Short-sleeve weather on the golf course one day. Biting cold, blustery conditions on the water the next.
No problem. Not for pro fisherman Marcus Sykora and his amateur partner, Matt Capstick.
They shot birdies on the Old Kinderhook’s Tom Weiskopf-designed course at Lake of the Ozarks when they needed them. And they caught big bass when it counted most.
The result? The title in the Missouri Invitational Fishing and Golf Championship.
“The first day (of fishing), we were the bug. Today, we were the windshield,” Sykora said after weigh-ins on Nov. 18, the last round of the three-day tournament. “On the first day, we had clear skies and calm water and it was hard to get them to hit. But today was totally different.
“When you have overcast conditions and wind, these are the days that fishermen dream about.”
In other words, ugly days make for beautiful fishing.
Using topwater lures, Sykora and Capstick teamed to catch an eye-opening five bass weighing 25.20 pounds to seal the victory.
Sykora made a run of almost 50 miles from the takeoff site at Old Kinderhook to the dam area to reach the water he wanted to fish. That amounted to a white-knuckle ride in some tall waves. But it was worth it.
Sykora caught big bass on a black buzzbait. Capstick added a 5.80-pound largemouth that he caught on a Chatterbait.
But he added, “The rest of the time, I was on the net.”
That was fine with him. In the format of the tournament, the amateurs bid for the pros they wanted to team with. Capstick made the high bid, $3,100, so that he could fish with Sykora, known as one of the best fishermen on Lake of the Ozarks and a good golfer as well.
That was a pretty steep price, but it paid off. The winners split $15,000 for taking first place and hoisted a large trophy at the end of the tournament.
In the event, based at the Old Kinderhook Lodge and Golf Course near Camdenton, Mo., pro fisherman teamed with amateurs to fish for bass two days and to join a local golf pro for18 holes in between.
During the golf, a par counted for a half-pound of bass, a birdie equaled one pound and an eagle counted for two pounds.
Sykora, Capstick, and their golf pros – Todd Nicklaus from Lake Valley Golf Club and Michael Cummings from Eldon Golf Club — picked up the equivalent of 14 pounds of bass on the golf course to supplement the 13.37 pounds they caught during the first day of fishing. But the highlight came on Nov. 18, when Sykora had what he termed one of the best days of tournament fishing he has experienced.
That’s saying something. Sykora, who lives in Osage Beach, Mo., was the 2014 BFL All-American champion and has won numerous tournaments, including nine BFL events.
The last day of fishing boosted Sykora and Capstick’s winning total to 52.57 pounds. Mark Wiese, last year’s champion, teamed with amateur Jarred Williams to finish second with 49.44 pounds.
Roger Fitzpatrick and Denise Dill finished third with 46.1 pounds.
For Sykora and Wiese, this year’s tournament amounted to a reverse of fortunes. Sykora led last year’s tournament going into the last day, only to see Wiese rally with a big bag of fish and take the title.
The second annual event featured 25 of the top fishermen in the country, a mix of Bassmaster and FLW pros, local guides and lure manufacturers.
The Missouri Invitational was the brainchild of Bob Renken, executive director of Old Kinderhook, and Bob Bueltmann, who runs the bassingbob.com website that chronicles all things bass fishing at Lake of the Ozarks.
Some of the pros, such as Sykora, had experience on the golf course. Others were trying the game for the first time.
“The next time I golf will be a year from now in this event,” said Kevin Short, who has competed on the Bassmaster Elite Series. “I’ll stick to fishing.
“Still, it was a fun format. I I’m looking forward to coming back.”
For information on Lake of the Ozarks, go the website funlake.com. For more on Old Kinderhook Lodge and Golf Course, go to oldkinderhook.com. And for information on the fishing at Lake of the Ozarks, go to bassingbob.com.