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Date: February 25, 2017
Region: 2017 South Region
Tournament: Lake Amistad #1
Tournament Trail: 2017 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
StatsResultsBig BassStoryPhotosPoints
Leonard & Bronder take the win at Bass Champs on Amistad and leads the AOY race
By: Patty Lenderman

Bass Champs teams keep cashing in the winnings as the South Region had their second event of the year on Lake Amistad February 25. Temperatures aren’t the only thing heating up already this year, the competition and paybacks are too as there were 173 teams fishing for a portion of the $48,000 payback in this event with the top 23 teams going home with a payday. Lee Leonard & Scott Bronder won over $20,000 guaranteed 1st place check and more by qualifying for great sponsor bonuses!

With air and water temperatures steady on the rise, bass are getting in gear and fattening up for the spawn. Teams were on the prowl hunting for the big sows to put in their livewells hoping to cash in big. Amistad gave up eight huge sacks over 20 pounds, and a multitude of big kickers for several teams. Hot sunny days in the 80’s had preceded the tournament, luring the big bass closer to spawning areas. On competition day, the temperatures had dropped starting out in the 40’s and only warming to the 60’s. Anglers fished in winds climbing to the teens and the weigh in was exciting as top weights stacked up.

When it was all said and done, it was the team of Lee Leonard and Scott Bronder who came out on top with their sack weighing in at 25.49 pounds. “During practice, our better fish were being caught in the afternoon so we didn’t want an early draw,” Leonard began. “We ended up drawing boat #52, and headed to our first spot.” They targeted deep secondary points 14’-16’ that dropped off to deeper water 35 plus feet deep. “We used a variety of plastics on Carolina and Texas rigs.” Within their first ten minutes of fishing, they boated their first nice fish weighing around six pounds. “They bit for the first 30 minutes or so, and we put three in the livewell before heading to our next spot. We had to fish slow, they were just picking up the bait and swimming off with it. We wrapped up a limit that probably weighed between 18 and 20 pounds, then went back to our first area.” By then the day had warmed up some and the fish they were looking for were ready to rumble. They caught a few more six pounders and continued to cull to their final winning weight. All total the team took home over $20,000 in winnings for their 1st place win. “We’ve been fishing with Bass Champs since 2007, and this is the third time we’ve been able to achieve 1st place. Bass Champs is an awesome organization and is the only trail we care to fish.” Lee would like to thank his wife Jamie and Scott would like to thank his wife Amanda for all of the encouragement and support they always provide. They would also like to thank Josh Brown at Texas Boat World, Triton Boats, Wood Brothers Custom Rods, San Marcos Police Officer Assoc. and Tire Factory Outlet.

Long time Bass Champs team of Mike and Brian Fleming won 2nd place with their 23.48 lb limit. “Our day started out really slow,” Brian began. “We managed to catch two fish at our first spot, then it got real crowded and we moved.” They started out in deeper water, around 15’, then headed to shallow areas 6’-8’ deep with swim baits in a Shad Massey color. “The fish were biting really slow for us until about 1:00. At 1:30 we only had three fish in the livewell, and we were getting pretty worried.” All of a sudden, the bite turned on and they not only finished their limit but culled 10 times before heading in! Brian landed their kicker weighing around seven pounds that secured their finish and $3,500 payday. “We’ve been fishing Bass Champs tournaments since they started the South Region. They really do a great job and we enjoy fishing with them!”

3rd place winners Ernestino Pruneda and Cody White had done some scouting prior to competition day and found the bass staging for the spawn. “We made our game plan and headed to a pre-spawn area that had drains and drops in warmer water,” Ernestino stated. They were flipping lures in 2’-4’ depths for their catch. “There was this one stump in there that we would catch one off of, leave it alone and an hour later catch another one there. Otherwise we caught most of our fish in the middle of the day in shady areas and around hydrilla. Nearing the end of the day, they had about 18 pounds in the boat. On the last cast, Ernestino landed one near 8 pounds, culling a three pounder with it, launching their weight to a 23.03 lb 3rd place win! “We lost one early in the day that probably weighed between six and seven pounds. We would probably have won with it if we got it in the boat! There’s always next time” Even still, they enjoyed a $2,500 payday.

Of all the big kickers caught and seen at the scales, Randy Dixon brought in the biggest of them all fishing with Stephen Winter weighing in at 9.66 lbs. They started their day making a long run to their targeted area. Using Carolina rigs, the bite was slow and at 11:00 only had four small keepers in the boat. Something had to change. “I noticed a Creature Bait my wife had left on the floorboard from the last time we went fishing,” Randy recalled. “I decided to put it on and we went to a spot 18’ next to a big channel that dropped to around 50’ by a point.” Suddenly their luck changed, and Randy got the bite they were after. “We probably caught around 20 fish by the end of the day. We had a really fun day on the water.” That catch won a check for $500 and anchored their 10th place win for another $1,020 check. They also qualified to win the Costa Bonus for another $200! “Bass Champs is by far the most well-organized of all the tournament trails I fish! The guys and gals in Bass Champs do a really great job.”

Congratulations to the remaining top 10 teams!
4th $2,000 22.54 lbs Jimmy Steed & Charlie Haralson
5th $1,700 20.80 lbs Bubba Haralson & Trent Huckaby
6th $1,300 20.50 lbs Derick Kuyrkendall & Forrest Wilson
7th $1,100 20.27 lbs Jason Fitzgerald & Gary Jordan
8th $1,040 20.18 lbs Carson Grizzard & Randall Edwards
9th $1,030 19.93 lbs Robert Lopez & John Sontag
10th $1,020+ 19.91 lbs Randy Dixon & Stephen Winter
and last in the money
23rd $600 17.32 lbs Philip Fabiano & Stacy Miller

Several teams did their homework and qualified for even more winnings through these great sponsor bonuses!
Lowrance Gen3 – Lee Leonard & Scott Bronder
Sure-Life – Lee Leonard & Scott Bronder
Costa Del Mar – Randy Dixon & Stephen Winter
Skeeter Boats – Bradley Jameson & Todd Town

The South Region has now fished 2/4 events and the top rankings for the Angler of the Year race are:
309 pts Lee Leonard & Scott Bronder
306 pts Spike Stoker & Stuart Jeffrey
305 pts Mike Bates & Tye Heineman
296 pts James Kiser & Chuck Naomi
293 pts Mitch Goodall & Foy Osburn
The team who achieves the highest points ranking at the conclusion of all four regular season events in the region will win the title ‘Anglers of the Year’. Along with the prestigious title, that team will fish the 2018 season in the region they won the title in for FREE! It is still anyone’s game – good luck to all teams!

The winnings are racking up - so far top teams have earned $412,180 in five events!
Jan 14 – East Region – Sam Rayburn PAID $106,900
Jan 21 – South Region – Falcon PAID $49,650
Feb 4 – Central Region – Travis PAID $52,450
Feb 11 – East Region – Toledo Bend PAID $83,300
Feb 18 – North Region – Cedar Creek PAID $71,880
Feb 25 – South Region – Amistad PAID $48,000

All Bass Champs regular season events are open to anyone who would like to fish, and have a chance at cashing in big!
March 4 – Central Region - LBJ
March 11 – East Region – Sam Rayburn
March 19 – Mega Bass – Lake Fork
March 25 – South Region - Falcon
April 1 – North Region – Ray Roberts
April 8 – Central Region - Belton
April 22 – South Region - Amistad
April 29 – North Region – Lake Fork
May 13 – East Region – Toledo Bend
May 20 – Central Region - LBJ
June 3 – North Region – Tawakoni
June 9-11 – Skeeter Owner’s Tournament – Fork
June 25 – Techron TX Shootout – Sam Rayburn
Oct 14-15 – 2017 Team Championship – TBA
Oct 21-22 – 12th Annual Berkley Big Bass - Fork

It’s almost here! The Annual Mega Bass tournament on Lake Fork - the richest one-day hourly big bass tournament in the world is happening March 19. $20,000 will be given away EVERY single hour of the event – and it gets even better. At the end of the day, the angler catching the largest bass under the slot and the angler catching the biggest bass over the slot will each win a new Skeeter Boat!

For those who have never fished on Lake Fork but would like to give it a try for your chance to win, the ‘slot’ rules on Lake Fork are simple: Any bass under 16” may be retained and weighed. Any bass over 24” may be retained. Any bass in-between those measurements are illegal to keep and must be released immediately. So go grab your gear and get ready to cash in – Entry fees are only $160 per angler and up to 12 places are paid every single hour.

For more information, visit www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274
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