Calvert City and Kentucky Lake Tourism sponsored and Kentucky Dam Village hosted the sixth Hobie Bass Open Series (BOS) on May 18 and 19. Kayaks could use any boat ramp to launch their kayaks on Kentucky Lake or Lake Barkley. Over 100 anglers participated in this annual event.
“Anytime in a kayak tournament when you have over 100 anglers it really elevates the payout, the notoriety of the event, and there’s obviously a higher level of competition. With so many incredible anglers in this event a top ten finish was a respected, difficult feat,” says tournament director, AJ McWhorter.
Holding the tournament a few weeks earlier than normal had some anglers adjusting their fishing patterns. Winning angler, Kristine Fischer of Weeping Water, Nebraska, said, “My whole plan before I got to the tournament was to fish ledges as my strength is deep water fishing, and I’ve been looking forward to a bite in water deeper than ten feet since January. So on Thursday, I spent the entire day graphing ledges only to find the bass to be very scattered and unpredictable. I then made the decision Thursday night that I was going to go far south and try to find shallow fish that could be a little more predictable. I used basic tools like Google Earth and Navionics to find bushes and anything different in areas that I assumed would hold fish. I planned on launching at about five or six different ramps and just run and gun until I could find a solid bite.”
Fischer is the first woman angler to win any Hobie tournament. She landed 178 inches to beat out second-place angler, Joshua Stewart at 170.25. Throughout the two days, a total of over 700 inches of fish were caught and released.
Hobie Bass Open Series uses a catch, photo, release format. Anglers submit photos of their catch through an app and release the catch. Anglers turn in their five longest bass each day to reach the 10 fish limit.
“Kentucky Lake is so diverse. Each creek offers something different and when the fish transition out to the ledges…I’m like a kid on Christmas,” says Fischer.
Growing up in a typical small-town, Fischer remembers every Sunday her and her brother would have fish-shaped pancakes for breakfast at their grandparent’s home. “I was born and raised into a fishing-oriented family.” Nearly every Sunday for 18 years, Fischer would go fishing with her ‘Pa’ and grew up appreciating all types of angling, but her deep-rooted passion has been and will always be musky fishing.
When asked about how it feels to be the first female to win a Hobie BOS, she said, “All the years I’ve been fishing I’ve never wanted to be considered a female angler. Honestly, I’ve just wanted to blend in with the rest of the competitive anglers and be respected as an angler and not have any extra accreditations that come with being a rarity in the sport. After the last few days, I’m developing a different perspective because I’ve had so many women reach out and say how incredibly inspiring this is. So, I realize it’s not necessarily about me—it’s something much bigger. Competitive kayak fishing can be an intimidating sport, it’s male-dominated, and something you don’t see a lot of women excelling in because there just aren’t that many of us. If I could give any advice to female anglers, it would be if you are truly passionate about something to go out there and do it with every single bit of your being and you will succeed if you believe in yourself.”
Fischer’s influences can be compared to Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer and when bass fishing, her favorite “bites” are walking baits, caffeine shad, and a ¾ oz wobble head paired with a missile baits destroyer.
The Top Six competitors anglers qualified for the Tournament of Champions which will be in November in Arkansas. Those six are Kristine Fischer with 178 inches, Joshua Stewart with 170.25 inches, Eric Siddiqi with 169.5 inches, Cody Milton with 167 inches, Adam Riser with 165 inches, and Guillermo Gonazalez with 162.5 inches.
Congratulations to all anglers! On behalf of Calvert City and Kentucky Lake, we welcome you back for many years to come!