ANDERSON, S.C. — Patience and persistence paid off big for Eric Siddiqi of Cincinnati, Ohio, who tallied a two-day total of 188 inches to win the 2022 Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series Championship Powered by TourneyX on Richard B. Russell Lake.
Edging second-place John Milchling by 1/4 inch, Siddiqi won the $20,000 first-place award.
Russell Lake covers 26,650 acres, but Siddiqi said he needed only the latter end of one creek to get the job done. Sticking with this spot, he said, went against his run-and-gun nature, but the decision proved prudent.
“I found this place on Sunday and I just went there and checked on them every day,” Siddiqi said. “I like to fish a lot, so it was really hard not to do that.
“When I first found the spot, I caught a 22 1/2-inch largemouth, so I knew I had a special area. When I was looking at a map of the lake, nothing else looked like this area of the lake.”
Siddiqi targeted an area with a lot of riprap and cutoff ponds that he suspected could be linked to underwater culverts. Fishing in 6 to 15 feet of water, Siddiqi caught most of his fish on a 4.3-inch Keitech Swing Impact Fat in Tennessee shad color on a 1/4-ounce Keitech tungsten ball head.
“There was a little 10-foot hole back there with depths of about 6 feet around it,” Siddiqi said. “There was a bunch of fish sitting around that. I caught two big spotted bass back-to-back on the second day.
“It was really rocky; it was great bottom. I was just crawling that Keitech. There were a lot of fish there, but they weren’t easy to catch. I’d have to make 50 to 100 casts in the right area before I got one to bite.”
He caught nine of the 10 fish he entered on this spot. He caught the 10th on a wobblehead jig with a Gene Larew Biffle Bug that he fished over a roadbed running across the pocket.
“The first day, I tried to take it easy,” he said. “After I got my five, I pulled off a little bit and went to that roadbed. I upgraded a 17 1/4-inch fish with a 19 1/2.”
On Day 2, Siddiqi experienced a late-day flurry, but despite the surge, he was unsure of his final placement. (Competitors are able to monitor one another’s progress through the TourneyX live leaderboard).
“A friend of mine came down from Cincinnati and he had a drone and was watching me from the bank,” Siddiqi said. “He watched me catch four in a row in the last hour. I had a 15-incher and I upgraded with a 16 1/2. Then I caught a 17 3/4 that upgraded me from the 16 1/2.
“That was the last upgrade I had, then the leaderboard went off. That was the last time I knew I was up by 1/4 inch. I thought for sure (Milchling) was going to upgrade. He had a 23-incher on the first day, so I knew if he upgraded even 1/4 inch, I was done.”
Siddiqi placed second on Day 1 with 94 inches. His Top 5 bass measured 19.5, 19.25, 19, 18.25 and 18 inches. Turning in the same total on Day 2, Siddiqi’s top fish measured 20.25, 19.75, 19, 17.75 and 17.25 inches.
- 2022 Bassmaster Kayak Series Partners: Old Town, MotorGuide