There are times when fishing success hinges on the tiniest of details, and for the angler who pays attention and interprets the clue correctly, the payoff can be huge. Such was the case, during a recent tournament, for diehard kayak angler and YUM ambassador Jason Kincy of Bentonville, Ark.

Kincy competes in a number of kayak fishing tournaments each year where bass are measured and promptly released, and the winner is determined by the total length of his or her 5 best fish. The latest competition called for anglers to fish one of the small, scenic rivers in the area.

”I chose to fish the Elk River just over the border in Missouri,” he said. “It gets maybe 30 or so yards in width, and though there are some deeper holes, it mostly runs 5 to 8 feet deep.”

From the start Kincy rotated through a number of lures, catching and releasing several small bass. “That’s pretty normal for small rivers and streams around here,” he explained. “They’re loaded with smaller fish that don’t really help you win a tournament.”

He tried lure after lure and caught fish after fish, until something happened that changed everything. “I don’t recall the bait I caught it on ,” he explained, “but just before I released this 9- or 10-inch bass, it spit up a large crayfish claw. It was almost 3 inches long and when I looked at it closely I saw that it had a faint blue hue to it.

“I searched my tackle boxes looking for something that could mimic a bluish colored crayfish,” he said, “and the best I came up with was a Black/Blue Laminate YUM Thumpn’ Dinger.”

Though the Dinger’s shade was almost right on, it’s body shape is far from that of a crayfish. The angler noticed, however, that its sharply angled curl tail resembled the claws found on a number of soft plastic crawdad baits sold by tackle retailers everywhere. And, he reasoned, it might just be enough to turn the tide.

“I Texas-rigged it with a 3-4-ounce Reins sinker and 3/0 Owner hook and started dropping it around the deep ends of laydown trees,” he said, “and to make a long story short, my best 5 bass totaled a little over 81 inches; the largest was a 20-inch, 5 pounder, and it too had a crayfish claw poking out of its gullet.” Doing the calculation, it means his other four bass averaged 15-plus inches and about 2¼ pounds. Big numbers for a small Missouri river.

Kincy’s first-place finish in that tournament might not have come with a B.A.S.S. caliber check, but it did give him bragging rights—until the next event at least, which is way more important anyway. And it wouldn’t have come at all, if he hadn’t paid attention to the details.