After last year’s fury of big fish stringers there was a lot expected from this year’s River Bassin stop at Charlotte, NC. Especially with the date falling in late April, a prime time for catching big fish in the Carolinas. As typical of most fishing tournaments, everything is perfect leading up to the tournament. Weather and water levels were great, until the day before….how often does this seem to happen. The day of the tournament almost all water levels in the greater Charlotte area were releasing at high volumes, which certainly made fishing tougher. However, regardless of the conditions there was still a great turnout, some good fish were caught and uploaded to our live scoring system, and at weigh in there were stories abound of the day on the water.
Great Outdoor Provision Company also known locally as GOPC was the host dealer for the Charlotte event. GOPC has always been a big supporter of the River Bassin trail and we are thankful for their partnership.
This year, York County Parks department stepped up as a sponsor to help show their support for the sport of kayak fishing and the weigh-in was held at the beautiful and lively Ebenezer Park in Rock Hill, SC, just a little south of Charlotte, NC. Though Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted bass were caught the majority of anglers targeted largemouth. With 49 total anglers and 15 teams, there was 850.5 total inches of largemouth caught, 95.25 inches of spotted bass, and 22 inches of smallmouth. About 75-100 people came out to attend the results show and celebrate with some food and cold drinks!
We had 2 familiar faces fishing the Buck Young River Basser Division, Tim Thao (pictured in green on left) and Dylan Crystaloski (in khaki on right). Tim did really well at this stop last year and didn’t disappoint this time around. Tim won the Youth Division and finished 3rd overall in the tournament. Tim has shown that he shouldn’t be taken lightly just cause he is a youngster, and there’s no doubt that he will continue to be seen hanging around the top of leaderboards for quite sometime.
We’ve seen a ton of improvement since we first met Dylan last year, he and his dad have traveled all over the country fishing and placing in tournaments. Dylan will also be a force in the kayak fishing world in years to come. Not only did Dylan place second in the youth division with a nice 19.25 bass, but he was also the winner of the Coosa HD that was raffled off with the benefits going to Paddle4Tomorrow.P4T is a non-profit organization with the goal of exposing others to paddlesports who may not get the opportunity otherwise. For more information on P4T, please visit Paddle4Tomorrow.org.
In Jackson Kayak’s Team Division, team Carolina Custom Rods, anglers Eric Boyd and Matt Frazier, captured First Place with a team total of 103 inches. With water levels running so quickly, Boyd and Frazier focused on finding some water off the main current flow which allowed them to slow down and fish productive areas. The team of Dan Mullane and Luke Britz (Team Blowing Faces) took 2nd with a total of 89.50 inches, leaving them 13.50 inches behind first. After talking with Dan, I found out that he lost some fish which would’ve helped their score, and they only brought in 5 fish for the total. If they could’ve found the final 6th fish they would’ve very likely took home 1st place. Third place went to Team Ly with 88.25 inches, and they also only had a 5 fish stringer, again finding the 6th fish would’ve been crucial and likely would’ve been enough to take first place.
Local River Basser, Chris Gravely, took home 1st place in the Orion Cooler’s Individual Division with 56.50 inches. Chris had quite the day and it’s truly impressive that he was able to catch enough fish with everything else that he went through on tournament day. About half way through the day Chris and his team mate, Stewart Venable, stopped fishing to help another angler who got caught in a strainer and capsized. Chris didn’t say much but I could tell by his reactions that it was a pretty scary moment when he flipped. Thus, this ending up being the stopping point for their day of fishing, after getting him to safety and collecting as much of his belongings as they could, they decided to call it a day and head in. This is why it is so impressive that Chris still was able to capture 1st place! In Second Place was Dan Mullane, seen to the left of Gravely, came in with 55.50 inches just an inch out of the lead, and Third Place was taken home by youngster Tim Thao with 55 inches, a mere 1.5 inches from victory!
Mullane and Gravely were all smiles at the end of the day. The sport of kayak fishing portrays friendship and competition living happily in the same place.
The River Bassin Tournament Trail and all of the anglers would like to thank Sam Robertson and the staff at GOPC along with York County Parks for their hospitality and hosting of this event. This event was a blast and it’s always a great time when a bunch of kayak anglers can’t partake in some friendly competition while enjoy fishing and fellowship. Again we would also like to thank all the sponsors because without them this would just be a day of fishing, along with all who participated and made the journey. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Photo Credit: Gavin Sexton of Adventure Advertising