Bass tournament comes to Clay County — with a twist

Published on November 17, 2022 at 5:30 pm

A new competition combining bass fishing and kayaks is coming next year to Clay County.

But the Kayak Bass Fishing Challenge Series isn’t going to be held on a set day or week, like Jacksonville’s Greater Kingfish Tournament.

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Instead, it will be a virtual fishing tournament where anglers catch, weigh, photograph and release the fish they catch during the season, then submit that information for judging in classes, organizers said.

Then the tournament will end with an awards event, date and location to be decided. Prizes will be given before it culminates with a Pro Series event at the end of the year.

The tournament, announced at a news conference at Whitey’s Fish Camp in Fleming Island, will be run by the Kayak Bass Fishing group, with Clay County Tourism and Airstream Ventures. Mikie Cella, a Clay County commissioner and Tourist Development Council chairman, said he is looking forward to working with Kayak Bass Fishing to generate positive attention and room nights for the community.

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“KBF strives to creatively grow the sport by expanding the tournament purse, using various social platform contests and the tournament itself,” Cella said. “KBF’s out-of-the-box thinking was appealing and made for a good marketing opportunity for our emerging destination.”

KBF was founded in 2009 by Chad Hoover, hosting competitors from Mexico, Canada and across the country since. It also organized the first kayak bass fishing national championship at Kentucky Lake in 2016, followed by co-hosting 2019’s first kayak fishing tournament with a national boat series. He said the upcoming Clay County tournament combines its kayak fishing championships with a “world class fishery and destination.”

“Our goal is the showcase Clay County as a true fishing destination to fisherman all over the U.S.,” Hoover said. “Through all of our KBF mediums, we will work with Clay County and Airstream Ventures to create a major economic impact that is felt 12 months a year. We can’t wait to get started.”

KBF and Clay County also will do joint marketing efforts through social media, talking about Clay County as a “fishing hotbed.” organizers said. National television coverage also is planned.

For more information on Kayak Bass Fishing and the upcoming event, go to

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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