ICKA will host five tournament events between April and September. There are several new changes that should make participating in ICKA events even more accessible to any angler. Captains Meetings will be conducted via Facebook Live the night prior to the event and they are no longer requiring you to fish with a partner.
Like last year, ICKA will be holding an Angler of the Year race. Tournament winners and the top AOTY anglers will qualify for the 2018 Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic to be held at the end of the year. The Classic is a year-end boondoggle co-hosted by the kayak fishing clubs of Alabama.
See this post on the ICKA Facebook page to look at their updated rules and to find other details about their 2018 season. Please consider supporting ICKA’s sponsors as they help clubs do what they do.
The Coosa River Kayak Anglers have released their 2018 schedule of kayak fishing events. Like last year, most events are weekday evening events offering a great change up to folks that want something to do during the week. Anglers will be targeting black bass in these events.
CRKA is also going to have three Open tournaments. The Opens are day-long weekend fishing events more closely resembling your typical one-day kayak fishing tournament. All anglers are free to fish each event.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There were four kayak fishing events in Alabama on May 6th, 2017. Let’s break them down:
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 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.
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.
Nine anglers had stringers longer than 50-inches. For complete results, see this Facebook post.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
Seth Lassitter won the tournament with a 49.75” 3-fish stringer. The top 5 finishers were: