Recap: The Realtree Fishing 2022 Kayak Bass Fishing Trail Series Championship

The 2022 Yak Attack Kayak Bass Fishing Trail Series Championship was held on October 19-20, 2022 on Kentucky Lake. It culminated the busiest and most wide-ranging KBF Trail Series season in history. With nearly 20 event weekends between January and August, the KBF Trail offered thousands of anglers across the country a chance to earn AOY/ROY points and prizes. It also offered a chance to qualify for Dee Zee KBF The TEN, an exclusive event for the top 10 in the Trail Series’ final standings.

Virginia angler Casey Reed was one of those anglers who competed all season for a spot in the TEN House in February of 2023. A pro on the Old Town fishing team, Reed has won his share of tournaments over the years, and is a contender in every event. But the TEN House has nearly always eluded him. Sometimes, it was by the smallest of margins. In fact, he has been the first angler out, in 11th place, when the points were tallied. Reed landed in that unenviable spot three times – in 2018, 2020, and 2021.

Reed, did qualify once, in 2019, however. He has always wanted to return for another shot at winning Dee Zee KBF The Ten. A qualification would help balance the record at 2-3, too.

On Kentucky Lake, Reed would banish the years of frustration and close calls with a performance that kept his name at the top of the Trail Series Championship standings all week long. And when it was over, there would be redemption for Reed and 9 other anglers who received an invite to the TEN House.

Day 1: Wednesday, October 19

The 2022 KBF Trail Series Championship began with familiar names atop the leaderboards.  Robert Weiker had the early lead, while Cody Milton, Anthony Winkleman and Casey 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 Leaderboard.

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.

Ow did these top anglers find fish, when so many struggled? Location was a factor. Kentucky Lake presented specific challenges to Kayak Bass Fishing competitors this October. For most, fishing large southern impoundments that draw down in the fall is a familiar challenge. But this year’s drought in the Mississippi basin lowered the lake’s water levels more than usual.

It also concentrated fish in certain areas. River and creek channels were one of those areas targeted heavily by competitors. It was where Casey Reed did some of his best work: As he told it:

“I fished two baits. The first was a Rat-L-Trap in 2-4 foot of water, and the second bait was a shaky head on deeper brush piles.”

Reed finished Day 1 with a total of 81.75”, good enough for fifth place overall.

Cashion Rods Pro Casey Reed

Day 2 Wednesday, October 20

With many anglers registered to compete in all three championships, the KBF Trail Series Championship leaderboard sometimes mirrored that of the other championships. There were a few exceptions. Georgia angler Gene Jensen was fishing in both the National Championship and the Trail Series Championship, but not the Challenge Series Championship. The same was true of Utah Angler Chris Spencer. As a result, their presence shook up the top end of the Trail Series leaderboard.

Both Spencer and Jensen found themselves in the top 10 as Day 2 passed the noon hour. Gene Jensen posted a 75.75” limit by mid-day, while Spencer had also posted a limit.

For Spencer, the challenge was to find the right water. Like reed, he ended up focusing on channels. In Spencer’s words,

“It was tough. I struggled at first in practice but put enough information together to find an area. A channel swing between the main lake and the back of a creek was the key. My main baits were a square bill, a spinnerbait and a jig.”

Spencer’s strategy of targeting deeper areas where water dug out holes in places like swings was one way anglers overcame the lake’s lower water levels. Wilderness Systems pro Rus Snyders adopted a similar strategy on his way to becoming the Trail Series Champion:

“A big key to my success this week was using my Torqeedo 1103 motor to motor down river several miles and then fish my way back up. The majority of my fish were caught on a 6” Mega Bass Mag Draft swimbait. I would find gizzard shad and the larger bass would be nearby. Areas that had medium paced current with large lay downs were my main focus.”

Snyders finished atop the Trail Series Championship field on Day 2, on his way to becoming KBF National Champion in an epic end-to-end victory run.

Farwide AOY Points, Top 10, as listed on Fishing Chaos

Day 2 would ultimately decide many things. To borrow Chris Spencer’s word, Kentucky Lake had been tough. The end result was worth the effort: when the Trail Series Championship was over, the anglers for Dee Zee KBF The TEN were confirmed, a Rogue Fishing Rookie of the Year had risen to the top and the Farwide KBF Angler of the Year was crowned.

For Casey Reed, it would decide if he would qualify for the TEN House. Reed finished in 12th overall on Day 2, and kept his fingers crossed. In the end, Reed finished 7th overall in the Trail Series Championship.

And he also punched his ticket to the TEN House.

As did Chris Spencer. Spencer and Reed will join Gene Jensen, Cody Milton, Rus Snyders, Jake Angulas, Derek Brundle and Ryan Nye in Florida in February of 2023 to decide another champion in the sport of kayak bass fishing’s most exclusive event.

About the Realtree Fishing KBF Trail Series

The Kayak Bass Fishing Trail Series is a nationwide Trail Series. By competing in it, KBF anglers earn points toward their standing in the Farwide KBF Angler of the Year race. In the end, the KBF Angler of the Year is invited to Dee Zee KBF the TEN. There, the angler is joined by the 9 other anglers in the Top 10 of the points standings (and also the Challenge Series Champion) to compete in that prestigious event, which is held in Florida in February of every year.



The history of DEE ZEE KBF THE TEN is a who’s who of our sport. To qualify for it shows you are one of the Dee-Zee-KBF-the-TENbest, to repeatedly qualify demonstrates outstanding consistency, and to win the event engraves your name on an exclusive monument. Simply put, there is no single event that is more exclusive or prestigious in the entirety of kayak fishing.

Every year, a new champion is enshrined. From first to most recent, they are as follows:

In 2017, Ron Champion tied Cory Dreyer for first place, followed by Jamie Denison, Jason Broach and AJ McWhorter.

In 2018, Jamie Denison won THE TEN, and Cory Dreyer was runner up. The top 5 was rounded out by Jody Queen, Brian Aliff and Ron Champion. And Cory Dreyer won the tiebreaker rematch with Ron Champion.

In 2019, Cody Milton won the title, followed by Eric Siddiqi, Jay Wallen, Matt Ball and Josh Stewart.

In 2020, THE TEN trophy was won by Rus Snyders, followed by Ken Wood, Derek Brundle, Cody Milton and Brad Case.

In 2021, Jody Queen won THE TEN, followed by Alex Miller, Jeremy Mitchell, Cory Dreyer and Adam Petrone.

In 2022, Cody Henley prevailed.

Looking Ahead

  • Kayak Bass Fishing has returned to a qualifying format for the next Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship (to be held in the spring of 2024).
  • The AmBASSador Series Championship has been moved from November, 2022 to the spring of 2023. The host lake will also be the site of the 2024 National Championship.
  • The 2023 KBF Challenge Series State Challenges registration is open.
  • The KBF Trail Series resumes in Florida in January of 2023 (the final schedule is forthcoming)

Additional Info

The 2022 YakAttack Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship Powered by Dakota Lithium was made possible by support from the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce at ExperienceParis.

For Complete standings:

Click Here To Watch the Complete KBF National Championship Awards Ceremony.


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First Published October 23, 2022

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