Geist Lake Tournament Recap

Some of the kayaks lined up and ready to go during the captain's meeting
Some of the kayaks lined up and ready to go during the captain’s meeting

If there was any doubt about the growing popularity of kayak fishing in Indiana, the turnout for the opener of the Indiana Kayak Anglers tournament season certainly laid those doubts to rest.  On Saturday, April 23rd, 60 anglers showed up at Geist Lake Marina to take on each other and the lake in search of their 3 biggest bass.

Geist Lake is well-known for producing big bags at weigh-ins, so the excitement was high for big lengths at check-in for this event.  The fish didn’t exactly cooperate, but some impressive fish were caught.  26 anglers had 3 fish limits and a total of 111 fish were checked in at the end of the day.  The tournament paid out $1,665 in prize money and added $120 to the Angler of the Year prize pot.  

Jack McLaren of Centennial, Colorado bested the entire field with a total length of 48” (15.75”, 16.5”, 15.75”). Jack caught most of his fish swimming a jig with rattle and Paca Chunk targeting large rock and brush shallow where some form of overhead cover existed.  For his success, Jack took home $552 cash plus an awesome prize package provided by Wildcat Creek Outfitters of Zionsville, which included a new Temple Fork Outfitters rod, a Jackson Kayak tackle box, an assortment of tackle, and a $100 gift certificate.  He also took home a beautiful custom trophy made by Gentry’s Wildlife Studio.

The Top 5 finishers and Big Bass. From left to right: Justin Long (4th), Nathan Pickering (2nd), Joe Armstrong (Big Bass), John McLaren (1st), Matt Gibson (3rd), and Dwight Martin (5th)
The Top 5 finishers and Big Bass. From left to right: Justin Long (4th), Nathan Pickering (2nd), Joe Armstrong (Big Bass), Jack McLaren (1st), Matt Gibson (3rd), and Dwight Martin (5th)

Nathan Pickering of Noblesville followed in 2nd place with a total length of 46.5” (16”, 15.5”, 15”).  Nathan spent a few hours of his day trying to locate fish on the main lake with no success, but finally started catching fish once he moved into the coves and started sight-fishing with soft plastics.  Nathan’s 2nd place finish netted him $345 cash plus a Wildcat Creek Outfitters prize package consisting of a new Temple Fork Outfitters rod, a Jackson Kayak tackle box, an assortment of tackle, and a $50 gift certificate.  Nathan also took home a $50 gift certificate to Sun Valley Sports for being the highest finisher in a Hobie kayak.

Matt Gibson of Carmel finished in 3rd place despite also having a total length of 46.5” (15.75”, 15.5”, 15.25”).  The tie was broken by comparing the biggest fish of each of the tying anglers.  Matt targeted areas where the lily pads were just starting to break the surface using crankbaits and swim jigs.  He stated that the swim jigs were more productive.  Matt took home $276 plus a Wildcat Creek Outfitters prize pack consisting of a Jackson Kayak tackle box, an assortment of tackle, and a $25 gift certificate.

In 4th place was Justin Long of Frankfort with 46” (16”, 15.75”, 14.25”).  Justin’s success came from Senkos and tubes caught around 2 docks at the entrance of a cove with spawning bass and baitfish.  Justin took home $138 cash for his efforts.

Wrapping up the top 5 prize-winning places was Dwight Martin of New Castle.  Dwight’s total of 46” (15.5”, 15.5”, 15”) came in a late day flurry of feeding using a spinnerbait over the tops of weed growth.  Dwight left Geist Marina with $69 in winnings.

A selfie from Joe Armstrong with his 20" Big Bass winner
A selfie from Joe Armstrong with his 20″ Big Bass winner

A 20” beast was caught by Joe Armstrong of Fort Wayne to take big bass honors and $285 cash.  Joe’s fish bested the next biggest bass in the event by nearly 3”.  Joe stated that the fish slammed a BBZ1 6″ Perch colored swimbait right at the boat late in the day.

Larry Sawyer of Goshen with his Manley Rods raffle prize
Larry Sawyer of Goshen with his Manley Rods raffle prize

In addition to the prizes awarded to our winners, many great sponsors provided some prizes that were raffled off at the end of the event.  Manley Rods donated a new Gold Series rod, YakAttack donated several lengths of GearTrac and a couple of RotoGrip paddle holder, Sun Valley Sports donated 2 gift certificates, Backwater Paddle Company donated an Assault hand paddle, and Chumdaddy Baits provided a bag of hand-poured plastic baits to each of the participants.

For full results of the event and more information about kayak fishing in Indiana, visit indianakayakanglers.com.