Nolan Minor of Virginia took top honors with a two-day total of 187.75 inches and his brother, Ewing Minor, also from Virginia, placed 2nd with 185.75 among a field of 194 kayak anglers in this past weekend’s Hobie Bass Open Series tournament on the Susquehanna River out of Harrisburg, PA.
The brothers said that their experience on smallmouth rivers in Virginia helped them find fish on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna. Nolan dialed-in a topwater/sightfishing pattern that he said he will elaborate on via his YouTube channel. Be sure to look for that! He also tipped his brother off – the two share practice details and help each other. Ewing found success by duplicating the gameplan on a different stretch of river.
Local angler Jake Harshman placed 3rd with 185 inches. He also has an active YouTube channel so look for updates from him.
Chris Blair of Michigan placed 4th with 183.75.
Abby Abbadanza of Pennsylvania rounds out the Top 5 with 181.50.
Hobie BOS hosts a live video of the awards ceremony following each tournament on their Facebook page. You can learn a lot by listening to the anglers.
Following are some bullet points and big ideas I picked up on:
Tournament: Hobie BOS on Susquehanna July 30/31, 2022
– Top tactics included:
– Sunlight was a factor as many anglers sight-fished.
– Bass seem to be quick learners in the clear waters of the Susquehanna because anglers who had success on topwaters in practice often had to catch ‘em a different way during competition.
– When it worked, topwater was the way to catch bigger fish. Josh Poling of South Carolina took 20th place though he caught only 4 bass – all on the Whopper Plopper – big enough to cut a check without securing a 5-fish limit.
– IN CONTRAST, 19th place went to Dylan Lowery of Georgia who said he had been smashing smallmouth on a Plopper in practice but only managed to spook fish with it on Day 1 before switching to a Ned rig that produced on the 3rd cast. He stuck with the Ned after that and settled into a prime 50-yard stretch of water.
– The switch to finesse was also the key for Nick Audi, a local angler who said he usually struggles on the river but placed 9th after putting the topwater down and going to a finesse presentation.
– Many high finishers reported catching most of their fish in single stretches of river as short as 50 yards, in some cases for two straight days.
– Longer stretches, up to 300 yards, were more reliable throughout the event for many of the top contestants.
– Wading was apparently allowed and at least one angler, Abby Abbadanza, said he made use of the tactic to sight-fish all of his bass over both days and place 5th. He used a green pumpkin Z-man TRD to take smallmouth from the same 50-yard stretch of foot-and-a-half deep water that he said reloaded for him throughout the competition days.