Kyle Alsop, 23, might seems a little young to say he is benefiting from a lifetime of competing in bass tournaments.
But then again…
“I was 3 when I fished in my first tournament,” said Alsop, who lives in Overland Park. “I fished with my dad in the Rogers Little Buddy Bass Tournament.
“I probably spent most of the time playing in the bottom of the boat, but I still have the trophy that every kid got for participating.
“I just remember it being fun.”
Twenty years later, Alsop is still having fun fishing in bass tournaments—maybe more so than ever before.
After years of learning the ins and outs of tournament fishing from his dad – Tom, an excellent local and regional tournament fisherman — Alsop (right in photo) made national news over the weekend. He scored an impressive double championship representing Kansas State University in the YETI FLW College Fishing Championship in Alabama.
First, he teamed with Travis Blenn to win the three-day team competition on Wheeler Lake that ended Friday. Then, he won a fish-off with Blenn on Saturday at Wilson Lake to earn a berth in the FLW Forrest Wood Cup, one of pro fishing’s showcase tournaments, in August.
For Alsop, it marked the second time he has been in the national spotlight as a collegiate angler. He teamed with former partner, Taylor Bivins, to take the championship in the Bassmaster College Series National Championship last August.
But Alsop may have saved his best for last. He graduated from K-State in December, but had eligibility left so he fished in his final collegiate tournament last week.
What a way to go out. Despite never having fished the Alabama reservoirs where the championship tournament took place, Alsop and Blenn put a winning pattern together.
“We were fishing a post-spawn pattern and that’s my favorite type of fishing,” Alsop said. “Wheeler fished like a giant Smithville Lake, and that was to my advantage.
“We fished three different patterns – a shad spawn bite, a killer dock bite and an off-shore bite. A lot of the guys went into the tournament thinking the bass would be deep, but they weren’t. We caught most of our fish in 12 to 15 feet of water.”
Using primarily Zoom Brush Hogs, Alsop and Blenn caught a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 44 pounds, 12 ounces to secure the team championship. Then on Saturday, Alsop weighed in 10 pounds, 5 ounces of bass, edging Blenn, who had 7-7.
For Alsop, it was just one more big moment in a career already filled with highlights. He credits his dad for playing a big part in that.
Tom Alsop and Keith Leftridge have teamed to win or place high in many Kansas City-area tournaments.
“Very few kids have the upbringing of being around bass tournaments like I did,” Alsop said. “I had such a great teacher. That’s the key to my success.”
Now, Alsop has dreams of progressing even further in his fishing career. He hopes to take a shot at the pros, fishing in either the FLW Costa Series or the Bassmaster Central Opens next year. Those circuits amount to the high minors in pro fishing. Do well at that level and a young fisherman could advance to the national tour.
Alsop is working for an engineering firm in Kansas City, but he figures he still has plenty of fishing left.
“The competition is what fuels me,” he said. “It’s not the money; I love to compete.
“When I roll in to weigh-ins with a big sack of fish, there’s a sense of pride. You can say, ‘I figured it out.’ And that’s awesome.”