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Scott Brands
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Smallmouth Strategies
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CKFC Boyd Lake Tournament Recap

Blog by: Scott Brands , CO 4/22/2024
The Colorado Kayak Fishing Club (CKFC) held its first bass tournament of the year this past weekend on Boyd Lake. In typical fashion, the first kayak tournament of the year was met with brutal conditions! Hereís how things shaped up.

I decided to venture out on Boyd Lake the week before the tournament to check things out. I hadnít fished Boyd since last fall so thought itíd be wise to check current conditions and see what the bass have been up to. In past years I have had great success on Boyd throughout the month of April, especially towards the end of the month. Both the largemouth and smallmouth bass begin to move up shallow, and if you time it right, its not uncommon to have some epic days out on the water.

I launched my kayak and started targeting rocky areas for shallow smallmouth. Some of my favorite presentations for those fish include mid-diving crankbaits, finesse football jigs, jerkbaits, and ned rigs. If youíre not getting bit on any of those four baits then its likely that youíre not in the right area or its just a super tough day requiring you to slow down, downsize your bait, or both! I made a few casts with a crankbait and hooked up with a smallmouth right off the bat. At that point I knew that the smallmouth were right where I expected them to be, so I moved on and began targeting some other sneaky spots that historically have been hit or miss for me. After rotating through these spots, I discovered that a one-two punch of a crankbait and a finesse football jig were my top two presentations that day.

I then went looking for largemouth bass with little success. I checked a lot of my favorite largemouth spots on the lake and only came up with one that hit a chatterbait. With a warm front coming up, I thought that the largies might just need a few more days of warm weather before putting on the feedbag in the shallows. That warm front came through and it indeed flipped a switch in those bass. However, the nasty 3-day cold front moved in and quickly started to drop the water temperature. I got the kayak out 2 days before the big tournament and even with the cold weather I still discovered that I could catch largemouth up in the shallows in areas where thicker grass had begun to emerge. 

Two days later it was tournament morning. The weather was the worst Iíve ever experienced during a tournament. It was cold, windy, and snowing. Many anglers delayed their launch to wait for things to warm up a little bit; however, I felt comfortable enough to launch right at 6am. I got to my first spot and fished a variety of presentations including crankbaits, jerkbaits, dropshots, ned rigs, etc. Eventually I got bit on the finesse football jig after about an hour of fishing. It was a small 12.25Ē smallmouth and the grind was on! My gameplan at that point was to rotate around rock piles and slowly drag my jig around. I got to my second spot and again landed another smallmouth after about an hour of slowly dragging that jig around. I had two fish in the first two hours with about six hours to go! 

At that point my gameplan started to unravel a bit. I got to my next rockpile and found a few other anglers on it. I skipped it and went to the next one. It was at this rockpile where I got bit, set the hook, and came back with no tails on my craw trailer. A few casts later and I felt another tick on the jig. I reeled back and set the hook only to break my jig off on the hook set. After some time I left this spot and decided to see if the largemouth were where I left them in practice. I casted out a small chatterbait and got thumped on my first cast. I didnít hook up with that fish but thought that I made the right decision in targeting the largemouth. Unfortunately, I didnít get another bite after that and had a decision to make.

I decided to abandon the largemouth and refocus on what got me my first two fish to start off the day. I went back to rotating rock piles and slowly dragging my jig around. Hours went by without a sniff and then I suddenly realized that my jig felt weightless on a drag. I reeled down to set the hook when I felt the fish spit my jig out of its mouth. On a tough day like that, one cannot afford to make those kinds of mistakes. 

As the tournament started to draw to a close, I decided to devote some time to utilizing my Livescope and target suspending fish with a freeloader on a jighead. This only resulted in catching a nice trout, and my day came to an end. Only two smallmouth bass to show for my efforts out there in those brutal conditions.

Back at the awards I discovered that the rest of the field didnít have much better luck than me. Our top three anglers all caught three fish a piece, respectively. My two fish earned me a fourth place finish. Ten other anglers turned in one fish each. Finally, 24 of the 38 anglers turned in a skunk! A congratulations are in order to everyone who showed up to the tournament and faced those conditions. A special congratulations to Kaleb Zimmer (1st place), Paul Roth (2nd), Eric Allee (3rd), and Tim Van Sickler (Big Bass)! 

Blog content © Scott Brands
Blog Comments
1blueflamer, 4/27/2024 2:02:48 PM
Wow! Those were high quality fish weighed in for Boyd! Great Job of Reporting Results, too! Where can I find the tournament schedule and regulations? Congratulations on making this such a successful and competitive alternative tournament trail!
 
nparker, 4/28/2024 6:04:22 AM
Thanks for the info on bass fishing ideas on Boyd. Sorry about the weather. That is Colorado in the spring. It will pick up.
 
panfishin, 4/29/2024 3:37:34 PM
1blueflamer - you can join the CKFC Facebook group and get a bunch of info there or go to their website cokayakfishing.com Tourney schedules for both multi-species and B.A.S.S. are on both places. Lots of fun to fish and usually a decent amount of folks stick around afterwards for the awards too. Scott - out of curiosity, how many guys are running livescope?
 
Scott Brands (Skookshunter), 4/30/2024 6:09:47 AM
I'd estimate about 25% of anglers are using a livescope. Most of our tournaments haven't been won with someone only catching fish using FFS, but it does seem to more of a factor as more people get into it and others improve their skills with it
 
 
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