Drew Gregory is a winner. A closer. A champion. Last year alone he won 6 national tournaments enroute to claiming the Angler of the Year title for both, the Bassmaster Kayak Series and the Hobie Bass Open Series.
One title that has eluded Gregory – Kayak Bass Fishing Angler of the Year.
He aims to fill that void in his resume this year. Gregory spoke with Kayak365 as he prepared to compete in the KBF TenVitational this weekend in Polk County, Florida. The unique format allows anglers to fish any of a number of lakes in Polk County including some that are not connected to the others. Winners get to compete in KBF’s The Ten next week wherein $10,000 is up for grabs in a tournament that features only 10 contestants.
“I didn’t really get out today until about 3 o’clock,” said Gregory. “I flew in yesterday and today I had to set this boat up, outfit it with a Torqeedo, figure out where to put the throttle.” Gregory did all that winning last year without any type of motor or any electronics. Due to some rule changes, Gregory has decided to attach the Torqeedo motor to his Crescent Kayak. “I still have a river boat with just a paddle. I’ll grab, like, one tackle bag and go fishing. Then I have what I call the Torqeedo boat for fishing the tours. KBF and Bassmaster allow motors, so that will be the electronics-focused and motor-focused boat. Power-Pole, everything. It’ll be more of a main lake, bigger lake kayak. That’s my setup this year.”
Gregory said his growing family, including a 4 year old and 1 year old, along with a number of other ‘irons in the fire’ will limit his tournament activity a bit this year. Then again, he didn’t fish nearly as many events last year as the average kayak pro. And his results were far above average. “I’m probably going to do 8 or 9, 10 tournaments max.
“I’m still worn out, dude. They don’t give us a break in kayak fishing. We go all the way into November. You get home and it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, next you thing you know, it’s January and here we are again, and stuff isn’t even done – contracts aren’t signed yet, my deals aren’t all finalized.”
While Gregory looks to ride the momentum from a strong 2022, he says the ‘less is more’ approach will help him this season. “You have to use that momentum if you can but I still feel like I’m in last year and I never had a break and I’m whipped, so doing fewer tournaments is going to be a good idea for me.
“I don’t do this for the money. I do it for the fun.”
Then Gregory revealed another motivation, “I’m just fishing Bassmaster and KBF this year. The reason is, KBF, I’m trying to win Angler of the Year because I’ve got a Hobie AOY and a Bassmaster AOY. Cody Milton’s got a Hobie and a KBF but no Bassmaster, so we’re having a little competition to see can get that 3rd AOY, get all 3 national AOY’s.”
Confidence is always key, and Gregory will rely on it this week. “There are 10 lakes we can fish here this week and I have, not even a full day, left to practice but I feel like, I’m confident that I can figure it out, even if I go somewhere totally new on Saturday, the first day of the tournament. All that success last year has given me that confidence. Usually, that first place I notice on the map and want to fish, ends up being right. Not always. But that’s usually where I end up. All that tells you is, I could have rolled up on tournament day without even pre-fishing and probably done good.”
Gregory predicts that anglers are in for some hot action in Polk County this week. “Someone’s always going to find them here in Florida. And there’s big ones. The top length is going to be good, like, 95-to-100 inches per day.”
Gregory has mixed feelings about the Sunshine State. Video on his YouTube shows an epic adventure from a couple of years ago wherein he got socked-in by a moving mat of hyacinth and had to hike out on foot. He has had good days here as well. If he can put it together, he can get 2023 started on the right foot.