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Date: March 2, 2013
Region: 2013 North Region
Tournament: Lake Fork
Tournament Trail: 2013 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Hurt & Culbreath won by a nose at Bass Champs on Lake Fork
By: Patty Lenderman

Bass Champs is coming on strong as more and more anglers from more states come to catch some of the action and huge paybacks at every event. There were 221 participating teams, not only from all across the state of Texas but from Arkansas, Louisiana, Arizona and Oklahoma as well. Randy Hurt and Jeff Culbreath from Oklahoma championed the field on Lake Fork March 2 to win over $15,000.

Lake Fork is a slot lake, where only bass under 16” or over 24” are legal. All bass between those measurements cannot be kept. That means 5, 6, 7 – even 8 pound bass cannot be put in any anglers livewell and counted as part of their creel (unless they are longer than 24”). There were no ‘overs’ caught in this tournament, so the weights were stacked tight. In thirty one places paid, there was less than two pounds separating 1st and 31st place.

It was a wintry cold, blustery day on Lake Fork challenging anglers trying to stay on many coveted fishing holes and exhausting trolling motor batteries. The hunt was on not only for big bass over the 24” limit but short, fat bass under 16” as well.

Every micro-ounce counts in a tournament like this, and Randy Hurt and Jeff Culbreath caught just the right three to take the win. “We started out in the river channels, but wasn’t getting any bites and the wind blew us completely off of our spots,” Randy reported. “We decided to go to protected coves to flip Gene Larew Hoo Daddy’s in 6’-8’ of water.” They had a slow start to their day, with nothing in the livewell and only four hours left to fish. “Around 11:00 we boated two slot fish followed by two keepers. It was tough, the fish really didn’t want to bite. We had to flip at the same stump at least a dozen times each to get them to bite.” Hours went by before they put their third and last fish in the boat. “It was 2:00 when we caught our last keeper. We weren’t able to cull a single one of our fish.” This duo has been fishing Bass Champs tournaments for about eight years, and have been in the top five before, but this was their first 1st place finish. And it was tight. They stayed ahead of the 2nd place team by 0.04 lbs with a 6.32 lb three fish total to win $15,000 for 1st place plus another $200 from Sure-Life for using the product in their livewell. “We would like to thank Bow Tech Archery, Gene Larew and Focus Outdoors, but most importantly our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:20

Burleson, Texas anglers Bark Biondi Sr and Billy Biondi nearly took the win with their 6.28 lb limit, but still had a nice payday with their 2nd place finish for $5,000

Travis Copeland Sr had to fish this event on his own, and garnered 3rd place with 6.17 lbs. Choosing areas fairly protected from the wind, he found shallow brush piles that were pushed up and exposed near the bank. “I used two baits all day – a pegged brush hog and a trick worm fished wacky style.” He put his first keeper in the boat within the first 30 minutes. His second an hour after that, and by 11:30 had three fish in his livewell. “A few other boats came in, and they had been struggling for fish. They asked if they could fish near me, and since I already had three in the boat I told ‘em to come on in. I kept catching fish, and was able to cull four or five times. Those other boats never got a bite.” He fished a range of depth from 1’ to 4’ deep, but no deeper than that all day. “I’ve been fishing with Bass Champs for a really long time. It’s a lot of fun. They have a good program. This is my best finish yet!” Travis earned $3,000 for his day on the water.

Thirty one places were paid with the last check going to Matt Tallas and Ernie Sistrunk weighing in 4.36 lbs.

All total $57,500 was paid to the top teams in cash and prizes, reflecting just over 100% payback. Several teams increased their winnings through sponsor bonuses.
Skeeter Bonus - $1,000 Donald and Donny Prince
Dodge Ram Bonus – Free entries ($7,500 value) Tim Wilcoxson & Eric Elder
Fun N Sun - $500 Tim Wilcoxson & Eric Elder
Sure Life - $200 Randy Hurt & Jeff Culbreath
Dealer Card (Fun N Sun) - $500 Kevin Dritschler & Tim Brockway

This was the first tournament of five for the North Region, the next will be at Ray Roberts on April 20.

Anyone can enter Bass Champs tournaments in any – and every region. Take a look at the remaining 2013 schedule to see how many you can participate in:
3/09/13 South Falcon
3/16/13 East Sam Rayburn
3/23/13 Central LBJ
4/13/13 East Sam Rayburn
4/20/13 North Ray Roberts
4/27/13 Central Belton
5/04/13 South Amistad
5/11/13 North Tawakoni
5/18/13 Central Travis
6/01/13 South Falcon
6/15/13 East Sam Rayburn
6/22/13 North Ray Roberts
6/29/13 Central Belton
7/13/13 North Cedar Creek

Don’t forget to sign up now for the worlds largest one day Big Bass tournament on Lake Fork! Bass Champs is hosting the 5th Annual Dodge Mega Bass tournament April 7. Fifteen places will be awarded each hour, and the 1st place angler of EVERY HOUR will win a Dodge Ram Truck! The angler who catches the biggest bass of the tournament will additionally receive a Skeeter ZX 190 bass boat. This is one you can’t afford to miss.

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