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Date: April 30, 2011
Region: 2011 South Region
Tournament: Lake Choke Canyon
Tournament Trail: 2011 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Tompkins brothers win Bass Champs on Choke Canyon for over $20,000
By: Patty Lenderman

It’s a family affair at Skeeter Bass Champs. The top three teams all fished with fellow family members and came out winners at Choke Canyon April 30, 2011. Brothers William and Joseph Tompkins topped the field with a 26.45 lb limit, winning well over $20,000 in cash and prizes. Twenty three teams enjoyed a payday in this event that paid over $48,000 – a 104% payback!

For the winners, they credit their wives for their participation and support. “Our wives help with everything,” William explained. “From pre-fishing to taking care of home while we’re out here, to encouragement – we are truly blessed.” William and his wife had done some scouting about two weeks before the tournament. “The area we found was holding some good fish, but we knew it was a common area for anglers. Joseph and I were just hoping for a low number in the draw (the boat number established the order for take-off).” They got their wish, drawing boat #5. “My wife makes a lot of my baits. We started out with a secret one she makes for me, in a color she calls Watermelon Warfare, and had a twenty pound limit by 9:30. They were all about the same size, and while we were catching a lot of fish we just couldn’t get a kicker in the boat.” Joseph knew they had to do something different to get the kicker they were looking for. “He picked up a deep diving crank bait he had bought a few weeks ago. Understand, this kind of fishing is not his specialty but he knew it was time to get out of his comfort zone, think outside the box and shake things up.” It worked – on his fifth cast he landed a seven pounder, then shortly after that a six pounder. “All total he caught three nice ones on that crank bait, then the bite just shut down.” Among the first to weigh, they topped the leaderboard with 26.45 lbs. “The most nerve racking thing was the weigh in. There were a lot of teams that had to come in with their catch, and there’s a lot of tough teams fishing against us. We didn’t think we would win, but felt we had a respectable weight. Going into this tournament, our biggest goal was points for Angler of the Year. We were only four points behind.” At the end of the day, the brothers were declared winners and was awarded the $20,000 1st place check. In addition, they also won the Dodge Ram Truck bonus, giving them free entries into any Bass Champs tournament for the next 12 months. They also received the Sure Life bonus for using the product in their livewell. “We would like to thank our awesome wives, thank God for looking after us, and Kistler rods. We use them exclusively.” They also reached their goal in the points standings, and with one event left to go for the South Region they are now leading in the Anglers of the Year race. William will be heading to Afghanistan soon, as a support contractor for our armed services. “We provide military support, taking care of most of their every day needs including laundry, housekeeping, etc so they can concentrate on the job they are there for. We do our best to help them out until they get to go home. There is no way to repay them for the freedoms they protect for us.”

Corey Waldrep and his father Craig finished in 2nd place with their 24.16 lb total. “We had a really unusual day,” Corey recalls. “We had equipment and trolling motor issues that slowed us down some, but we got through them.” They started out in deep water with crank baits and Carolina rigs. “By 9:30 we had put a limit together, but it was small. We worked our way up to shallower water, in post spawn areas with isolated cover, and started flipping.” Corey was using a 4” Chigger Craw. That’s when he caught their kicker – 10.28 lbs, also winning Big Bass of the tournament. “That catch really saved us.”We continued, basically throwing the kitchen sink at them.” They culled several times to their final weight, winning 2nd place and $3,000. They were also awarded another $1,000 for the biggest bass of the tournament. “I am so glad that dad and I are partners. We have a lot of fun together, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” The team would like to thank Custom Angle Rods with their reverse wrap and EZEE jigs for their support.

Yet another father & son team, Claude and Carson Sims, came in 3rd place with 23.22 lbs. “We found a spot holding five and six pounders two weeks ago. We went to that spot and stayed all day.” Claude caught their first fish of the day, a six pounder, with a spinnerbait. Switching to power worms, he caught another 4 pounder then a nine pounder. Carson, 12 years old, also contributed to the pot finishing their limit using a combination of spinnerbaits, swim baits and worms. “My son caught a lot more fish than I did – probably double. This is his first year to fish tournaments, and he really loves it. We just moved here from Georgia, and are enjoying fishing Bass Champs together. The hot dogs at the weigh ins are pretty good, too!” Carson had the opportunity to meet Pro Angler Byron Velvick, and they really hit it off. Byron has shared some baits, tips, and was able to get Carson in to fish the US Open in Las Vegas. Carson will be the youngest angler ever to participate in that event. “Only one problem – he is so into this that he thinks he is ready to quit school and go pro!” Bass Champs presented the duo with $2,000 for their 3rd place finish.

It took 17.96 lbs to grab a check, the last place was won by Jewel Pierce Jr. & Charles Moody in 23rd place.

Over the course of the season, the leaderboard in the Angler of the Year points standings has shuffled quite a bit. With only one tournament left for the South Region anglers, the top five points leaders are:
731 pts William Tompkins & Joseph Tompkins
689 pts Trent Huckaby & Tyler Young
659 pts Alton Jones Jr. & David Ridley III
654 pts Chris Snyder & Patrick Starnes
654 pts Will Welch & John Basinger

The final event for the South Region will be May 21st at O.H. Ivie. In the mean time, Bass Champs staff and crew will head to Lake Travis for Central Regions fourth event of the season.

So far in 2011 Bass Champs has paid over $700,000 to participating anglers in regular season events. It’s not over yet! There are still 7 tournaments yet to go before the championships. And the good news? Anyone can fish. Why wait until next year when you can fish one or two or more this year for your chance to grab some cash?

For more information on any Bass Champs tournament, click to www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274.
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