Hoosier Kayak Bassin
HKB Angler Spotlight - Antoine Hayes
Who is this Tweezy guy!?
The Hoosier State is full of phenomenal anglers. It's no exaggeration to say that we have one of the largest kayak bass fishing communities in the nation and some of the most talented anglers in the sport.
That said, many anglers in our community tend to fall under the radar. While we have seen some of our top anglers like Mike Elsea, Jaxton Orr, Glenn Landstrom and a handful of others get some national attention, many others have not.
The goal of the HKB Spotlight is to not only bring some attention to these amazing anglers who otherwise may not get the exposure they deserve, but also to allow you, the reader, the opportunity to get to know your fellow anglers a little more.
This year, we are rebooting the HKB Angler Spotlight, bringing it back with a new in-depth look at the anglers. When considering who would be the right angler to re-launch this series with, there were many names that came to mind, but ultimately there was no way we could start anywhere other than with one of the Hottest anglers in the state right now, Antoine Hayes.
Antoine Hayes has been on a tear this season!! Cashing checks and landing podium finish, after podium finish, in series all across the state and even breaking into our neighboring state of Illinois.
So let's get to know this hammer a little more in the 1st edition of the All-New HKB Angler Spotlight.
Every season there are those anglers who just seem to rise to the top, consistently performing week in and week out. This season is no different. We are now over 9 weeks into the fishing season, crossing the halfway point for many of the series and clubs and the Tweezy Movement is taking the Hoosier Kayak scene by storm.
37 year old, Antoine Hayes aka Tweezy, currently resides on the west side of the state in Terre Haute, Indiana, but grew up about 165 miles north in Gary, Indiana. Like many of us, Antoine was introduced to fishing and the outdoors by his father and grandfather. As an adult, he found a passion for bass fishing and has continued to pursue that passion for almost 20 years.
His journey in the kayak bass fishing world began back in July of 2018 when he started fishing from an Intex Inflatable Kayak. Fast forward 5 years and Antoine has seriously leveled up and is now floating a Oldtown Autopilot 120, equipped with a 45 lb. thrust 12V Minn Kota trolling motor and Humminbird Helix 7.
Antoine's kayak isn't the only thing that has leveled up! His fishing game has been on point as of late too. We have watched the progression of this angler really over the last two seasons as he competed in the local series across Indiana and even branching out into our neighboring state of Illinois.
When we asked Antoine what was contributing to his recent success, he put it in simple terms
“More time on the water. Putting in the work. Also, being open minded and willing to learn new things. Learning from anglers, past mistakes, and successes.”
Antoine has definitely been putting in the work and it's showing in the results. Just this season alone he has been on the podium 12 times, with 4 Wins!
Currently, Antoine leads the KBF Challenge Series AOY Race for Indiana and Illinois and is tied for 1st in the Nation.
He Also has a firm lead on the GRBY Overall Lake AOY and is 2nd on the GRBY money leaders list for the 2023 season.
We asked Antoine what his goals were for 2023 and he said “My goal is to win AOY in GRBY and to make the top ten at the KBF championship.” Well, he is well on his way to achieving both.
With the serious Mojo, this angler has, it's going to be hard to stop him. We all know confidence is key in this sport and he has it. He also has momentum coming off yet another win this week in the GRBY Summit Lake series. We asked how he is feeling about all the recent success and he of course said “It feels amazing” also mentioning that the years of work are finally paying off.
So what kind of angler is Antoine?
Well, angler's favorite techniques can give you a lot of insight into that and Antoine’s top 3 techniques are Cranking, a Texas rig, and the Ned rig. Of course, no one should be surprised to see the Ned rig on that list, as it seems to be the confidence bait of many here in the Hoosier State and beyond, especially for those who constantly show up in the Top 3 week after week.
Antoine models his fishing style after two of his favorite anglers, Jacob Wheeler and Mark Daniels, both currently fishing the MLF Bass Pro Tour.
When it comes to tournament preparation, Antoine likes to keep it simple with map study and a plan of action depending on the conditions of the lake.
When responding to how he prepares for tournaments, He mentioned he likes to take “The path of least resistance”. I asked Antoine to expand on that a little and he said, “Basically just finding the best way to be successful.”
However, I think Antoine shed a little more light on the subject in his response to “What advice would you have for anglers just getting into the sport, or struggling to find consistency in their results?”
Antoine said, “Just continue to fish. Time on the water is the key! Open your mind to new things.” He also said, “Cheaper equipment catches fish just as good as the expensive stuff. So don’t get caught up on prices.”
To sum up what Antoine has to say, the path of least resistance and the key to success is keeping it simple and putting in the time.
Simple, but so true nonetheless.
When you see an angler like Antoine, who is so driven and dedicated, it's always interesting to see what drives them competitively. For Antoine, he says it's just in his nature to compete, stating fishing has always been a strength and he enjoys putting his skills to the test against the best of the best in his area.
Two of the anglers fueling his competitive drive this year are MH3 and TJ Aylward..
When we asked him about these two, he had this to say..
“I most definitely owe Merlin Hammer and TJ Aylward lol. Merlin got me in the SIYAK championship at Sullivan, and he just beat me in the SIYAK Dugger tournament this year. We are always looking for each other when we fish tournaments together. Great guy, hammer as well.”
“TJ Aylward, aka Mr. Sneaky, in my book! He always sneaks up the leaderboard on me. He came out of nowhere at the last minute in the GRBY October Hog Hunter Month Long Tournament Supported by KBF last season to win. He also passed me in a few tournaments this season. He has been doing awesome this year as well. Straight hammer and really cool dude.”
No doubt, there are many anglers who have come to recognize Antoine's name, and rather than admit or not, they are watching the leaderboard to see when he is going to make his move. His consistency lately has really been unmatched. He has placed in the top 3 in KBF, GRBY, SIYAK, and IKA events this season and it's only May!
It's only natural to wonder what's next for an angler like Antoine. While we mentioned early his goals for this season, we had to of course ask, where he was going from here. National events, big boats…
Well, here is what Antoine had to say about just that.
Do you see yourself crossing over to the boat world or are you a kayaker for life? I love the yak and I plan to stay in it for life. If I need to transition to go further then that’s what I’ll do. At the moment I’m a yak guy.
When do you plan to step into the national kayak event scene? As early as next year. At the moment I’m on Oldtown’s pro staff regional team. The plan is to do well this season and apply to their national team next year.
Clearly, Antoine has his sights set on doing big things in the fishing industry, with hope of one day going full pro and supporting his family with his talents and passion for fishing and I think he has what it takes!
If you want to see more about Antoine’s recent success, make sure to check out our Weekly HKB Top Performers Recaps where Tweezy has been featured week after week this season. You can also become a part of the Tweezy Movement by following him on all the social channels below
Shoutout to OldTown Kayaks and Blues Baits for supporting this amazing angler. If you want to spend some time on the water or see how you stack up against this red-hot angler make sure to get involved in GRBY, SIYAK, KPR, KBF - all series he is currently active in.
Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed the HKB Angler Spotlight, make sure to subscribe to our email newsletter below to get notified about new blogs, angler spotlights, events, and much more happening here in the Hoosier State.
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We wish Antoine all the best as he continues to pursue his passion and thank him for taking the time to answer our questions.