Alan Reed of Indiana was one of the anglers fishing in the big Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) national championship on Guntersville Lake a week ago. He almost had a bad tournament.
For the first time in his career, he didn’t make the cut to fish for the championship on the final day.
But there were all kinds of side tournaments rolled into one in this tourney. And he was registered to fish the big fish portion of the tournament on the last day. That’s exactly what it sounds like. It was a one fish tournament.
He ended up catching a giant bass on a buzzbait. Kayak anglers don’t weigh their fish. They measure them. This one went 25.5 inches. That translates to a bass just under 8 pounds.
It was a new “personal best” or PB for Alan and it was good for the $1,500 big fish prize.
Alan almost didn’t fish that day. The weather was kind of bad, but that wasn’t the reason. He was just bummed out about not making the cut.
“It was very disappointing,” he said. “It’s the first time I have never made the cut. I came into the event 20th in Angler of the Year points too."
It simply wasn’t the kind of tournament he’d hoped to have. And he’d been rolling out early to fish for a week what with the practice before the actual tournament.
“I was kind of debating whether I would even go out,” he said of the final day.
He got up, ate a leisurely breakfast and didn’t head out until 9 a.m.
It was the kind of day he knew might be good to catch a fish on a buzzbait.
“It was overcast with light rain and a little bit of wind,” Alan said. He was fishing along a grassline in one of the bigger creeks upriver. He had caught some fish there during practice.
“TVA was bringing the water up during the tournament and I didn’t have any current in there earlier in the week,” he said. So the spot didn't pan out for the tournament.
But the current was right the day he caught the big one.
“Everything was there,” Alan said. “The conditions were good.”
Alan takes the skirt off his buzzbaits and tips them with a paddletail swimbait. He was fishing a white bait when he caught the big bass.
The big fish made the tournament worth it. Alan has posted a video of catching the fish to YouTube. On the video, he says “This is what I came for.”
It was not a particularly violent topwater strike. But the fish jumped once the battle was on and Alan knew he had something special.
He could feel the heft of the fish when the battle first started. He just didn’t realize it was all fish.
“I was afraid it was stuck in the grass,” he said. “I didn’t pull that hard. It got up to the surface and it just kind of quit.”
He wasn’t shaking or nervous after catching it. But he was thrilled to have caught it, especially during a big fish tournament.
“I knew the area had some good fish, but to be able to go out and capitalize on that,” Alan said.
His scale had quit working, but he flagged down someone who had one. They also helped him make some good photos of the fish. Then he released the fish back into the river.
A bank fisherman who watched it all go down called him over after it was over.
“He gave me a scale in case I caught another one,” Alan said. “He told me had 3 of them.”
Alan said the unexpected gift really just spoke to how he was treated all week in the Guntersville and Scottsboro area.
“What we are doing with the kayaks is a little bit new,” he said. “People are more familiar with the bass boats. But everyone was interested and was complimentary of what we were doing.”
Kayak fishing is one of the fastest growing segments of outdoor sports, Alan said. His kayak is tricked out with a trolling motor, depthfinder, all the bells and whistles really that you can put on a kayak.
In his day job, Alan is an engineering manager with Cummings. But he was planning to work remotely and fish some other waterways in the south before heading back home. His last kayak bass tournament of the year is in November on Chickamauga.