The whole week leading up to the KBL Club Classic Tour championship was almost surreal. It’s what everyone had worked so hard for the entire season and was the defining event that would declare our overall champion. Five paid places, 10 KBF National Championship qualifying spots, 10 Yak 4 It Tournament of Champions qualifying spots, a NuCanoe Pursuit kayak, a Power-Pole Micro shallow water anchor, a Bending Branches paddle, Hammer Fishing rods, YakAddicts gear, Bizz Baits and Karu Lures were all on the line coming into the weekend. All of that would not have been possible though without the backing of our generous sponsors and the affiliated groups that have welcomed the KBL into their ranks. A big thank you to them for making this championship one of the best events around!
Day 1: The Calm Before the Storm
The KBL staff met with the top 20 anglers later that morning in a parking lot not far from the ramp of the first lake. To our surprise almost all of the members beat us to the check-in anxiously waiting to get on the water. This first day was going to be very different from past events as it was an afternoon tournament. Members had from noon until 6:30 PM to catch a five fish limit.
As we completed the pre-meeting everyone raced off to the ramp to get their gear unloaded and get to their starting spot before the start of the event. As noon hit and everyone started casting it was almost immediate that members started to get bit. However, some found it trying at times to hook up with these aggressive largemouth bass. Reports of 10-30 missed fished in the day seemed to be the common theme. With the heavy rain the night before and the start of a cool down in temperatures the bass were not very cooperative with hitting a bait dead on.
There seemed to be a lull throughout the rest of the day though as the bite started to turn off with the high sun, rising temperature and blue bird skies. 1, 2 or 3 fish caught seemed to be the norm and frustration in some started to mount. However, they did not know what was in store for them as the sun started to set.
As soon as 5:30 started to come, a light switch was turned on and the bass catches started to pick up. Some of those that only had a single fish for the day found themselves closing out a limit within the last hour. It was literally down to the last few minutes for some to get that last keeper or kicker fish.
The stories of the day were great to hear at the end. Some had a better day then others, but most were hopeful that they could turn things around on Sunday. A total of 74 bass were weighed in out of a potential 100. Quite a few with limits and some just shy of one…overall it was a great day on the water!
After the end of day one:
Matt Muscarello reels in an 19.25 inch bass for the big bass of the day and the $150 prize.
And our top five were…
- Joe “The Beard” Palmer
- Josh “Short Shorts” Bennett
- Calvin “Boy Wonder” Dee
- Patrick “Pooti” Tharp
- George “Frog Man” Lobb
Day 2: It Was A Grind
The second day started early in the morning with most of the members at the ramp right at 5:30 AM. We were greeted with a very calm and cool morning which was just as perfect as it was yesterday. Some of the members had never seen the lake before and were in shock at the amount of pad fields they were going to have to deal with. Literally 65 percent or more of the lake was covered in lily pads.
The pre-meeting and safety check went without a hitch, but the staff could tell the member’s minds were elsewhere thinking of how to get that limit of fish today. All 20 launched and headed to their starting spots and lines were in the water at 6:45 AM. It took a little time for the guys to start getting bit but we could see some of the first fish getting to their kayaks. Buzzbaits and other topwater baits were the ticket first thing in the morning. Just like the last lake there were a ton of shad around so topwater seemed to be the logical choice.
As the day progressed, the bite started to become tougher. Anglers who were comfortable fishing in open water started to find less and less of it unused and started focusing on the pad fields. This definitely put a few members out of their comfort zone, but the reward for grinding it out in the pads paid off for some. Some members were never seen until the end of the day as they ventured as far back into the lake as they could. It was a close call for some of those that did as they barely made it back to the ramp by the 1:45 PM cutoff time.
After a long two days of hard fishing, the members were tired but anxious of the results. It was obviously a tough day for most of them, and it was surprising how drastically some of the standings changed from day 1. Only 37 fish were weighed in…definitely a different story from the results from yesterday. It definitely was nerve wracking as the anglers waited for the final tallying of their scores.
The results of the KBL Club Classic Tour Championship were as follows…
On day 2, Robert Secondi reels in an 18.50 inch fish for the big bass of the day and the $150 prize.
In 5th Place, with 103.75 inches, was Brian “Butters” Butterfield. Brian had already qualified for the KBF National Championship for 2017, so he earned a qualifying spot for the Yak 4 It Tournament of Champions in November on Lake Fork. Brian also walks away with $140 in cash and a prize pack from Bizz Baits and KaRu Lures.
In 4th Place, with 104.25 inches, was Tony “Hawgs Only” Lam. Tony also had already qualified for the KBF National Championship in 2017, so he earned a qualifying spot for the Yak 4 It Tournament of Championship in November on Lake Fork. Tony walks away with $210 in cash and a swag pack from YakAddicts.
In 3rd Place, with 117.75 inches, was Shaun “Gator” Wood. Shaun earned his qualifying spot for the KBF National Championship on Kentucky Lake for 2017. He also walks away with $266 in cash as well as a new Bending Branches Ace paddle and a Hammer Rods custom fishing rod for a total of $900 in prizes.
In 2nd Place, with 146.5 inches, was Patrick “Pooti” Tharp. Patrick earned his qualifying spot for the KBF National Championship on Kentucky Lake for 2017. He also walks away with $315 in cash as well as a new Power-Pole Micro Shallow Water Anchor and a Hammer Rods custom fishing rod for a total of $1200 in prizes.
Finally…in 1st Place, with a whopping 155.5 inches, was Josh “Short Shorts” Bennett. Both days Josh stuck to a game plan and ground out a limit of bass. Hats off to him for bringing home the win and giving the green club their first ever KBL Club Classic Tour Championship trophy. For his efforts, Josh walks away with $490 in cash as well as a 2016 NuCanoe Pursuit kayak and a Hammer Rods custom fishing rod for a total of $2200 in cash and prizes!
2017 KBF National Championship Qualifiers (Kentucky Lake, TN)
Patrick Tharp, Shaun Wood, Scott Shaw, Gary Rosenberg, Joe Palmer, Matt Muscarello, George Lobb, Calvin Dee, Titus Dominguez, Atif Goodman
In addition…Brian Butterfield, Tony Lam, Don Thompson, Matt Williams, Joshua Bennett, Chunsum Choi, and Alan Wiedmeyer will be heading down with us since they have already qualified in previous events outside of the KBL.
2016 Yak 4 It Tournament of Champions Qualifiers (Lake Fork, TX)
Joshua Bennett, Richard Huff, Robert Secondi, Glenn Miller, Tony Lam, Brian Butterfield, Paul Gula, Ricky Compton, Susie Magarity, Chunsum Choi
The KBL staff (Alan, JC, Scott, Titus, Tony and Chris) would like to extend a big thank you to all of the members and the sponsors that participated with us this season. I tried to express my thank you the best I could at the event but you guys honestly don’t know how appreciated you are. This whole concept of the KBL started over an early morning conversation at breakfast two years ago and I never would have imagined where we would be at this point today. I am humbled by your integrity and sportsmanship as anglers, and I value all of the friendships and memories that were made this year. Give yourself a round of applause as you did a heck of a job this season, and I hope to see all of your faces again next year!
Until then, stay safe and tight lines on the water!