On May 4, the Dakota Lithium Elite Kayak Fishing Series presented by Black Hall Outfitters hit Great Sacandaga Lake in New York for the first event of the 2024 season.

This event marked an exciting change for EKF: the debut of EKF LIVE, a live-stream broadcast that brought a hyrbid of live commentary, pre-recorded angler spotlights and interviews, and more. EKF LIVE provided viewers with a “front-row seat” to all the angling action, allowing them to follow the highs and lows of the competition in real-time.

And what a thrilling battle it was!

This was a tournament within a tournament. With an abundance of smallmouth to be caught (no largemouth were submitted), the true challenge for the 56 anglers competing in this event was finding those “Sacandaga unicorns”—a bass over 17 inches long.

In a competition where every quarter inch mattered, the anglers managed to submit an impressive 512 bass (surpassed only by last year’s Cayuga Lake event, which had nearly double the anglers and 518 submissions), but only nine surpassed the elusive 17-inch mark. Jon Richardson hauled in the Fresh Baitz Big Bass of the day—an impressive 20.25-inch smallmouth. A unicorn, indeed!

As with any tournament, it had its twists and turns. Canada’s Antoine Desrocher-Gagnon’s caught the same bass twice, three hours apart on the same spot, which resulted in the latter being denied. This dropped him from fifth to sixth place, allowing Nick Audi to clinch the fifth-place slot. Both Desrocher-Gagnon and Audi finished with 85.75 inches, but Audi’s larger fish was the tiebreaker.

In fourth place was Christopher Nielsen with 86 inches, while Pennsylvania’s Dylan Miller made an impressive EKF debut, securing third place with 86.25 inches and being the only angler to land multiple fish over 17 inches—an 18 and an 18.25.


As the tournament neared its end, Benjamin Bornhost seemed poised for victory until a late surge by Jake Angulas catapulted him to the top spot by a mere three-quarters of an inch. Bornhost settled for second place with 87 inches, while Angulas claimed his fourth EKF victory with 87.75 inches.

Angulas’s winning strategy of cycling through seven different rods with seven different jerkbaits (read that again) proved effective in enticing quality smallmouth from Sacandaga’s rocky terrain.

With the excitement of Great Sacandaga Lake behind us, we now look forward to the next event at Pennsylvania’s Raystown Lake on June 22. Register here!