I'm going to a bit biased here. I just flat out fanboy David Kittrell. The guy has the instinct and knows where to go to catch fish. Although I had issues finding bass on day two of the KBF Top 100 Challenge in 2017 on Toledo Bend, day one was an absolute blast thanks to David Kittrell. We were in the same creek fishing close to each other and until we introduced ourselves, it was about an hour of back and forth "Hey, if I'm too close, let me know" and "Great catch!". Here we are competing for $10,000, and acting like we were two long time buddies just out enjoying a day on the water. We just clicked. Day two of course, I told David where to catch the big fish and how to do it, and we parted ways.....at least that's my side of the story. So, with the KBF Guntersville Trail event coming up, and knowing that David and I share that lake as our favorite, let's learn a bit more about Mr. Kittrell.
David Kittrell Mobile, Alabama
Have we fished together yet? If so, do you remember where?
Yes…KBF Toledo Bend 2017. This was an event to remember, I found myself surrounded by 3 other anglers and you being the one I fished with side by side for 2 days, offering advice, snacks, water etc. I learned a lot that first day about losing a few quality fish due to a poor rod choice using a lipless crank. Switched day 2 to a stiffer rod and landed 27 bass on my way to a top 20 finish….. just outside the money ugh!
What kayak do you use for tournaments?
Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 with the Torqeedo Ultralight 403 motor. I am on the Gulf Region Pro Staff for them and I have used the ATAK 140 for 2 years now. I have fished skinny waters in Florida to big open water at Kentucky Lake and it is one of the best all around kayaks I have ever fished out of.
When and why did you start kayak bass fishing competitively?
I started bass fishing at a young age, but just started kayak fishing in 2015. I fished my first tournament ever on Kentucky Lake in March 2016 placing 12th in the Open and 75th in the National Championship that year. I have been hooked ever since…. pun intended
What are some of your accomplishments that you are most proud of in the sport?
I am most proud of being sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and being on the Wilderness Systems Pro Staff. Probably my next proudest accomplishment is winning 3 Big Bass titles in Live tournaments. KBF Guntersville 2016, KBF Toledo Bend 2016 and KBF Coosa River 2017 I have won 2 ATAK 140 kayaks, a Torqeedo Ultralight 403 motor and some APR rods and Boonedox gear! Also qualifying for the last 3 KBF National Championships thru Live events! J (no roll downs here)
What are some of the companies that you are sponsored by or pro staff for?
What is your biggest fish to date and what did you catch it on?
My biggest kayak fish is from Toledo Bend 2016 24.5 inches and 9lbs… BUT my biggest bass ever is 13.2lbs 26.5 inch tank! I caught it on a T-Rig sweet beaver creature bait. She was an absolute beast! I will try and make this story short. So I caught her March 5, 2012 and actually kept her alive in my live well. I called my local Bass Pro in Spanish Fort Alabama as they take live fish in for their fish tanks. I was able to keep her alive long enough for the biologists to meet me there and record her measurements. For donating a bass bigger than 8 pounds I was able to get a FREE replica mount paid by Bass Pro! They then for some odd reason sent the bass to the BPS store in Harrisburg, Pa where she lived until summer of 2017. At her death she was almost 28 inches long and weighed 17.1 pounds! Crazy right!
What are your biggest challenges either during tournaments or leading up to a tournament?
Probably my biggest challenge is leaving my wife and kids for 3 or 4 days. I have two kids age 6 and 3 and it is always hard. Especially for my wife because she gets stuck with 2 wild youngins’ haha.
My biggest challenge on the water is probably letting go of what has worked for me in the past, putting it down and picking up something else I know I should be throwing…. Like soft plastics. I consider myself a “power fisherman” I love throwing A-Rigs, swimbaits and spinnerbaits etc. Fast moving baits, sometimes I need to slow down and crawl plastics!
Sleep in the car, arrive the morning of the tournament, or grab a hotel?
Grab a hotel if possible, but I have done all 3.
One piece of equipment that you wouldn’t consider fishing a tournament without?
Some would say their fish finder, but when I have done well or caught a ton of bass I rarely contribute it to my FF. They are great for water temps, finding schools, gps, Navionics but I have always caught fish and just recently started using a FF.
If you know where to look and find bass, fish cover, wood, rock, fish points etc. You can find fish without even turning on your electronics!
We all have preconceived notions of what we were getting into before that very first tournament. Have there been any surprises along the way for you? If so, what were they?
Fishing new bodies of water, river systems like Guntersville, Kentucky Lake. They all fluctuate in levels and water clarity, which will have an effect on where the bass will be and where you might want to start looking at certain areas compared to others. Know what kind of body of water you are fishing and try and prepare for and adapt to any situation, because it will happen…. Something is going to go wrong it always does!
Who is one person you would love to kayak bass fish with?
Hmmmm…. Probably one of my fellow Wilderness team mates Jed Plunkert. He is always in the top of the standings at any event he fishes and seems to know a good bit about smallmouth fishing which I never have a chance to catch here in south Alabama.
What body of water is your favorite to fish a tournament on? Why?
Lake Guntersville hands down. I just love the Tennessee River system and the thing about Gville is at any point you are likely to catch a bass of a lifetime!
Are you an old school “rely on my instincts” angler, or do you employ technology more in tracking down where you are going to fish?
I am more of an old school I guess. I like to fish points, rocks, wood. I grew up fishing the Alabama river for spots and current is another thing I always look for. Creek mouths are another great place to start a day fishing, there are always bass waiting on baitfish in creek mouths. Electronics and Navionics are great tools to utilize, but you also have to put in the time on the water
What would be one piece of advice that you would give to someone considering entering the sport?
Put in “Time on the Water” there is no substitute for putting in the time and effort of finding fish on your own. Not relying on someone else that fishes for a living to find fish for you. It always feels better when you place in the money or do well finding your own fish.