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Date: February 11, 2012
Region: 2012 South Region
Tournament: Lake Amistad #1
Tournament Trail: 2012 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Amistad gives up 30+ lb stringer for Bass Champs winners to receive over $20,000
By: Patty Lenderman

Skeeter Bass Champs South Region anglers met on Lake Amistad February 11, 2012 to compete in the second of five events for their region. $57,549.99 was paid back in cash and prizes, but Jean Ducharme & Gary Carr took home the lions share winning the tournament with a five fish limit exceeding the 30 pound mark.

Amistad is well known for its big bass and big sacks, and the 228 teams fished hard vying for a part of the huge payback. It took 19.38 lbs to grab a check for the top thirty teams and thousands of dollars were won in sponsor bonuses

Jean Ducharme, a railroad engineer, and Gary Carr, a banker in San Angelo, do not get to fish every Bass Champs tournament, but come when they can. “We’ve been on some good fish for about a month now,” Carr began. “This is a tough group to fish against, there are a lot of top notch anglers.” They had several spots picked out, all with grass lines. “We just cranked ‘em all day. (The fish) had moved up a bit since practice. We had been catching them in about 25’, but we found them in 15-16’.” Hitting multiple areas throughout the day, they boated a few early, then some mid-day, and were able to cull the rest of the afternoon. “We really had a great day, and didn’t lose any.” Their five fish weighed 30.54 lbs, winning the tournament by nearly a three pound margin. Bass Champs presented them the guaranteed $20,000 1st place check, and they also qualified for the $200 Sure-Life live release bonus. Thanking their sponsors, including Texas Boat World, Ranger, Mercury, Power Tackle, Keel X and Tournament Saver Pro, they also added “We have fished in several different circuits and Opens, but the way that Bass Champs and their staff hold these tournaments really makes them stand out from the rest. They are a top notch organization.”

Steve Czerniski and Jeff Guerrett came all the way from Arizona to compete for part of the cash winnings. Their long trip was made well worth it as they brought in the 2nd place stringer weighing 27.61 lbs that included a 9.59 lb kicker. They were awarded $5,000 for their 2nd place win.

David Ridley and Alton Jones pulled out all the stops for their big win. “We had one of the toughest practice days I can remember,” Jones stated. “We were just hoping to scratch a check.” Fishing a combination of shallow flats near deep water, some ditches and a few grass flats, they enjoyed a quick start to their morning. “We started out using a square bill X-Caliber crank bait and caught a lot of fish early. Later in the day we switched to hard and soft bodied swim baits, and also an Alabama rig.” Nearing the end of the afternoon, their swim bait presentation paid off. “About 30 minutes before weigh in, we caught our biggest (8.01#), then five minutes later landed a 7 pounder.” There’s 15 pounds caught in the last 30 minutes of fishing, then adding their other three fish they had a 27.19 lb total for a 3rd place win. Bass Champs presented them with a $3,000 check, then Skeeter Boats doubled their winnings for fishing in a qualified Skeeter boat. The team additionally won the Dodge Ram Bonus giving them a free entry into any Bass Champs tournament. The team would like to thank Lovett & Assoc., American Bank, Blue Bonnet Health Services, American Rodsmith and Allen Samuels Dodge/Chrysler of Waco, TX.

There were plenty of 8 and 9 pound bass brought to the scales, but it was the 10.46 pounder brought in by Tim and Judy Reneau that won Big Bass honors. “It was a really slow day for us,” Judy reported. “We tried several deep ledges, but only caught four little ones.” The couple knew Amistad, having fished it several times before. It was getting late in the day, and the clock was ticking. They had to find some fish! “There is this one ledge that Tim really likes to fish. It’s really deep, about 45 feet.” Using a Strike King chartreuse Sexy Spoon on a Power Tackle PT04 No Rapz Series rod and 16# Gamma Edge Flourocarbon line, it was 2:00 when she hit. “He told me I’d better get the net, because he either had a tree or a big fish!” Forty five feet is a pretty deep distance to fight a fish, and Tim got cramps in his arm fighting her to the boat. Once he got her up, cramps and all, Judy secured the bass in the net, which anchored their 13th place overall finish. “We caught a few more to cull with after that which also helped our final weight.” Their big fish garnered a $1,000 check to add to their 13th place $1,020 winnings.

With two events now in the books, the Anglers of the Year race is now underway. The top five teams at this point are:
439 pts Charlie Forster & Mike Bingham
421 pts Rene Meza & Jose Jimenez
420 pts Bryan Schmidt & Galen Weiershausen
414 pts Chris Snyder & Patrick Starnes
412 pts David Ridley & Alton Jones Jr

The next South Region tournament will be held on Lake Falcon March 10. In the mean time, Bass Champs staff and crew are headed to Lake Sam Rayburn for East Region #2 February 18.

Four Bass Champs Regions will compete on Amistad, Falcon, Rayburn, Cedar Creek, Ray Roberts, Tawakoni, Fork, Choke Canyon, LBJ, Belton and Travis this tournament season. Would you like to know more about how you can cash in on a part of the millions of dollars awarded to Bass Champs anglers? Click to www.BassChamps.com for a full schedule of events, rules, sponsor incentives and more or call 817-439-3274.
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