OCEANSIDE, Calif. (March 11, 2021) – With 62 top-ten finishes in 84 kayak bass tournaments over the past four years, Rus Snyders is no stranger to the winner’s circle. Last weekend the 39-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee found himself in the money again as he tallied 170.5 inches of bigmouth bass to lead the 2021 Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole® Broken Bow event from start to finish. Taking second was Justin Brewer from Lincoln, Arkansas, with a total of 168.25 inches. Luke Aryan of Owasso, Oklahoma placed third with a 164-inch ten-fish two-day total. All told, 110 competitors decked 586 bass while competing for over $21,000, plus valuable points towards the B.O.S. Angler of the Year award presented by Farwide, The Outdoor Access App.
“It really was a great weekend,” said tournament director A.J. McWhorter of the catch, photo and release (C.P.R.) event. “This was our third tournament of the year and we saw plenty of fish, dished out substantial prize money, and kayaked on some beautiful and remote waters here in McCurtain County, Oklahoma. This was our first stop ever in the Sooner State and it didn’t disappoint. I was glad to see so many anglers from across the country make the trip. Broken Bow offers a solid bass fishery in a picturesque setting and the nearby town is welcoming with some great restaurants and entertainment venues. If you’re looking for an awesome place for a vacation that celebrates the great outdoors, this is it.”
Snyders wasted no time getting out of the gate on Day 1 as he found a nice bite that lasted for the first two hours. “I hadn’t fished this lake before,” said the perennial bass tourney title contender who was fishing his second Hobie B.O.S. of the year. “Still, the waters here reminded me very much of some of the lakes I fished growing up in northern California, like Lake Berryessa and Lake Sonoma. In fact, Broken Bow Reservoir to me looks a little like a Tennessee lake and a California lake got together and this was the result, so I felt comfortable right from the start here.”
After three days of pre-fishing, Snyders decided to start competition close to the dam at the south end of the lake. Ticking a crawdad-colored Rapala DT6 crankbait off the bottom rocks in shady water on the lee side of points, he collected a limit and was ready to cull after only two hours when the bite tailed off.
“I was working quickly, concentrating on the first 100 feet of water on the backside of points and skipping anything in-between,” revealed Snyders. “The most productive areas had a mix of chunk rock and gravel. If I hit a boulder, I’d give the rod a “pop” and that would trigger a strike. After the bite cut out, though, it was a scramble to figure things out. Around 1 p.m., I finally started to pick up a few fish again, but they were suspended off the tips of the points. Those fish fell to an Alabama rig with 3.8-inch Keitech swimbait bodies.”
On Day 2, Snyders headed back to the points where he picked a couple more bass, then began flipping wood in the area to manage his limit by 11 a.m. Good thing he got off to another fast start because, after that, the bite died.
“It might have looked like I was having an easy time of things with that early lead,” he said, “but outside of those early morning bites it was generally tough fishing. Luckily, I was able to make the most of my early opportunities.”
While Snyders got off to a solid start both days, second place finisher Brewer didn’t hit his first Day-1 bass until almost noon. “I’m really happy with my performance here,” said the 24-year-old kayak bass ace, who was fishing in his first tournament of the season. “I only live three hours from Broken Bow, but I’ve never fished there. I’m not a clear water guy, so I looked on my Navionics maps hoping to find a spot that might be a little stained, eventually picking out a couple of creek arms up the lake that I figured might have some fish moving up to spawn.”
Arriving Friday night, it was already too late to squeeze in any pre-fishing, so Brewer saw the lake for the first time when launching on Day 1. Finding the water even more muddy than expected, he tied on three different spinnerbaits and started targeting channel swing banks.
“I was throwing the new Booyah Covert Series spinnerbaits with an orange head and chartreuse body. I used one with a single Colorado blade in the morning, followed by a double Colorado blade once the water warmed up a bit, and a willow blade with a Colorado kicker later in the afternoon. I had to tick them off rocks in six- to seven-feet of water to make the fish react,” revealed Brewer. “I only managed five bites on Day 1, but they were decent ones and I held onto every fish – good enough for fourth place on the day. On Day 2, I returned to the same spot, threw the same lures, and picked off five more decent ones for another solid limit. I also caught a 22-inch bass while flipping a tree on Day 2. That fish turned out to be the Bassin’ Big Bass winner for the tournament after it won a tie-breaker with Tou Vue. It really helped drive me up the leaderboard.”
Brewer added that his 2016 Hobie PA 14 really helped him battle the afternoon winds around the points, and allowed him to fish hands-free. “My Hobie really does give me an edge,” he stated. “Maybe I’ll use today’s check to upgrade to the new PA 14 360.”
Aryan, meanwhile, focused on isolated fish suspended in deep water around bait balls. Tossing an Alabama rig above the tops of submerged trees, he used a varied retrieve to tally 78.5 inches of bass and finish ninth on Day 1, and followed that with the top score for Day 2 at 85.75 inches. “I had found a nice mess of fish during pre-fishing suspended 30 feet down over 60- to 80-foot depths,” he related, “but when I got out on Day 1 they had moved and it took me until almost 1 p.m. to catch my first bass. Toward the end of the day, I found them again off another point. The wind had pushed the bait balls and the bass simply followed them into another cove. By the end of the day I had a limit, and then I just hit them again on Day 2,” he explained. “The best of the action was only 300 yards from my launch site.”
Aryan noted that his Hobie PA 12 did a great job of keeping him on the fish once the wind came up. “With that pedal-driven MirageDrive, I can easily keep the kayak pointed in the direction I need for optimal casting with my hands free. It really contributes to my success every time I head out,” he stated.
For their efforts, Snyders pocketed $6,200, Brewer $3,850 including $400 for his Bassin’ Big Bass award, and Aryan collected $2,200. All three qualified for the Hobie Tournament of Champions (T.O.C.) to be held on Lake Eufaula, Alabama, November 12 – 14. Each also gathered all-important points toward the FarWide Angler of the Year award. Additionally, Christa Hibbs, who was shut out on Day 1 but rallied for 79.75 inches to move up 33 places on Day 2, earned the Dakota Lithium Power Move award. For her efforts, she received a Dakota Power Box with 10-amp lithium battery.
“I can’t say enough about how well these Hobie B.O.S. events are run,” said Snyders while accepting his award. “I’d like to thank the tourney director and Hobie staff for putting on such a great event. This is such a beautiful lake, and so much of the shoreline is undeveloped. What a great setting. I camped out all week at Beaver’s Bend State Park and had a great time both on and off the water.”
Brewer, too, offered praise for the B.O.S. series, calling it the “best run, most competitive kayak series in the world today.”
“These events are run flawlessly,” added Aryan, “and the competition is stiff, so it’s really satisfying when you do finish in the money. You always have to bring your A game to a Hobie tournament. I can’t wait for the next one.”
That will take place April 17 – 18, at Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Arkansas. Last year witnessed explosive action at this event with 112 participants catching 693 bass. For more information on the Hobie B.O.S. Anchored by Power-Pole®, or to register for an event, visit: Hobie Bass Open Series (hobiebos.com).