Mitch Keeley of LaCrosse, KS, shows his 5.04 pound largemouth bass that won the 22nd annual event.

Keeley/Leiker win 22nd Annual Big Bass Challenge

Wilson, KS (Sept. 10, 2022) — Anglers faced some of the most difficult conditions with strong north winds in excess of 30 m.p.h., followed by rain during the 22nd Annual Big Bass Challenge at Lake Wilson located east of Russell, Kan. However that did not deter more than 90 anglers who came to fish the event. Just under 50 boats competed in the event as they launched in safe light first thing Saturday morning into a stiff headwind. On the third cast of the day, Mitch Keeley, of LaCrosse, KS, pitched a Texas-rigged tube past some isolated cover and began dragging his tube through it when the fish-of-the-day hit is bait. “He came immediately out of the water jumping six times before Jason finally got a net under it,” Keeley said. Keeley laughed as he explained how he and teammate Jason Leiker watched the fish jump time after time, but eventually landed the tournament-winning bass. While the wind was a major factor for most anglers, Keeley explained that they were able to find a few places where they could get out of the wind. Tournament officials from Hays Bass Anglers Association set the tournament payback details based on the final number of entries and paid out the top prize for the big bass of the event. Anglers also received checks for the top two places for fish weighed each hour of the event throughout the day. Sponsors of the event also donated prizes that were given out at the end of the tournament. Watch the slideshow to see photos from the event.

Bass Cast still popular at Youth Outdoor Festival

HAYS, KS (Aug. 22, 2022) — Hays Bass Anglers Association hosted youth during Bass Cast at the Youth Outdoor Festival on Aug. 22, 2022, at the Hays City Sportsman’s Club northwest of Hays. Youth learned a variety of basic casting techniques as they competed for prize. The program, which stems from Bass Anglers Sportman Society’s (BASS’s) Casting Kids competition, has been kept alive by the HBAA under the name Bass Cast and continues to be a successful part of Hays’ Youth Outdoor Festival. Bass Cast is similar to the NFL’s Punt, Pass and Kick competition. The program, although abandoned by BASS, has remained a strong youth event in the Hays area. Youth are judged on three casting techniques and their scores are totaled to determine prizes. HBAA Club members teach the three casting techniques designed to help them develop skills that may be used on actual fishing trips. Prizes were handed out to the winners in each age class at the conclusion of the event.

Hays Bass Anglers Association’s Darrell VonFeldt is pictured with Zoey Berens (7), of Hays, on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, during an annual guided fishing trip for youth from Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ellis County at Augustine’s pond on the outskirts of Hays. The event is part of Hays Bass Anglers Associations regular community service activities to promote the sport of fishing.

Kansas Bigs enjoy an evening of guided fishing with HBAA

HAYS, KS (May 18, 2022) – Youth from Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ellis County gathered at Darrell Augustine’s farm pond near Hays, Kan., as members of the Hays Bass Anglers Association (HBAA), acting as youth mentors, guided a fishing adventure that was sure to be a success. HBAA hosted the annual event as part of their community service activities that is part of the mission of the Hays Bass Anglers Association. The evening began with a hot dog feed for the kids and shortly after each was given a fishing pole and a container of night crawlers as they ventured down to the pond to fish. “This is an important activity for us and for the kids,” said Clayton Rudman, Youth Director for HBAA. Youth mentors from HBAA helped the kids rig their poles with worms underneath a bobber and the event became a success as each of the youth landed multiple fish during the evening event. The event was another successful trip helping HBAA fulfill its mission to continue spreading the excitement about the sport of fishing. Click here to see more pictures from the event at Shutterfly.

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