Steve Martin dominated on Raccoon, a newcomer steals the show on Blue Grass, “The Coach '' goes back-to-back, and Kulik is on the verge of making a charge for AOY in the GRBY Central Trail Series. All that, and much more, in the Week 14 HKB Top Performers Recap.
What a week of competition that was! There were some dog fights in week 14 and some big moves made in the AOY standings. Stick with me as we break it all down event, by event.
IKA | Raccoon Lake - Presented By Moving Water Outfitters
One of the most talked about events so far this season. The 3rd stop of the IKA series was a huge success. 47 anglers took to the waters of Raccoon Lake this past Saturday, fighting the heat, the boat traffic, and the finicky largemouth bass for a chance at some IKA Glory.
For some, this was a crucial event in the race for AOY. For others, it was their first Kayak Tournament. From those 1st tournament jitters to the seasoned anglers with some high expectations, there was a little extra excitement at the ramps Saturday morning.
The results were very mixed with some impressive limits at the top and over a dozen 70+ inch bags submitted. But there were also many who struggled to find more than 2 or 3 bites.
Leading into the tournament, many had Steve Martin as the man to beat, including myself, and he did not disappoint. Steve landed a whopping 86.75 inches anchored by a couple of kickers a 19.50 and a 19.25. Steve didn't mention what the winning bait was. He is keeping that ace up his sleeve, considering he is making a run for AOY in the Raccoon AOY series.
That being said, we can say the odds on favorite is he was cranking… If you were at check-in, you likely noticed Steve breaking down his kayak after a hard day's work and you also likely noticed out of the 10 rods or so he had, the majority of them were rigged with a crankbait. Steve even took some time to show fellow anglers some of his favorites.
Coming in 2nd was the Philosophical Angler himself, Mr. Justin Kivett. After going most of the day without a bite, Justin made an impressive push toward the end. In a last ditch effort, Justin made a move to an area he had scanned across in the early morning hours, a main lake ledge in 20-30 ft of water. Justin tried a variety of techniques to trigger the bass he was marking without success. Finally, Justin grabbed the Drop shot and started picking them off one by one down the length of the ledge. Justin was using a ½ oz dropshot weight to get his Robo Worm in the strike zone. Over the last two hours of the event, Justin put up 80 inches, including a 19.00 Chunk!
AOY hopeful, Drew Duncan, didn't miss a beat - Posting up a 78.75-inch limit for third place. Drew got on them early, tossing a 1/16oz weighted, Texas rigged, Bizz Baits Sassy Stick around shallow targets. While he was able to upgrade 3 times, he struggled to find the bigger bite needed to move up the leaderboard any further.
Another favorite going into this event was Ryan Reedy, and he started things off in a big way by landing a 20 incher on a Wacky Rig. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to duplicate that bite and struggled to find a limit from there on. He did find it though, submitting 70 inches that put him in 15th overall. While his finish may have not been what he wanted, he did hold down Big Bass and got to take home Big Bass cash to ease his mind.
GRBY | Central Trail #3 Cagles Mill - Presented By Honey Creek Tackle
The GRBY Central Series made its 3rd stop, this time at Cagles Mill. A lesser-known lake on the border of Puttan and Owen counties.
This fishing & results, unfortunately, were throttled a bit by a recent fish kill on this lake. While the exact details and cause are still a little unclear, there is no doubt it had an impact on this fishery and the event.
Some anglers, however, were still able to find a few and some good ones too while others never even got a bite. Out of 26 anglers, only 6 submitted a limit and almost half the field blanked.
Wes Ward kicked things off Thursday with a limit of 62.25” and Jim Bailey and Wyatt Gard also found limits on Friday. Jim was the first angler to break the 70 inch mark and catch a really quality keeper at 18.50 inches.
On Saturday, Michael Kulik made things interesting by putting a 19.25” Largemouth on the Ketch Board and ended the day with a 5 Fish Limit of 74.00 inches.
There was little action on Sunday from the 6 anglers fishing, but Kent Gross gave us something to talk about when he put up a 20.25” Stud!!
Going into Monday conditions looked right for a breakout day. However, out of the 6 anglers fishing, only two submitted a limit and three anglers went home with a goose egg.
Jim Strunk was one of two anglers that got on them. Jim posted an early limit and continued to upgrade throughout the day but was unable to find the kicker bite he needed.
Justin Long, of Frankfort Indiana, was able to find the Kicker and he did so first thing. He caught a 17.50 inch largemouth shortly after lines in. He went on to land a 72.00 inch limit, leaving him in second place, two inches shy of Michael’s winning bag.
Jim Bailey finished with a 3rd place finish and continues to have an amazing season. Kulik, also having a strong season, especially recently, is in a strong position to make a run at the Central Series AOY title. He will need to cull one event, but he now has a win and a 2nd place finish.
GRBY | Tippecanoe River #2 - Presented By Bo’s Baits Co.
25 Anglers took on the flowing waters of the Tippy for the 2nd event of the series and over 130 smallmouth bass were submitted during the 5 days of competition. The competition was fierce on this one.
Several strong limits were posted Thursday - Sunday, but they were all trumped when “The Coach”, Brian Moore, laid down the hammer once again on Monday. Coach had a 5-fish limit of 87.50 inches anchored by a 19.00 Smallmouth Bass. He also had one over 18 and two over 17 with his smallest coming in at 14.75 inches. His total knocked both Randall Kiser and Glenn Landstrom down the leaderboard after the two had held down the number one & two spots since Thursday.
Randall took 2nd with 78.75 and Glenn Landstrom in 3rd with 78.50 inches.
James Devillez was right behind the top 3 with 76.50” and while he missed the podium, he still went home with some Big Bass cash, thanks to a 19.25” brute of a smallmouth bass.
Brian Moore, now with back-to-back wins in this series, is obviously in control of the AOY race, but Glenn is only 5pts behind and seems to be improving on this water every time he goes out.
GRBY| Blue Grass FWA #4 - Presented By Bizz Baits
The 4th Blue Grass event did not disappoint. Okay, well if you were below the top five or six maybe it did, but regardless, there were some big bags. The Top 5 all broke the 80-inch mark, 6th and 7th were solid too with 79” or better!
In the end, it wasn't one of the season veterans on top. Instead, it was newcomer, Jonathan Rivera - Evansville Native who made his debut on the GRBY scene and put up 89.50 inches to take the W.
In second was John Gittner, with 86.00” and Eric Tracey rounded out the Top 3 with an 85-inch limit.
Big Bass honors went to Justin Toney with a 21-inch Tank!
This series is going to be wrapping up in just a few short weeks as the 5th and final event goes down from July 20th through the 24th. The AOY race is still very much open to some big shake-ups. It will be interesting to see how things turn out.
USA BASSIN | Patoka Lake Trail #2 - Presented By Jackson Kayak
Once again, less than a handful of anglers made it out for this one, and unfortunately, there was not even enough fish caught combined to fill a limit. Hopefully, over time this series will get off the ground and anglers will start taking advantage of this option. The next USA Bassin event takes place this coming Saturday on Lake Monroe and currently has 5 anglers registered to compete.
Alright y’all, that wraps up week 14. Congratulations to all our Top Performers!
Week 15 action kicks off tomorrow, so make sure you check out the “ UPNEXT” event section below and we will be back next week to recap it all. Plus, we will take a look at the Month long and Season Long events.
Tight lines and don't forget to wear the PDF!