Wait, What? $100K for Kayak Fishing?

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Yep, you heard right. There’s big news on the 2022 Hobie Bass Open Series (B.O.S.) Anchored by Power-Pole trail. Hobie has just bumped the total purse for its Tournament of Champions (T.O.C.) series finale from $75,000 to a whopping $100,000. Included in the increase is a $45,000 reward for the first-place finisher. That’s some big bass bucks!

Launched in 2019, The Hobie B.O.S. Anchored by Power-Pole features nine, two-day open events that visit some of the most famous bass fisheries in the country, plus the three-day T.O.C. in which 50 qualifying anglers compete for the ultimate prize. It’s open to everyone and gathers together an exceptionally competitive and diverse field that includes some of the best kayak bass anglers in the world.

“I’m proud to see how much we’ve grown in just four years and to have our prize money reflect that growth,” says Tournament Director, A.J. McWhorter. “This is what we’ve been working for since the start. We believe kayak anglers should have these opportunities in our sport, and we feel both privileged and excited to guarantee such a tremendous championship purse before the season even starts. This $100,000 T.O.C. total payout gives every one of our participants an opportunity to aim for the highest levels, both in terms of the competition itself and the final prize.”

Who to watch for (and buddy up to)? Jody Queen, of Bluefield, WV, captured the inaugural T.O.C. title on Arkansas’ fabled Lake Ouachita back in 2019, cashing a $20,000 first-place check. Like McWhorter, he appreciates how the series has grown with the sport. “Kayak fishing is growing in leaps and bounds,” says Queen, “and it’s great to see Hobie’s purse matching that growth. With tournament payouts like this, there’s no denying this sport is the real deal.”

Ryan Lambert, winner of Hobie’s second T.O.C., held on the Tennessee River in Knoxville, TN, is also excited about the purse. “This is big news,” says Lambert. “With an additional $10,000 for first place, you’re now seeing a payout for a 50-person event that’s equivalent to 300-participant pay outs from other organizations. The new payout reflects not only the difficulty in qualifying against such great competition, but also the challenge of winning against what could arguably be the best 50 kayak anglers in the country.”

Lambert adds that the T.O.C., in particular, is in a league of its own. “There’s not another season ending event that is on the same scale as the Hobie T.O.C. — and the competition gets more intense every year. You really have to bring your A-game to be competitive. With a bigger purse, I think you’ll be seeing some traditional bass anglers crossing over into kayak fishing and collegiate anglers choosing the kayak route. This is going to elevate everyone while helping the sport to continue to grow.”

Kristine Fischer took home a $35,000 check and the Hobie T.O.C. 2021 crown last November on Alabama’s Lake Eufaula, and she’s excited for this year’s payout as well.

“Holy cow, that is a big deal,” she says. “To see the participation, the payouts and caliber of anglers that have rallied behind the Hobie B.O.S. increase so much over the years is really something special. It’s just incredible to see how far we’ve come. This larger purse speaks highly of the limitless opportunities available to us and lets us know there is a future in professional, even full-time, kayak fishing.”

For his part, McWhorter says that winning the T.O.C. $45,000 first-place prize can change the trajectory of an angler’s year – or even career – while potentially allowing them to fulfill dreams of becoming more professional fisherman in the kayak space.

And it all comes to a head at Caddo Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana – one of the hottest bass waters in the country.

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