Enke wins on Table Rock

Mo State Championship – Enke’s Recap

Brian Hillman and I began prefishing up the James River arm of Table Rock on Wednesday near McCord Bend. We found 76-degree water and lots of surface activity. Clouds of shad were swarming the flat across from the ramp. I headed for them and immediately hooked up with a fat 16″ largemouth on a black and blue zMan Chatterbait in 3 feet of water at the edge of a shade line. I continued fishing the flat with a shad colored Rat-L-Trap and hooked into a giant that I never got to see. It straightened one of the trebles and left me wishing I would have upgraded those stock hooks. We both had decent limits by noon, high 70″s for me and mid 80″s for Brian. Although the area was full of 13″-15″ bass and absolutely packed with baitfish, I never got comfortable there. I knew there would be a lot of pressure in that area of the James as it traditionally holds winning fish during Table Rock tournaments. Also, the water was dropping. I wasn’t sure how that, combined with the coming weather change, would affect the baitfish. Forecasts were calling for a mixture of clouds and sun, highs in the mid 80’s, chances for storms and potential 30mph gusts… so, typical Missouri weather, lol.

6am, Thursday prior to the tournament, I decided to launch at the Old Hwy 86 Public Use ramp and fish the islands in front of Clevinger cove and probe some of the shallow cuts near its mouth. The lake was calm and it was 74 degrees. Water temps were 77-79. There was a bass boat on the first island so I kept pedaling my PA12 to the north shore of Clevinger. After getting no love on the first bank with a Whopper Plopper, I noticed a submerged point on my Garmin and got on top of it in 10′ and threw out into 25′ and hooked up with a 17.75″ smallmouth on a brown/orange 3/4oz Pigsticker Quick-5 football jig with a magic craw colored 3″ Berkley Chigger Craw trailer. I got another bite on that point and missed it. I made a move to the shore and picked the Whopper Plopper back up and didn’t set it down for the rest of the morning. I caught three more bass on the plopper over 15″ in the next hour, one a 20.5″ brute on the main-lake side of an island. I hadn’t fished in this cove since I was 10 years old but I knew where I was going to fish all weekend. I packed up and headed to the house around noon.

Friday was spent running errands. Brake line repair on my truck, trailer light fixed, re-rigging baits, paring down tackle, meal prep, etc. Then, it was off to checkin where I dropped off supplies for Sunday’s post-tournament nacho bar and finally headed back to Nixa to try and get some sleep.

I normally take about 30lbs of tackle with me, because, I’m a freak. I ended up taking 3 small Plano waterproof boxes, a Ziploc full of plastics, some terminal tackle, and eight rods. After the dust settled Sunday, I really only needed to take 3… one with a jig, one with a plopper and one with a pop-r.

Saturday morning I began the same way I had practiced on Thursday. I hit the island first and lost my first four fish on topwater with the Yellow Magic popper and Whopper Plopper. One a heavy 15″+ that came off at the boat as I was reaching for my net. I kept pedaling and firing. I knew I was around quality fish and I just needed to make as many good casts as I could. I knew the weatherman had said southerly gusts to 20mph later in the day, so I headed for the north shore while I could hold there safely. I caught a 15.5″ with the Plopper there, if memory serves, to get the skunk off and get me on the board. It felt so good to get some redemption after losing those first four, it’s almost like they were short-striking in the low light conditions that morning.

Next, I headed to the south shore of Clevinger as the wind started to pick up. I kept the Hobie in 3-5′ of water as I worked back and forth in the coves near the outer third of the creek. I limited out with the T1000 colored Whopper Plopper 90 on 25lb test Trik-Fish mono with my Daiwa Tatula elite reel on a 13Fishing M/H Blackout rod. I checked the leaderboard and noticed I was in 2nd with nearly 81 inches. As the south wind increased, I pedaled out to a point near the 3mm of Long creek and picked up the jig. On my first cast, I landed a beautiful 18″ smallmouth which put me in the lead. I continued fishing the point and noticed my graph was lit up with fish in the 20-25ft range. My next few casts were swings and misses as it felt like the fish were picking it up and dropping it before I could get a hookset. This bank was loaded with feeders!

22.25" beast for Troy EnkeFinally, I tried casting up to the shelf rock at the edge of a channel swing. My jig landed in about 12′ and was smashed by a 17.75″ largemouth. I put her on the board now I’m flirting with 90″! Just unbelievable. My next cast was to the base of a cedar sticking out of the water on a shelf in 10′. The shelf dropped down into 30′. At the bottom of that lay the largest tournament fish I’ve ever caught. She slacklined the PigSticker jig and I could barely keep up with her as she rocketed to the surface. I kept the line tight and drug her out over deep water where I let her tire herself out, which, seemed like an hour but was probably only a minute or two. Finally, I put the net under her and just sat there stunned at what just happened. 94″ before noon, on table rock, in late summer, in a kayak tournament, that’s not normal.

I had a 10″ lead on 2nd place and decided to head back to check in early. I had to try and get my mirage drive repaired before OMTC closed and I needed to get some more jigs and trailers. Jason at OMTC took care of me but my tackle shop was closed for inventory. I got back to the house and found one more PigSticker as insurance in case I lost my first one.

As I launched at 6, the wind immediately began blowing out of the southeast. I headed in that direction to try and keep the wind in my face to help with boat control. I fished toward the back of Clevinger and noticed lots of surface activity but they wouldn’t take the Plopper or Yellow Magic. I kept pedaling and firing. Around 8:00am, I worked my way back out and as soon as the bank rocks started to get larger I hooked up with a 18″ and a 14″ and got on the board.

There was a bit of a lull and around 10:30, I checked the scoreboard and noticed something terrible had happened. I mistakenly wrote TJC instead of TJZ on my identifier card. I was beset with all kinds of emotions. Anger at myself for making such a bonehead mistake, rage about the fact that we have to physically write something on a piece of paper in order to deter cheating, but mostly, regret for not double checking my card at the ramp before I launched like I always do. I kept pedaling and firing.

I was in the outermost cove on the south shore and I continued to throw the Plopper as I worked this sheltered area as best I could picking up two 15″ers while the wind howled overhead and whitecaps crashed onto the north shore. Nobody had been on that bank in two days in the afternoon. I knew the wind had pushed bait up there and I knew the normally gin clear Table Rock water would be cloudy. I just needed one of those typical Missouri hourly weather changes to happen.

A few minutes later, the storm clouds to my west began to form and the wind died just enough that I could make it to the north shore. I kept firing as the wind pushed me along the bank. 100 yards into my first bank at the base of a huge willow tree an 18″er erupted on the “Willy-P” in 4ft of water. I immediately hit the power pole and anchored while I boat flipped the thrashing largemouth. Pro-tip, never boat flip a green fish with a mouth full of Plopper. I narrowly avoided a treble hook to the shin, toe, hand, finger, and the elbow as she bounced all over the floor. I got her on the board around 1:50 and began fan casting while the power pole held me in place. Waves began crashing against the stern again as the storm clouds grew darker. With no more bites in that area, I began drifting again and threw the Plopper at the base of another willow tree. A 14″er smoked it and after entering it into TourneyX, I could finally relax. REDEMPTION. I was euphoric. I was so happy with myself for deciding to keep pedaling and firing even though my first 32″ were DQ’d. I never gave up. Ike knows and now I do too. You are always in it. Just keep firing at em’.

I ended the day with 170.75″ and a 14″ lead over Arkansas, Justin Brewer on the KBF side. I also won the Missouri State Kayak championship with 176.25″ – 13.5″ over Lance Burris in second who only fished 10 hours during the two day derby!!!

Thank you to Joshua Boothe, Jeff Mellencamp, Richy Laughery, Brian Hillman and the whole MoYak Crew for organizing everything. Thanks to my wife, Rebekah, for letting me go play in the water on the weekends and to all the sponsors who help pay for these contests.

Rookie of the Year – Hayes Stays the Course

FORSYTH, MO. – Dittmer’s Joe Hayes wrapped up his first Mo-Yak Fishing Series season with the OMTC 2019 Rookie of the Year award. Accumulating 1331 points and 362 inches for the season put Hayes in 7th place in the Mo-Yak Angler of the Year race. He secured a berth in the 2020 Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship and finished 74 inches ahead of his closest rookie competitor, Johnathan Dominguez of Lebanon, MO., who finished 12th in AOY with 91 points.

A zero at the first event of the season didn’t deter Hayes from staying the course.  Joe bounced back with 11th at Pomme and his first top ten of the season, 3rd at Table Rock!  His best placement of the season couldn’t have been more impressive as the Table Rock event was packed with 55 of the midwest’s best kayak anglers.  Joe put up 86.75″, just short of the top spot held by Kansas’ David Cruz by two inches.

“My favorite moment of the season would probably be a tie between coming in 3rd at the Table Rock event-while my family was there-and being told I was Rookie of the Year,” says Hayes.

Joe continues, “One thing I feel like I’ll always be trying to improve on is the process of getting a solid picture of any and every fish that’s worth putting on the hog trough. The bull shoals event still haunts me lol.”

For his efforts, Joe won a trophy and a $500 gift certificate to OMTC

When asked about his favorite Ozark fishery on the trail, Joe told us, “Table rock again would have to be a favorite event. It started slow for me and I sat through a lot of rain but when they started biting it seemed like every time I set the hook it was a quality fish. Also, it seemed to be one of the biggest events (based on the number of competitors) of the year and finishing as high as I did had a very validating feeling to it.”

For the 2020 rookie class, Hayes gave this advice; “To the new guys, I’d say just fish as many events as possible and try not to overthink every mistake you’ll undoubtedly make. Make yourself aware of the rules and try and get some practice getting those pics taken though for sure. All and all though just go fishing, meet a great group of anglers, and have fun.”

Congrats Joe, we look forward to what your sophomore season brings in 2020.

Hughey Holds On for AOY Crown at Bull Shoals

FORSYTH, MO. — Hollister’s Dorman Hughey, is the 2019 Mo-Yak Fishing Series Angler of the Year (AOY). Over seven events, Hughey straight up outfished and ultimately outlasted the other 108 Mo-Yak anglers who ended the season.

Hughey finished 3rd in the final event of the season on Bull Shoals. It was enough to lock up his second career AOY title, his first coming in 2015.

Along with the most prestigious title in Missouri kayak angling, Hughey earned $882 as Mo-Yak’s best angler in 2019.

His season had ups and downs out of the gate. He finished first in the opener on Lake of the Ozarks and followed it up with Top 25 finishes on the Pomme de Terre (22nd) and Table Rock Lake (23rd). Following up on those two subpar performances, Dorman dominated the rest of the way. He never finished out of the top seven for the remaining four events. With back to back wins on Taneycomo and Stockton he proceeded to close the door with a 7th place in the River Rat Challenge and finally, 3rd at Bull Shoals!

The rest of the 2019 AOY Top 5 are Lance Burris, Brian Hillman, Troy Enke, Richie McMichael, respectively.

Hillman takes Bull Shoals eventFor the final AOY event on Bull Shoals, Brian Hillman took first place with a five-bass limit measuring 83.5″. Hillman won $1000 and the KGB Swimbaits Wallhanger Award which is given to the angler who caught the longest bass of the season.  For his 22.5″ Taneycomo largemouth, Hillman also won a KGB Chad Shad swimbait and a trophy designed and built by Richie Laughery.


KBF National Championship Qualifiers

Let’s go to Guntersville!

April 2-4, 2020

This will be a 3-day event (Thur/Fri/Sat) with an optional KBF Big Bass Brawl. The field will be trimmed after Day 2, and the top 100 competitors will continue to compete for the Champion title on Saturday. While they do, all others who entered the KBF Big Bass Brawl will be invited to keep fishing on Saturday for even greater big bass prizes. Prize ceremonies and awards will be Saturday evening.

As of 7/25, here are the MoYak members who’ve punched their ticket the KBF National Championship;

Denton Giovenco
Troy Enke
Lance Burris
Chris King
Tyy Ward
Nate Gloria
Justin Brewer
Brian Hillman
Richie McMichael
Joshua Boothe
Tommy Probst

Way to go everyone that has earned a ticket to the big show!
Also remember that if any of those anglers finish in the top 10 in AOY, those end of the year invites to the NC will roll down. So keep grinding because a lot of you can still get that invite. After the river tournament everyone drops their lowest score as well. The season isn’t over yet!

Lake Guntersville

Taneycomo Close Call

The top 5 anglers finished the day within four and a half inches of each other in a tight race on Missouri’s beautiful Lake Taneycomo.

With all the flooding occurring around her, it was a shock to some that Taneycomo was about two feet shallower than most anglers saw during practice the weeks prior. Storms threatened throughout mid-morning but anglers saw very little precipitation.

Once again, the Bull Creek area produced the winning stringer and most of the top ten reported catching their fish going out of Rockaway Beach.

Brian Hillman caught his PB kayak largemouth on a bladed jig near the mouth of the Bull which helped to propel him to become the new AOY leader.

Taneycomo 22.50" Big Bass

Caught my PB Kayak Bass yesterday during the Mo-Yak Fishing Series Taneycomo event. This lake has been good to me the last few years giving up some of my biggest catches during that time. Hobie Fishing Ozark Mountain Trading Company

Posted by Brian Hillman Fishing on Sunday, June 16, 2019

Richie McMichael made a huge jump in the standings after posting a solid second place finish with 86.25″. Other anglers making a move were Lance Burris and Jeff Mellencamp, both over 80″ on the day. Putting over 11 miles in out of Empire Park, Lance credited his Torqueedo and a frog for his third place effort.

Dorman Hughey takes the win at Taneycomo

Dorman Hughey ended the day with 86.50″ to take his third win of the season and solidify his position near the top of the AOY standings. A squarebill and a Senko were the baits that did his damage in the Bull Creek area.

TourneyX Facts:
No other Taneycomo June event, by any club, has produced more bags over 80″ than the MoYak 2019 stop #4.