(Wetumpka, AL) Lance Coley is your 2018 Alabama State Champion after posting an 58.00 inch three-fish stringer at the Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic held at the Coosa Outdoor Center in Wetumpka, Alabama. Coley, a prolific river fisherman, is no stranger to the Coosa and once again put up another impressive performance with three Alabama bass measuring 19.00, 19.50, and 19.50 inches. Coley won $540 for his solid finish. Congrats!
After Coley, a three-way tie ensued for second through fourth place with all anglers posting stringers of 52.25 inches. Anthony George took second place with his tie breaking 19.00 fish which netted him $250.Sloan Finnerty placed third ($110) with his 18.50 fish and Matt Delaplaneplaced fourth ($60) with his 17.75 bass.
The NuCanoe Flint fishing kayak was awarded to Jeremy Bowling. The kayak was to be given to the angler who scored the longest black bass. Bowling scored a monster 21.50” Alabama bass. Bowling finished in fifth place with a total of 51.75 inches.
The Classic’s Open Division was won by Eric Atkins. Atkins had a 47.75 inch stringer anchored by a 17.25 inch stringer which won him $260. “I spent two hours fishing around the dam with nothing but a 15” bass. I needed a change of scenery” said Atkins. “I caught all my scoring fish on a River2Sea Whopper Plopper at various places on the float.” Scott Arnold scored a 46.25 inch stringer and won $130. Chattahoochee Kayak Angler (CKA) Jamie Dabbs finished third with a 45.25” stringer. CKA angler Nick Dyer hooked up with a 15.25 spot on a large topwater spook just before the takeout to finish in fourth place.
A first this year, Jordan Lake was open to competitors. Reports from the lake were bleak. Several anglers reported challenging fishing conditions to include massive white caps and rolling waves. A steady north-to-south wind was persistent throughout the day and the orientation of the lake made for unfriendly boating conditions.
Few anglers went home empty-handed thanks to our wondering sponsors. Topping the list was, of course, the new NuCanoe Flint from NuCanoe. NRS Fishing provided NRS Chinook PFDs and the Pilot Knifes along with a pair of NRS Crush shoes. Anchor Wizard provided a kayak anchoring system and apparel. Bending Branches, Orion Coolers, Nocqua Adventure Gear, and YakAttack added several more hundred dollars’ worth of gear which was all given away in random drawing. Big Wills Outfitters sponsored this year’s trophies for the Championship and Open Divisions.
Dennis Jay Jones Jr. proved to be a master of wieners cooking a personal best 96 hotdogs for the hungry field. “It’s just what I do. I cook good food and look good doing it” said Jones. Jones caught the longest fish off the day after wrestling with a four-foot longnose gar. He also caught the longest night of sleep after getting started fishing around 10:30 in the morning.
Lunch (with cake!), campgrounds, and amazing hospitality were once again provided by the gracious Coosa Outdoor Center. “Lonnie and Karen are just amazing people” said Josh Tidwell. “We enjoyed everyone and extend an invitation to each participant to visit us again soon” said Karen Newton.
“Me and Charlotte Smallwood had a great time hanging out with an awesome group yesterday!” said Jamie Dabbs. “The Coosa Outdoor Center is the perfect place to have such an event! Food was great! We will definitely be coming back!”
Brandon Ellis of the Iron City Kayak Anglers served as the Tournament Director for this year’s event. He hosted captain’s meetings on Friday night at 6PM and Saturday morning at 5AM while also scoring all the fish submitted by 4:30PM on Saturday.
Like last year, this year’s event was co-hosted by the kayak fishing clubs of Alabama. The North Alabama Kayak Anglers, Coosa River Kayak Anglers, and Iron City Kayak Anglers each sent 10 anglers to compete in the Championship division. Anglers representing Montgomery-area River Region Kayak Anglers and Chattahoochee Kayak Anglers were also in the Open field. Anglers from each of the clubs present gave a quick note on what to expect from each club in 2019.
Clubs and organizations in Alabama wishing to participate in the 2019 Alabama Kayak Fishing Classic should contact the Alabama Kayak Anglers on Facebook to be included in the event planning for 2019. The location and date of the 2019 event is to be determined.
The kayak fishing anglers of Alabama wish to thank:
Big Will’s Outfitters
Coosa Outdoor Center