Outside lucrative tourney outcomes, Lambert has also faced plenty of ‘run ins’ with nature. “Fishing Lake Sam Rayburn one spring, I had a 14-foot
Outside lucrative tourney outcomes, Lambert has also faced plenty of ‘run ins’ with nature. “Fishing Lake Sam Rayburn one spring, I had a 14-foot gator sort of escort me out of his cove. That was something. I’ll also never forget a nighttime redfish trip to Pensacola, Florida,” he recalls. “It’s pitch black, and I’ve got this big redfish right up to the boat. Out of the dark, giant sets of jaws, fins and a huge tail rolled up beside me and chomped the redfish right off my line. You can’t fully appreciate the adrenaline of something like that until you’re right down close to the water with these creatures. Goes with the territory—and I love it.”
With his own set of stories and triumphs, West Virginia native Jody Queen has become an almost legendary figure on the kayak trail. Artist in residence in historic Bluefield, West Virginia, Queen taps into his creative, detail-oriented nature to dissect bodies of water and entice big bass with astonishing consistency. An amazing string of wins include the 2019 Hobie Tournament of Champions, two 2020 Hobie BOS wins, two 2020 KBF Trail wins and the prestigious 2021 KBF “The Ten” champ.
Queen also recalls his own unique gator story. “It happened during my first trip down to Okeechobee, my bucket list fishery. I was in a little 10-foot boat and as soon as I reached my spot and stopped for a cast, a 12-foot gator hit me broadside and tried to roll the kayak. But because he hit me at that angle, the gator couldn’t quite roll the whole boat. So, I reached down and popped him in the head with my paddle, which thankfully made him think twice and turn me loose. For a while after that, I had an old gator head in my kayak, sort of as a reminder and hopefully, a bit of a good luck charm.”