Below is a list of Topics and the Associated Speakers. Click on the Speaker Name to jump to that speakers bio.

Kayak Academy Speakers:

Traditional Speakers:

Kayak Catfish (Justin Johnston)- Kayak Academy

  • Over 50 Kayak Catfishing Tournament Victories.
  • 2nd in first ever National Kayak Catfishing Trail hosted by OCT in 2023.
  • Owns the 2 most popular kayak catfishing channels on YouTube.  Main YouTube channel – Kayak Catfish has 169,000+ Subs with over 75 million total views.
  • Featured in numerous magazine articles including In-Fisherman, Catfish Now, Kayak Angler Magazine, and Fur Fish and Game. 
  • Published author and Kayak Catfishing educator.  Creator of featured Kayak Catfishing course with the company Catfish Sumo.
  • Known as Ryan Bortz’s Daddy in the kayak catfishing tournament circle

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Ryan Bortz – Kayak Academy

  • 2020
  • Point Champion Kayaks and Cats Regional Month Long Series: Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky
  • 10+ Tournament Wins
  • 2021
  • 2nd Place Points Placer in OCT National Month Long Series
  • Point Champion Kayaks and Cats Regional Month Long Series: Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky
  • 10+ Tournament Wins
  • 2022
  • Point Champion in first ever Ohio Kayak Catfishing Trail that traveled the state of Ohio
  • Point Champion Place Points Placer in OCT National Month Long Series
  • Point Champion Kayaks and Cats Regional Month Long Series: Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky
  • 10+ Tournament Wins
  • 2023
  • National Champion in first ever National Kayak Catfishing Trail hosted by OCT

Ryan Bortz was born in South Eastern Kentucky, raised in Tennessee, and currently resides in Central Kentucky.  He’s a 37 year old who has been Kayak Catfishing for 5 years and is a leader kayak catfishing evolution.  He and Kayak Mike have broken barriers in the sport not witnessed before, opening opportunities and more water to all kayakers.

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Kayak Mike (Michael Guest) – Kayak Academy

  • Owner/Creator of the group Online Catfishing Tournaments.  Has hosted over 300 events.  Has competed in over 250 events.  Has been skunked in 1 event.
  • Over 25 tournament victories.
  • Owner of the YouTube Channel “Kayak Mike” with 2,000+ subs.  First YouTuber to feature bumping for catfish from a Kayak.
  • Has spoke at over 10 seminars in regards to Kayak Catfishing and Online Catfishing tournaments.
  • Also know as Ryan’s Daddy in the kayak catfishing tournament circles.

Kayak Mike and Ryan Bortz are leaders in Kayak Catfishing sport innovation.  The first ever fish caught bumping on video from a kayak was by Kayak Mike.  There is not a single Catfishing skill that these two anglers do not possess.  Between Ryan and Mike they have a combined total of 1 skunk at in person Kayak Fishing events.  There is not a time of year, part of the country, or body of water they cannot catch catfish in competition.

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DJ Nauta – Kayak Academy

A born/bred Columbus Ohioan and raised on the banks and waters of the Hoover Reservoir. From fishing off the dam riprap, hearing stories of Catfish as big as VW bugs to creating and running the Central Ohio Kayak Fishing League which features weekly Kayak Bass events on the 3 Columbus Reservoirs (Hoover, Alum Creek and Griggs)

Having participated in local, State and National events in the Kayak Bass arena, numerous tips and experiences are to be shared in hopes to convince all anglers to join in the obsession… Kayak Bass Fishing…

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Billy Chambers – Kayak Academy

A Passionate Angler and Advocate for Kayak Fishing

I’m an avid angler, devoted father, and a true enthusiast of kayak fishing. With a wealth of experience in organizing tournament trails in the past, I bring a unique blend of expertise and passion to the fishing community.

Beyond my love for the water, I also enjoy video editing, photography, and podcasting. My creative pursuits have allowed me to capture and share the essence of my fishing adventures with fellow enthusiasts. You can find me on platforms like TikTok and YouTube under the name BillyKayaks.

When talking with me about my hobbies, expect an enlightening and entertaining experience that combines my personal stories, advice, and my genuine desire to engage with the kayak fishing community.

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Ryan Parker – Kayak Academy

Raised a stone’s throw from the once upon time mud puddle, Indian Lake. I cut my teeth fishing spillway saugeye, weed dwelling crappie, and hopping farm ponds for largemouth. While these days you’ll likely find me chasing bass…preferably the bronze variety, it doesn’t take much to twist my arm into filling a limit of flooded brush crappie at Hoover. I’ve also developed a taste for the punishment that comes along with targeting our state’s biggest toothy predator, the infamous muskellunge.

From qualifying for and fishing the very first Bassmaster Classic Kayak Series, winning the 2019 state kayak bass trail, to unforgettable days boating multiple Ohio muskies. I love sharing my experience and knowledge with anyone who shares the passion.

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Everrett Sheets – Kayak Academy

During my life and military service I’ve had the opportunity to catch almost every freshwater species in the lower 48, and a few other countries; but, nothing compares to the hunt for the BASS!

I found that tournament angling is an excellent excuse to fish waters you would normally not go to! I had never found the amazing fishery that is East/West harbor, or fished the tough inner city ponds of Cincinnati.

I have won numerous events and two time angler of the year in the local Central Ohio Kayak Fishing League as well as placed in the top 10 in multiple ohio leagues multiple times. I have qualified for 3 of the 4 BASS National kayak championships through the Ohio Bass Nation Kayak Division and will be competing for the big stage in March on Tenkiller.

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Steve Brinkley – Saugeye Tactics

My name is Steve Brinkley, also known by some as st.slippy from OGF.  I have been fishing Central Ohio waterways for about the last 20 years.  I grew up fishing Lake Erie a few times a year with my family, but really pond fishing as a young kid with my neighbor is what grew my love for fishing.  I started seriously learning the local waterways starting around 2004.  Not long after that, my love for saugeye fishing took off.  Most the time when people ask me where I fish, I tell them I would fish my bathtub if I thought I would catch them.  I have never been a competitive fisherman, except for with myself.  I fish lakes, creeks, rivers, and ponds.  I enjoy fishing from shore, wading, kayaking, and boat fishing.  I have fished Hoover for many years, and it has provided me with some amazing catches as well as some serious frustrations! When you hit Hoover right, the payoff can be exceptional.  I hope to share with you some of the understanding and techniques that I utilize when saugeye fishing.  I have had the pleasure of fishing with and beside some of this areas best fisherman, and we have learned from each other ways to find success in chasing these fish we love.  I hope to provide information that is helpful to fisherman of all levels.  If not, at least some decent fishing stories.

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Dan Brooks – Trolling for Saugeye

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Joe Owens – Intro to Catfishing

My name is Joe Owens Ive been Catfishing since I was at least 10 years old. I started off just like a lot of others, on the bank with a zebco rod and a can of worms. I took a small hiatus from fishing while I was in the Marine Corps from 1999 to 2006, once I returned home I hit the ground running and got right back into Catfishing.

Roughly 9-10 years ago I learned about tournament fishing where I dove in head first jumping on anyone’s boat who would have me, the community being so accepting I was able to fish a lot and learn more then I could handle. I’ve since got my own boat and now fish tournaments all over the state and a few out of state tournaments. Over the years I have become fairly successful and win my fair share of tournaments on different bodies of water. I also run a fishing event on Sandusky bay along side of Disabled Veterans Organization where I organize as many boats as possible to take disabled vets fishing for a day, last year we managed 56 boats and vets! 

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Nick Radabaugh – ODNR Overview of Hoover Lake Fishery

Nick Radabaugh is the Fisheries Management Supervisor in District 1 for the ODNR Division of Wildlife. He and his staff are responsible for managing the fisheries in central Ohio’s streams and reservoirs, including Hoover. Nick grew up in Mentor, Ohio and had a passion for fishing from a young age, catching bass in the neighbor’s pond, steelhead in the Chagrin River, and walleye and northern pike on annual camping trips to Ontario. He received a B.A. degree in Biology from the College of Wooster and a Master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from South Dakota State University. After graduating, Nick was lucky enough to start a career in a field that combined his scientific interests with his passion for fishing, and even luckier to do it back in his home state of Ohio, when he was hired by the Division of Wildlife as a Fisheries Biologist in 2006. He continued in that role for 15 years, conducting sport fish surveys and angler surveys on central Ohio’s reservoir fisheries, before being promoted to supervisor two years ago. In his spare time, Nick enjoys chasing saugeye and crappie in reservoirs all around central Ohio with his two kids and also with his colleagues.

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Jay Siefring – Bass Tactics

My wife and I moved to the shores of Hoover in 2021 which has blessed me with frequent and easy access to some of the best bass and crappie fishing in Central Ohio. I’ve fished Hoover for more than twenty years and spent more than thirty days on this amazing fishery in 2023. When I’m not fishing Hoover for fun or during a Thursday Night Tournament, I’m fishing Columbus Bassmaster Club tournaments at various Ohio lakes, spending time on Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair chasing smallmouth, or working my day job to fund my fishing habit. I’ll spend some time talking about my best day on Hoover during the 2023 season when a good friend and I sacked a 23+ pound bag of five largemouth and caught over fifty bass in one outing. I’ll share some simple tactics you can use to increase your odds of catching bass during each of the five seasons of Hoover. You won’t want to miss my segment on Winter fishing Hoover during the “Christmas Season.”  Hoover is the gift that keeps on giving!!!

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Mike Six – Crappie Fishing: Trolling accuracy and lure depth control to catch more fish

Mike Six is a retired veteran, having served in the US Air Force for 27 years. He is an avid outdoor sportsman, dabbling in deer, rabbit, waterfowl hunting and multi-species fishing. His passion for crappie fishing began over 10 years ago. He honed his craft of planer board trolling for crappie after years of experience walleye fishing on Lake Erie. Mike and his wife, LeAnne, are Pro Staff members of Offshore Tackle and Crappie Magnet. They fish local tournaments, national tournaments and charity events. Their unique technique of trolling, using Offshore Tackle mini planer boards, has drawn some attention to include being featured on the Brushpile Fishing show and Pod Cast, Fishing 411 with Jake Romanack and The Offshore Tackle annual news release and Pod Cast. Be on the lookout for LeAnne this summer on season 10 of Brushpile Fishing, as she and Russ Bailey put some great Hoover crappie in the boat pulling Crappie Magnet double jigs behind planer boards.

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Zachariah Stelting – Advanced Trophy Catfishing

Zachariah is an avid fisherman and tournament director for Central Ohio Catfish Tournament trail. Zachariah was recently featured in Catfish NOW magazine. Follow the tournament activities on their Facebook page of the same name. He also has a YouTube channel called Catfishing with Zac.

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Ryan Wendel – Hoover Slabs: Seasonal Patterns and Livescoping

My name is Ryan Wendel.  I have lived in Ohio most of my life.  Born in St. Mary’s OH, in 1979.  My dad taught me how to fish growing up on Grand Lake St Mary’s.  Fishing has always been a passion of mine.  I earned a Fish & Wildlife management degree from Hocking College with intentions of pursuing a career in the outdoors.  Somehow, I have found myself in the restaurant world nowadays, but still make plenty of time to chase my passion.  My wife and I lived in central Ohio for 15 years, that’s when I discovered my new favorite lake, Hoover Reservoir.  I have been fishing Hoover now for over 20 years, it remains to this day my favorite lake to fish.  I currently live down in the Cincinnati area, 5 minutes from Kings Island.  I love fishing our local lakes; however, I always make it a priority to visit Hoover every chance I can.  My target species always seems to be crappie.  I love catching slab crappies, whether it be competitively or fun fishing!

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