Our annual Knockout Series came to a conclusion on October 28 at Lake Maspenock in Hopkinton. It was another great year with some very close matches and stiff competition. One even resulted in a tie, which was broken by big fish. Can’t get any closer than that!

We started the series with 32 anglers and ended up with just two—Ken Wood and Shawn Renes.

Shawn made it to the finals last year, but was ultimately beaten by Dave Bibo. As fate would have it, they faced off again in the semi-finals (round 4) this year, but this time Shawn got his revenge and moved on to the finals for the second year in a row.

Ken Wood got spanked in round 1 last year, losing by 30.50 inches! This year he didn’t get to exact my revenge on Bruce Levy, who himself was knocked out in round 1, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Shawn and Ken decided to try out something new for the final match this year: instead of one match, they fished two. The first took place at our Lake Rico event. It was a close one, with both anglers catching one big fish over 20 inches and four dinks, but Shawn bested Ken by two inches that day, 47.25 to 45.25.

Once again it was a tight finish at Maspenock. Ken quickly landed two fish back to back, the first at 7:08 and the second at 7:15, but it would take him the rest of the day to fill a limit and cull up one time (he caught his last two fish at 1:56 and 2:08 PM).

Shawn had an early flurry, landing four fish between 7:04 and 7:53 AM. Ultimately one of those, a 14.25, was DQ’d for the eye being covered, but a few hours later he caught another the exact same size.

Even if that fish hadn’t been DQ’d, Ken had him beat…until 2:03 PM, when Shawn landed a solid 17.50. That one sealed Ken’s fate.

On the day, Shawn won by .50 inches, 47 to 46.50 (the Knockout Series is a three-fish limit, so only the biggest three of their five from that day were counted here). Between both final matches, Shawn took the win with an overall total of 94.25 to Ken’s 91.75, a difference of 2.50 inches.

So without further ado, a huge congratulations to this year’s Knockout Series Champion: Shawn Renes. Great guy and an excellent fisherman! Hell of a match and an excellent win!

Not to be forgotten, this year’s overall Knockout Series big fish went to Edmar Junior, with his 22-inch slob caught during his round 3 match back in June. There were a number of bass over 20 inches caught this year, and a few over 21, but none big enough to take the crown and $200 from Edmar. Congrats!

In his round 4 match, Ken Wood managed to hook up with two solid bass—a 20.50 and a 21—which gave him an inch lead over previous series “big bag” leader, Donald Davis. With only one round remaining at that point, Ken only had to worry about Shawn breaking the record at Lake Rico (since they experimented with the two-match finale, only the first went toward the big fish/big limit records), and that did not happen. So this year’s biggest limit went to Ken Wood, with 57 inches, taking a bit of the sting out of his series loss, no doubt.

Thank you all for another great season! Looking forward to next year. Let’s aim for 64 anglers! Sign-ups will begin in January.