The third stop on the 2023 Dakota Lithium Elite Kayak Fishing Series presented by Three Belles Outfitters took place on July 8, 2023, on the Connecticut River/Moore Reservoir. Sitting halfway in Vermont and New Hampshire, the competition took place in an area where an abundance of small fish was present, making it a test of skill and strategy to locate the larger bass, which proved to be an exciting and challenging event.
One 19-inch upgrade for anyone in the top 30 would have put most in the money and given others the win!
Events such as this require a stronger mental game than most. It can be discouraging cycling through a dozen or more small fish before catching a keeper or an upgrade, all of which are also small. But whether you’re catching five-pounders or your total limit would have weighed roughly five pounds itself, it was a level playing field and someone always wins.
On this day, that someone was Jeremiah Savely, who was able to locate the elusive bigger bass and emerge as the victor with a total of 77 inches. (Rumor has it, his pre-fishing limit on the reservoir pushed him close to 90 inches, which, if true, would have been mighty impressive.) Jeremiah’s outstanding performance earned him a well-deserved cash prize of $1,918 and the coveted Elite Kayak Fishing trophy.
With very limited time to pre-fish on Friday, Matthew Conant didn’t let that stop him from putting up a total of 76.5 inches of bass on Saturday. He submitted his first bass—a giant 19.75-inch smallmouth—just a few minutes into the tournament. This was not only the first fish submitted to the event but also the biggest. Matt walked away with the Three Belles Outfitters Big Bass bonus of $500 and an additional $1,370 for second place.
Demonstrating angling skill and perseverance, New Hampshire’s Matt Lee launched himself up into the winner’s circle with two last-minute upgrades, securing third place with a total of 76 inches. His impressive performance earned him a cash prize of $986.40.
With a top-ten at Cayuga Lake and third place at Lake Champlain, Rey Morales has been on the hunt for that top position in the Angler of the Year leaderboard. With a fourth-place finish at this event, Rey’s 75.75 inches sees him now wearing the AOY crown, surrounded by $712.40 in well-earned EKF gold.
Finally, Donald Davis rounded out the top five positions, securing the fifth-place spot with a total of 75.25 inches of bass. Don fished a pattern figured out by his girlfriend while fun fishing the day before, thus his $493.20 was likely halved.
This tournament proved to be a testament to the anglers’ abilities to adapt and make the most of the conditions at hand. Although the quintessential “big bass” were hard to find, the anglers who found the right ones to win deserve just as many accolades as those who win on world-class bass fisheries. It’s a tournament, a competition, and you don’t win if you don’t earn it.
Congratulations to those in the winner’s circle, and thanks to everyone for showing up and making this a great event.
We had 52 anglers for this event and paid out nearly $6,000 in cash and more in prizes. With this event, Elite Kayak Fishing has paid out over $100,000!
Anglers submitted 352 bass to the National Trade Services Live Leaderboard, all but one of which were smallmouth. The lone largemouth was submitted by your winner, Jeremiah Savely.
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!
Our next event is on the mighty St. Lawrence River on August 12. This fishery is legendary for a reason. Come join us!