Category: Tournament News

2023 Elite Kayak Fishing Season Update

2023 Elite Kayak Fishing season update! If you have any questions, ask in the comments.

Join our Facebook group to catch future videos live.

(And yes, there is a typo in the intro. We know. We’re sad. John has been thoroughly flogged for this transgression.)


2023 Elite Kayak Fishing Schedule Announcement

Are you ready?


Nick Audi Wins It All!

This past weekend, Elite Kayak Fishing ended its second season on the famed Lake Champlain, where thirty anglers battled it out for the coveted title of Elite Kayak Fishing Champion.

Also up for grabs was the Angler of the Year title, which going into the event had Nick Audi on top of the rankings, with Ken Wood and 2021 Angler of the Year Jake Angulas not far behind.

The stage was set for an epic event, but Mother Nature had other plans.

Expecting big fish and bigger limits, anglers were instead met with a very tough bite thanks to a run of cold nights and cold rain that brought the water temp down into the upper 60s. A moon phase—including a harvest moon—also undoubtedly had its own effect on the fishing. It was the proverbial Double Whammy on a lake that’s known for its world-class bass fishing.

After a tough day one, only four limits had been logged on the leaderboard, and only 70 keeper bass were submitted.

Fittingly, Nick Audi was on top, followed by Ken Wood in second. The battle for the Championship crown and Angler of the Year title was on!

But Nick had a commanding lead with 95.75 to Ken Wood’s 87.25, and Ken’s lead over Scott Rhodes was a mere 1.25 inches. Going into day two it looked like Ken and Scott were fighting for second and third because Nick Audi was untouchable.

That is until Sunday morning when Ken put up two big fish—a 19-inch smallie and a 20-inch largemouth—right out the gate, putting him in first place. All of a sudden, Nick’s 8.5-inch margin going into the final day didn’t look so big.

But Ken was unable to keep that momentum going and struggled to find more big bites, which opened the door for others.

Eventually Nick regained the lead, Ken dropped to fourth, and he, Simon Morgan, Jake Angulas, and Scott jockeyed for those remaining two paying spots.

In the end, Ken Wood was able to find a big enough limit to put himself back into second place, with Scott Rhodes also finding four fish good enough to keep him in third.

Torrence Davis and Simon Morgan rounded out the top five.

The Orion Coolers Big Bass—which was worth $500 and a 35-quart Orion cooler—went to Nelson da Costa, who landed a massive 22.50-inch largemouth…on a dropshot with 6-pound test!

And all the rest went to Nick Audi—Champion, Angler of the Year, and Double Down! He also won Tyler Sweet’s NY Kayak Bassmasters event that took place at the same time.

Nick’s two-day total was 184.25, winning by a margin of 12.25 inches! A well-deserved victory and a hell of a season with two wins, a 2nd- and a 5th-place finish!

We’d like to thank all the anglers who supported Elite Kayak Fishing this season. Much of this is new to us, so there have been a few bumps in the road, but we are learning and growing and in the coming year we are committed to making Elite Kayak Fishing truly live up to its name. Big things are coming!

Thanks to our amazing sponsors—Three Belles Outfitters, Bixpy, Harpoon Brewery, Dakota Lithium Batteries, Orion Coolers, and YakAttack—for all that you’ve done to make this trail a success thus far.

Special shout-out to Duke Weskamp and Ketch Products. for the baddest trophies around!

To Amanda Brannon and Reel Tournament Management for helping us manage and judge these events. Thank you!

And thanks to Messy Mike’s Barbecue & Catering for the amazing gift bag at our Lake Winnipesaukee event.

Check out the full results here.

And look for our 2023 schedule soon!


The Weather Looks Great for Oneida

Oneida week is here, and we’re excited for another great event!

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the weather, it’s setting up to be a fantastic day out there. Warm, partly sunny, and favorable winds—south/southwest to start, then shifting to a south wind, 5 to 10 mph.

Obviously this will likely change some between now and Saturday, but as of right now it’s setting up to be a great day on the water!

Register on Fishing Chaos here.

For those looking to double dip, New York Kayak Bass Fishing is also hosting an event at the same time. They’re a local trail and we’ll be supporting them as they are supporting us. Anglers do not need to be a NYKBF member to fish their event (though the entry fee for non-members is $50 instead of $40 for members).

One thing of note, though: they use TourneyX. So you’ll need an account with TourneyX if you wish to compete. You can register for their event here.

We’ll see you out there!


Messalonskee Week Has Arrived!

Messalonskee week is here!

The first Elite Kayak Fishing event of 2022 is coming up this Saturday on beautiful Messalonskee Lake. We’ve been here before, both with EKF last year and KBF in years past, and this lake is always on fire. Expect big numbers for this one!

If you want to throw down with best anglers in the Northeast, register .

All the cabins are booked at Snow Pond, our host location for this event, but there are still plenty of rooms left in the dorm and lodge. Give Christa Johnson a call at 207-465-9648, ext. 203, to book.

And if you want to eat with us at Snow Pond, you can order your meals—Friday night BBQ, Saturday night pasta bar, and breakfast baskets—at this location.

Hope to see you there!


Discussing the 2022 Schedule on the Breakdown Podcast

Ken Wood, Adam Rourke, and Jason Gardner joined John Ferriera on the latest episode of The Breakdown to discuss changes to the 2022 Elite Kayak Fishing tournament schedule, COVID-19 pandemic restrictions affecting at least one event, the Hobie B.O.S. conflict, and more.

Check it out below!

If don’t want to watch or listen to the podcast, here is the full schedule:

May 21 – Messalonskee Lake, Maine
Jun 25 – Oneida Lake, New York
Jul 16 – Connecticut River, Massachusetts
Aug 27 – Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
Sep 10–11 – Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont (Championship)

Click the Schedule/Results link at the top of this page for more details on each event.


Championship Changes

After careful consideration, we have made some changes to our upcoming championship event on Lake Champlain.

QUALIFICATIONS

Originally, to qualify for our championship, anglers needed finish in the top ten or acquire 800 total Angler of the Year points in our first four regular-season events.

After speaking with a number of anglers, gathering insight from our sponsors, and going over the numbers again, we realized we needed to bring the goal posts a little closer.

Now, anglers who finished in the top ten at any of our first four events or acquired 600 Angler of the Year points are qualified to fish Lake Champlain in September!

To see if you qualified, click here to check out our current Angler of the Year standings.

If you have fished our events and do not see your name listed, please follow this link and become an Elite Kayak Fishing club member on the Fishing Chaos website. It’s free!

BOUNDARIES

After experiencing the Hobie B.O.S. event on Lake Champlain back in June, seeing anglers traveling hundreds of miles to pre-fish different parts of the lake, we decided to add a hard boundary for our championship event.

For our 2021 championship, we will now be focusing on the northern half of the lake.

The northern boundary remains unchanged and is the United States/Canada line. Don’t cross it (seriously, you could be arrested). The new southern boundary is the Ausable River on the New York side across to Colchester Point and Malletts Bay on the Vermont side. Anything south of that line is now out of bounds.


New boundary line for our 2021 championship

We will be returning to Lake Champlain for our 2022 championship, and for that event we will focus on the southern end of the lake, where the northern boundary will be the Ausable River across to Colchester Point.

We won’t make a habit of changing things so late in the season, but with this being our first season, having gained experience and knowledge from our first four events, we feel these changes make sense and will be a benefit for all those involved.

We hope you understand. If you have any questions, please reach out.


History Helps Secure a Big Wallenpaupack Win

Presented by Three Belles Outfitters and Bixpy, the third Elite Kayak Fishing event of the season took place on Saturday, July 14, on the beautiful waters of Pennsylvania’s Lake Wallenpaupack.

Forty-five anglers from all over the Northeast battled heavy recreational boat traffic and tight-lipped bass in hopes of taking home the coveted Elite Kayak Fishing trophy and earning a spot in the championship event on Lake Champlain later this year.

Lake Wallenpaupack is very popular with locals and visitors alike—which everyone fishing the event learned as the flotillas of pontoon party boats and deck boats made their way across the lake and parked on top of prime fishing areas like coves, flats, humps, and points, while wake boats and jet skis zipped around and created endless waves that battered everything and everyone relentlessly.

All of this undoubtedly made the notoriously tough fishery even tougher.

Known for being a stingy fishery—and stingier in the summer—Lake Wallenpaupack stayed true to its reputation by only giving up 67 scorable bass, with only 30 anglers entering fish, and only two managing a five-fish limit.

Despite the limited number of fish caught, the top ten anglers found themselves in a tight race, their position at the top precarious at best. One 12-inch bass was worth five or six positions!

Jason Gardner separated himself from the pack early, putting up the day’s first limit by 9:30 AM and having the lead for much of the day. He would later have a fish denied, but before that could happen local angler Rich Toepfer swooped in and snatched the lead with a solid limit of his own.

Having grown up on the lake, Rich was poised for the victory…until late in the day a talented angler from New Hampshire happened upon some offshore structure, something that did not appear to be very abundant across the lake.

Historical knowledge of a fishery often helps anglers win events, but occasionally history itself offers up something from another time…

Jake Angulas had just one 16-inch bass before coming upon an old building foundation in deeper water around noontime. He worked that area with a ned rig for the remainder of the tournament and landed four bass—two of which topped 16 and 17 inches—propelling the young hammer to the top and nailing down his second Elite Kayak Fishing victory!


The winner, Jake Angulas

With back-to-back wins, Jake also sits atop the Angler of the Year leaderboard, and with our next event on Lake Winnipesaukee in his home state, all eyes are on Jake. No pressure!

Lake Wallenpaupack’s top five paying spots were rounded out by two other New Hampshire anglers, Adam Rourke and Stephen Smith, and the Bixpy Big Bass prize went to Danny Fontaine, who hauled in an 18.75-inch smallmouth late in the day.

Elite Kayak Fishing would like to thank Danny Fontaine, Brian Thomas, and the Central Jersey Kayak Bass Fishing Club for helping make this event possible.

Special thanks to our incredible sponsors—Three Belles Outfitters and Bixpy, Dakota Lithium, Jackson Kayak’s Orion Coolers, and Savur Outdoors—for the support and prizes!

And a huge thank-you to all of the anglers who made the trip for this event!

As mentioned, we’re heading to New Hampshire’s legendary Lake Winnipesaukee on August 14. Register here on Fishing Chaos!


Barn Burner in Belgrade

The Belgrade lakes region of Maine, known for its plentiful bass population, saw an influx of kayak anglers this past weekend, as 65 anglers and many of their family descended upon Lake Messalonskee and Long Pond for the second Elite Kayak Fishing event of the season. Brought to you by Three Belles Outfitters and Bixpy, both anglers and fish were fired up for this event!

Most anglers rented cabins or rooms at Snow Pond Center for the Arts, tournament headquarters on the shores of Messalonskee, and word on campus was that pre-fishing went well for most.

Once the anglers hit the water Saturday morning, as big fish kept hitting the leaderboard, it was clear that this one would be a barn burner.

At the end of the day, 427 scorable bass were submitted. Out of 65 anglers, 63 of them caught fish, with 49 putting up a five-fish limit. Nearly a quarter of the 427 fish caught were 18 inches or longer.

The Bixpy Big Bass of the event was caught by Justin Lacasse, measuring 21.25 inches, tying Adam Rourke in the race to win a Bixpy motor at the end of the season.

Not surprising, the top ten anglers found themselves scraping for upgrades in a tight race for the payout spots. Third and fourth place found themselves in a tie, which came down to a third-largest fish tie-breaker; and fifth and sixth were also decided by a tie-breaking fish.

The event was won by New Hampshire’s Jake Angulas, who measured 95.25 inches of bass—four largemouth and one smallmouth. Rounding out the top ten was Mark Donio in second (92.50), John Ferreira in third (92.25), Mike Morcone in fourth (92.25), Jonathan Richardson in fifth (91.75), Ken Wood in sixth (91.75), Brady Ouellette in seventh (91.25), Simon Morgan in eighth (90.5), Shawn Marston in ninth (90.25), and Sean Dwyer in tenth (90.00).


The winner, Jake Angulas

Elite Kayak Fishing would like to thank Mike Guarino and Snow Pond Center for the Arts for their unsurpassed hospitality while hosting this event and the anglers.

Special thanks to our title sponsors, Three Belles Outfitters and Bixpy, as well as Dakota Lithium, Jackson Kayak’s Orion Coolers, and Savur Outdoors for their incredible support.

And thanks to everyone who made the trip, whether you were fishing the event or just visiting!

We’re heading to northern Pennsylvania for the next Elite Kayak Fishing, which will take place on Lake Wallenpaupack on July 17. Registration is open now on Fishing Chaos! Sign up here.


Friday Night BBQ and State Weed Inspection

It’s still early, but as of right now the weather leading up to and on the day of our Lake Messalonskee/Long Pond event is looking great!

Forty anglers are already registered! If you’d like to take part in this event as well, register here.

If you’ve already registered or intend to, don’t forget the Friday Night BBQ and state weed inspection.

Maine law requires all kayaks to be inspected, so head on over to Snow Pond and eat some great food at a great price ($12.96 per person) while your kayak is inspected. You can sign up for the BBQ here.

Cash bar will also be available!

Looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend.