For the fourth consecutive year, Kayak Bass Fishing brought the Realtree Fishing KBF Trail Powered by Dakota Lithium to Lake Murray. This year was different, because it was the KBF Kick Off that opened the season for the KBF Trail Series, KBF Challenge Series and more. And with the KBF National Championship around the corner (and a KBF Trail paired with it), competitors got a start to their season with early points and a challenging bite on Lake Murray.

A rainy Friday announced the month of March in Columbia, South Carolina, and it also brought Lake Murray to full pool. Would the bass back away or pull up to the shallows? With two mild, overcast days to figure out that question, anglers kicked off the 2024 KBF Trail.

KBF Competitors at the Captains Meeting in Irmo, S.C., Friday, March 1st. Photo by Hank Veggian.

Trail I: Saturday, March 2, 2024

Anglers had two days to figure out the Lake Murray bites, and it was the angler who managed two big bites per day who swept the weekend. Nick Huddleston’s 21.50” bass that sat atop the Big Bass leaderboard for most of Saturday, until the bite turned on late in the day and more bags came in. One of them included the 21.75” bass landed by Jason Broach, giving him the day’s longest fish. But it was West Virginia angler Tim Isaacs who had the third longest – and also the tenth longest.

In Trail I, no other competitor landed more than one bass 20” or longer, and Tim had two on the board. It was that second big that made the difference.

Late in the day, Ryan Matylewicz held the lead with 93.25”, and with about two hours to go his nearest competitors were all bunched up within 1” of one another. Casey Reed, Nick Huddleston and Tim Isaacs all had between 90” and 90.75”, and when Tim Isaacs landed his 20” bass during the last hour, it culled a small fish and gave him the lead for good. “I caught a 20” fish around 2 o’clock, and that’s the one that did it.”

Isaacs held on for the win with a limit of 95.75” while Matylewicz placed second, and a late limit gave Tou Yang third place.

Trail I: The Top 10

  1. Tim Isaacs 95.75”
  2. Ryan Matylewicz 93.25”
  3. Tuo Yang 92.25”
  4. Nick Huddleston 90.75”
  5. Casey Reed 90”
  6. Greg Polec 88.75”
  7. Jason Broach 87.75”
  8. Francis Matylewicz 87”
  9. Jon Richardson  86”
  10. Jake Suvak  86”
Trail II: Sunday, March 3, 2024

During the KBF awards ceremony in Irmo, South Carolina, anglers in the top five of each day had the chance to explain how they caught their fish. Nick Huddleston told the audience he caught his fish on a jig, while Ryan Matylewicz said he caught them on an Alabama rig. Tim Isaacs used a Texas Rig, while Eric Nelson used a spinnerbait and Jimmy McClurkan used a shaky head (and an A-rig). You get the idea – anglers were catching fish using all sorts of lures.

Eric Nelson. Photo by Hank Veggian.

Another pattern remained constant: Tim Isaacs would land two big bass of 20” or longer. He would be joined by a second angler, his fellow Mountaineer Jody Queen, who landed a 21.25 and a 20.25” on his way to a fifth place finish. Eric Nelson would land a 22” to win the overall big bass prize, too, but it was his only bass of 20” or longer.

Isaacs finished with 94.75” on Sunday, with a limit that included a 20.25” bass and a 20.50” bass. As Isaacs told KBF, he caught them all on a Z-Man Fatty Z:

“Everything I caught was on a Fatty Z, black and blue, that I Texas-rigged. When I pulled up on a dock, the fish were either on the first set of posts, or the back posts.”

Fishing patiently around the docks, Isaacs took advantage of their abundance on Lake Murray to complete the weekend sweep. It’s a feat that only a few have accomplished, among them Jake Angulas (Potomac River in 2023), Chris Spencer (Folsom in 2022) and Drew Gregory (Champlain in 2022).

And with the wins, Isaacs has the lead in the Rogue gear Co Angler of the Year Race, heading into the next Trail event at Guntersville/Wheeler on April  6-7.

Trail II: The Top 10

  1. Tim Isaacs 94.75”
  2. Jimmy McClurkan 93.25”
  3. Bobby Denison 89”
  4. Ryan Matylewicz 88”
  5. Jody Queen 87.25”
  6. Eric Nelson 86.25”
  7. Francis Matylewicz 86.25”
  8. Jay Park 85.25”
  9. Deamen Henderson 85.25”
  10. Larry Wood 85”

About the Angler

Tim Isaacs is sponsored by Fishing Online, Elevation Sports and Dakota Lithium Batteries.

Additional Info

The KBF Kick Off at Lake Murray was made possible with support from Experience Columbia, South Carolina. For more information, visit https://www.experiencecolumbiasc.com/

Click here to learn more details about the 2024 Realtree Fishing KBF Trail Series Powered by Dakota Lithium

Click here for a complete list of 2024 Kayak Bass Fishing tournaments

For complete event standings for the 2024 KBF Kick Off at Lake Murray, click here.

Realtree Fishing KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments are Powered by Dakota Lithium Batteries

Additional Sponsors

   Ketch  Yak Rods    FishOPS

Rogue Fishing Co    Power-Pole   YakAttack    Torqeedo     Yeti

First Published March 4, 2024. The author of this article was not assisted in any way by AI or machine learning in the composition of it.

© 2024 Kayak Bass Fishing. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the written consent of Kayak Bass Fishing.