Category: Tournament Results

Morcone Wins the Tie-Breaker

Lake Winnipesaukee was the fourth stop for Elite Kayak Fishing this year. Expectations were high leading up to the event, as Lake Winnipesuakee has been putting up big limits all season.

And she didn’t disappoint! The top 24 anglers hauled in over 80 inches of mostly smallmouth bass, with the top eight anglers being separated by just two inches. A true slugfest!

Like most summer tournaments on Winnipesaukee, Mike Morcone had to go deep to find the winning fish.

“It basically came down to locating big bait balls in 45–65 feet to target the better-quality fish,” Mike said. “My feeling was 90–92 inches would win, so I never felt anyone would run away [with it], so to speak, but in my mind, I felt I needed a little more. Competition was stacked, so I figured what we were seeing across the board was a solid trend. I kept that in mind and just stayed calm, telling myself the quality was a touch down all around and the slightly smaller limits might just do it. I saw better fish in practice for sure, so the last hour or so I figured the next upgrade might just win the whole thing.”

And he was right. A key late-game upgrade sealed the deal. But barely.

Mike tied for 1st place with Nick Audi, current Elite Kayak Fishing Angler of the Year leader. They both had 89.50 inches, but Mike had the largest fish between them, an 18.25-inch smallmouth, which was the tie-breaker.

Having only fished one other Elite Kayak Fishing event this season, this win was enough points to secure Morcone a spot in the championship at Lake Champlain next month.

“Well, I couldn’t make many events with all the family-life chaos,” Mike said, “so that’s definitely a great perk to the win. I’ve never fished Champlain and have to travel to Pennsylvania this weekend for KFL, so I’m really hoping I can make it work! Should be a blast.”

As mentioned, Nick Audi secured a 2nd place finish, as well as the top spot in the Angler of the Year race, while Jake Angulas took 3rd with 88.75 inches.

For this event, we paid out six spots, plus lunker—nearly $10,000 in cash and prizes from our sponsors: Three Belles Outfitters, Bixpy, Harpoon Brewery, and Dakota Lithium Batteries!

Special thanks to Messy Mike’s Barbecue & Catering for amazing gift bag!

The rest of the top ten played out as follows:

4th – Ryan Matylewicz (88.75)
5th – Matt Lee (88.50)
6th – Ken Wood (88.00)
7th – Matthew Zapala (87.75)
8th – Joseph Daddeo (87.50)
9th – Jason Gardner (86.50)
10th – Anthony Campbell (86.00)

The Bixpy Big Bass winner was Ronel Mullen, with a massive 21.75-inch Winnipesaukee largemouth!

Congratulations once again to all the winners!

This event concluded our regular season. Next up is the championship on Lake Champlain, September 10–11!


Rhodes Uses Local Experience for Connecticut River Win

Besides a few river systems, Massachusetts doesn’t have a single public body of water that can play host to a large bass fishing tournament. The biggest public lake in the state is Fall River’s South Watuppa Pond, which clocks in at a mere 1,460 acres.

So when planning this year’s schedule, we looked to the rivers, with the Connecticut River ultimately being the place we chose for the third stop of the 2022 season.

Lots of unknowns surrounded the river. It’s not a world-class fishery, which is often a requirement for anglers when choosing to fish an event. It’s not known to produce giant bass, which is also something that many anglers factor in when deciding to fish a tournament. But at the end of the day, it’s a tournament, and from that perspective the latter two things don’t matter. Big fish, little fish, someone’s going to win…

And thirty-nine anglers hit the river last Saturday in hopes of doing just that.

Pre-fishing reports were mixed. With low water levels, anglers found themselves searching for accessible, quality fishing spots, and while some anglers found fish, others struggled.

Being the first Elite Kayak Fishing event on a river, it was interesting to watch how anglers adapted to the different conditions.

Tournament day called for temperatures in the upper 80s, and plenty of weekend boat traffic to navigate. But despite the unknowns and the inherent challenges of river fishing, the Connecticut River didn’t disappoint.

Kevin Senecal jumped out to quick lead on Saturday, being the only angler with a 5-fish limit within the first two hours. Not long after, other anglers started closing in, with Gerard Elias taking the top spot and Chris LaCourse bumping Kevin down to third.

As the day wore on, the leaderboard continued to shift, with anglers moving up and down consistently. In the last few hours, however, a handful of anglers began to make their stand, and they stood very close together, just a quarter inch separating the top four paying spots.

In fact, the top thirteen or so could have won it with a few good culls or one big fish.

Bruce Levy spent time at the top of the leaderboard, but ultimately fell to fourth place with 81.5 inches, earning him $597.75. He also landed the day’s Bixpy Big Bass—a 20.25 tank—and for it won an additional $500 and a Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit!

Also having spent time at the top, Gerard Elias found a consistent bite that allowed him to catch fish throughout the day. His 81.75 was good enough for third place and a $797 payout.

Having planned to fish the Oxbow, some confusion about parking in trailer spots at the ramp forced Matthew Zapala to switch gears and head north to another launch. Misfortune that turned into good fortune. Kismet, as they say. Matt got on the water late, but he was able to find the fish needed to carve out a solid second place finish with 82 inches of Connecticut River smallmouth, boosting his net worth by $1,075.95.

With the Connecticut River in his backyard, Scott Rhodes took his knowledge of and experience on the river right to the top. With 82.25 inches of largemouth bass, Scott walked away with the first place trophy and an extra $1,514.30 in his wallet.

Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to everyone who came out, especially those who joined us to celebrate the winners at the awards ceremony!

Special thanks, as always, to Lauren Furey from Three Belles Outfitters for coming out and supporting us, assisting with the setup at the awards and for everything she and Three Belles does for this kayak fishing community. Second to none!

And to all our other sponsors—Harpoon Brewery, Dakota Lithium Batteries, and Orion Coolers, and YakAttack—thank you!

We’d like to also thank Slob Gear, Chad Hoover, Joe Haubenreich, and Busy Bee Printing for assistance in getting these new big checks made, and quickly!

If you placed in the top three at our first two events, we have one for you.

Our next event is on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee on August 27. Registration is open now. See you there!


Oneida Brings Adam Rourke His First-Ever Win

The second Elite Kayak Fishing event of the season took place this past Saturday on Oneida Lake.

We had 41 anglers fish this one, a lower turnout than we would have liked due to a conflict with another big event on Lake Winnipesaukee, but we appreciate those of you who chose to support us on Oneida.

The weather was great for this one, though more clouds would have helped everyone out, we think. Pre-fishing reports were positive earlier in the week, but come Friday things changed and the bite got tougher. A major mayfly hatch taking place and the fish gorging on food that was literally falling from the sky all around us didn’t help matters.

Despite the tougher bite on Saturday, many anglers found fish, and most caught at least one. However, a number of heavy hitters who have done well in our past events struggled this day. But where one falls, another rises. Such is tournament fishing.

We paid out four spots for this event, with Jacob Moulton taking the bottom paying spot with 85.75 inches.

Simon Morgan is no stranger to anyone fishing the national tournament scene, and seeing his name at the top of the leaderboard should come as no surprise to anyone. His 86 inches earned him a third-place finish as well as the optional Double Down sidepot—which the winner of the event opted not buy into (he has regrets, no doubt).

Dale Van Horn tossed a solid 89 inches on the board, anchored by a slobby 20.75-inch largemouth, good enough for second place and Bixpy Big Bass honors, earning him a Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit!

Leading up to the event, Adam Rourke had a life-changing experience during a KFL match, where he flipped his kayak in extremely rough conditions. With the help of Jake Angulas and others, he was able to safely get to shore, shaken but thankfully alive.

Adam then hired a diver (a brilliant idea) to recover all of his rods, and Three Belles Outfitters had him in a brand-new Jackson Kayak Take Two almost immediately, and then it was on to Oneida.

He struggled in pre-fishing, but one 19-inch smallie caught on a point gave him enough confidence to make that his starting spot on Saturday morning, and it proved to be the right choice.

Between 6:52 and 7:44 AM, Adam put two 18s and two 19.25s on the board, firmly securing the early lead—which he held onto for most of if not all day—with only four fish. He’d go on to catch two more 18s and a 16.75, giving him 92.50 and securing his first-ever kayak tournament win!

Great job, sir! You earned it. And congrats to all the winners!

The top ten was rounded out by current Angler of the Year leader Nick Audi (85.00), Shawn Dominik (84.75), Jonathan Medina (83.50), John Ferreira (83.50), Donald Davis (82.75), and Steve Hedges (82.50).

Full results can be found here.

Thanks again to everyone who came out and supported Elite Kayak Fishing, and a huge shout-out to our sponsors—Three Belles Outfitters, Bixpy, Harpoon Brewery, Dakota Lithium Batteries, and Orion Coolers!

Extra special thanks to Lauren Furey for going above and beyond what most sponsors would do, by traveling all that way to ensure everything was set up a ready to go come time for the awards.

And to Reel Tournament Management, thanks for judging and managing this one. We appreciate it!

Our next event is coming up in a few weeks, July 16, on the Connecticut River. The entire river within the state of Massachusetts is in play. Should be a great one! We hope to see you there.


Nick Audi Makes a Statement on Messalonskee

On May 21, the 2022 Elite Kayak Fishing season kicked off with a return to the angler-favorite Messalonskee Lake in Maine. A world-class bass fishery, Messalonskee is home to monster largemouth, but the smallmouth rule here, and they did not disappoint this weekend.

Once again, Snow Pond Center for the Arts hosted the event, offering their campus to the majority of the 84 anglers who fished the event (our biggest turnout yet).

Leading up to the tournament, anglers battled windy conditions and saw bass making the transition to shallow waters to spawn. Saturday morning, anglers crisscrossed the lake, often fishing in closer quarters than they would have liked, eager to jump to the top of the leaderboard. Throughout the day, anglers were consistently submitting entries, looking to gain an edge over the competition who were often vying for the same spawning bass.

At the end of the event, 473 scorable bass were submitted for judging by Reel Tournament Management, with eight anglers amassing over 90 inches for their best five bass, making it very tight at the top.

When the dust settled, Pennsylvania’s Nick Audi was crowned the champion with 93.25 inches, followed by Domenic Eno with 93 inches, and Ryan Matylewicz rounding out the top three with 92.75 inches.

The remaining of the top ten went as follows: Robert Bifsha (91.75), Jake Angulas (91.25), Ken Wood (90.50), Derek Brundle (90.50), Jacob Stem (90.25), Steve Hedges (88.75), and Dave Renfro (87.75).

The Bixpy Big Bass was awarded to Peter Lambeau, who submitted a 19.75-inch largemouth. For this, Pete received a Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit and $500!

Thank you to all who came out and supported the event!

The next EKF event takes anglers back to New York, to Oneida Lake, on June 25. We hope to see you there!


He Does It Again!

This past Saturday, thirty-two anglers hit Lake George for one last shot at glory!

This was not an official Elite Kayak Fishing event, just a fun, informal, post-season tournament hosted by us and Brian Baulsir and his Adirondack Kayak Bass Fishing club.

Leading up to the event, some anglers suggested the bite would be “on fire,” something that is often true with fall fishing. Others said it would be a tough bite. Unfortunately, the latter turned out to be true for most of the anglers fishing this one.

With spotty cell service around the lake, movement on the standings was just as sporadic as the cell service. Jack Bolobanic had an early lead, but was soon leap-frogged by John Ferreira. Neil Premo got on a primo largemouth bite in deep water, which pushed him into the lead for a time, but then “the kid” showed up…

The kid being New Hampshire’s Jake Angulas, a legend in the making, and it didn’t take long for him to climb up into the top spot.

Little changed in the the final few hours, the top three remained the same—Jake Angulas, Neil Premo, and John Ferreira—and Justin Rednour held onto tournament lunker with a solid 19.25-inch smallie. With poor cell service around the lake, however, many anglers uploaded after the event, once they got off the water and found a signal.

In the end, Jake Coucoules would take the lunker pot with a massive 20.75-inch smallmouth that he caught off a point, the same fish he says he caught off the same point the day before while pre-fishing.

Neil Premo’s unexpected largemouth bite out deep paid off, landing him in third place with 82.75 inches, while Stephen Kincade’s productive pre-fishing pattern held up, giving him 84.25 for second place.

Not surprisingly, it was reigning Elite Kayak Fishing Angler of the Year Jake Angulas who once again made it known that when he shows up, he is the angler to beat. Jake submitted ten fish on the day, nine of them smallmouth, but it was a late-day 17.50-inch largemouth that sealed the deal, bumping his total to 85.75, which was enough to best the field one more time!

We also offered anglers the chance to double down on this event, which was essentially a way to allow someone to double their entry fee and gamble on a winner-takes-all side pot. That gamble paid off, adding nearly $1,000 more to Jake’s earnings.

He’s had a hell of a run this year. The bar has been set, and it’s set high!

Thanks to everyone who came out for this one and joined us for a little gathering after the event. Shout out to the amazing Three Belles Outfitters for the swag! And thanks to Brian Baulsir and Adirondack Kayak Bass Fishing for being a great partner this season. We really appreciate it. If you’re in the Adirondack region of New York and are looking for a kayak bass fishing club to join, look no farther!

On to 2022…


The Crowning of Champions

Elite Kayak Fishing’s inaugural season began on Cayuga Lake back on May 8, where seventy-four of the region’s best anglers laid the proverbial smackdown on hungry pre-spawn bass and the top ten collectively put up nearly a thousand inches!

From New York to Maine, to Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, it all culminated on September 18 at the first-ever Elite Kayak Fishing championship event—presented by Three Belles Outfitters and Bixpy—on legendary Lake Champlain, a worthy body of water to crown the 2021 Champion and Angler of the Year!


Trophies provided by Ketch.

Straddling the New York, Vermont, and Canadian borders, a small field of qualified anglers took to the northern waters of this world-class fishery and found quality bites while pre-fishing. But with a drop in temperature, increased winds, big waves, and a tougher-than-normal bite on tournament day, they had to make some serious adjustments.

With limited cell service for some, and limited fish for others, movement on the leaderboard was sporadic and slow. Familiar names—Jason Gardner and Jake Angulas—jostled for the top spot all day, but Steve O’Brien and others were right there with them.

When the standings went offline at 1 PM, Angulas had taken the top spot and was gunning for his third and biggest win of the season, while Gardner was nipping at his heels in second, and O’Brien had dropped to fifth.

As anglers got off the water and found cell service, the leaderboard lit up, with places shifting numerous times before the submission deadline.

At the end of it all, the Bigpy Big Bass went to Brian Baulsir, whose 20.75-inch largemouth was hard to beat, earning him $500 and a Bixpy J-2 Outboard Kit.

Sitting two spots out of the money when the leaderboard went dark, Steve O’Brien was able to put his legendary stick-catching skills to good use in the remaining two hours, wrangling in quality smallmouth and securing a few late-day upgrades to push him up into third place.

On tournament morning, while many anglers took one look at the waves and sought shelter from them, Jake Angulas did the opposite. He spent his day fishing offshore, riding massive Champlain waves, throwing a Ned rig and crushing big smallies in 50 to 70 feet of water. The pedigree of a true champion!

Although it appeared that Jake was primed for another Elite Kayak Fishing victory, Jason Gardner had something to say about it…

Jason found his limit early, but they weren’t the bass he needed to win. He made a move to a new area—which proved to be the right move—and began upgrading, ultimately culling all his fish and then some. Jason caught everything on a Z-Man Jackhammer, putting up 92 inches of smallmouth bass, and edging out Jake Angulas by a mere 1.5 inches to become the very first Elite Kayak Fishing Champion!

While Jake fell short this time, his achievements this season cannot be overlooked!

His fourteenth-place finish at Cayuga Lake may not seem all that impressive at first glance, but that was with a solid 89 inches of bass, just an inch from the top ten, two small upgrades from the win. He followed that up with back-to-back wins at Lake Messalonskee and Lake Wallenpaupack, and then took second place at Lake Winnipesaukee.

With his performance at Lake Champlain, Jake Angulas unequivocally earned the title of Elite Kayak Fishing Angler of the Year!


L to R: Lauren Furey from Three Belles Outfitters, Jason Gardner, Jake Angulas, and Dakota Lithium’s Craig Storms

Full results can be found here on Fishing Chaos.

Elite Kayak Fishing would like to thank Brian Baulsir and Adirondack Kayak Bass Fishing, for their help organizing this event.

Another huge thank-you to Dakota Lithium for providing food during our awards ceremony.

To all our sponsors—Three Belles Outfitters and Bixpy, Dakota Lithium, Savur Outdoors, and Jackson Kayak’s Orion Coolers—we could not have done this without you and your unending support this season. Thank you!

And a massive salute to all the competitors who supported this new trail and for buying in to our vision for establishing a regional series in the Northeast! It gets bigger and better from here…

See you in 2022!


Down to the Wire on Winnipesaukee

The fourth and final regular-season Elite Kayak Fishing event of the season—presented by Three Belles Outfitters and Bixpy—took place on Saturday, August 14, in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire on famed Lake Winnipesaukee.

Sixty-one anglers battled wind, sporadic rain, and thousands of recreational watercraft crisscrossing the lake, hoping for the win and to punch their ticket to next month’s championship event on Lake Champlain.

The fishing on Winnipesaukee is world class, boasting a healthy population of largemouth and smallmouth, lake trout, landlocked salmon, and more. Anglers submitted 228 scorable bass, with the top ten finding themselves in a tight race for the trophy.

The week leading up to the event was full of heat and humidity, making pre-fishing a challenge for some, while others were more successful. Lower temperatures and humidity greeted anglers the morning of the event, with the chance of showers throughout the day, and this no doubt had an effect on the fishing for many.

Massachusetts’s John Ferreira got off to a quick start, however, submitting an early limit in the low 80s and culling up to 84.75, which kept him in the lead for the majority of the day.

As the morning went on and the day heated up, other competitors started catching up, submitting and culling fish regularly. By mid-morning a familiar name had found his way to the top of the leaderboard.

Jake Angulas, a New Hampshire native and winner of our Lake Messalonskee and Lake Wallenpaupack events, targeted unpressured smallmouth, drop-shotting as deep as 100 feet. When the standings went offline at 1 PM, it appeared to be Jake’s event for the taking.

But Josh Smith, host of the Dark Waters Kayak Fishing Podcast, had other plans…

Josh started his day with a giant 22.50-inch largemouth, hauled up from 30 feet of water on a ned rig! But the fishing was slow, his bites coming few and far between, and more than once he considered leaving the event early. About once an hour, though, the fishing gods would give him a good reason to stay.

At 12:59:19, Josh photographed his fifth and final fish of the day, a solid 19.50, which he uploaded at 1:00:43, just after the standings went offline. This fish pushed him to 88.75 inches, giving him a near three-inch victory over Jake Angulas.


Josh credits his win to hard work and eating right.

His 22.50 also took home lunker gold for not only the event but the season, besting the previous season lunker, a 21.25 caught by Adam Rourke at our Cayuga Lake event (Justin Lacasse also caught a 21.25 at Lake Messalonskee, but Adam’s next largest had that now-irrelevant tie broken). Josh took home an additional $500 for catching the biggest bass of the event and a Bixpy Jet for the biggest of the season!

The event paid out six spots and over $7,000! Check out the final standings here on Fishing Chaos.

Elite Kayak Fishing would like to thank Judy Richardson and New Hampshire Kayak Fishing for helping make this event possible.

And to our sponsors—Three Belles Outfitters and Bixpy, Dakota Lithium, Jackson Kayak’s Orion Coolers, and Savur Outdoors—whose support throughout this season has been amazing!

And to all the anglers who supported not only this event but have supported Elite Kayak Fishing as a whole—thank you!

Up next, on September 14, we’re heading to Lake Champlain for our first championship event. If you’ve qualified, head on over to Fishing Chaos and register.


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.