A congratulatory tip of the hat goes out to Kyle Hall for a job well done. The Granbury angler is easily the winningest bass pro in Texas these days. He’s assembled a plump nest egg over the past 10 months to show for the success.
Hall, 25, is fresh off a dominating performance in the Major League Fishing Toyota Series Championship on November 3-5 on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. There, he topped more than 190 other pros with a three-day total of 59 pounds, 1 ounce.
Hall bested second-place finisher Marshall Robinson of Landrum, South Carolina, by nearly six pounds. He banked $237,500 with the convincing win to cap what turned out to be a dream season for a modest, young angler who is quietly gaining a reputation for carrying a really big stick.
A dream season
Hall’s 2022 performance record was a dream season:
Through 11 tournaments beginning last spring, Hall collected two first-place finishes and a pair of Top 10s. His first major win came in August in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event at Lake Champlain in New York, where he won $137,500. All total, Hall has banked $425,000 since February and earned $627,000 since he began fishing big league events just a few years ago.
That’s a mountain of dough for a 25-year-old bachelor to have in the kitty, but it could be chump change in comparison of things to come. Hall is a talented angler with what looks to be a promising future in the modern age of bass fishing.
Hall chose to pursue a pro fishing career after high school and has gradually become an “A” student of the sport. He is well known as one of the young guys on tour who spends gobs of time fishing with their head down, eyes glued to their depth finder screens.
A sonar junkie
The head-down posture is the signature stance of a forward-facing sonar junkie.
For those who may not know, forward-facing sonar is all the rage these days in the fishing world. It has changed the way many anglers play the game in bass and crappie arenas, alike .
Used correctly, the technology helps anglers see schools or individual fish finning around a considerable distance from the boat. This allows for making precise bait presentations and seeing in real time how the fish react to a bait.
Think of it like video game fishing, only the finny targets are alive. The bigger the blob on the screen, the bigger the fish.
The idea is to drop the trolling motor in suspect areas, then troll around looking for fish that are willing to bite. Considerable amounts of time can pass between casts, and it’s not uncommon for some anglers to swap baits multiple times looking for the one that triggers strikes.
It takes time, patience and the proper mindset to get the hang of using the technology effectively. Most tournament pros will agree it is a handicap trying to compete without it. This is especially true during summer, fall and winter, when schools of fish are suspended in the water column.
Hall is a master at using Garmin’s LiveScope system to find and catch the big ones. He credited the technology with both of his wins in 2022.
“I saw every fish I weighed in during those two tournaments,” Hall said. “Forward sonar has definitely changed the way I fish. I didn’t play video games much growing up, but I’m getting a good taste of it now.”
Honing his skills
Hall got his first LiveScope system in 2020 and wasted no time in getting serious about learning how to use it. His classroom was Lake O.H. Ivie, a 19,000-acre reservoir located about two hours southwest of his home in Hood County. Ivie is the hottest big bass lake in America right now.
Deep and clear with lots of standing timber, Ivie is set up perfectly for forward sonar. The lake is teeming with giant bass, and many of them are prone to suspend around old hardwoods and flooded salt cedars during the winter, often over water as deep as 40 feet.
Hall lives about two hours from the lake and claims he spent nearly 90 days there honing his LiveScope skills over the last two winters. He didn’t become proficient with the technology overnight, but he obviously caught on quickly.
Hall says he has caught 13 bass over 10 pounds at Ivie since last February. His biggest is a 16.10 pound Toyota ShareLunker reeled in March 1. The fish is the No. 21 heaviest Texas bass of all-time.
He caught the giant bass on an Alabama rig matched with a cluster of 6th Sense Divine swim baits. It’s the same tactic he used to catch 75 percent of his winning fish in the Toyota Series Championship earlier this month. The rest came on a Damiki blade bait.
Hall described the haunt where he caught the 16.10 pounder as a line of flooded cedars in about 20 feet of water.
“She was just a few feet off the bottom when I saw her,” he said. “At first I thought it might be a big carp because the blob on the screen was so big. I knew it was a bass when I saw her rising up towards my A-rig. That’s when I started shaking. It was pretty neat to see a fish that big charging a bait and eating it.”
Admittedly, Hall says he has learned a lot about bass and bass behavior with his eyes glued to the screens of his Garmin units during the offseason. The intel gathered has proven to be invaluable in situations when big money is on the line, too.
Hall says he is constantly learning new ways to apply the data provided by his electronics. One of the most useful takeaways he’s gleaned from forward sonar is it has helped him better differentiate between the size of the fish finning around his boat, and which ones are most likely to bite.
“At O.H. Ivie, you don’t have to waste time with the 3- to 4-pounders — you can just troll around looking for the bigger blobs,” Hall said. “A lot of the time you are going to be chunking at big carp thinking they are big bass, but that’s not always the case. Eventually somebody is going to cast at one and it’s going to be a new state record.”
Matt Williams is a freelance writer based in Nacogdoches. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Original Source: https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/other-sports/2022/11/11/big-bass-earn-big-bucks-for-up-and-coming-angler-from-granbury/