kayak

Kayak: Gregory takes win on Smith

Drew Gregory wins the 2022 Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series at Lewis Smith Lake powered by TourneyX.

JASPER, Ala. — Drew Gregory of Kent, Ohio, gave his new kayak the best possible debut by totaling 89.5 inches and earning the victory at the Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series at Lewis Smith Lake powered by TourneyX.

With his best five bass measuring 19.75, 19.25, 17.25, 16.75 and 16.5 inches, Gregory earned the first-place prize of $3,000.

Making the maiden trip in the 11-foot, 10-inch Crescent Kayaks Shoalie that he designed, Gregory fished the narrow reaches of creeks on Smith’s upper end. He targeted shallow, clear water where Alabama (spotted) bass roam.

“I like to get way back in these creeks where there would be low, clear-water pools, then the water would go down some riffles into another pool,” Gregory said. “The fish were around any wood that was in the water. I’d also fish any rock in the middle or anywhere they could sit and ambush.”

Gregory caught his bass on a spinnerbait and a River2Sea Whopper Plopper. If a fish missed the topwater, he’d follow up with a Z-Man MiniMax ChatterBait in a bream pattern with a 4-inch green pumpkin Z-Man Diesel MinnowZ trailer that he shortened slightly.

Gregory said his day started slowly and by about 1:30 p.m., he had only what he considered a mid-pack total. His day changed dramatically when he located a pool that was loaded with aggressive fish.

“Between 1:30 and 2:10 I replaced my entire (total), Gregory said. “I locked the Whopper Plopper in my hand and hit the right pools.”

With the fish extremely wary in the high visibility, Gregory made long casts and eventually resorted to fishing from a seated position. His preferred standing position, he said, would spook the fish.

In April, Gregory took home his first Bassmaster Kayak Series title on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake

Chris Hartman of Jacksonville, Ark., placed second with 89 inches. Fishing out of a 13.2 Old Town Predator PDL, he fished a creek on the lake’s southeast end and fared best when targeting shaded areas with a finesse presentation.

“I started out throwing a little bit of everything, then I figured out that the fish weren’t up against the bank, they were up against trees in 2 to 3 feet of water,” Hartman said. “I caught all my fish on a green pumpkin YUM Dinger on a 1/16-ounce VMC weighted wacky jig.”

Harman caught about 20 fish by 10:30, then his bite slowed. His best five measured 19, 18.75, 18, 17.25 and 16 inches. Hartman won $1,500.

Tim Perkins of Heflin, Ala., placed third with 84.75 inches. His best five bass went 19.75, 18.25, 17.5, 14.75 and 14.5 inches. He earned $1,000.

Fishing from a Woodland Systems Recon 120 with a Torqueedo electric motor, Perkins stayed in the Butlers Brand area, where he focused on buck brush along the edge of a branch channel and caught his bass in a foot of water or less.

Perkins used a 3/8-ounce chartreuse and white Redline River Series spinnerbait with tandem willow-leaf and Colorado blades and a Zoom Twin Tail trailer. He chose this bait to mimic the bream he found in his area.

“I did best when the wind was breaking up my profile and the sun was out,” Perkins said.

Greg Harper, who finished ninth, won the $500 Big Bass award for his 21-inch fish.

The tournament was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County.