July 30th, 2014
Kayak Bass Series Open #1 Recapby Robert Field March 5, 2015
I had one of the most epic adventures of myMarch 1, 2014
St. John’s River, Astor, FL
January 31st, 2015
The first Kayak Bass Series Open of the 2015 season is in the books, and it was a resounding success. The response has been positive and there’s a buzz within the kayak fishing community surrounding this tournament trail. We asked KBS President Robert Field how he thought the first stop went.
“The feedback we’ve received has exceeded my expectations going into the first event,” Field said. “Like any new tournament trail, there will be hiccups and tweaks along the way, but all in all the first KBS Open went off without a hitch.”
The first stop was in Astor, FL on the St. John’s River, and it was one of six stops around the country that all culminate with the KBS Classic this fall. Anglers must participate in three of the six stops to qualify for the Classic. There is no entry fee for the Classic, but rather 10% of the entry fees for all six KBS Opens are set aside for the Classic Champion and Angler of the Year.
Robert continues, “The fishing was tough all week, but we told ourselves going into this season that we can’t control the weather and we can’t control the fishing; all we can control is how we run the event. Our priority was to make sure we did everything we could to ensure the anglers had a good time and were treated fairly.”
The KBS utilizes the iAngler Tournament System app, allowing competitors to score their fish in real time using their smartphones, eliminating the need for manual scoring and reducing the downtime before the weigh-in.
“We’re doing a few things differently than other tournament trails, and it’s all geared towards making this tournament a fun, get-together type event first and foremost, while also getting friends and family involved,” Field explained. “We had a huge influx of emails and messages from people who raved about being able to watch their daughter or husband or best friend climb the leaderboard throughout the afternoon. They felt like they were there.”
The KBS team also wanted to ensure the excitement of traditional boat tournament weigh-ins was not lost due to the CPR format that most kayak tournament utilize. “There’s something just plain cool about those guys in the B.A.S.S. and FLW holding up their 8-pound fish while the crowd ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’. You lose that with the CPR format,” Field explains. “We replicated that concept by having a 60” TV built into the stage backdrop, where we showed the CPR photos of the top 5 competitors’ fish so the other anglers could see the winning fish. We called the top 5 up in random order, and unveiled each place one-by-one as everyone looked at their bass. A lot of the guys really loved that.”
Despite a slow start, the competitors wound up finding some nice bass. Jason McRae took 1st place with 56” for his top 3 bass, and he also won the Big Bass side pot with a 25.25” bruiser. The top 8 were:
1 – Jason McRae 56”
2 – Andrew Mixon 46″
3 – Drew Gregory 44.25″
4 – Stephen Nesler 44″
5 – Joseph Harrick 42.75″
6 – Jason Broach 41.25″
7 – Casey Brunning 40.5″
8 – Christina Weber 39.75″
One other thing the KBS focused on was taking care of those who had a tough day fishing. “Sometimes you tear them up while prefishing, but then come tournament day, you can’t catch a fish to save your life. We’ve all been there,” Field admits. “We gave every sponsor prize away to random winners, only cash went to the top 8. Over 70% of the participants walked away with cash and/or a prize worth more than their entry fee, including prizes like a Power-Pole Micro Anchor and Jackson Kayak Big Rig. Those two guys didn’t catch a fish, yet walked away winners.” That’s a concept we can get behind.
All in all the KBS delivered on its promises at the first KBS Open. The next Open is on February 28th on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Lufkin, TX, and registration is open now. To view the full list of stops for the 2015 season, click here. (http://www.kayakbassseries.com/#!events/c1bs6)
About AuthorMore info about author
Robert’s passion for sharing the sport began almost immediately following his first fish from a kayak. Fishing for anything that bites, he is a versatile angler that chases everything from largemouth bass to king mackerel to sharks from his kayak. He believes that through quality video work, viewers can experience kayak fishing even when off the water. Robert created YakFish TV to share our passion and show the world what kayak fishing is all about.More by Robert Field