ALBA, Texas — Specific targeting discipline and strategic presentations paid off for Garrett Morgan of Conway, Ark., who tallied a two-day total of 201.75 inches to win the Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series powered by TourneyX at Lake Fork.
The only competitor in the 150-boat field to break the 200-inch mark, Morgan took the Day 1 lead with 102.5 inches — the event’s second-largest single-day total. Morgan’s first-round lengths were 22, 21.75, 20, 19.5 and 19.25 inches.
On Sunday, Morgan added 99.25 inches, with his five best fish measuring 21.5, 20.75, 20, 18.5 and 18.5. For his win, Morgan earned $7,500.
Fishing from a 10 1/2-foot Old Town PDL, Morgan focused most of his efforts on main-lake standing timber in about 7 feet. When the sun was higher in the sky, he also caught a few fish on small residential concrete boat ramps near main channel swings.
“What I was able to figure out in practice, and it held true to the event, was that it wasn’t the isolated timber I was catching my fish on — it had to be two trees that were about 4 feet or so apart where you could work a jig between the two trees or around the base of the two trees,” Morgan said. “I would face the kayak into the wind and come up from behind the trees, throw it past the trees and work it back.
“A lot of times, I find those fish set up facing the wind, so that tended to be the key.”
Morgan caught his bass on a 1/2-ounce JP Custom Baits jig in a custom color. He paired that with a Strike King Rage Bug in green pumpkin orange. With a total of seven bass on Day 2, Morgan said he fared best in the morning hours.
“The main difference between the two days was that on Day 2, the wind died,” Morgan said. “Both mornings the wind was about 7 mph out of the south or so; a little heavier today.
“In my practice, that didn’t really hurt me too much, but today, I noticed when that wind died around 12:30, my bite died. I caught a few short fish, but I never caught another keeper.”
Chris Longshore of Hastings, Neb., placed second with 197 inches. He placed third on Day 1 with 97 inches and added 100 on Sunday.
Fishing out of a 12-foot, 9-inch Hobie Outback, Longshore spent his tournament in Birch Creek, where he targeted prespawn staging fish that were relating to larger stumps in 7 to 8 feet of water. Longshore caught his bass on a Rapala DT6 crankbait in a white and purple pattern.
“You had to throw it pretty far past the stump and reel it down and you had to hit the stump too,” he said. “I fished 100-yard stretches and there were three of them within a mile.”
Longshore said his better bites came in the morning hours when the temperatures were cooler. Once the day warmed, the smaller fish became more active. Longshore earned $3,250.
James Busch of Carrsville, Va., finished third with 183 inches. With daily totals of 93.25 and 89.75, Busch improved from seventh place on Day 1 and earned $2,250.
Competing out of a 14-foot Hobie Pro Angler 360, Busch fished a main-lake creek near the Lake Fork Dam. He targeted isolated brushpiles on a point and found his bass in shallower brushpiles on Day 1. But on Sunday, he had to move from those 8-foot spots to 11 feet.
“I don’t know if it was the colder night, but the bite was slower this morning than it was (on Saturday),” Busch said.
Busch caught his Day 1 fish on a 3/8-ounce jig with a green pumpkin Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Meaty Chunk. But he had to switch to a bone colored Berkley Stunna jerkbait to coax his second-round bites, working the lure through the tops of the brush.
Rolando Nanin of San Antonio, Texas, earned the $500 Big Bass award for his 24.5-inch largemouth. After placing second on Day 1 with 99.5 inches, Nanin added 64.5 on Sunday and finished fourth with 164.
Lake Fork Marina hosted the event.