UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Korostetskyi Crowned Kayak Champ at Nickajack

Korostetskyi Crowned Kayak Champ at Nickajack

It was tough. It was stressful. And it was close. But by a 2-inch margin, 23-year-old Michigan angler Bogdan Korostetskyi managed to get the historic win in the Dee Zee FLW/KBF Kayak Open presented by YakAttack at Nickajack Lake.

Throughout most of the day today, it looked like in-state favorite Ryan Lambert was going to earn the upset and bump Korostetskyi, the day-one leader, from the top of the standings. Lambert had a banner day. But even though Korostetskyi suffered an incredibly slow morning and had to fight and claw for every keeper bite, he proved that he was on the better quality fish. Korostetskyi totaled up 174.25 inches in two days for the win. 

A college student in Michigan who was born in Ukraine, Korostetskyi pocketed $5,000 for winning the tournament and added a $2,500 Dee Zee gift card for being the highest-finishing angler in the Dee Zee contingency program. 

“It’s been tough; stressful. I did not expect to be here on this stage, but I’m very thankful to be here,” Korostetskyi says.

During practice, the champ says he struggled to find a consistent bite anywhere but on the bank, but he didn’t want to focus his tournament where he was afraid most of the rest of the 103 anglers in the field would be fishing. Eventually, he tracked down a couple of grassy offshore humps. 

“That’s pretty much what we fish in Michigan, so I felt right at home,” he adds.

On day one, Korostetskyi found his fish schooling on his two best spots and caught fish quickly. He had a limit by 7:15. Today, he fished the same places, but reversed the order, starting on a hump that took him 48 minutes to reach then finishing on another hump about halfway between the first hump and his launch point. 

The bass weren’t schooling today, and Korostetskyi encountered muddier water and a wind direction that had flipped 180 degrees from the day before. He needed time to figure out the best way to hold in the wind and line up for the right casting angle to get them to bite. 

“It took me one hour to catch my first keeper,” he adds.

His strategy was to fish his primary hump, slide off it to some nearby grassy structure to let the good spot rest, then return to it and catch more. Then he finished on his second spot on the way back. 

The best humps were about 8 feet deep, with grass that was about 4 feet tall. Korostetskyi caught his fish with a 1/2-ounce Evergreen/Z-Man ChatterBait Jackhammer with a Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ trailer.

On day one, he slow-rolled the bait in the morning, reeling it through the grass if it snagged. After Saturday’s thunderstorms, a yo-yoing presentation was more effective. Today, Korostetskyi went back to slow-rolling.

Now, the champ, along with the rest of the top 100 anglers in the tournament, is qualified for the FLW/KBF Kayak Cup in Hot Springs, Ark., in conjunction with the FLW Cup this summer. He and all the top 20 finishers earned free entry into the tournament.

More importantly, he’s now the first-ever champion of an FLW/KBF joint event.

“It feels surreal,” Krostetskyi says. “I still don’t know what’s going on. I’ve been going on three hours of sleep. 

“I was not expecting that. My goal was just to do my best. It was very stressful. I think I had high expectations, but it just worked out.”

 

Top 10 finishers

1. Bogdan Korostetskyi – Livonia, Mich. – 174.25 inches

2. Ryan Lambert – Chattanooga, Tenn. – 172.25 inches

3. Jordan Marshall – Maryville, Tenn. – 170 inches

4. Cody Milton – Heber Springs, Ark. – 169.75 inches

5. Jason Cassetty – Morgantown, Ind. – 169 inches

6. Cory Dreyer – Randleman, N.C. – 166.75 inches

7. Joshua Howell – Cold Spring, Ky. – 166.75 inches

8. Jody Queen – Rocky Gap, Va. – 166.5 inches

9. Brian Coyne – Hilliard, Ohio – 166 inches

10. Ron Champion – Richmond Hill, Ga. – 164.75 inches

Complete results

 

Tags: nickajack  bogdan-korostetskyi  chatterbait  largemouth  kayak  bass-fishing  curtis-niedermier  article 

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