Round 3 of the KAOTY (Kayak Angler of the Year) was at the spectacular Grafham Water.
Many of the competitors have a love/hate relationship with Grafham Water. The conditions on tournament days are often tricky to say the least. With the recent drop In temperature we had heard that the fishing was very hard.
By the time we arrived at 7:30am to start setting up the car park was already buzzing, kayaks rigged and anglers ready to do battle. Tactics were being discussed and new lures being shown off.
With over 7 metres of fish possible with 3 x pike, 3x zander and 3 x perch, we knew that KAOTY Grafham Water would be the deciding factor in the KAOTY Series and everyone knew there could be some big changes to the leaderboard.
At the briefing the competitors were given a few goodies courtesy of Garmin UK and Railblaza and after a short briefing the competitors were able to get out on the water slightly earlier than scheduled, rods in was at 10am when the Score Fishing App went live.
The vast majority of kayak anglers headed down towards the dam wall.
The first time we checked the leaderboard Mark Radcliffe was leading with a couple of very nice zander which he had picked up on dropshot, Alan Robson was nipping at his heels.
Most of the other anglers were struggling to find legal size fish, there were a lot of perch being caught from the large shoals, but all in the 20-24cm size, the KAOTY minimum being 25cm.
G Buoy is well known for holding good zander, the bays around it some nice size perch and occasionally a pike or two. There were plenty of bream held up around the second bay and Shaun Milner and David Morris both gave it their all trying to get a pike bite but to no avail.
Futher out Ian Pickering had picked up an 80cm pike which was going to win him a Railblaza Biggest Pike prize later in the day.
The odd zander were being netted, one falling to Andrew Parry’s lure which made his and everyone else’s that knows Andrew’s day. Chris Butler had netted a 42cm Perch, good enough for the Railblaza Biggest Perch prize.
Meanwhile Andy Dougan who was the winner of KAOTY Rutland Water was slowly moving up the leaderboard. Andy fishes incredibly hard and is not easily distracted by what is going on around him. Andy had a small zander and pike early on. When the bites dried up he moved down towards the dam wall and picked up a few good size zander including a couple of upgrades, he then headed to deeper water in search of some perch and found one.
Our early leader Mark Radcliffe had shot off to the North Tower in search of the elusive pike with no luck. He then managed to pick up a bigger perch on his way toward the launch.
The 5pm finish came all too quickly and everyone raced back to the launch to get their Key Tags back on the board before the 5:30pm cut off.
Andy Dougan, what an angler, he had caught 367cm of fish, including all three species, he took a deserved win and took home a Garmin Panoptix Livescope System for his efforts. A 2nd place Mark Radcliffe who refuses to give up the paddle had 249cm. Dane Wood who always fills his zander card at Grafham came in 3rd place with 220cm.
Biggest Zander (85cm) was caught by Andy Dougan, Biggest Perch (42cm) Chris Butler and Biggest Pike (90cm) Ian Pickering.
With the KAOTY Series 2021 at an end it was time to crown our champion. It was of course Andy Dougan with an incredible 919cm of predators over the three events, Andy was over 3 metres ahead of his nearest rival. Congratulations Andy.
Andy has won himself a place and flight to the prestigious Hobie Fishing Worlds 10 (dates and location to be announced) He will also be wearing the KAOTY/NAVIONICS Champions Jacket sponsored by Navionics.
Those anglers that failed to score at each event will be added into the Palm Europe Doughnut Draw to win a Palm Kola Angler PFD.
The prize table was amazing thanks to the continuing support of Garmin UK, Flambeau UK, Daiwa UK, Navionics UK, Railblaza UK, SMGroup, Palm Europe, Reuben Heaton and of course ShoreThing who sponsor the events with the trophies, prizes and on the day with Steve Beard as Chief Referee and KAOTY Series Prize.
We do it all again in 2022.
KAOTY is a Hobie Fishing Worlds 10 qualifier.