Article by Ryan Lambert
As the dust begins to settle and the gravity of the Hobie Bass Open Series-Kentucky Lake sets in, there was quite a storyline involved. When you think of this event there are a few names that are perennial contenders: Jay Wallen, Ron Champion, Tyson Peterson, Matthew M Scotch, Josh Stewart, and usually Eric Siddiqi on Day 2. This year was different.
Two factors were at play in this event. The first was the timing. Moving the event up in the year meant the fish were scattered between their shallow spawning areas and the deep ledges they call home throughout the summer months. This made a consistent pattern very challenging to come by. The second, much more concerning factor, was the massive impact the Asian Carp have had on the lake. Bait schools were a very rare site on the sonar and most shallow water areas were infested with the easily excited fish. One turn of topwater life could have a slough erupting with carp.
With everyone settling in on their game plans, day 1 began. Quickly posting limits you saw Jay and Jaxton Orr shoot to the top of the leaderboard. As the day went on Kristine Fischer began to work her away up the ranks. She culled her way up to the number one spot with just shy of 90” as the leaderboard shut off. Siddiqi made a late charge to cull with a couple of nice fish within the last half hour and tied for first with his stringer having the big bass advantage.
With social media exploding with updates and words of encouragement, the stage was set for an epic day 2. Almost like clockwork Jay and Jaxton went back to work on the leaderboard. Shortly after you saw one of the most consistent sticks in the country make his way to the top. Cody Milton had a slow start to day 1, but he came on strong for day 2. Guillermo González began to get into a groove as well as Adam Riser . All of this happening while Kristine has her head down systematically picking apart an area of grass she knows is holding the winning bag. Eric Siddiqi has one bite in the first few hours. Refusing to go down without a fight he begins to cover water, searching everywhere for fish. Near the ramp he comes across a rock pile and pulls a 20.50” smallie off on his first cast. This is what the grind looks like. Kristine continues to cull and has her biggest fish of the tourney to submit after the leaderboard shuts off.
With the amount of coverage the event received from Hobie, the KBN crew, and independent anglers all around the country… we thought we knew exactly how this was going to end. Rumors began circulating that Josh Stewart had covered half the lake putting together a 100” stringer late in the day. The suspense built as we all waited to see what the final outcome would be.
Was this a Cinderella story? For that you would need a poor little Cinderella, in need of a miracle. For those that do not know Kristine: she is no Cinderella. This is an angler that will out study you, out work you, and out fish you on any given day. This fairy tale is about a true representative of the sport that spreads positivity and inspiration to anyone she meets. This tournament has been a goal on her short list. Her season has been full of hurdles and self reflecting moments. From the first cast of this tournament, it was hers to win and the entire kayak fishing community rallied behind her as she did just that.
The Hobie Fishing events are the most professional, well ran events that we have in the sport of kayak bass fishing today. The venues, the structure, and the overall positive vibes are the standard. From “The Nation”, we look forward to many more stories just like this one.