Monday, February 19, 2024

Jeremiah Kindy Wins 2024 St. Croix BASS Open on Lake Ouachita with 52-03lbs!

Canadian Evan Kung finishes 9th!

Christopher Decker

BASS Press Release 

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Jeremiah Kindy has bass fished on Lake Ouachita since he could walk. In fact, he caught his first jig bass as a toddler around a set of islands 2 miles from Brady Mountain Recreation Area fishing with his dad and brother.

It was the Benton, Ark., native’s first Bassmaster Open appearance since the 2002 Central Open, which was also held at Ouachita.

“This is definitely the most important tournament I’ve ever won,” Kindy said. “It means the world. Just being able to compete and have so many family and friends here. Even if I wouldn’t have won, it would have been awesome. But to get this win is freaking amazing. For three days, I was the best angler on this lake. That’s pretty important.”

With bags of 19-7, 16-5 and 16-7, Kindy outlasted fellow Arkansan Matt Baker, who finished second with 46-13 and third-place Andy Newcomb who finished with 45-12. Although he isn’t currently signed up for the next two Opens in Division II, Kindy plans on fishing both of them, which will make him eligible for the 2025 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors, scheduled for March 21-23 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Since he began fishing tournaments as a teenager, Kindy has earned a reputation from fellow anglers as one of the best anglers on Lake Ouachita. With nearly 200 of the best anglers in the country coming to his home lake, many of whom planned on LiveScoping out deep, he knew he would have to do it his way if he wanted a shot at the win.

“The only way I thought I could win this tournament was to fish to my strengths, and that’s what I did,” he said. “I knew I couldn’t compete with the guys out in the middle of the lake. It set up right. The way we had them two warm days, some females moved up and I got fortunate enough to catch enough of them.”

Kindy’s success revolved around early prespawn staging areas on the main lake where big bass have historically pulled up first. The majority of his bites came up the lake in dirtier water on isolated stretches of bank.

“I ended up catching more than half of my fish up the lake,” Kindy said. “It was just key spots that I know they pull up on first. The places I caught them on, I will catch them in those same places in a month. It lasts a lot longer than people think.”

When the wind kicked up, Kindy moved down lake to clearer water and fished around hydrilla beds. The deep edge of the grass was located in 25 feet of water, but Kindy said the majority of the bass were between the bank and 14 feet of water. Mixed in with the grass were some black rocks, and the bass seemed to hover close to that warmth.

Kindy rotated through three different baits — a Norman Deep Little N crankbait in a chili bowl pattern, a 3/4-ounce Toledo gold-colored Booyah One Knocker and a 3/4-ounce Duo Realis lipless crankbait.

Temperatures rose to 65 degrees on Day 1 and Kindy opened the tournament by catching just under 20 pounds to land in fourth. While warm still, clouds and wind spread over the lake Day 2 and Kindy struggled most of the day, but rallied in the afternoon to take over the lead heading into Championship Saturday.

Air temperatures dropped close to freezing the final morning, which caused some misfortune for Kindy to start the day.

“I picked up my rod with my last Booyah XR75 and I guess my hand quit working. That rod went in the lake,” he explained. “I had my other Trap tied on, so I guess the Lord was telling me to throw that one. That is what I kept in my hands all day today, that Duo Realis one.”

From there, Kindy warmed up and was able to fill his limit by mid-morning around his grass related bass.

“Today was my favorite kind of day, windy and sunny,” he said. “You don’t get a better recipe.”

“It was all main-lake related,” Kindy continued. “I figured out something late yesterday that really helped me out. We had them two warm days and I had been catching them out over the grass. Well, with the cold front, a lot of the big ones stayed up shallow on the rocks.”

After hitting some key stuff early in the morning up the lake and not getting a bite, he returned later in the day and was able to catch three bass in a row to make a couple of key culls. He ended the day close to check-in and sealed the deal with a 3 1/2-pounder.

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