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  • Writer's pictureHoosier Kayak Bassin

HKB TOP PERFORMERS | WEEK 03

A freight train hits Bischoff, Reyes snubs Miller of his 3rd win, Platt picks up where he left off, TJ rained some 20’s on Monday,  Wyatt Gard reigns supreme on Patoka, and a champion is crowned  - all that and more in week three of the HKB Top Performers Recap - powered by Dakota Lithium. 



We have a lot to cover in this edition of Top Performers, with 7 events in the Hoosier state over this past week,  including the season kickoff for SIYAK and USA Bassin. 

 

Before we get into all the juicy details of this recap, I would like to take a second to encourage you all to keep your eye on the upcoming HKB State Championship this week. The Best of the Best from the 2023 season are about to duke it out for the chance to be crowned the 3rd State Champion in the history of our sport here in the Hoosier state. We will be doing as much coverage as possible in the coming days and throughout the entirety of the event. 

 

Alright, let's dive into Week Three…


USA BASSIN KAYAK SERIES | PATOKA LAKE - PRESENTED BY JACKSON KAYAK



USA Bassin is back for its second season of competition. Last year's inaugural season got off to a slow start with pretty limited participation in its Patoka Lake series. However nationally, USA Bassin saw a great response to its new Kayak tournament series. The series 2023 Championship on Kentucky Lake included a Grand Prize worth $10K, not including payouts.



This year that same prize package is up for grabs in addition to the National Championship, each division AOY gets invited to participate in the Land Big Fish Tournament of Champions at KY Lake during the Classic / Championship. This is a Free Entry for $1,000 grand prize and  only Division AOY's have a shot! For the 2024 season, USA Bassin is hosting a single division dubbed The Hoosier Division. The first event of that series took place this past Saturday on Patoka Lake. 


13 Anglers competed in the season Kickoff. Conditions were a bit tough with a cold front coming through and some stiff winds out of mostly the north, but at times, it seemed it was coming from every direction. Only two anglers were able to land a limit and only 6 of the 13 posted a keeper. 

Wyatt Gard had 6 bites all day, but they were the right ones, including a 19.25 kicker propelling him to 80.50 inches and the win! Wyatt landed 5 of his keepers on a Neko Rig fishing tight to standing timber, his only other bite came on a wobblehead. 



A little bit of drama at the second-place position. Rachel Painter posted a limit of 77.50 in the final hour of the event, moving her into the second place stop however, she was unfortunately DQ’ed and her score was zeroed out for not making it to check-in on time. USA Bassin requires all anglers to physically check-in post tournament by the check-in deadline. For every minute an angler is late, a one-inch penalty is deducted from the total, up to 15 minutes, at which point an angler is DQ’ed. Rachel did not make it to awards and thus, third place, yours truly (Sam Jones) was bumped into the 2nd place spot with 4 fish for 62.25" and Jim Bailey rounded out the podium with 2 fish for 30.75” 


The next Hoosier Division event takes place on Lake Monroe on May 18th, this one should be a slugfest, as the lake is fishing well and the spawn is on the horizon! 


 

SIYAK | BISCHOFF RESERVOIR - PRESENTED BY BIOENNO POWER



Bischoff didn't know what was coming this week as a freight train of anglers wrecked this less than 300-acre lake. Between SIYAK and GRBY, nearly 50 anglers competed over a four-day stretch.


Seventeen anglers competed in the first SIYAK event of the season on what was a cold and blustery April day. In what has become a repeating pattern, the cold front that hit this weekend plummeted the air temps and water temperatures.  Though it's likely the conditions had more effect on the anglers than the fish, certainly, the slugfest put on by the GRBY anglers leading up to Sunday had a significant impact on catch rates for SIYAK on Sunday and the final day of the GRBY Event.



Only one limit was caught and just 8 anglers had more than one keeper (12-inch minimum). On top of the leaderboard were a couple of locals and SIYAKs notorious, Matt Kiefer. 




Leading the pack was Tim Dempsey, who landed a couple 17’s early in the day, clearing the path to victory as he went on to land a limit, fishing buck brush with a Texas rigged 5” Diawa Neko Crawler. Tim led 2nd place finisher, Troy Riggins, by 20 inches. Troy wasn't able to find a 5th keeper. He landed several shorts but never lucked into a 5th, or a kicker. 


Troy put his favorite baby bush hog to work fishing it on a light Texas rig. Troy was fishing mainly on rock-lined banks and casting right at the edge of the water. In fact, he said most of the time his bites would come when he would cast his bait onto the bank and drag the bait into the water. 


A finesse approach was definitely the key for 3rd place fisher, Matt Kiefer, as well. His 4 keepers and many shorts were caught on a shaky head and Texas-rigged Bizz Baits Cutter Craw.



Big Bass honors went to James England with a 20.50” stud caught fishing an Xzone Adrenaline Craw on a Free Rig. James ended up with only 3 keepers for a total of 45.50, just missing the podium in 4th place. 



Of course, we have to note the one and only, Mr. Xtreme Clean himself, came out of retirement for this one! Thomas McNulty is back in the game, at least we can hope! 



It's a quick turnaround for SIYAK as they host their second event of the season on Sugar Creek for the annual moving water event. This one is looking prime for some big smallies, should the weather and water levels cooperate. 


 

GRBY 2023 RIVER CHAMPIONSHIP | WHITE RIVER


Speaking of River events, The GRBY River Championship finally got underway this weekend after a postponement due to high waters. The one-day Championship put the top anglers from all GRBY River series/events in 2023 on the infamous, White River, for a Smallmouth shootout & for the chance to become the first-ever River Champion.



Twenty-seven anglers battled it out, 16 of which found a limit. But in this one, it was go big or go home and Mr. Achigan, the smallmouth guru himself, Josh Chrenko did just that! Josh posted just over 89 inches to take the title.



His day started off early with a quick 17” smallie submitted just 3 minutes after lines in, then he found his kicker bite, a 19.50" brute. He would go on to fill his limit and cull up 2 times to give him the victory over 2nd place finisher, Alex Deneau.



Alex finished the day less than 3 inches shy of Josh with 86.75” anchored by an 18.25” kicker. Closely behind Alex was Tyler Perdue rounding out the top 3 with 85.25 inches.  



With the GRBY River Championship in the history books, we can officially announce our first qualifier for the 2025 HKB State Championship. Josh Chrenko will be eligible to compete in his first State Championship as the 2024 GRBY River Champion. Now the question is, can Chrenko catch green fish? 


Congratulations, Josh, we look forward to seeing you compete in the spring of 2025! 

 

This HKB Top Performers Recap is powered by Dakota Lithium - Go further. Last Longer. Play Harder. Visit dakotalithium.com for all your power needs.

 

GRBY |  WORSTER LAKE  - PRESENTED BY BLUE'S BAITS



The GRBY Worster Lake series kicked off this past week with just 5 anglers competing in this one. Three of the five were able to post a limit, including Larry Reyes, who put a stop to James Miller's northern winning streak. 


Larry posted a 90.50 limit on Sunday, anchored by a 20.25” largemouth.  


James had 82.75” with a 20.50" kicker for Big Bass. 


In 3rd place was Jordan Wilson, who posted a solid 70.25" on Thursday. 


 

GRBY | KOKOMO RESERVOIR - PRESENTED BY SOREMOUTH TACKLE



Seventeen anglers hit the waters of Kokomo Reservoir for the first time in the 2024 GRBY season and this series picked right back up where it left off, with Ryan Platt back on top. The 2023 Kokomo Series AOY ended his season with a win and he starts this year off with one as well. 


Ryan came in on Monday and went to work posting the largest bag of the tournament at 77.75 inches and Big Bass as well at 17.00 inches. 



And just like Ryan, 2nd place finisher Bryce Fritsch duplicated his results from the final event of 2023 when he also finished just behind Ryan. This time, Bryce posted 74.25 and was just missing a kicker bite. 


Chris Skirvin would claim the final spot of the podium with the only other limit of the derby at 71 inches even. 

 

GRBY | BLUEG RASS FWA - PRESENTED BY BIZZBAITS



In the second event of the GRBY Blue Grass FWA series, we had 25 anglers take a stab at this Big Bass Factory, and with it, we saw probably one of, if not the largest average limits of the season thus far. Twelve limits were posted over the 5 day stretch and it took over 74 inches to crack the top 10. The top 3 anglers all broke the 80 inch mark, but only one hit 90. 



TJ Aylward claims his first victory of the 2024 season, posting a 90.50 bag on Monday to break some hearts. TJ capitalized on two BIG bites Monday to help him seal the deal. One, a 20.25", and the other comes in at 20 inches even. 



Thursday's top performer, Eric Tracey, rode out the competition and cashed in 2nd place with 84.25", just an inch ahead of Paul Morris, who also competed on Thursday. 



Event one winner, John Gittner, struggled to find the Big bites that he did in the first event and finished this one in 10th, putting him 2nd in the AOY standings. 


Eric Tracey moves into the hot seat now with 196 points. That said, 2023 AOY TJ missed the 1st event, so you can expect he will make a strong push the rest of the season to defend his title and he is off to a great start! 


The BG Series takes a break in May and for most of June before it fires back up again June 27 -  July 01. 

 

Alright, let's get back to Bischoff Reservoir and the freight train that hit it!


GRBY | BISCHOFF RESERVOIR - PRESENTED BY BLUE'S BAITS



A whopping 223 fish were submitted over the 5-day competition period in the opening event for the GRBY Bischoff Lake series. As we mentioned earlier, this event was held in conjunction with the SIYAK season kick-off. With 40 anglers competing, there were on average 5 fish submitted per angler. However, in actuality, 27 limits were posted and 7 of those were over the 70” mark. 


The big surprise of this one wasn't even the number of fish caught, instead it was the number of Bigs on the leaderboard. More than ten 18+ inch fish were submitted, including 3 over 20! 



This biggest of the bunch was a 22.25 inch pre-spawn tank landed by 1st place finisher, Jeff Fordonski on Saturday. Jeff's 5 fish limit also included three in the 12” range and one at 15.75 for a total of 74.75. 



Ryan Reedy found himself on the podium once again this season, with a 72.75 inch limit for second place and Nick Beagle rounded out the top 3 with 72.25 inches. 


This little lake definitely showed out for its first appearance of the year, despite the massive cold front that dominated the weekend conditions. The next event is set for May 23-27 and will likely be a spawn / post-spawn slugfest, so get ready to make the trip east! 


 

There you have it! Week three is now history and we look forward to week four action with three events spread across the state from GRBY, plus a trip to St. Clair and on top of all that, we will be crowning a new State Champion this coming Saturday! 


For more information on these events and others, check the UPNEXT section below! Thanks again to Dakota Lithium for powering this edition of HKB Top Performers and congratulations once again to our Week 3 Top Performers. 


UPNEXT

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