The Realtree Fishing KBF TRAIL Series presented by Dee Zee and powered by Dakota Lithium opened its 2022 season on January 29-30 on the Kissimmee Chain lakes of Kissimmee, Florida. Saturday and Sunday constituted separate tournaments as anglers competed for points, prizes and pole position in the 2022 Farwide Angler of the Year race.
KISSIMMEE KBF TRAIL Event 1: Saturday
The first KBF TRAIL tournament of 2022 began with a cold front and strong winds, but the bite warmed through the day. When it was over 100 anglers had scored a catch. But only one angler would have the five longest bass.
Despite the windy cold, 35 competitors had already posted at least one bass by the end of the first 2 hours of competition. In the early going, John DiCenzo of Massachusetts maintained an early lead with a 78” limited on the Ledlenser leaderboard. 2021 Farwide KBF AOY Cody Milton soon upgraded to move from third place into second with 71.25” while Jason Broach held third place with 70” of 4 bass. Both Broach and DiCenzo each posted a 20.25” bass to anchor their submissions with a big fish, while Virginia’s Robert Brown had a 21” bass as the Big Bass at mid-morning. But Brown’s day was only just beginning…
In late morning, several anglers made a move up the board. Garrett Wade moved into first place with a limit of 84.25”, while Jon Richardson moved into third place with 74.25”. Half way through competition, the top 5 in the KBF TRAIL were Wade, DiCenzo, Richardson, Milton and Greg Nosar. Along the way, Jerry Spradling posted a 24” monster on Saturday to the Big Bass leaderboard.
At noon, 2021 KBF National Champion Guillermo Gonzalez took the lead with 92.5”, while Virginia’s Robert Brown climbed into 2nd place with 90.25”. With his move, Brown took over first place on the DEE ZEE TENVITATIONAL leaderboard, and would hold it until the end of the day.
In the meantime, several anglers staged a challenge to Gonzalez’s lead, which had grown to 94.5”. Adam Petrone posted several upgrades in the final hour of competition to climb into third place, while Kristine Fischer and Jason Broach also posted upgrades to climb into top 5 territory. But it was Lloyd Hardy who gave Gonzalez the biggest scare, when he posted a 94.25” limit.
In the end, the victory in the KBF TRAIL belonged to Gonzalez, who extended his spectacular 2021 season into the first major national kayak fishing tournament of the new year.
Gonzalez described the key factors in his win:
“The wind helped stir the bite, despite making boat control difficult. I caught my fish on a lipless crankbait in the grass, where I found a sweet spot and stayed on it most of the day. But the biggest factor was support from fellow anglers who were willing to loan me gear. I flew down [to Florida] with only a life jacket and a measuring board.”
KISSIMMEE KBF TRAIL Event 2: Sunday
The 2022 Realtree Fishing KBF TRAIL Series presented by Dee Zee and powered by Dakota Lithium Batteries continued on the Kissimmee Chain for a second weekend event on Sunday, January 30. Competitors launched to calmer conditions after Saturday’s hard fought battle against both fish and the elements.
Phillip Backus held the top spot in the TRAIL event with 73.25 “in the early going, while Kristine Fischer was only .50” behind him on the Ledlenser leaderboard. Dylan Fuqua, Gene Jensen and Cody Henley (4 fish) rounded out the top 5. But at mid-morning Henley filled his limit and took over first place with 91”. Henley would extend his lead with a 95” limit. However, Caymen Rassmussen made a charge, and was in second place with 90.25”. Rassmussen did so courtesy of a 24” monster bass that matched Jerry Spradling’s Day 1 fish atop the Dakota Lithium Big Bass Leaderboard.
As the afternoon wore on, the battle between Henley and Rassmussen unfolded. With the bite having slowed down and few fish being posted, it would appear the day would belong to one of the two. As fishing time expired one of KBF’s most consistent veterans made his presence known, as Jason Broach posted a 91.5″ limit, but a late upgrade secured the victory for Henley.
With their victories at Kissimmee, Gonzalez and Henley began the 2022 Realtree Fishing KBF TRAIL season with perfect scores on the Ledlenser AOY leaderboard, and set themselves up well for a run at the Trail Series Championship in October 2022.
Complete Standings: https://app.fishingchaos.com/tournament/kbf-kissimmee
For more information about Kissimmee, Florida, visit https://www.experiencekissimmee.com/
For the 2022 KBF TRAIL schedule: https://www.kayakbassfishing.com/schedule/
Questions regarding event details (i.e. eligible water, schedule, etc..) email Jason@kayakbassfising.com
Realtree Fishing KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments are presented by Dee Zee Truck Accessories
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