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The Colorado Kayak Fishing Club (CKFC) started the club tournament season with a Bass only event at Boyd Lake in Loveland, CO. This was the same location as the first tournament which I won in 2017, but this year the conditions were much different.
In 2017, Boyd Lake was drawn way down removing obvious pieces of cover where bass are typically located such as boat docks and the dam. This year the lake was much fuller and these areas were in play for anglers to take advantage.
I had pre-fished the lake a few times in the weeks leading up to the tournament to develop my game plan. The bite overall was good but inconsistent. Some days I was catching fish shallow on spinnerbaits. Some days it was deep diving jerkbaits and crankbaits. There was even a day where I was catching fish on top water up shallow with a water temperature of 49 degrees. However, on tournament day the bite was tougher than I had anticipated.
I started out the day fishing reliable spots with crankbaits that have consistently produced for me over the years. Within the first half hour I had caught two smallmouth bass and was off to a good start with one of the bass coming in at 17.5 inches. After those first two fish, I went some time without another bite and was beginning to get concerned about filling a limit. I began to cover water fishing shallow weedlines rotating between a chatterbait and a spinnerbait. My next fish was a 17 inch largemouth that bit the chatterbait in an area which had produced for me in practice. Shortly after that I was able to fill a limit on the chatterbait and thought I had my strategy for the rest of the day. After filling my limit and culling twice I was sitting on 79 inches at the half point of the tournament.

At that point, the wind absolutely died along with my chatterbait bite. I continued throwing the chatterbait without a bite for a while and tried slowing down by dragging a texas rigged craw. Unable to get another bite, I made a long run down to the dam in my Coosa FD where I threw crankbaits and deep diving jerkbaits. The dam appeared to be getting a lot of pressure from other competitors and I was unable to get a bite there either. Reports from other anglers made it sound like it was a tough day for everyone. I decided to go back to where I caught my fish earlier in the tournament. Last year I was competing out of a paddle kayak, but now that I was in the Coosa FD I was able to cover water much more quickly and could make those long trips twice as fast as before.
A slight breeze picked up and I went back to throwing a chatterbait. Once again the bite picked up and I was able to catch a few more fish, culling once and improving my limit to 80.75 inches. I made my way back to the launch area satisfied with my performance and was hopeful for a good finish. The buzz amongst the anglers was that it was a slow bite for everyone. Of the 44 anglers in the tournament, only 9 turned in a limit of 5 fish. The results were announced and I finished in 1st place! Second place went to fellow competitor Eric Allee who had a limit of 74.75 inches. CKFC board member Jason Duong rounded out the top 3 with a limit of 73.75 inches.
On top of winning the tournament, my 17.5 inch smallmouth was also the big bass for the tournament! I was excited to have defended last year’s victory on Boyd Lake and am looking forward to the next one. I would like to thank the CKFC for all their hard work in putting on these events, and of course I’d like to thank Jackson Kayak for supporting me and so many other kayakers across the world!