Tsiolkas Continues Hot Streak with Gaston Win

CKA Event 3 at Lake Gaston was Presented by Greensboro Gardens


Carolina Kayak Anglers (CKA) held its third tournament of the 2023 season this weekend at Lake Gaston. Sponsored by Greensboro Gardens and Powered by Dakota Lithium, the event also featured the Str8UpMounts Big Bass prize, making for a trifecta of excellent top prizes. Additionally, CKA delivered on a raft of other prizes for the more than forty anglers who braved difficult weather to explore a new lake and grind out points toward the Angler of the Year title.

Blair Heats Up, Wins Tie-Breaker

Gaston is literally an outlier because it is as far east as we have ever fished in North Carolina. With a turbulent forecast and an unknown lake in the mix CKA competitors still figured out the lake, with more than half of the field (27) posting a limit of five bass). Additionally, the lake put up some big bass, including a 20” by Arlie Minton and the winning fish, a 21” landed by event champion Brian Tsiolkas.

There was also a three-way tie that decided second place. Tie-breakers are decided by biggest bass, and the victor in this tie-breaker was Drew Blair. A long time CKA member, Blair found himself in the money for the second week in a row (he placed third in a CCKF event at Mackintosh last week). Blair had also recently been on the CKA live show, discussing the lake. He had expected a topwater bite, but as he explained it:

“The cold front messed with the fish. The topwater bite was nonexistent – I only had four blowups and missed them all. All of my fish came out pretty far into the grass lines on rocky points. I picked up a jerk bait when the wind started to blow. I caught two 16” bass, and then I found a honey hole. I caught a ton of spots, two stripers and a hybrid from it, and I must have caught about 2-30 fish there.

Right before the storm hit, I fished a Senko on a shakey head. I threw it out about 8 feet on a grass line and that’s where I caught my 19.75” that was my big fish.”

Drew’s second strong finish has him looking ahead to two big events in May. “I’m looking forward to Harris (with CCKF) and Hickory (with CKA). It’s time for the frog bite!”

Tsiolkas Moves Into All-Time Territory

Heading into the CKA 10th anniversary season, we announced an “Angle of the Decade” trophy for the angler who finished with the most tournament wins in the club’s first decade. When we began the season, Rick Rowland had a firm hold on the lead, with seven wins.

Bryan Tsiolkas with his Str8UpMounts Big Bass Prize Check at lake Gaston

Brian Tsiolkas won his second CKA tournament of the year. He won two as well in 2022, on his way to the Angler of the Year title. Combined with a victory in the club’s first season (2014), Tsiolkas now has five wins. He has separated himself from the pack of other contenders who are chasing Ricky Rowland’s all-time record of seven tournament wins.

Tsiolkas is now two wins shy of tying Rowland, and three shy of passing him. The next angler ahead of him is P.C. Hawj, who has 6 lifetime wins. With five events to go, anything can happen.

As for the Angler of the Year title, Tsiolkas is currently in 6th place in the automated Fishing Chaos standings. Rookie Leland Stiff continues to impress. His sixth place finish at Gaston has him atop the leaderboard.

Looking Ahead

The next stop for CKA is Lake Hickory. This event is combined with the Carolina Classic, a new, multi-club tournament that CKA is co-hosting this season with Foothills Kayak Anglers.

Sign up for Hickory is open on Fishing Chaos!

Register here: https://app.fishingchaos.com/tournament/cka-2023-lake-hickory

Additional Info

CKA wishes to thank Chad Hoover and Kayak Bass Fishing for providing judging for this event. CKA is a KBF AmBASSador Program. Click here for complete standings from Lake Gaston

CKA’s 2023 Season is brought to you by Dakota Lithium Batteries

Click here to see the full 2023 schedule.

Click here to become a member.

All content and photos © Carolina Kayak Anglers LLC, 2023.

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