Inside Elite Boats: Kyle Welcher

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kyle Welcher had returned from a two-week road trip of consecutive events at Lake Okeechobee and then Lake Seminole. Even so, he’s back home in his boat working on tackle. It’s a day-to-day part of competing at the sport’s highest level — the Bassmaster Elite Series. Take a tour of his rig as he spends a morning unpacking and prepping for the next trip. 
Welcher gets to choose what he wants to run, and that is this 2023 Caymas CX20, with an overall length of 20 feet, 4 inches and a beam of 96 inches. The boat is also available in a 21-foot model, and the shorter model fits his style of fishing. 
“I get a quick hole shot to get faster to the top-end speed, which fits my run-and-gun style of fishing.” 
At the bow is a MotorGuide Tour trolling motor. Welcher often gets asked why he favors this model instead of the Tour Pro. “It’s a just a bit quieter, and I don’t have any electronics attached to it,” Welcher said. 
“That makes it bulletproof because of the motor itself, and there is nothing to break without electronics, and it’s just perfect for shallow-water fishing, especially in Florida, where I just came from.” 
Welcher uses one graph for forward-facing sonar and the Lowrance HDS 12 LIVE for C-Map Contour + mapping. The Garmin and Lowrance HDS 12 units are mounted to Boat Logix Dual Bow Panel Mounts. 
“We put hundreds of hours on our outboard motors, but we spend even more time up here on the front deck operating the trolling motor, studying electronics and fishing,” Welcher said. “That’s why I like a clean bow as free as possible from obstructions to give me all the room I need for the mechanics of fishing.” 
“With Caymas it’s the little things that add up, and they listen to fishermen and take their feedback seriously,” Welcher said. “One of those little things are these oversized outboard trim switches.”
“The larger switches are much easier to operate with your foot, instead of having to lean down and use a finger.”
Welcher had the Power-Pole switches positioned farther away than most rigging jobs to create more foot space when he is standing at the bow. 
You won’t find layers upon layers of rod-and-reel combos stacked up in the port rod locker. These 13 Fishing casting outfits are what he used at Lake Seminole on one competition day. 
“I like to keep things organized and simple, adding and removing combos that I need only for a given day, after eliminating what I don’t need during practice,” Welcher said. 
The center console is also simple in organization. Welcher rotates what he needs in and out of the boat for a given day of competition. Call this selection of tackleboxes his game day lineup. 
“I store the heaviest boxes like weights, hooks and jigs at the rear, and from there on up toward the bow are the lighter boxes,” he said. “I do it for better boat performance.” 
In the side compartments are spare packages of soft plastics and other used tackle that will later get sorted and replaced in storage boxes. 
The port side storage contains duplicate rod-and-reel combos, along with a day box holding boat registration, insurance and other paperwork. 
Inside the day box is a porcupine quill and feather given to Welcher for good luck by his wife, Hunter.
On the passenger side of the cockpit is slide-out storage.
This space is used specifically for storing a Rapala Touch Screen Tournament Scale, a culling beam and cull tags. The storage is conveniently located near the livewell for quick access. 
Many anglers mount Power-Pole switches on the dashboard. Welcher has good reason for mounting the switches on the outside of the console. “I spend a lot of time rigging prepping tackle on the water, seated at the middle of the boat,” Welcher said. 
“This location allows me to operate the switches while seated, instead of having to get up and go to the console.”
A closer look at the switch.
“I spend hours here idling around looking for fish,” he said. That’s why Welcher has a unit dedicated to mapping and another for side imaging. “A lot of times the best structure I find is what I’m not looking for, and I find it using the side scan.” 
Also located in the dash is a small storage with USB ports for storing and charging small electronics like a smartphone and GoPro cameras. 
Welcher runs the Caymas CX20 with a Mercury Pro XS 250, with a Mercury Fury 24-inch pitch prop. “It’s the best prop that I have found for a 20-foot bass boat, and you get the best combination of hole shot and top-end speed in the same prop.” On each side of the outboard are Power-Pole Blade 8-foot models. “Next year I’m going to 10-foot models for the added depth of being able to deploy them while using forward-facing sonar.” 
Welcher favors a T-H Marine ATLAS Hydraulic Jack Plate with a 6-inch setback, for the optimum hole shot and operation in shallow water. Thanks for the tour, Kyle!