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Date: April 20, 2013
Region: 2013 North Region
Tournament: Lake Ray Roberts #1
Tournament Trail: 2013 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Big weights on Ray Roberts at Bass Champs – David & Johnson win over $15,000 with 21.72 lbs
By: Patty Lenderman

Nearly 400 anglers from five states -Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Arizona – converged on Lake Ray Roberts for the second North Region Bass Champs event. Over $53,000 was up for grabs in cash and prizes in this 102% payback tournament. Jerry David II and Jon Johnson caught a big chunk of it weighing in their three fish limit that tipped the scales to 21.72 lbs.

The wind was merciless, and had boats scrambling to find areas that offered some protection. With nearly 200 boats looking for those spots, finding one that didn’t already have someone sitting in them was a daunting task.

Winners Jerry David II and Jon Johnson did not get in a big hurry. “We got up around 6:30, and went to this one area we had picked out.” It was a secondary point with a creek nearby. “It is a superstitious tradition for us to make short casts, about 10’, as our first casts of the day so we DON’T catch a fish on the first cast.” Some anglers believe that is bad luck. Even though they had no intention to catch anything with their first short casts, they did! “We used spinnerbaits and chatter baits, and by 7:20 we had a limit in the boat.” Their initial limit consisted of one over five pounds, and two others in the two pound range. Then things got interesting. For the next hour and a half, the big ones got hungry. “We culled the first time with a 3-1/2, then again with a 7 pounder. Culled again with a 4, and our last cull was with a nine pound bass.” By 9am their day was done, having all the fish they would bring to the scales. “We caught more fish, just nothing that would help.” Their three fish weighed in at 21.72 lbs, winning the tournament and the $15,000 guaranteed 1st place check. Sure-Life added $200 to their winnings for using the product in their livewells. “We’ve been fishing with Bass Champs for quite some time. Our last win was in 2003 at the State Championship at Texoma. We’d like to say that it was skill, but we were just blessed. We would like to thank the Good Lord for His blessings, our families, and Jeff, Chad and the whole Bass Champs crew for holding these fantastic tournaments.”

2nd place was won with 19.71 lbs, caught by Chris Nunnelee and Paul Bosco. “We found a spot about two weeks ago, and was just hoping the weather would hold for us to fish there.” They went, and spent an hour and a half there to no avail. “We decided to move across the bay and try some deep grass.” It was the right move, for as soon as they got there they caught their first fish, and in 15 minutes had a limit in the boat using Texas rigged Senko’s and chatter baits. “We just kept upgrading the rest of the day.” Chris was not feeling well at all. “He was tough – I’m telling you he was pretty sick, but wouldn’t give up.” By 10am they had three good bass in their livewell, including their 9.31 lb kicker. “By noon we packed it in. He just couldn’t make it any more.” Even still, on their way in, Chris insisted trying one more spot. “It was a long, hard ride in with big waves and all.” Bass Champs presented the duo with a $5,000 check for their 2nd place finish. “This is our second time to fish with Bass Champs. We have fished plenty of other circuits, and this is a top notch tournament trail. Great sponsors, lots of giveaways, and very well run.” They would like to thank Cabella’s of Fort Worth and their staff for taking care of them and their equipment and boat maintenance. They would also like to thank Eagle Transmissions of Irving and Metroplex Excavating of Lewisville. “I would also like to thank my partner for hanging in there!”

Terry Johnson and Bill Gammons chose to stay right in the wind and fish shallow water. “We started out at a bank that we found some good fish in practice. The bite was really slow, so we moved.” They caught a few fish in other areas, but just couldn’t shake the good feeling they had about their first spot so they headed back to it to hit it again. “The wind made it a little tricky for how we were fishing.” They were using flukes and brush hogs in the grass near timber. “The bite was very subtle, and the wind made it very difficult to feel it.” The wind was at a sustained 20mph with higher gusts. “We just felt there were there, just had to work a little harder.” Their efforts paid off, and they upgraded their weight significantly. Bill boated their kicker at 9.22 lbs, and by days end they used up all the juice in their trolling motor battery. “There was no mercy on us in the wind, and no mercy on the trolling motor either!” The duo won 3rd place and $3,000 for their day. “We’ve been fishing with Bass Champs since they first started. Chad and Jeff are great guys and Bass Champs is a great circuit!”

As seen by the kicker fish in the top finishers, Ray Roberts was letting go of some big bass. Johny Hale and Justin Leichliter caught the biggest of them all, weighing in at 11.51 lbs. “Our day started out really slow,” Justin recalled. “Toward the end of the day we were getting pretty scared.” They were fishing an inlet with grassy flat spots. “Trying to stay out of the wind was the main thing.” Using a Texas rig in the grass about 4’ deep, they ended up on a wind blown bank. “It was literally our last casts of the day when Johny got the bite. He threw it out there, and it just felt like it was down in the grass.” The resistance just felt like it lasted too long. “He set the hook, and right away started yelling ‘Get the net! Big fish!” It wasn’t going to come in nicely, though. “It took several netting attempts to get her in the boat, but between these two ex-bull riders they wrangled her in. “We were exhausted and elated all at the same time!” They caught her at 2:58pm. “It just goes to show – never give up!” They won $1,000 for that single cast, adding to their $1,000 check for their 10th place overall finish. Under Armour added an additional $200 to their day for wearing their apparel. “We would like to thank the Good Lord for keeping everyone safe and for blessing us with this big bass.” Justin would like to thank his wife and daughter for their constant support, and Johny would like to thank his two daughters Keeley and Carson for their encouragement as well. “We would also like to thank Just Trophies Taxidermy.” These lifelong friends say that they were “just born to compete!”

The North Region has three more tournaments, and all Bass Champs events are open to anyone who would like to compete. The next one is May 11 on Tawakoni, then June 22 back on Ray Roberts, then wrapping up July 13 on Cedar Creek.

In the mean time, the remaining events for the other regions include:
April 27 – (Central) Belton
May 4 – (South) Amistad
May 11- (North) Tawakoni
May 18 – (Central) Travis
June 1 – (South) Falcon
June 8-9- Skeeter Owners on Fork
June 14 – (East) Sam Rayburn
June 22- (North) Ray Roberts
June 29 – (Central) Belton
July 13- (North) Cedar Creek

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