2022 Big Bass Challenge

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.

Mitch Keeley, left, and Jason Leiker are pictured with their winnings at the 22nd Annual Big Bass Challenge.

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