Author: MoYak Fishing Series

Win on the river just what the Dr. ordered for Harding

The very first Mo-Yak River Trail Series sponsored by Everhart’s Outdoors kicked off Saturday, May 15, 2021. Anglers had a full 12 hours and were allowed to fish any moving water between Hwy 65 and 63 in central Missouri. Nearly 30 individual anglers and eight teams accepted the challenge and had a great day of paddling adventure. In this first-of-its-kind event, for Mo-Yak, one of its’ earliest members triumphed over great personal adversity to take the win. Just weeks off major surgery and probably against his doctors’ wishes, Jim Harding bested Jeremy Mitchell by a mere quarter of an inch on this rainy Saturday on “River X”. Here’s his story…

For the river series, I fished a river that I would like to keep secret. It is full of quality size Largemouth for the size of the river, just a special place. I didn’t do any pre-fishing, I just knew the spot I was going to has produced in the past and I was going for broke.

I didn’t start fishing until about 10:00 because of the heavy rain in the area. I concentrated on about a mile-long pool of water. I caught all my fish flipping a Yum Dinger in June Bug color on a Titan tungsten 1/16th Oz worm weight and a 3/0 Falcon EWG hook. I was flipping sawdust and log debris piles that had piled up from recent high water. The piles were loose enough that you could cast on top of them and your lure would sink underneath them that’s when the fish would hit. I was using a medium-heavy bait caster with 15 lb test so I could get the fish out of heavy cover.

A couple of fish gave me a run for my money when they hung up in the bushes and I had to go use my hands to get them out. It was a nice day on the river and I had it all to myself except for a bobcat and some wild turkeys.

I only had five bites all day and landed all five. The fish were active in the morning during the light rain but as soon as the rain quit the bite shut off completely. All my fish were in one to three feet of water

I think the river series is going to be fun for all who enter!

Derby Stats

Anglers 27
Fish caught – 141
Total limits – 18/27
Margin of victory – .25″
Smallest Bass Award – Cooper Rodman 7″

Dent crushes the field at LOZ

Another one for the record books as Mo-Yak sees 102 kayak anglers take to the waters of Lake of the Ozarks for the 3rd stop on the Mo-Yak fishing series sponsored by Everhart’s Outdoors. Mike Dent came out on top in this one… Here’s his story…

What was your strategy going into the day?
My strategy going in was to target areas behind boat docks.

Were you able to prefish and did you find anything that helped you on game day?
I was actually not able to prefish at all I didn’t get down till about 6 pm fri night so I ate some dinner and got to bed.

What was your best finish on Lake of the Ozarks before this one?
My best finish at Loz was 3 in a bass tournament my best out of a kayak was my first time ever In a kayak last year I believe it was 40 something.

What was the general tackle you used to win?
I was throwing a senko all day and picked up my last two fish on a jig.

Anything else special about the day? Lose any bigguns?
I lost a really good fish barely had it hooked and it came loose.

Big bass story?
I skipped my senko behind a dock and it got hit on the fall I set the hook and knew right away it was a good one I was fishing 8 pound line so when she jumped I just prayed it wouldn’t catch the cable but everything was good and got her in clean .

How far did you have to travel to find your fish?
I caught all my within 5 min of the ramp

What depth range were you looking for?

Did the weather affect your bite?
No, the bite was really good until later in the morning when the sun broke so I moved to a secondary point and picked up two good bites.

Do you plan to fish the remaining MoYak schedule?
Yes, I plan to make all of the remaining tournaments this year.

Derby Stats

Anglers 102
Fish caught – 698 – Another new Missouri kayak club record!
Total limits – 83/102
Margin of victory – 4″
Smallest Bass Award – Jeremy Mitchell 8.5″
Air temp at launch – 54
Air temp at takeout – 77

April showers help Coleman crush The Rock

A record-breaking field of 111 kayak anglers descended upon Table Rock for the 2nd stop on the Mo-Yak fishing series sponsored by Everharts Outdoors. Anglers were greeted with water temps in the low to mid-50s to begin the day as a steady rain soaked the entire field for nearly five hours. Despite the conditions, Arkansas’ Jason Coleman emerged victorious after narrowly escaping gardening duty. Here’s his story…

What was your strategy going into the day?
I really didn’t have a strategy going into the event. In my head, this was a pre-fish for an event that my local club in Arkansas is having on the lake in a few weeks. Maybe that was the difference….No expectations and no pressure!

Were you able to prefish and did you find anything that helped you on game day?
Yes, I fished the Sunday before….I’d only been on the lake one time, and never in the area I was fishing, prior to the Sunday before the Mo-Yak event. I had seen an area on Google Earth that looked like it would set up well for the way I like to fish. I fished that area from 9-12 Sunday morning and the fishing was insane. I caught 20-25 fish and my best 5 went 86.5”. The bucks were all over the beds that day, but the females hadn’t moved up yet. The females I caught were on structure back off the banks in 10’-20’ of water.

On tournament day, the first spot I hit was a pocket that was full of beds when I pre-fished. I was thinking the females may have moved in by then, and I could find a few to work on. The beds were still there, but all the fish had pulled off. I pulled out of the pocket and tried a large stump nearby that I had marked in deeper water while pre-fishing. I caught 4 fish off the stump in 4 casts. That pretty much set my plan in place for the day. After that, I just focused on deeper structure in 10’-20’ of water that I had marked while pre-fishing. I hit those 10-12 spots multiple times throughout the day and caught fish on most passes.

What was your best finish on Table Rock before this one?
Never fished a tournament there before.

What was the general tackle you used to win?
I use Lew’s Reactor and Xfinity rods and reels….The Lew’s gear you get at Walmart for a great price! I caught a quick limit on a fat baby finesse worm and had about 72”’s total. I then started throwing a ½oz. Strike King Thunder Cricket and a Red Eye Shad over the deeper structure. All the fish in my totals came on those two baits.

Anything else special about the day?
It was just one of those days where everything went right. Got lucky with a couple of big bites and didn’t lose any fish.

Big bass story?
She hit the Thunder Cricket and I stuck her good. I knew she was heavy but didn’t realize how big she was until I got her on the board. After I got a couple of good photos, I weighed her on my handheld scale… It read 5lb. 14oz. The way the lake was fishing I really didn’t think I had a chance at big bass until I heard the third biggest fish called at the weigh in.

Lose any bigguns?
Thankfully no!

How far did you have to travel to find your fish?
I was about three miles from the nearest launch.

What depth range were you looking for?

Did the weather affect your bite?
Absolutely! If it wasn’t for the rain, I wouldn’t have had any bites. I was supposed to be doing yardwork Saturday, but the wife let me go fishing because it was going to be too wet to plant her flowers.

Do you plan to fish the remaining MoYak schedule?
I’m going to try and fish a couple later in the summer. I’ve got kids playing ball, so their tournament schedules usually determine my weekends. I was lucky to get to fish this one, but I’m going to try Stockton and Pomme.

Derby Stats

Anglers 111 – Another new Missouri kayak club record!
Fish caught – 653
Total limits – 77/111
Margin of victory – 1.75″
Smallest Bass Award – Jerry Cornelius 8″
Air temp at launch – 52
Air temp at takeout – 74
Reported water temp ranges
52-54 main lake
Low 60’s in backs of coves

Yiznitsky Fights the Bull and Wins!

Late March, full moon at launch, then later, beautiful sunny skies and a mild 75 degree day greeted the 103 anglers, Mo-Yak’s largest field ever, for the first stop on the 2021 Mo-Yak Fishing Series presented by Everharts Outdoors.

Despite the excellent weather on game day, it wouldn’t be a spring derby on Bull Shoals without some curveballs. Anglers were faced with a 10+ foot rise from recent cold spring rains and crazy winds during practice. The winds scattered flooded debris all over the main channel making the morning run more treacherous for all who ventured there. Water temps were reported to be from the 40’s early to over 60 in the afternoon.

At the end of the day, it was Waynesville’s Jason Yiznitsky standing in first place with an impressive 93″ and big bass! Jason took home over $2,000 in winnings and propelled he and Jeremy Mitchell (81.5″) his “Yaktive Duty” teammate to their first win on the team side.

Jason broke down his day for us here.

1. What was your strategy going into the day?

I planned on finding the warmer, stained water and staying off the main lake because I anticipated the fish should be moving shallow. I was planning on locating pre-spawn fish in staging areas and to use reaction baits, predominantly Squarebills, to cover water quickly until I could find some fish stacked up.

2. Were you able to prefish and did you find anything that helped you on game day?

No. A great buddy and team trail partner was giving me good reports on water temps and how the lake was fishing. I also spent many hours on Google Earth and Navionics during the week in preparation.

3. What was your best finish on Bull Shoals before this one?

Never fished the lake before.

4. What was the general tackle you used to win?

My Smallmouth came on a Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver and the rest of the fish came on a Lucky Craft 2.5 Squarebill.

5. Anything else special about the day? Big bass story? See any wildlife worthy of mentioning? Lose any bigguns?

I landed all of my larger fish. One came unpinned that might’ve culled my smallest one. As for wildlife, just the amazing fish that Bull Shoals produced. It was an amazing fishery and I’ll definitely be back.

6. How far did you have to travel to find your fish?

1/2 mile from my launch location.

Derby Stats

Anglers 103 – New Missouri kayak club record!
Fish caught – 296
Total limits – 27/103
Margin of victory – 3.25″
Smallest Bass Award – Steve Earls 7.5″
Air temp at launch – 48
Air temp at takeout – 86
Reported water temp ranges
48 main lake
Low 60’s in backs of coves

Tommy Tames Taney

The first annual Taney 20 started off with an icy shotgun start Saturday, March 20. Seventeen of the twenty who qualified last season battled it out on frigid and flooded Lake Taneycomo in Rockaway Beach, Mo.

In the end, it was Tommy Probst who claimed the victory with 76.75 inches and a 19.5″ Big Bass.

For his efforts, Tommy won $500 cash, Big Bass award and an engraved medallion that he promised to wear at every live event of 2021… we have witnesses, Tommy!

Mr. Probst was gracious enough to answer some questions after the tournament. Here are his replies;

1. What was your strategy going into the day.

I thought the lake was going to be muddy so I packed up for fishing muddy water. I was planning on dragging creature baits along the grass lines, throwing a lipless, or a square bill where the bull ties into the main lake.

2. Were you able to prefish and did you find anything that helped you on game day?

No. Didn’t want to go out in the storms the weekend before and had to work all week

3. What was your best finish on Taney before this one?


4. What was the general tackle you used to win?

Caught 3 on a 7″ power worm
1 on a jig
1 on a 3″ Senko

5. Anything else special about the day? Big bass story? See any wildlife worthy of mentioning? Lose any bigguns?

I was not smart enough to check the weather forecast in enough detail to see how cold it was going to be in the morning. Didn’t have anything on except a sweatshirt over a thin long sleeve shirt and sweatpants. Luckily I got a late start so I missed the worst part of it but I was freezing until I finally started getting bites. Caught 4 of my fish from 8:44 to 10:04 and then didn’t have another bite until 2:45 when I had pretty much given up and was going to call it a day.

Big bass story?

Caught the big bass from a steep bank area that I’ve never had a bite on and on a lure that I probably haven’t thrown in 3 or 4 years.

Lose any bigguns?

No. I missed the first bite I had on the power worm but caught everything else that bit. The 19.5 had me worried, It was a very healthy fish and I forgot to load my net before I left home. Had to play it a lot longer than I wanted and then had to flip it into the kayak by grabbing the line because it wouldn’t calm down enough for me to lip it.

6. How far did you have to travel to find your fish?

Traveled up Bull creek a little past the island. Once I saw the bottom in 9-10 of water I turned around.


Tournament Stats

Fish caught – 47
Total limits – 4/17
Margin of victory – 7.5″
Air temp at launch – 27
Air temp at takeout – 60
Reported water temp ranges
42 main lake
Low 50’s in backs of coves

2020 Year in Review

MoYak tournament trail 2020 recap.
*does not include championships 2020

MoYak membership – 178 anglers

Average # of anglers per tournament- 66 anglers.
Highest angler turn out- Table Rock, 87 anglers.
Average # of fish caught at each event- 311 fish.
Most fish caught in a tournament- Lake of the Ozarks, 388 fish.
Least amount of fish caught in a tournament- Taneycomo, 228 fish.
Total fish caught – 2,178 fish.

State Champion – Brandon Prince

Angler of the Year – Lance Burris

Rookie of the Year – DJ Williams

Team Champions – H&H Bass Destroyers (Jim Harding & Dorman Hughey)

Sportsman of the Year – Jay Harman


Adam Isaacs – Bull Shoals- 87.75″
Brian Hillman- Lake of the Ozarks- 85.75″
Darian Beedle – Pomme de Terre- 93.25″
Dorman Hughey- Stockton Lake- 89.00″
Jim W. Harding- Truman lake- 100.50″
Marty Hughes- Table Rock- 84.75″
Dorman Hughey- Taneycomo- 85.50″

The Growth of anglers at events.
Table Rock

  • 2018- 28 anglers competed.
  • 2019- 55 anglers competed.
  • 2020- 87 anglers competed.

Bull Shoals

  • 2018- 17 anglers competed.
  • 2019- 23 anglers competed.
  • 2020- 58 anglers competed.

Stockton lake

  • 2018- 26 anglers competed.
  • 2019- 37 anglers competed.
  • 2020- 57 anglers competed.

Pomme De Terre 2018

  • 22 anglers competed.
  • 2019- 38 anglers competed.
  • 2020- 60 anglers competed.

Lake of the Ozarks

  • 2019- 43 anglers competed.
  • 2020- 66 anglers competed.

2020 MoYak tournament series WINNINGS
Here is a breakdown of the top 16 money winners in 2020! 52 different anglers won money in a MoYak tournament in 2020.

  1. Dorman Hughey $5,980.00
  2. Brennan Banks $3,108.00
  3. Brandon Prince $3,030.00
  4. Lance Burris $2,579.00
  5. Jim W. Harding $2,298.00
  6. Richie McMichael $1,965.00
  7. Troy Enke $1,842.00
  8. Darian Beedle $1,580.00
  9. James Iken $1,165.00
  10. Brian Hillman $1,141.00
  11. Kerry Evans $1,109.00
  12. Marty Hughes $1,106.00
  13. Richy R Laughery $847.00
  14. Adam Isaacs $834.00
  15. Jared Wray Fosnow $752.00
  16. Jeff Mellencamp $650.00

Isaacs Wins on Bull Shoals – Recap

I started my tournament morning out on the upper ends of Bull Shoals pulling up to my spot and noticed there were four or five other kayaks putting in at the same place I was.  Immediately, I was nervous that they might paddle out and sit on my spot.  A spot that I had been fishing for the 3 days prior to the tournament. As I watched, each one of them took off and paddled right through and over the spot I planned to fish.

I launched, pulled out onto the point, and waited for the bite to take off. I rigged a Texas-rigged plum apple ten and a half-inch Zoom Ol’ Monster worm. I knew from days prior that when the fish bit they would bite real good, but you never knew what time they were going to start biting. Close to about 7:15 am I got my first bite and caught five fish in about 10 casts! By about 7:45 the bite had died but I knew the fish were still in the area. So, I continued to fish the point I had been on from 5:45 a.m. until 2:35 p.m.

One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was to sit on one spot and fish for that long. At about 2:30 pm I had floated off of “The Spot”.  I found myself out further from shore than I had been all day. With time winding down, I turned around and made a hail Mary cast back towards the bank. As my bait was falling to the bottom I noticed the line twitch and set the hook.  What I was thinking was a walleye turned out to be my biggest fish of the day at 19″. By the time I landed the fish and submitted the picture it was 2:35 pm. I decided to call it a day in hopes that what I had caught was enough and as it turns out, it was!

Beedle Brings the Juice at Pomme

Veteran member Darian Beedle absolutely demolished the field at the Mo-Yak Fishing Series stop #5 on Pomme de Terre to grab not only his first win but to also set the record for the largest margin of victory in a live event and tie for all-time Big Bass!  Follow along as he shares his day.

It all started with prefishing the weekend before the tournament. We had started in Pittsburg on the lake and I caught a few on crankbaits but not enough, so my team partner and I loaded up and went up into the river and caught some but saw what we needed to see.

On tournament day we got to the put-in and there where probably 10 kayaks putting in on the river section. At first launch, everyone took off, most went down toward the lake but my partner and I followed 3 other kayakers up the river.

I started off by throwing a wiggle wart, buzz bait, and whopper plopper but quickly realized topwater wasn’t the answer so I just continued on with the wiggle wart. I had my first 2, both 18.75s, on the wiggle wart by 7:30 and caught the other 2 about an hour later by adding in a spinnerbait. Then the bite just died but I just kept throwing the wiggle wart and spinnerbait.

It wasn’t long after we turned around and headed back toward the ramp that I tossed my spinnerbait over a laid down tree in the water and as soon as I zipped it over and let it drop over the log a fish knocked the crap out of it. Well, that was the big fish for the day. It weighed 6.6lbs, my personal best to date.

After that I caught 2 or 3 more but nothing that helped me. But, overall it was an amazing time on the water. I learned my biggest lesson that day though, you can always catch fish behind other people just stay confident and keep that line in the water.

Truman – Jim Harding’s Recap

The MO-YAK Fishing Series Tournament on Truman Lake was a great time. I was able to spend some time practicing leading up to the tournament. The lake was being drawn down every day up until tournament day leaving many of my fishing areas dry. Focusing on the main Lake during practice I caught some good quality bass out of flooded bushes and even on the riprap of the Truman Dam. This bite was slowly fizzling out so I decided to try some river arms.

Practicing on one of the tributaries flowing into Truman, I was catching bass behind small islands and out in front of sloughs that had become dry or just had inches of water in them. I believe the fish had spawned in the sloughs and as the water fell they were making their way back into the river.

Arriving on tournament day, the water levels had dropped even more leaving the areas that I knew held fish, dry. With only a small limit around 10 in the morning, I decided to start hitting every piece of wood cover and brush piles I could. This paid off quickly with two 18 inch bass.

Knowing that I needed to get a good limit I tied on a buzz bait with the big storm rolling in and started rapid-firing cast to every laydown and brush pile I could I caught two more 19-inch fish and started improving my limit. With my confidence gaining momentum I worked into a dead-end slough that had some big log jams in it. Noticing some movement near a brush pile, I flipped a black and blue flipping tube into the pile and my line took off when I set the hook I knew I had a good one. Quite the battle took place and I eventually got the bass in. It was the big fish of the tournament at 22.50″!

Knowing that I had a good limit I decided to get all of my fish entered and even thought about calling it a day and getting back to Clinton. I checked the leaderboard and saw Lance Burris was in second place with around 93 inches, I believe, and I just didn’t feel safe.

I decided to tie on a Lucky Craft 1.5 and start hitting some laydowns near the boat ramp. I caught a few fish that would not upgrade me and then upon seeing a bluegill try to get away from something near a big laydown log I cast a few times before deflecting the square bill off the log and finally hooked up with a bass, the bass hung itself around the log and I eventually got it free and knew I had another good one this bass turned out to be a 21.50″!

I decided to call it a day after this bass and headed back to Everhart’s. It was just one of those days where everything worked out and the quality fish showed up.

LOZ – Brian Hillman’s recap

Practice Day – Friday

I arrived at the Gravois Mills ramp Friday morning ready to pre-fish for the upcoming tournament on Saturday. We received a lot of rain in the area for the last several days and storms were forecasted for Friday and Saturday as well. I was expecting to find dirty to muddy water when I arrived. To my surprise, the upper Gravois water conditions were much cleaner than I expected. My game plan, based on map study, was to run to the very back of a two-mile creek arm and search for bass in the shallows. I spent most of the day throwing spinnerbaits, square bill and a creature bait up on the bank and around docks. The bite was decent, and I had the most of my luck on the square bill. My most productive water was in the back half of the creek arm on the shallow side. I caught a lot of fish, but most were 12-14 inches with my biggest going 17.75”. I ended the day with probably 78-79 inches. That evening I went back and forth in my mind as to where I wanted to fish on tournament day. I knew what I caught on Friday was not good enough to win or even possibly finish in the top 10. By the end of the evening, I decided to launch and fish the same area since I had fish located and hopefully could catch a couple of bigger fish by grinding it out.

Tournament Day – Saturday

I woke up Saturday morning at 4:30 am and was at the ramp by 5:00 am. During my short drive to the ramp, I was going over the game plan in my head. I was not completely confident with my plan of running all the way to the back of Little Gravois Creek since all I caught were smaller fish in that area the day before. My mind kept running through other options as I was getting ready to launch. I launched at 5:30 and had the Torqeedo on high cruising across the main channel headed straight for the creek.

When I arrived at the mouth of Little Gravois Creek, instead of turning left to go into the creek I stayed straight and ran two miles down the lake to fish around a long row of docks. I decided to fish main lake docks hoping to find bigger pre-spawners staging on the docks. Talk about a game-time decision! I arrived at my starting spot a few mins before 6:00 am (first cast). I pull out two rods that had crankbaits tied on and got my kayak in position for the first cast. It only took a few casts to hook into my first fish of the morning on the square bill which was about 8”. I threw it back and felt that was a good sign there were fish in the area. About 3 or 4 docks and 30 minutes later, I hooked into my second fish. I fought it for a few seconds before it jumped and spit my crankbait. Probably a 15-16 incher. I continued to work the row of main lake docks for the next hour with no bites except for a single fat crappie. I was starting to get a little nervous that I made the wrong decision to fish the main lake instead of running up the creek. I checked the TourneyX leaderboard and noticed not many fish had been submitted yet. This told me the bite was slow for everyone this morning.

I came up to a little cove that had probably 8-10 docks in it. I contemplated skipping over the cove since I was still committed to the main lake docks. However, something in my head told me to go into the cove and fish it quickly just in case. I ran all the docks in the cove with my square bill with no bites. When I got to the very back, I decided to make a quick change and throw something slower. I dropped my Power Pole and tied on a shaky head with a baby brush hog.

My first cast with the baby brush hog was to a little private boat ramp in about a foot of water. I hopped it a couple times and felt it get heavy. I set the hook and it immediately started peeling drag from my spinning reel. After a decent fight, I landed my first fish of the day which was a 19.75”. Instant mood changer! I continued working the back of the pocket and caught five more fish off a little sea wall. Within 15 minutes, I had my limit with a kicker. Before leaving the cove, I put all my crankbait rods away and tied on a second baby brush hog and made the decision to only run the backs of coves and pockets the rest of the day.

My Torqeedo played a big role in this plan as I was running back and forth across the main channel hitting every cove along the way. I only fished the back 1/3 of each cove as I found that to be the most productive water. Just like the day before, I caught a lot of smaller fish but was fortunate to find one more 19.75” kicker before the end of the day. That fish finally put me in the lead after sitting in 2nd place most of the day behind Richie McMichael. He and I exchanged a few friendly texts throughout the day. I was not expecting to break 80” but making the adjustments to fish only the backs of coves and pockets proved to be a good one.

Shoutout to my fellow Drum Snatcher teammate, Troy Enke for helping me load my kayak at the end of each day. I was still managing a broken hand and his help is greatly appreciated!