2023 GRBY CHAMPIONSHIP
GRBY embarks on it's fifth championship, as the 2023 Lake Series anglers head south to Patoka Lake for the conclusion of the 2023 season. Stick with us, as we break down all the details of this incredible event.
GRBY wraps up its 5th season this weekend with the GRBY Lake Series Championship. For the third straight year, the Championship will be held on Patoka Lake.
This 26,000-acre lake is home to some of the best bass fishing in the state, with big Largemouth and Smallmouth lurking in depths. Full of timber, rock, a little vegetation, main lake points, bluff walls, numerous pockets, and creek arms, this lake offers anglers a variety of structures to fish and patterns to establish.
While Patoka has a lot to offer, it can be challenging at times, which is why many anglers have already begun to put in the work but there is a major twist in the plot line of this upcoming championship as Mother Nature has a huge curveball to throw at the 2023 Championship Roster.
To set the stage for this curveball, we have to go back to the end of August...
August went out with fairly average conditions, mostly dry and seasonably warm but as we transitioned into September, a bit of sporadic rain and cooler than average temps arrived. This cool-down seemed to speed up the early fall transition for most of the state. As we progressed through the month of September, things began to warm up again. In fact, we closed out the month and entered October with warmer than average temps. That trend will continue as we see temps well above average into the later part of this week leading up to the championship.
So if Fall Fishing wasn't tough enough, we have the added elements of an early season cool down, followed by a major warm-up. Here is where things get really interesting though, temperatures are soaring into the upper 80s right now, but the bottom is about to fall out.
A low-pressure system is expected to work across the Hoosier State into Thursday and Friday, bringing the potential for rain and storms but more importantly, a huge arctic blast will crash through the state dropping temps into the low 40's come Friday night. Some models are suggesting we may even see temps at night as low as the upper 30s on Saturday.
The is no doubt this massive cold blast is going to have an impact on the fishing. The question is how much and in what way. Will it cause these fish to go on a feeding frenzy and if so, will that happen pre or post-front? Or... will the cold blast shut them down completely? Only time will tell but regardless, once again Mother Nature is going to play a big role in this contest and the anglers who can best navigate the changing conditions over the two-day competition will come out on top and those who get caught off guard by this curveball will undoubtedly struggle to find them.
Alright, so now that we have set the stage for the event, let's talk about who made it on the 2023 Championship Roster. This year was the first year GRBY has divided out the Lake and River Series. Giving each their own AOY Title and Championship. That said, for 2023 any angler who competed in a minimum of 4 events in a single lake series or 8 across all lake series qualified for the Lake Series Championship. Over 120 anglers met that minimum requirement and currently 83 of those anglers signed up. In comparison, last year had roughly the same number of qualifiers and 94 anglers signed up. Taking into account the breakout of the River and Lake series, you can see that GRBY continues to grow year, over year.
End of Season Awards and Day One Results Dinner
At the conclusion of the day one competition, anglers will gather at GRBY HQ for the day one results and season-ending awards ceremony where each series AOY will be awarded their respectable trophy and AOY prizes.
The championship field will also be served a buffet-style dinner provided by The Square Bistro in Scottsburg and receive a grab bag full of Sponsor donated products and gift cards. Some of those items include Headlamps for Miller Tech Batteries, Nerverlost Tethers, and a variety of tackle from GRBY partners.
Awards & Payouts
This event is hands down the largest in our state, which is why winning this two-day competition is a huge accomplishment. As if the honor of holding up the trophy at the end wasn't enough, the GRBY Championship awards some amazing prizes & payouts and not just to the Champion. In fact, every angler competing in this event will go home with something. So let's break it down (based on the number of entries as of writing this).
Champion Prize Package
Custom Ketch Champions Trophy
Hobie PA14 360 (MSRP $4,999)
2024 HKB State Championship Qualification
Not too shabby for a state-level series championship! Almost 6k value as it stands right now not to mention the additional grab bags and prizes from sponsors.
Pay Scale (based on 83 anglers)
1st - $943
2nd - $845
3rd - $748
4th - $651
5th - $553
6th - $456
7th - $359
8th - $261
9th - $164
Big Bass - $475
On top of the payouts, the Top 10 will all take home some custom ketch hardware!
OTWI Trailer Giveaway
One lucky GRBY Championship Qualifier will be pulling their kayak around in style next year thanks to On The Water Innovations! Every qualified angler will get entered into a drawing for a tricked-out OTWI Tourney Light Trailer valued at $4,000.
Hobie Hammer - Hobie Mirage Passport Giveaway
GRBY Continues the Hobie Hammer tradition in 2023 awarding one lucky angler who landed a Big Bass throughout the season with a brand new kayak, thanks to Sun Valley Sports of Indianapolis, IN.
Bucket of Baits
Another GRBY tradition lives on with the "Bucket Of Baits." Each angler participating in the event may bring up to 5 baits and receive a raffle ticket for each bait. The baits go in a bucket and then a winner(s) is drawn out to take home the bucket of baits. Last year, there were enough baits donated to have enough for 2 winners!
GRBY brings back the team tourney side pot for a 2nd season. This year, teams were drawn at random. The team event is only on Saturday and has a 1st prize of $250 (per angler) Gift Card to Moving Water Outfitters.
As you can see, this event is jam-packed with ways to win and I'm sure there are even more goodies we failed to mention in this preview. The GRBY Admin team has done an excellent job of working with their partners to provide a memorable experience for the GRBY anglers.
So who are the Favorites and the Dark Horses?
There are a lot of very talented anglers in this field and some of them were red hot going into the final weeks of the season. It's hard to narrow down The Favorites and The Dark Horses but here goes nothing...
Two-time Champion, Bryan Sparks, has to be the first name on the "Favorites List". Though he hasn't been fishing tournaments as much this year, this guy is a stick and can catch them anywhere. He won last year's championship on this very same body of water by more than 5 inches. In 2021, Bryan finished runner-up to Glenn, just 2.75 inches behind. This time he doesn't even have to get past Glenn, as he isn't fishing. He does, however, have to get past our next favorite.
James is a rookie to the GRBY scene and though he is fishing in his first GRBY Championship, he has proven all season he can hang with the most seasoned anglers. James not only crushed it in the AOY Rankings this season, he has been on fire as of late and was runner-up in the IKA Championship just a few weeks back.
Our third and final favorite for this one is Tyler Atwell. Finishing runner-up to Bryan last year, you can bet he is going to be even hungrier for the title this time around. Tyler had two very constant days last year and was just missing a kicker bite or two. I have a good feeling he will find it this time around.
The Dark Horses
"Big Fish Chip" is coming off a great season, just missing two or three AOY titles in individual GRBY series and making a strong push in the overall AOY standings in the final weeks of the season. That kind of momentum is powerful. Chip has struggled in the last two championships on Patoka though, his best finish was 15th back in 2021. That said, Chip has also won a GRBY Championship....to be exact, he was the first!
This dude is red-hot or ice-cold but as of late, he has been leaning toward the red-hot side of things. With that in mind, and the fact that he scored a top 3 last year, I think Wyatt could be a serious contender going into this one. Though he was over 10 inches off the lead in 2022, he would have been a lot closer had he not lost a couple of key fish each day. If Wyatt can manage to fish clean this time, he may just hoist that trophy.
How can you not put this guy on the list of names to watch out for? Platt is coming off his best season yet, racking up AOY titles in IKA & GRBY. He is fishing with a lot of confidence right now and has had success across the state. Honestly, the only reason he didn't make the "favorites list" is his lack of experience on Patoka. His progression as an angler though this year, matched with the momentum and confidence he has at the moment, makes him a big threat to the rest of the GRBY Championship Roster.
Good luck to all those who are competing! Be safe and we look forward to recapping this event!