The Tournament of Champions is the grand finale of the CKA tournament season. CKA established the Tournament of Champions in 2016 to reward the top anglers in the AOY standings with an opportunity to fish for one last prize. The competition has expanded to make qualification more competitive, the prizes more extensive and the event more fun. Depending on the year and weather, it may be either a 2-day event where the top 10 after day one advance to the second day, with payouts to the entire field of day 2, or a single day tournament.
To honor and remember our roots in an earlier time in the history of our sport, we sometimes hold the event off line.
In 2021, changed up the Tournament of Champions qualification to make this an elite event, so that only top anglers that have proven their skills throughout the season qualify! Qualification is based off of the number of paid members, and we will take a select group based off of top percentage of anglers. Additionally, the following qualify:
- the winner of each event (no roll downs)
- the top 2 finishers in the “20 for 24” online series
- the champion of the previous season’s event
- Angler of the Year and Rookie of the Year
The total amount possible to fish the event can drop if an angler wins more than one event throughout the season, the top percentage will not change however.
Additional Prizes from our Sponsors include
- Custom Trophy
- Custom trophy
- Custom trophy
The 2016 Tournament of Champions was a single day event held on the Yadkin River. The roster of qualified anglers competed for a single, winner take all prize. CKA veteran Denny Romero won the top prize with his 3 best fish on a cold, windy day.
The 2017 Tournament of Champions was held as a two day event on Lake Norman. It pitted the top 25 CKA anglers (a few roll down spots were included) against one another. Unlike the first edition of the Tournament of Champions, this was a 2 day event, with a 3/2, 5 fish aggregate limit. The top prize remained unchanged – the winner took home the entire entry purse. CKA veteran Melvin Yang won the 2017 Tournament of Champions with an 87′ limit. Tommy Xiong and PC Hawj rounded out the top 3 spots, and won additional prizes.
The 2018 Tournament of Champions was held October 13th & 14th on Falls Lake. A field of 24 anglers was cut to 10 for day two. Ronnie Murphy led the field on day 1, when he also won Big Bass with a 22.75″ fish. On Day 2, Joey Sullivan came back from 7th place on Day 1 to win 1st place with a two day limit of 149″. Calvin Keller (2nd place) and David Golding (3rd place) rounded out the top 3.
The 2019 Tournament of Champions was a single day event held on Jordan Lake. A field of 23 anglers competed. William Queen won the Big Bass prize while Keith McGee emerged victorious, having followed his 2018 Rookie of the year title with a 2019 T.o.C. victory; Keith is the only angler to win both an annual race and a T.o.C. in the club’s history.
The 2020 Tournament of Champions was a single day event held on Kerr Lake on October 17, 2020. 22 anglers competed in the event. For the first time in the Tournament’s history, there was a repeat champion as Keith McGee won the trophy for the second year in a row with a five fish limit of 78.75″. Big Bass honors went to Christopher Decker with a 20.50″ Kerr giant. On a side note, 2019 Rookie of the Year Sammy Wilson landed what we believe to be the first Walleye caught as a by-catch in CKA competition.
The 2021 Tournament of Champions was a two day event held on lakes Marion & Moultrie (SC) on September 25-26, 2021. 14 anglers competed in the event.. The 2021 Rookie of the Year Jared Stanley won the competition to become the second ROY to win that title and the T.o.C. in the same year. Big Bass honors went to Stanley and Ryan Freeman, who each landed 22.75″ bass on separate days.
The 2022 Tournament of Champions was held on Lake Tillery, and won by Eric Nelson.
The 2023 Tournament of Champions was held on Lake Mackintosh, and it was won by Will Lambert.
All text and photos © CKA 2014-2024