February Membership Drive!

Good afternoon!

Starting February 1, our new paid membership model will go live on Fishing Chaos. This annual membership fee will be $50. It will expire each year on December 31 and will not auto-renew.

To show our appreciation for those who sign up early, we will be offering this free and exclusive members-only T-shirt to anyone who joins in the month of February!

This high-quality, black Gildan heavy cotton shirt will only be available during this membership drive!

We will have a limited number of shirts available at the upcoming New England Fishing Expo in Marlborough, MA, February 2–4, so be sure to come by our booth and sign up (or show us that you’ve signed up) and grab a shirt if we have your size.

If we run out of shirts or don’t have your size at the show, we will be placing an additional order at the end of the month and will mail them out once the shirts are printed.

Our shirts are done by Triumph Printing Co. Check them out if you’re looking for quality screenprinting.

The artwork was done by Stevie Weeks. If you like it and are interested in commissioning some work, please reach out and we will connect you with him.

If you have any questions, let us know!


2024 Season Teaser

As many of you saw, we had some technical issues with last week’s livestream. We will re-address what we discussed then on our next livestream.

Until then, here is a quick teaser on some of the changes we have planned for 2024 and beyond…


A Tribute

We recently lost one of our own, Scott Rhodes.

The currents of mental illness can be swift and unpredictable, and though Scott was making big strides over the past few years, he unfortunately took his own life.

He was our friend, and will be greatly missed.

We want all of you to know that we are here whenever you may need someone—and we’d like to think that “we” isn’t just us at EKF, but this entire kayak fishing community. If you ever find yourself adrift or drowning, call someone, text, private message, dial 988, just reach out.

We are here. Always.

Rest in peace, rest in power, Scott.


In the Hunt: Lake George (S2 E6)

Check out season two, episode six, of In the Hunt! The final episode of 2023!

Please like and subscribe! We’ll see you in 2024…


2024 Schedule Reveal and Livestream Discussion

We are excited to visit some new locations in 2024!

If you want a more in-depth look into the 2024 season, check out our livestream below…


Ryan Matylewicz Wins Angler of the Year After Epic 2023 Season

Consistency is one of the defining characteristics of any Angler of the Year. To earn the title, one must be consistent not for one event, not for two, but for an entire season.

This year, Ryan Matylewicz had one of those seasons.

The 2023 EKF season took us to some of the Northeast’s most premier fisheries, and Cayuga lake is arguably at the top of that list. Known for its world-class fishing and trophy bass, Cayuga Lake churned out fifteen limits over 90 inches, and many more close to it, at our first event of the year. Ryan’s limit of 96.75 inches, however impressive, was only good enough for third place—the first of four top-three finishes in 2023.

Following Cayuga Lake, EKF stopped at the famed Lake Champlain where challenging weather presented difficult fishing conditions. Ryan’s ability to adapt allowed him to net a limit of 97.75 and a second-place finish.

The third event of the season took EKF anglers to the St. Lawrence River, known to many as Smallmouth Disneyland. With many anglers fishing the river for the first time, the competition was wide open for those who located quality fish. Ryan’s 92.75 inches of fierce river smallmouth was enough to secure his first-ever EKF victory!

The final regular-season event of the year took anglers to scenic Messalonskee Lake and Great Pond. With both bodies of water known for their impressive smallmouth bass population, it presented anglers with a difficult decision on tournament day. Ryan decided that Great Pond would provide him the best opportunity for success, a decision that would pay off, landing him once again in third place with a limit of 94.5 inches.

With four strong finishes, Ryan was well-positioned in the Angler of the Year standings heading into the championship event on Lake George.

October brought shorter days and dropping temperatures after a period of record-breaking highs in the Adirondack region of upstate New York. Anglers had to come up with multiple strategies to provide them with the best chance to take home the championship trophy.

After day one, Ryan found himself sitting in sixth place and well-positioned in his pursuit of Angler of the Tear.

The second day of the championship saw anglers resorting to their backup plans and making on-the-fly adjustments. While Ryan remained consistent between both days, other anglers stumbled on day two. This opened the door for a fifth-place championship finish and the well-earned title of 2023 EKF Angler of the Year!

Congratulations on a steller season!


Consistency Pays Off for John Ferreira at the 2023 EKF Championship

The fall bite on Lake George is legendary—if you time it right.

The two-day Elite Kayak Fishing Championship took place on October 14–15, a time of the year when bass should have been bunched up across the lake, feeding and getting fat for the winter. A sense of excitement and anticipation filled the air as thirty-six of the Northeast’s top anglers gathered with one goal in mind…

Become the 2023 EKF Champion.

But while the autumn foliage and crisp fall breeze painted an expected picture above water, things weren’t so predictable beneath the surface.

Record-breaking high temperatures preceded the week of the event, which meant the water temperature was warmer than normal this time of year (or higher than anglers had hoped it would be). This presented a challenging experience for those seeking to take home the EKF championship trophy.

With the bass less predictable, and the fall feeding frenzy only beginning to turn on, consistency over two days would be the key to victory.

As Matthew Zapala noted before the event, “Consistency will be an issue with the temps the way they are and how random it can be when it’s like this.”

After a week of cool temps, some rain, and windy conditions, day one of the event presented mostly sunny skies and light wind. Smallmouth were active this day, with only one largemouth showing up in the top-five anglers’ limits.

At the end of the day, last year’s EKF Champion and Angler of the Year, Nick Audi, no stranger to the top of the leaderboard, found himself there once again with 95.25 inches. But with this being a two-day event, and with John Ferreira (94.5), Frank Matylewicz (94), Todd Dyer (93), and Rey Morales (90) close behind, there were no guarantees for victory.

Sunday arrived with a dip in air temps and a strong northerly wind for most of the day, changing things dramatically for some anglers on day two.

When the waves settled, Ryan Matylewicz landed in fifth place with a solid limit of 177.25 inches. Ryan covered miles of water, starting at the southern end of the lake each day before packing up and moving to a mid-lake area. A dropshot presentation was how he enticed them into the kayak.

With another strong performance in his first season with EKF, Rey Morales expertly used a jig to haul in 178.25 inches of both smallmouth and largemouth, giving him a very respectable fourth-place finish to cap off an excellent year.

     

On Saturday, smallmouth pushed Nick Audi to the top spot, but on Sunday his quality smallmouth bite had disappeared. A last-minute 20-inch largemouth saved the day, giving him a much-needed 4.5-inch upgrade, which was the difference between a sixth- and a third-place finish. He had 180.25 inches total.

Nick also landed the Three Belles Outfitters Big Bass of the event with a giant 20.50-inch smallmouth.

Frank Matylewicz and Benjamin Bornhorst also caught 20.50-inchers, but Nick caught his first, which was the tie-breaker.

As noted, consistency over two days was key for this event, and Todd Dyer’s persistence was on display as he finished in fourth place each day. His masterful jig work in deep water earned him a two-day total of 181.5 inches and a well-deserved second-place check.

     

While being consistent will always benefit an angler, luck can sometimes throw a wrench in the works. John Ferreira worked a large area of the lake for three days during pre-fishing, putting up over 90 inches each day, utilizing a variety of baits. Like Rey and Todd, the jig was his most productive bait, and on Saturday it resulted in his best day of the week with 94.50 inches. Everything was going his way.

Come Sunday, however, things changed. Before noon, John’s biggest bass was a 17.50-incher. It appeared that after five days his luck—or good fortune, if you will—had finally run out.

Under pressure, John remained focused and covered nearly ten miles in his tricked-out Jackson Kayak Take Two. It was a game of hide-and-seek, and finally, at 11:58 AM, he found the first of four big smallmouth that would ultimately propel him to the top of leaderboard.

In quick succession, John hauled in a 19.75, a 19, an 18.50, and a 19.25, among others that didn’t make the cut, to firmly secure the championship crown with 188.50 inches, seven inches over second place!

John’s ability to track down schools of quality smallmouth bass led to a pattern that held up for the duration of the event.

The top ten was rounded out by Benjamin Bornhorst (175.75), Matthew Conant (172.00), Matthew Zapala (171.25), Ken Wood (167.75), and Joseph Horgos (167.75).


Over the course of two days, thirty-six champion-worthy anglers put up 354 green and brown Lake George bass. Payouts totaled just over $6,000 (with more in prizes), bringing the season total cash payouts to nearly $50,000!


And with that, the 2023 EKF season has come to an end. This season would not have been possible without the support of Dakota Lithium Batteries, Three Belles Outfitters, and National Trade Services, as well as Bending Branches, Crosskix, Catch Co., Fresh Baitz, Harpoon Brewery, Hobie Eyewear, Lunkerhunt, Rogue Gear Co., and YakAttack!

Though our sponsors are the foundation on which we all stand and compete, we must always thank you, the angler, for making EKF the great success that it’s been! It has been an amazing season for us and we’re looking forward to making 2024 even better!


The Road to the 2023 Championship

Five events, 336 combined anglers, nearly 2,000 fish submitted, over $40,000 in payouts, one event remaining!

It all goes down on Lake George, October 14–15, where we will crown a new Champion and Angler of the Year!

Please join us in congratulating the following anglers for qualifying for our championship…

Ryan Matylewicz
Nick Audi
Jake Angulas
Rey Morales
John Ferreira
Ken Wood
Matthew Conant
Kevin Amaral
Donald Davis
Nelson da Costa

Those Top 10 anglers earned a free entry into our championship!

Adam Rourke
Ari Stonehill
Benjamin Bornhorst
Brandon Brylinsky
Brian Baulsir
Bruce Levy
Chris Pendergast
Christopher LaCourse
Daryl Martin
David Otero
Domenic Eno
Francis Matylewicz
Gary Ward
Gerard Elias
Ivan Diaz
Jeremiah Savely
Jonathan Richardson
Joseph D’Addeo
Joseph Horgos
Justin Rednour
Matthew Lee
Matthew Zapala
Mike Morcone
Nate Chagnon
Pat Veomett
Ray Figueroa
Russell Beeson
Sarah Pendergast
Scott Rhodes
Shawn Marston
Shelby Morgan
Simon Morgan
Stephen Hedges
Stephen Mazza
Stephen Smith
Tammy Sanchez
Todd Brothers
Todd Dyer
Torrence Davis
William Muir

Congratulations once again!

If you qualified, registration is open now on Fishing Chaos. We’ll see you next month!


In the Hunt: Messalonskee Lake/Great Pond (S2 E5)

Check out season two, episode five, of In the Hunt!

Please like and subscribe!


Matthew Zapala Targets Big Smallies for a Big Win at Great Pond

This past Saturday, the final regular-season Elite Kayak Fishing event of the year unfolded against the backdrop of Messalonskee Lake and Great Pond in Maine’s Belgrades Region. With a total of 64 anglers, from as far away as Pennsylvania and Canada, the stakes were high as many of them aimed to secure a coveted spot in the two-day championship event set to take place on Lake George in October.

Snow Pond Center for the Arts once again played host for this event. Situated along the eastern shore of Messalonskee Lake, in perfect view of the sunset (or an evening thunderstorm in the distance, as many saw Thursday night), Snow Pond offers a unique tournament experience for the anglers and their families who choose to stay on campus.

Leading up to the event, the weather was consistent: sunny, hot, with light winds, if any at all. The forecast for Saturday called for a cool morning with cloudy conditions all day, something many anglers, especially those who struggled during practice, were hoping would change their fortune. But as the day dawned and anglers made their way to their starting spots, there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

Under bright blue skies, the strategy adopted by many was to utilize their electronics to pinpoint smallmouth bass congregating around schools of baitfish. What set the top contenders apart was their reliance on the controversial forward-facing sonar technology, which proved to be the linchpin of their success. With the bass constantly on the move chasing schools, this gave those anglers the unique ability to spot fish in real-time, a significant advantage over those relying on traditional 2D sonar and sidescan.

In the end, it was New York’s Matthew Zapala who clinched the top spot, boasting an impressive 95.75 inches of Great Pond smallmouth. No stranger to either Great Pond or Messalonskee Lake (Matt finished third in the KBF Super Trail event there in 2020), he focused on offshore smallmouth, targeting the bigger fish with precision, which ultimately proved to be the winning strategy, producing not only the biggest limit but the biggest bass of the tournament: a 20.25 smallmouth!

Defying the odds once again, Ken Wood targeted largemouth bass as he did at our St. Lawrence River event last month, where he placed second. Ken fished the Belgrade Stream area on the southern end of Messalonskee Lake, power-fishing his way to another second-place finish with 94.50 inches.

The competition for the top spots was fierce, with three other anglers—Ryan Matylewicz, Benjamin Bornhorst, and Nick Audi—also boasting 94.50 inches. Tie-breakers are determined by the anglers biggest bass, which lead to Ryan securing third place, Benjamin taking fourth, and Nick rounding out the top five.

     

Jake Angulas secured the final paying spot with a respectable 93.75 inches, while Stephen Hedges (92.25), Mike Morcone (91.75), John Ferreira (91.50), and Anthony Campbell (91.25) completed the top ten.

Congratulations to all!

With the championship on the horizon, the stage is set for another thrilling showdown on Lake George in October, where the best of the best will vie for the titles of EKF Champion and Angler of the Year.


With 64 anglers, we paid out six spots for nearly $8,000 in cash and more in giveaways! A total of 411 bass were submitted to the National Trade Services Live Leaderboard.


As always, thank you to our elite sponsors, Dakota Lithium Batteries, Three Belles Outfitters, and National Trade Services, without whom we could not run these events.

Please support them whenever you can, as well as our other amazing sponsors: Bending Branches, Crosskix, Catch Co., Fresh Baitz, Harpoon Brewery, Hobie Eyewear, Lunkerhunt, Rogue Gear Co., and YakAttack!

And a big shout-out once again to Snow Pond Center for the Arts for having us back. Thank you!

Our championship event on Lake George is up next! This two-day event will not only determine our 2023 Champion but also our Angler of the Year!