GEARY COUNTY (KSNT) – Two Kansas men claimed victory in a weekend bass tournament, taking home prize money and some serious bragging rights for the second year in a row.

Rick Dykstra of Milford Township and Kelly Ross of Solomon were the two lucky anglers that came in first place during the 2022 Milford Lake Team Series bass tournament. 27 News spoke to both men about their victory.

The tournament ran from Oct. 8-9, attracting several teams to Milford Lake to compete. These teams were determined by the number of points they accumulated in past tournaments leading up to the last one for 2022. Around 24-30 boats can be expected on the water each year during the final tournament, according to Dykstra.

Dykstra and Ross possess over 80 years of fishing experience between the two of them. Skilled and with their victory in 2021 still on their minds, the men set out for the tournament with a plan in mind.

“The water temperature was dropping to the 60s, that makes bass want to move and feed because they know winter is coming,” Dykstra said. “Our strategy was to intercept them as they moved from the deeper water to the shallower water to feed on shad and crawdads.”

Each team can only catch five bass per day for weigh-in, coming up with ten at most for the tournament. During the first day of the trial, the men caught the maximum of five bass which included both small and largemouth bass. Ross said that his team was lagging behind at this point, but a stroke of luck came in the final minutes of the first day.

“First day, we had five fish,” Ross said. “We had six minutes to go and there was another team ahead of us. I told Rick, ‘we’ll just stay here.’ As soon as I said that, we caught another one [bass]. So we threw one of ours back in and got a two-pound upgrade.”

Dykstra chimed in with another story of the first day of tournament.

“Day one, we watched a large mouth chase the bait, miss it, come back and chase it, miss it, and come back again,” Dykstra said. “The third time he caught it. That’s pretty exciting to see that happen. We could see the wake of the bass as he was chasing it.”

Dykstra said that they were using a variety of baits for the tournament such as crank baits and plastics. As for rods, they also used a variety that ranged from six to eight feet in length. The men would stay at a spot for around 30 minutes before moving on or stay longer depending on if the fish were biting.

“We didn’t do anything different than what we’ve been doing all year,” Ross said. “For two years in a row we made the right decisions. Half an hour at each location, maybe less, stay longer if we get a bite.”

On the last day of the tournament, the men had only caught two fish but managed to pull through at the last moment.

“At 1:30 p.m. on the final day we only had two bass and only had an hour and a half left before 3 p.m.,” Dykstra said. “By the end, we had another three.”

The final weigh-in for the tournament placed Ross and Dykstra in first. They pocketed $1,600 in prize money as the winners for the second year in a row. The list of winners for the tournament are as follows:

  • 1st – Kelly Ross and Rick Dykstra
    • 10 bass
    • 23.26 pounds
  • 2nd – Terry Blackwood and Drew Blackwood
    • Eight bass
    • 17.88 pounds
  • 3rd – Jake Lantz and Chris Kirkley
    • Seven bass
    • 16.25 pounds
  • Overall big bass – Jesse Cornwell and Scott Smith
    • 6.28 pounds

When asked if he had any tips for up-and-coming anglers, Dykstra said that there are all sorts of opportunities out there for people to use.

“More and more schools and colleges offer scholarships for bass fishing and some high schools are doing bass fishing as a sport,” Dykstra said. “Do your research and do your homework. I’ve been doing this for many, many years. Always yearn for more knowledge.”