Kentucky Lake always rises to the occasion. In the week prior to this year’s YakAttack Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship, both the wind and waves rose to the occasion as well. The Dakota Lithium Double Lunker leaderboard offered proof that KBF competitors were rising to meet the challenge – more fish were posted with each day that passed.  In the end, KBF anglers always find the good bites.

Uribe’s 20″ morning lunker

The good bites stacked up quickly on the Day 1 Ledlenser leaderboards. California’s Rachel Uribe posted a 20” tank in the early going. Soon enough other anglers were posting their own Kentucky Lake lunkers.

But one angler showed up at the end of the day with a whole limit of lunkers. Here’s how it played out in all 4 championship events.

 

Challenge Series Championship

The early bite and the early lead belonged to Robert Weiker, who quickly climbed into first place. An established KBF Trail Series winner with multiple single event titles, Weiker would find quality fish throughout the day, including several in the 19” class. An inability to cull his smaller fish began to drag on his totals, and he was eventually surpassed by 2019 KBF Rookie of the Year Derek Brundle of Massachusetts. As Weiker faded, Anthony Winkleman and Cody Milton made their presence known, as did Casey Reed later in the day. By mid-day, defending KBF Angler of the Year Cody Milton held first place with a solid 85.25″ limit.

Trail Series Championship

A similar dynamic to the Challenge Series Championship played out here, as Weiker, Milton, Winkleman and Reed alternated holding the lead or making the leader sweat out a cold bite. Ryan Thomas and William Stuntz also made their presence felt, while North Carolina’s Bruce Deel also worked his way into the conversation. At mid-day, the Trail Series Championship leaderboard was nearly a carbon copy of the Challenge Series, one key difference being the presence of Indiana’s Matt Kiefer in the top 10 of the Challenge Series.

Late in the day, Milton extended his lead by a few inches, finishing in second overall with 87”, while Derek Brundle also improved his standing, moving to third place overall ahead of Reed.

The stakes in the Trail Series Championship were of course more consequential. If Milton held his first place spot in the Challenge Series, he could prevent another competitor from joining the TEN House in Florida early next year.

It was a big IF….

Top Team Cup

By late morning, two teams were within 1” of the leading team in this event. Team Torqeedo had a 4 fish limit of 60.25”, while both Dakota Lithium and Carolina Kayak Anglers were tied at 59.25” However, with an average of 15” per fish, the top 3 were vulnerable.

Late in the day, V & M Buzzetta realty, a team comprised of LIKBF competitors, jumped into first place when their fourth fish gave them the overall lead with 64.25”. The team eventually improved to 65.5” Still, with an average length of just over 16”, the lead was only one big upgrade from changing hands again.

That’s when Dakota Lithium’s team took over first place on the Top team Cup board. And they did so with emphasis. How?

Because Rus Snyders showed up, and everything changed…..

Yak Attack KBF National Championship Powered by Dakota Lithium

The top of this leaderboard was similar to that of the Trail Series and Challenge Series, with one important exception: a wild card named Eric Jackson. Jackson jumped out to an early morning lead with a 4 fish limit of 60”. He remained on that length for a few hours until mid-day, when he jumped up the leaderboard with several upgrades. With two hours remaining to fish, and his bite warming up, he positioned himself in third place with a limit of 81”, only three-quarters of an inch behind Virginia’s Casey Reed, and slightly more than 4” behind Cody Milton.

And then the leaderboard lit up with two significant late limits. Drew Gregory uploaded 85.25″ to take over third place, and close the gap with Cody Milton.

But one late limit changed everything. Rus Snyders won back to back Farwide KBF Angler of the Year titles in 2019 and 2020. Since that time, he has been consistent in all phases of his game, regularly cashing checks at tournaments across the country. But the California transplant lives in Tennessee, and he has obviously been doing his homework on Kentucky Lake.

That’s how he posted a massive 97” limit at the end of Day 1. His anchor fish was a 22.5” bruiser Largemouth that measured 2.5”  longer than any other bass in the top 20. His smallest fish – a 17.75” Smallmouth Bass – was longer than the longest fish posted by the angler in 20th place.

When asked whether he pre-fished, he replied “That would be an understatement.”

In Snyders’ words:

“I am self-employed so I set up my schedule so I could pre-fish a lot. I fished most days for two weeks. I know the lake pretty well, but this tournament made me push myself to explore the water more. A lot of days I went out there, and there was nothing. I just eliminated water. Sometimes I would spend 12 hours on the water and write off the day. I decided I would fish fresh areas every day in the tournament.”

Snyders concluded: “The main thing is the pattern I am on. It has been holding up. Even if there were people in an area, I think I got them figured out.”

With improving weather on the horizon, Snyders’ theory, and spots, will be put to the test.

Follow all of the Day 2 action here: https://app.fishingchaos.com/tournament/2022-kbf-championships

Rus Snyders is sponsored by: Wilderness Systems , Ketch Outdoors, Torqeedo, Yak Attack, irod,  and Dakota Lithium Batteries.

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First Published October 19, 2022

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