event will be announced on their Facebook page at a later date.

Statewide Alabama Kayak Fishing Events – May 6

There will be plenty of kayak fishing action in Alabama this weekend as several clubs are hosting tournament events.

New to our calendar is a YakTribe meetup in Orange Beach.  YakTribe is a group of laid back kayak anglers, kind of like some of the clubs in our state.  They are looking to hold a meetup with other kayak anglers this weekend in Orange Beach.  Info.  Details on their Instagram.

The Coosa Canoe and Kayak Fishing Tournament event is one of the longest running and most consistent tournament series in Alabama.  Its laid back style makes it approachable for anyone in the family.  They even have a flyfishing division.  Their final regular season stop is this weekend on the Neely Henry System and this event is designed to promote a great cause.  Details.

The Tennessee Valley Kayak Anglers roll into north Alabama and will be fishing on upper Guntersville.  TVKA is a regional club and they fish most of their events in the middle Tennessee area.   This tournament will be based out of Stevenson, AL.  Details.

The Chattahoochee Kayak Anglers are another out-of-state club hosting an event in extreme eastern Alabama near Valley, AL and West Point, GA.  CKA will be fishing the Chattahoochee River were on one side of the river you are in Alabama and the other you are in Georgia.  Details.

Kayak Bass Fishing, a national competitive bass fishing trail, will hold an event on the Coosa River.  Details.

You can find other events happening this year in Alabama on our events tracking page.

This weekend:

  1. May 6 – CCKFT/ICKA Neely Henry Lake
  2. May 6 – TVKA Guntersville (BB Comer Bridge – US 117 Bridge)
  3. May 6 – CKA Chattahoochee River, West Point, GA
  4. May 6 – YakTribe Meetup, Jeff Friend Trail Kayak Launch, Orange Beach, AL 9AM
  5. May  6 – KBF Trail Coosa River, Wetumpka, AL