20 for 23
The CKA tenth anniversary season ends at the Gate City Classic, on September 23, and we already know that Will Lambert, Garriett Chavis and Brian Falbe are getting some new hardware. Additionally, Lambert and Chavis have qualified for the Tournament of Champions.
How is that possible?
When the directors of Carolina Kayak Anglers met at the Lager Haus and Biergarten at Red Oak Brewery in 2022, we planned for a special 10th anniversary season. So far, that season has exceeded all expectations. For example, attendance has been up, sponsors have provided generous support and payouts have been the highest in club history.
We also added some new trophy races and awards. One of those is based on our new “20 for 23” Series. We started it as a low-stakes, fish for fun event that would also offer a chance to qualify for the Tournament of Champions (TOC). We did that with the hope that one or two anglers would earn the top two spots and get into the TOC through the on-line series because they could not qualify through the Angler of the Year standings.
And that’s exactly how it worked out for Lambert and Chavis.
20 for 23 Results
CKA will hand out more trophies than ever before at the conclusion of the 2023 season at Get Outdoors Pedal and Paddle on September 23rd. In addition to the annual Angler of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards, we will also present a trophy for Sportsman of the year, Angler of the Decade and Sponsor of the Decade. The recipients of those awards and trophies have yet to be determined.
The winners of the 20 for 23 trophies, on the other hand, are official, however, because that race ended with the August event.
Our congratulations to the top three anglers, who battled to the end and will have nice Ketch trophies to show for their work. The top three anglers were the only three to land over 1,000 inches worth of North Carolina Largemouth Bass.
In third place, CKA veteran (and new tournament director!) Brian Falbe took home the third place trophy. His season total length was 1,052.75”.
In second place, Garriett Chavis has some new hardware. 1784.25” was his annual total.
In first place, the 2019 CKA Angler of the Year has a new championship belt to wear. Will Lambert had a season total of 1,937.75”. He was only four 16” bass shy of breaking the 2,000” mark for the year!
How They Did It
If they were counting on the Angler of the Year points race to qualify for the Tournament of Champions, both Lambert and Chavis would be on the outside looking in as of the writing of this article. They might have a chance to qualify through the Gate City Classic, but the competition will be tough.
Fortunately, they got in through the 20 for 23 series. That was exactly what we hoped for when we set it up – to give outsiders a chance to crash the party.
Here is how they got past the bouncers:
When asked how he approached fishing the series, Garriett Chavis told CKA
“I approached the series with the mindset of just going out and having fun and trying to catch those 20+ inch bass. Most the waters I fished, I was very familiar with, so during the different stages of the year I would fish spots I had caught bigger bass in previously with the same conditions. I would also use bigger baits to produce the bigger bite.”
Will Lambert knew from early on that 20 for 23 would be his only chance to qualify for the TOC. He explained his approach:
“After missing three of the first four tournaments of the year in CKA for various reasons, I looked at the 20 for 23 monthly tourneys as my best shot to qualify for TOC. I wanted to fish TOC with Brooks and Clay and I knew I needed to make top 2. With the months of April, May, and June the fishing was unreal for me and the lakes that were scheduled for both CCKF and CKA helped me to be able to prefish and also add fish for the monthly. By far this year has been the best year I’ve had as far as catching big fish. I loved the concept of this tourney. Everyone has always done best 4 or best 5 for a month but best 20 just seemed more attractive to me.”
Looking ahead to the TOC
Lambert’s plan to make the TOC through the 20 for 23 series worked out. Regarding the TOC, he noted:
“I’m really looking forward to TOC this year. Your fishing against some of the best in the series for some big money. It’s nice to have an end of the year to celebrate the top anglers from the past season. Another reason I wanted to get into TOC was it being a 2 day event. I’ve never fished a multi-day event and that was more reason to push to win the 20 for 23 event. I fished the TOC once back in 2019 and I’ve missed the last 3 years for other reasons so I’m for sure looking forward to it!”
Reflecting on his qualification for the Tournament of Champions, Chavis also remarked: “I’m glad I have qualified for the TOC once again. The previous TOC I have fished have been good events, and I’m looking forward to the lake that is selected for this year. Also two-day formats for the TOC are awesome.”
Join us at the awards ceremony for the Gate City Classic at Get Outdoors in Greensboro, NC, on September 23, to celebrate Lambert and Chavis and Falbe’s results, as well as the other 2023 champions and qualifiers!
- Special Thanks to CKA Director Justin Faircloth for his excellent work judging the 20 for 23 Series in 2023!
- For complete 20 for 23 season standings: https://app.fishingchaos.com/club/hcdRny0qxmGvi5nnjxjR/tournament-series/nllzCEgmeV0FO7MpU8BH
- Want to qualify for the Tournament of Champions? Win the Gate City Classic, and you are in!
- Sign up is open: https://app.fishingchaos.com/tournament/z01BEnDillhtj9WExpfy
All content and photos © Carolina Kayak Anglers LLC, 2023.