HOBIE B.O.S. ANCHORED BY POWER-POLE® HEADS TO LUNKER HAVEN, PICKWICK LAKE
Kayak anglers hope to see some of their largest bass of the season during the series’ final open event of the year.
OCEANSIDE, Calif. (September 14, 2021) – The Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole® wraps up its open event season on famed Lake Pickwick in Counce, Tennessee. At stake is not only the event championship, but the final chance to qualify for the Hobie B.O.S. Tournament of Champions. Competitors can earn entry to the 50-angler limited entry field by finishing as one of the top unqualified anglers at the two-day catch, photograph and release (C.P.R.) event, or by finishing in one of the top 19 positions for the season in the Angler of the Year (A.O.Y.) presented by FarWide, the Outdoor Access App, competition.
Covering over 47,000 acres to a maximum depth of 59 feet, Pickwick Lake is an impoundment of the Tennessee River and famous for producing lunker-class largemouth and smallmouth bass throughout its 50-mile length. As it snakes its way from Wilson Dam to Pickwick Landing Dam, this waterway offers anglers a wide range of structure and bass habitat ranging from vegetated flats to deep holes, ledges and 490 miles of winding shoreline. As such, most competitors should be able to find plenty of water to accommodate their strengths.
“After a long, fun season, it all comes down to this,” says tournament director, A.J. McWhorter. “We’ll be on another famed Tennessee River fishery that will present our anglers not only a fun experience but some unique challenges as they chase a mix of chunky largemouth and smallmouth bass. This is a tournament that can be won from any part of the lake, with just about any technique, and the suspense is already building.”
Adam Riser, 37, a kayak bass-fishing sharpie from Nashville, who grew up close to Pickwick in nearby Florence, Tennessee, agrees with McWhorter’s assessment. “It’s anybody’s game when you head out on the waters here,” he says. “This lake has no shortage of big bass with smallmouths that can top five pounds, and double-digit largemouths are recorded here every year. There’s a solid history of great fishing behind this lake dating back decades and no telling, really, which technique or part of the lake will offer up the biggest limit.”
Riser notes that smallmouth-bass fishing can be excellent just below Wilson Dam in the ‘”tail race” area. “The middle of the lake offers a mix of shoals, cuts and deeper pockets that have given up several tournament-winning hauls this year. The ledges at the far end of the lake, meanwhile, are a great place to ensure a limit catch, but most of the bass there will be in the 13-to-15-inch class. Still, you just never know when a 20-incher might swallow your offering.
“I think competitors at this event should expect to see the top largemouths pushing the 23-inch mark,” adds Riser, “and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 21-inch smallmouth helping someone climb up the leaderboard, either. Many local experts believe the next world-record bronzeback can come from these waters.”
Riser suspects he’ll start out using finesse techniques, depending on his Hobie PA12 360 to keep him in position, hands-free, as he focuses on current seams. He suggests anglers try to fish to their strengths on these waters while keeping a Ned rig or small swimbait close at hand should the bite prove finicky.
While Riser is highly experienced on Pickwick Lake, kayak bassing specialist, Vinny Ferreri, 35, of Rock Hill, South Carolina, has never fished this far west on the Tennessee River but is anxious to give it a try. He expects to start his quest by concentrating on pockets of cool water and targeting current breaks. “I’m a big fan of topwater action,” reveals Ferreri, “and I’d love to be able to hang some fish on surface lures like a Bizz Baits V-Twin Buzz Bait.”
Ferreri is also hoping to qualify for the Hobie Tournament of Champions (T.O.C.) at Lake Eufaula, Alabama, November 12 – 14. “I really love how this tournament series is set up,” he states. “There’s a winner for every tournament, the prize money is great, and there are two ways to qualify for the 50-competitor T.O.C. The first way is to automatically qualify by finishing as one of the top three non-qualified anglers in any Hobie B.O.S. event. That means with one great weekend of fishing you can make the cut. The second is to accumulate enough points towards Angler of the Year (A.O.Y.) presented by FarWide, the Outdoor Access App. Points are distributed to the top 100 anglers at each event and the 19 highest finishers who have not already qualified each earn a spot. I’m sitting in 42nd place now – nine places out from qualifying – so I figure I need a top-25 finish to get in. The A.O.Y. format adds up points from your top three finishes throughout the season, which rewards anglers for turning in consistently solid performances, even if they never have one outstanding event from which they walk away on top.”
“With a format that allows the top three non-qualified finishers to punch their ticket to the T.O.C., and 19 slots to the big show via A.O.Y. points, there’s still plenty of opportunity for our competitors to make it to the T.O.C.,” adds McWhorter. “The T.O.C. has a guaranteed payout of $75,000 with a $35,000 first-place prize.”
Also up for grabs in the two-day tournament is a $400 check for the Bassin’ Big Bass Award, which goes to the angler catching the largest bass of the two-day event. The Dakota Lithium Power Move award, which recognizes the angler with the greatest leap up the leader board from Day 1 to Day 2, is also up for grabs. That prize is a Dakota Power Box with a 10-amp lithium battery.
“This may be the last open-entry Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole® event of the season,” sums up McWhorter, “but there’s still plenty on the line, so be sure to register as soon as possible. It’s been an extremely exciting season with big limits and big participation numbers at our events. We’re looking forward to seeing who will top the leader board at Pickwick and who will be the final qualifiers for the T.O.C. as we wrap up what has been a phenomenal 2021 season.”