Tag: Three Belles Outfitters

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!


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!


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.


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.


Big Limits at the First-Ever Elite Kayak Fishing Event

Elite Kayak Fishing, brought to you by Three Belles Outfitters and Bixpy, kicked off its inaugural event this past weekend as 75 anglers traveled to compete on the world-class bass factory Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

True to her reputation, Cayuga Lake produced!

The event kicked off Saturday morning, in cold, rainy conditions. Throughout the day, anglers submitted 286 catches, with the largest, caught by Adam Rourke, measuring in at 21.25 inches! The competition remained close right up until the end of the fishing window. The top ten anglers were only separated by 5.25 inches. Things were even closer between the top two competitors—Three Belles Outfitters team members Joe D’Addeo and Jason Gardner—with both finishing within a quarter inch of each other.

Anglers from across New England and as far south as New Jersey and Pennsylvania found success targeting fat, pre-spawn bass with vibrating jigs and other reaction baits. With some fishing shallow and others in deeper water, competitors were also faced with navigating bass boats from another event being held that day.

Ultimately, with 95.25 inches and having not pre-fished, Joe D’Addeo was able to edge out Jason Gardner and take home the victory in the first-ever Elite Kayak Fishing event. The top ten was rounded out by Mike Elrick (93.00), Josh Smith (92.75), Ryan Melia (92.50), Nick Audi (91.75), Jake Coucoulues (91.00), Adam Rourke (90.50), and Rob Sinker (90.00) and Tricia Angelini (90.00), with Rob hauling in the big-fish tie-breaker.


Jason Gardner and Joe D’Addeo

This event proved what kayak bass anglers from this region have been saying for years now: the Northeast is primed, ready, and deserving of its own regional trail!

Elite Kayak Fishing wants to thank Justin Hausner and New York Kayak Bass Fishing for their assistance in making this first event such a success. To Ketch, for the amazing trophy—thank you! And to the sponsors—Three Belles Outfitters, Bixpy, Dakota Lithium, Jackson Kayak’s Orion Coolers, and Savur Outdoors—for helping make this vision a reality. But most important, respect and gratitude to the anglers, without whom this trail does not exist.

The next Elite Kayak Fishing event will be held on June 5th on Messalonskee Lake and Long Pond in Maine. Registration is open now on Fishing Chaos!


Elite Kayak Fishing Announces Title Sponsor

Elite Kayak Fishing is very excited to announce that Three Belles Outfitters will be the title sponsor for our inaugural season!

Three Belles Outfitters, located on the Niantic River in Niantic, Connecticut, has long been recognized as the premier outfitter in the Northeast. Carrying such brands as Jackson Kayak, Hobie, Feelfree, Bonafide, and Native Watercraft, it’s easy to see why it is the one-stop shop for your outfitting needs. In addition to sales, Three Belles has a kayak and SUP rental fleet, an extensive kayak rigging department, kayak fishing charters, kids’ programs, and they host corporate events.

Through their online store, you can order kayaks as well as all your elite rigging brands, such as YakAttack, RAM, YakPower, YakGear, Nocqua, Lowrance, and BerleyPro. Not sure which kayak to choose? Stop in and demo several, and pick the one that works best for you.

If you want to save a little money, reach out to one of the National Fishing Team members—Ken Wood, Jason Gardner, Cory Pelletier, Tyler Sweet, or Joseph D’Addeo—before you shop! Long drive to get a kayak? No worries! Three Belles ships and offers a delivery service within a 200-mile radius of the shop.

Ted Douglas, who oversees sales and rigging, is very knowledgeable on all brands of kayaks and is always willing to answer questions, give a price quote, and goes out of his way to help ensure products are sent out right away.

Three Belles manager, Lauren Furey, is as passionate about this sport as any of the competitors. When asked about partnering with Elite Kayak Fishing, Lauren said, “We are excited to partner with EKF. Their dedication to growing the sport of kayak fishing and creating a dedicated kayak fishing trail series for the Northeast region is a game changer. Their pioneering spirit and future plans for EKF matched TBO’s core principles, all of which provides an amazing opportunity for growth and support in the Northeast.”

The motto at Three Belles Outfitters is “life is always better on the water,” and we couldn’t agree more, which is why this elite kayak outfitter was the obvious choice for the Elite Kayak Fishing trail!

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