In the past tournament, I did a bracket based on the best types of stink baits — admittedly a bit of a niche category, but it still received a large response from anglers.
This time, I want to focus on the top sportfish in Kansas in what I’m calling the 2018 Kansas Fishing Madness Bracket Challenge. To make it more like the NCAA Tournament, I decided to divide it into four regionals and try to match each regional with the fish that are available in that particular reservoir — obviously, spoonbill aren’t swimming around in Tuttle Creek, but the angler who caught the world-record paddlefish was a Riley County resident, at least.
Readers will be able to vote for the winners of each round via the Bracket tab on the Topeka Capital-Journal Outdoors Facebook page (https://tinyurl.com/yc88jzmw) or at http://woobox.com/vfmp69/. Round 1 voting will last until noon March 20. Round 2 voting will run from 12:01 p.m. March 20 to noon March 24. Round 3 voting will be from 12:01 p.m. March 24 to noon March 28 and voting for the championship round will take place from 12:01 p.m. March 28 to noon March 31.
Crappie, the top overall seed and a favorite of many Kansas anglers, will face off with the freshwater drum in the first round of the Milford Regional, with smallmouth bass and wiper squaring off in the 2-3 matchup. The winner of the Milford Regional will face the winner of the Perry Regional in the third round to determine which species will move on to the championship round.
In the Perry Regional, the largemouth bass receives the No. 1 seed and will face off in the first round with the longnose gar, the largest of the Kansas gar species. The winner of that matchup will square off with the winner of the 2-3 matchup between the striped bass and sauger.
On the other side of the bracket, the top-seeded flathead catfish will face the stocked rainbow trout in the Tuttle Creek regional and will face the winner of the 2-3 matchup between the blue catfish and the spoonbill in the second round.
The winner of the Tuttle Creek Regional will face the winner of the Banner Creek Regional, which has the No. 1-seeded walleye facing off with the No. 4-seeded bluegill and the No. 2-seeded channel catfish facing off with the No. 3-seeded white bass.
The regionals are divided as follows:
2. Smallmouth bass
1. Largemouth bass
2. Striped bass
4. Longnose gar
Tuttle Creek Regional
1. Flathead catfish
2. Blue catfish
4. Rainbow trout
Banner Creek Regional
2. Channel catfish
3. White bass