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 Open – March 24, 2017 – Facebook page
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.
Smith Lake – May 20, 2017 – Facebook page
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.
River Stop – July 22, 2017 – Facebook page
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 NAKA Classic – September 22, 2017 – Facebook page
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.
Have questions or want to learn more? Contact the North Alabama Kayak Anglers on their Facebook page.
Alabama Classic – October 21, Wetumpka, AL – Facebook page
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.