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The 2014 Kayak Bass Fishing Open has kayak anglers from all over the states coming to compete in a two day tournament in South Carolina on Santee Cooper. The 177,000 acres of Santee Cooper Lake consist of swamps, stumps, cypress trees and much more. It is for most part a very shallow lake with a diversion canal splitting the lake in two. Lake Marion being the upper lake and Lake Moultrie on the lower end. March is a perfect time to fish on Santee Cooper as these bass starts to move in to spawn.

I had one day to prepare for this tournament and the weather wasn’t looking too good. There were two areas I had in mind to check out. First stop that morning was at the hatchery on Lake Moultrie. The weather has been in the high 70s right up until the day before the tournament. A cold front pushed in and pre fishing was pretty tough that morning, I couldn’t get a nibble. The wind was blowing very hard and it was white capping on the main lake. Pulling back up to the ramp there was a guy who was pretty interested in getting a kayak. A friend and I had the pleasure to walk him through the Jackson Cuda 14 and Coosa.¬† I think it’s pretty awesome when people see you paddle up in your kayak asking you “you can fish out of that?”

I decided to head on over to my second spot where it was protected from the wind and the water temps should be up by the afternoon. I had three lures in mind to use, a frog, senko, and a paddle tail fluke. By then the water temp got up to 58 degrees and it didn’t take long to get a bite. I was using a frog in the lily pads just popping it thru, and had a nice blow up on it twice. One thing about froggin is, you gotta let the fish take it, my initial reaction is to set the hook right away. I had confidence in this area and found some more bites that afternoon.
The cold front that probably changed the outcome of the tournament. The night before the tournament, temps dropped down into the 30s. This was probably going to be an afternoon bite type of tournament. I didn’t get on the water until 8am on day one of the tournament, with launch time being at 7am. I turned on my fish finder and the water temps was 49 where I was at. I had to figure out something quick. Are these bass going to be shallow holding tight to cover or out deep where it’s probably a little more stable? I stuck with deep water that morning working a spinnerbait in 4ft of water close by to where I found them the day before.

Noon had rolled around and not a single fish yet. It was warming up though, I worked my way into the shallow lily pads and the water temps warmed up to 57. This was a good sign, tied on a frog and started working the side where the sun has been on it the longest. The first fish of the day was on, after working the pads over and over, measuring in at 15 inches. A small buck largemouth on the frog. We are only allowed to score in two of our best fish for Day 1 of the tournament. One down and one more to go, and the clock was ticking. I had missed a bunch of fish on the frog that afternoon. I even followed through with a plastic worm because they gave off their location but no luck. Finally 30 minutes before having to wrap things up, I caught a 13.5  inch largemouth working that frog.

Day 1 was tough, I couldn’t figure them out. There were guys who did get on them and they caught some real nice one. Ron Champion caught a hawg measuring 24.75 inches. Jeffrey Hall lead on with 40.75 inches. The top 10 guys did pretty well on Day 1. I manage to advance onto Day 2 with 28.5 inches. There were probably only 30 anglers out of 120 competitors that caught fish on Day 1. One fish is all it took to advance onto Day 2.
Day 2 was looking a lot better with conditions being stable. I had to make a change, the area I was in on Day 1 didn’t produce in size. The big ones haven’t quite moved in yet. It was time for me to go big or go home. I made the decision to hit up an area where I had caught a nice one last year. The wind was just right with overcast skies that morning. I started working a chatterbait along the grass lines and made my way into an area with stumps. I knew there were fish in here like Bassmaster Elite Pro Takahiro would say ” I just knew it!” Unfortunately I didn’t pull a win like Takahiro but I stuck it out and managed two fish. One of them cashing in some Manufactures Money from Bending Branch measuring in at 21.50 inches.

 

It was a tough tournament for me. Overall I finished in 13th place out of 120 competitors. Santee Cooper is a big bass factory and we was probably 48 hours away from it turning on real good. A lot of guys did catch their personal best and if you caught one, it was a good one. The 2014 KBF Open was a success and congrats to Jeffrey Hall for catching a monster 100 inch total to win the 2014 KBF Open.