HBAA’s 23rd Annual Big Bass Challenge a success

WILSON, KS (SEPT. 9, 2023) — Mitch Keeley and Jason Leiker claimed top honors on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, at Hays Bass Anglers Association’s 23rd Annual Big Bass Challenge held at Lake Wilson located east of Russell, Kan. Although the fishing was described as tough by many anglers, the catches were impressive. The event kicked off at safe light from the Wilson State Park boat ramp beneath a colorful dawn sunrise. Thirty-five teams participated in this year’s event. The winning bass, a 5.10 pound largemouth bass, was weighed in during the 10 a.m. time slot. The Big Bass Challenge awards cash prizes to the top two entries in 8 time slots every hour from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a grand prize for the largest fish of the event. The total payout was dependent on the number of boats entered in the competition. A new twist was offered this year as Unruh Farms, event sponsor, awarded a cash prize for the smallest legal bass entered in the tournament. The team of Merk and McKinney won that prize with a 1.43 pound bass. Head’s Up Decoy, another event sponsor, held a drawing for a pre-registered team, paying for their entry fees. The team of Masenthin and Masenthin won that drawing and were refunded their entry fee. Event sponsors offered 18 prizes from: a B&W hitch; bass rods; bait-casting reels and more during a drawing at the conclusion of the event. HBAA wants to thank everyone who participated in this year’s tournament. Proceeds from the event help the club fund a variety of youth activities and habitat projects throughout the year.

Bass Cast teaches angling techniques at outdoor festival

HAYS, KS (Aug. 19, 2022) — Hays Bass Anglers Association hosted welcomed youth to the Bass Cast competition at the Youth Outdoor Festival on Aug. 19, 2023, at the Hays City Sportsman’s Club northwest of Hays. Nearly 150 youth participated in Saturday’s event. According to club members, that is the highest number of participants that have ever competed in the casting event.

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.

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