Laney reels in Lay Lake Open title

Angler Brian Laney took home the opening stage of the 2014 Coosa Canoe and Kayak Fishing Tournament, the Lay Lake Open, by posting a total length of  56.75 inches. (Contributed/Frank Chitwood)

Angler Brian Laney took home the opening stage of the 2014 Coosa Canoe and Kayak Fishing Tournament, the Lay Lake Open, by posting a total length of 56.75 inches. (Contributed/Frank Chitwood)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

Angler Brian Laney took home the opening stage of the 2014 Coosa Canoe and Kayak Fishing Tournament, the Lay Lake Open, by posting a total length of  56.75 inches.

The series’ anglers, as the title suggests, fish from canoes and kayaks during the tournament. Frank Chitwood of the the Coosa Riverkeepers, —organizers of the event— said other differences from other bass tournaments besides the form of transportation used.

“There are two big differences,” he said in a March 27 interview. “No. 1, there are no motors allowed. (Anglers) can’t even have trolling motors. The second is that we do catch-photograph-release.”

Catch-photograph-release, or CPR, is a form of angling that requires anglers to land a fish, photograph it, then release the fish back into the water in a matter of minutes rather than keep fish in a boat live well for a tournament weigh in.

Chitwood said anglers are issued the same ruler, along with a piece of paper with a random word on it, also known as a “token” to prevent cheating. The fish must be compared with the ruler and photographed with the token and with the canoe or kayak in view.

The tournament took place in tough conditions, with anglers facing wind and muddy, turbulent waters after two days of rain.

Laney’s mark took the victory over second place Justin Wynn’s runner-up length of 51.5 inches and Josh Tidwell’s third place mark of 45.25 inches.

Other winners included Aaron Hamlin in the Best Bass category, with a length of 25.5 inches; Best Young Angler was Jake Kiser, with a length of 24.25 inches and Best Family Duo went to Jake and Michael Kiser with a combined length of 36 inches.

The tournament featured 56 anglers, and held the captain’s meeting in Columbiana March 27. All participants launched from the first safe light on March 28, fishing until 4 p.m.

The next stage of the tournament will be held May 3 in Wetumpka. For more information, such as how to participate in one of the five stages of the tournament, visit Coosariver.org.