Bogdan Rules the Michigan Kayak Trail


For a 22-year-old from Ukraine with just three years of bass fishing from a kayak under his belt, Bogdan Korostetskyi of Livonia has had a pretty good fishing tournament season so far.

Korostetskyi won three kayaks and a tidy sum of nearly $3,000 this year on the Michigan Kayak Trail, which culminated with its championship in August. The part-time business student garnered a Hobie Outback for taking first place at the Grand River tournament in May. Then, a week ago Saturday, he won the MKT Championship on Lake Mitchell in Cadillac, which was worth a brand-new Nu Canoe kayak. At the same event, he finalized his season-long dominance of all five MKT tournaments and earned the Jackson Kayak Angler of the Year title. As the title implies, a Jackson kayak (a newer model called a Liska) was part of the AOY prize. Korostetskyi also won a Torqueedo electric motor that retails for about $2400 and is made to mount on a kayak.

Korostetskyi comes a long way in just a few years
Korostetskyi, now a US citizen, moved to Michigan from Ukraine with his family eight years ago. He started kayak fishing from a cheap, inflatable kayak in 2015.

Bogdan said, when he came to the US, he knew about 10 words of English. He now speaks English better than many US-born kayak anglers and said he learned a lot about fishing from watching bass-fishing shows on TV as well as YouTube videos. Plus, he spends as much time on the water as his studies and a real job allow.

The Michigan Kayak Trail just completed its second year, averaging more than 80 anglers in four regular-season tournaments, and with 44 who qualified and attended the championship. It’s no small feat to win one of those tournaments, let alone two of them in the same year, let alone doing better than all other competitors through the season to win the AOY crown.

An exceptional example
Yours truly also fished all of the MKT events and finished 30 spots behind Bogdan, winning a sum total of nothing in all five contests. I don’t want to go into how many years I’ve been bass fishing and tournament bass fishing in both boats and kayaks, but it’s about 15 times longer than Bogdan has. I plan to watch more bass fishing on YouTube, myself. It couldn’t hurt.

The $60 inflatable kayak is long gone. He now fishes from a pedal-powered Titan 12 model made by Native Watercraft. Native and FX Custom Rods both claim Bogdan on their pro staffs. He has to sell the prize kayaks he’s won, since they are other brands than Native. He also plans to sell the Torqueedo electric motor, as ProNav wants to sponsor him with one of their trolling motor guidance systems on a Minn Kota trolling motor for his Titan 12.

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The ProNav sponsorship came because along with watching YouTube videos, Bogdan has created his own, starting with his very first trip casting a floating frog from his inflatable kayak. He has chronicled all of his tournaments, shortening down the footage to around 15 minutes-worth of highlights. You can see them on his Kayak Outbreak YouTube channel.

He has 73 of them
One of his earlier videos records his first kayak bass tournament, which he fished in 2016 on Lake Ovid in central Michigan. He only caught two bass in that first contest and a highlight is him falling asleep, which he laughs about now.

While he says a lot of the short videos are boring, I think they’re pretty entertaining. Well worth a look, even if you’re only mildly interested in bass fishing and kayaks. It’s fun to watch Bogdan catch fish (even when I know, in the same tournament that he’s catching bass after bass, I only caught two). He definitely not only has a talent for catching bass, but also for chronicling the whole day with a pair of Go Pros.

Along with being a nice guy, he’s a highly innovative and versatile angler. At the Grand River, he won throwing a chatterbait. While, at Lake Mitchell, he won flipping a Texas-rigged creature bait around weed clumps. An example of his innovation is his near victory at Lake St. Clair, back in June, by drop-shotting a large, soft-plastic jerkbait around bedding smallmouths. That’s not an uncommon tactic, but Bogdan figured out that putting the weight just a few inches below the lure so the presentation was just a couple inches off the bottom triggered strikes from more and bigger fish than most other contestants could catch. He also spray-dyed the pearl-colored plastics to make them bright chartreuse in the muddied water.

Bogdan, studying business and marketing, hopes he can be one of the first kayak anglers to make a living through sponsorship from companies involved in kayak fishing. He knows no one will pay him to fish, but hopes to sign promotional contracts to build brands and sell products.

With a passion for kayak bass fishing that matches his talent for catching them, I have no doubt he will succeed.