Tag: YakAttack

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!


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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