When KBF recently profiled KBF angler Kenny Hood about Colorado’s Chatfield Reservoir, Hood mentioned that the water was in the low 50’s, the fish were preparing to spawn and that many Smallmouth Bass – mostly of shorter length – would be caught at the KBF Trail’s first ever Colorado tournament weekend. Kenny is an experienced fisherman, and he was right on every point he made.
The story of the Realtree Fishing KBF TRAIL and KBF Pro Series weekend was one of anglers battling wind and picking apart a lake that did not yield many fish in practice. But once they dialed in the bite, as some did, it made for an exciting weekend of tournaments as KBF anglers from western states continue to make their presence known.
Saturday, April 30
As competition began, the fish came in slow and steady on the Ledlenser leaderboard on Fishing Chaos. Early leaders included Trev Stuckey, Caymen Rassmussen, Anthony Garcia and Ryan Bass, but as fishing wore on the limits did not appear. At mid day, Stuckey led the board with 4 fish. A grind was in the making.
Until it wasn’t. At mid-day, one limit was filled, then another, and by noon the leaderboard had started to fill out with several limits, as Garcia, Rassmussen, Stuckey and Henley were joined by Brett Wendling in the top 5. The limits were not big, so every bite and upgrade counted. And when it was over, a young angler named Caymen Rassmussen had sealed his first win on the KBF TRAIL Series.
“It’s great to finally get one,” said Rassmussen. But it didn’t start that way in practice. As Rassmussen described it:
“I had two days of practice, and only caught 5 fish, dragging a ned rig. It was tough.
On Saturday, I found a jerk bait bite on the south side of the lake, where there are gravel pits. The fish would pull up from those pits, and I only caught three early on a crankbait and a jerk bait, but I had found something. That was my plan – fish the gravel pits early and then move up the lake. I couldn’t find a Largemouth bite this weekend, so all of my fish were Smallmouth Bass.
On Sunday, I left the gravel pits earlier, but all I could find were small fish. In one spot, I caught a bunch that were all under 12” long. I eventually caught a limit, but it was about 10” shorter than my limit the previous day.”
In addition to winning the KBF Trail on Saturday, that second, smaller limit would seal Rassmussen’s victory in the KBF Pro Series on Sunday.
Top 5 Trail I (Saturday)
- Caymen Rasmussen 81”
- Scott Brands 79”
- Brett A Wendling 74.25”
- Cody Henley 72.75”
- Trev Stuckey 72.5
Sunday, May 1
Cody Henley has been on a tear this season. He won Dee Zee KBF The TEN at Kissimmee and has been in contention at nearly every West Coast KBF event this season. But an overall win evaded him. He came close to beating Rassmussen on Saturday (he finished 4th), but for a few seconds.
As Henley tells it, “at the end of the day on Saturday, I hooked a stud near the dam [at Chatfield]. It was peeling drag, and when I looked at my timer I saw there were 40 seconds left in the tournament. I had to make a choice to horse the fish. When I did, I buried one set of treble sin my hand and straightened the other set. I took that photo 3 seconds after competition time, and it was disqualified. That cost me a win on Saturday, and I think it cost me a win in the Pro Series, too.”
Most anglers would be down on themselves at that point, but not Cody Henley. He keeps fishing, and he fishes hard.
His practice time at Chatfield was difficult, he said: “I didn’t catch my first fish for 12 hours.” But pre-fishing revealed a jerk bait bite. Like Rassmussen, Henley also fished a Mega Bass model, and like Rassmussen he also found a bite on a flat where fish were staging. That flat would prove the key on Sunday.
Henley noted “I found a flat near a channel, and that’s where I fished Sunday. I caught about 30 fish between 5:30 and 10:30.” Henley led the field from start to finish after building on his Saturday experience. He posted the tournament’s first limit, and continued upgrading. Whenever a competitor threatened his lead, Henley’s spot would produce another small upgrade: from 76.25” he culled to 77.75”, and from there to the 78.5” limit that stood for the win.
With the KBF TRAIL and PRO SERIES this weekend in Colorado, Kayak Bass Fishing has completed 4 of 7 events in the western states. Cody Henley and Anthony Garcia currently hold the top 2 spots in the Pro Series points race (Rassmussen is in 1th place). Josh Stewart has the lead on the Farwide Angler of the Year Ledlenser Leaderboard, but Henley, Garcia and Rassmussen hold spots 2-4.
By investing in the growth of kayak fishing on the west coast, KBF has introduced the sport to a talented group of young kayak fishermen who have shaken up the AOY standings in 2022.
Top 5 Trail II (Sunday)
- Cody Henley 78.5”
- James Strawbridge 78”
- William Stuntz 76”
- Brett A Wendling 75.75”
- Paul Roth 74.75”
- Caymen Rassmussen 154.5”
- Cody Henley 151.25”
- Antony Garcia 138”
- Trev Stuckey 112.75”
- Aaron Warner 110.25”
For complete Chatfield standings, click here
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