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Date: April 21, 2007
Region: 2007 South Region
Tournament: Choke Canyon #1 2007
Tournament Trail: 2007 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
StatsResultsBig BassStoryPhotosPoints
Walker & Whited raise the record bar with 44.98 lbs at Bass Champs on Choke Canyon
By: Patty Lenderman

Bass Champs South Region anglers hit Choke Canyon for their fourth stop in this 2007 season. Two hundred twenty teams went on the hunt for some big bass, and several were brought to the scales, a total of nine bass over eight pounds. All time overall weights were beaten as well as the biggest bass ever weighed in a Bass Champs tournament. Whited & Walker brought home more than $25,000 in winnings while nearly $60,000 was paid out in cash and prizes.

For the first time in a while, the weather was pretty good April 21, allowing for a normal take-off sequence. Temperatures were in the 70’s with scattered clouds and gusty wind for most of the day. With only two tournaments left in the season, anglers were scrambling not only for a part of the prize money, but also for points in the Angler of the Year race.

Rick Rickman and Elroy Krueger brought in their five fish limit early on in the weigh in, tipping the scales at 40.34 lbs. This weight was the highest ever weighed in during a regular season Bass Champs event. They also had an 11.02 lb kicker putting them in top spot for Big Bass. “We held the record for about 30 minutes” Rickman recalled. “Elroy and I have been fishing this particular area for about four years. It’s a ridge, about 300 yards long about 16’ deep.” They were throwing a variety of Carolina rigs consisting of lizards, senko’s and flukes. “We were retrieving our baits right down the side of the ridge, parallel to it. By 8:30 we had a limit in the boat and by 9:00 we had culled up to about 35 pounds. After that we caught one or two every 15 minutes or so for the rest of the day, also catching a few on spinnerbaits.” Their last cull fish was caught at 1:00, and their biggest cull was a six pounder. After bringing their fish to the scales, they enjoyed sitting in the top spot for 1st place and Big Bass for about 30 minutes, then big bass was taken away from them and finally falling into 2nd place overall. “It’s a crying shame to catch 40 pounds for 2nd place!” Still a great check for a day of fishing! Rickman & Krueger won $5,000 for 2nd place.

The team that beat them out had no particular kicker in their bag, just five that all looked alike, right at 9 pounds apiece! Charles Whited and Phillip Walker had quite a day bringing in a 44.98 lb sack, setting a record that won’t soon be broken. This is the first year this duo has teamed up, but have each been fishing Bass Champs for years. Charles won the Central region I-Match challenge two years in a row, while Phillip is also no stranger to the winners circle. “First, we’d like to thank fellow competitor Terry Oldham and his fine custom fiberglass rods” Phillip began. “We caught our two biggest fish on Texas rigged Kicker Craws, and the other three on deep crank baits. When we had gone out in practice, we located this spot but not this kind of quality bass. Today they were just a lot bigger!” They had gone to the upper end of the lake, fishing a shallow grass bed with hardwood stumps. “Our flipping fish were in 5’ of water, and the crank bait fish were in 15’. The key was to run the baits parallel to the bank.” They hit four different spots, and had a 35 pound limit by 8:00. Their last cull was made with only four minutes to spare. “Sometime during the day we lost both our scales and our balance beam in the water, so when it was time to cull we were just eyeballing and guessing. In the end, we were culling seven pounders. This has been the best tournament day of our lives!” Bass Champs presented them $20,000 for their 1st place finish. Charles has always run a Skeeter, but his bonus eligibility had just run out on his boat. Wednesday before this tournament he bought a new Skeeter boat and they won the $5,000 Skeeter Bonus. In addition, they also won the Sure Life products bonus for another $200. They would also like to thank Travis Engineers, Bone Dry, Choke Canyon Lodge and Fisherman’s Corner Tackle Shop as their sponsors.

Robert “Shane” Arrington, fishing his first Bass Champs tournament with Steve Arrington busted the previous Bass Champs Big Bass record with their 12.76 lb bass. “I was throwing a Texas rig on a main lake point in 8’-11’. About 8:30, I picked up my rod tip and it was heavy – I thought I was hung. Right about then I saw my line going out to the left and set the hook. I hollered at Steve, ‘Get the net!’ On the first pass, he missed her then got her on the second pass. This is about the biggest bass I’ve ever caught!” They took great care of her all day, bringing her to the scales in great shape. They won $1,000 for Big Bass plus another $900 for finishing in 16th place overall. “This was an unbelievable tournament. It was a privilege to be a part of it. The degree of sportsmanship from the rest of the anglers was incredible. This was our first Bass Champs tournament ever, and I must say they are a real class act.”

Top teams:
1st $25,200 44.98 lbs Charles Whited & Phillip Walker
2nd $ 5,000 40.34 lbs Rick Rickman & Elroy Krueger
3rd $ 3,000 32.90 lbs Richard Cremo & Steven Charles
4th $ 2,000 30.68 lbs Felipe Delagarza & Dolores Robles
5th $ 1,200 29.74 lbs Terry Oldham & M Jame Buitron
6th $ 1,090 29.70 lbs Forrest Wilson & Derick Kuyrkendall
7th $ 1,080 29.10 lbs Wendell Ramsey & Ronnie Wallace
8th $ 1,070 27.64 lbs Tim Cook & Brian Washburn
9th $ 1,060 27.56 lbs Chance Hundley & Cody Hundley
10th $ 1,050 27.48 lbs Shane Gibson & Jimmy Johnson
…….and last in the money……
30th $ 500 21.02 lbs Chris Short & Jeff Mergele

There is only one tournament left for the South Region, only one more push for the Angler of the Year in the points race. Choke Canyon will host the final event May 19 at Caliham park.

Top teams by points:
805 Terry Oldham & M Jaime Buitron
798 Wendell Ramsey & Ronnie Wallace
797 Forrest Wilson & Derick Kuyrkendall
795 Charles Whited & Phillip Walker
787 Albert Hudson & Bill Kingsbery

The Championship for the South and Central regions will be a two day event, October 27-28. Also, don’t forget to plan to fish the 1st Annual Dodge Mega Bass tournament July 29th on Sam Rayburn. Ten places will be paid each hour and the biggest bass of each hour will win a brand new Dodge pick up truck!

For more information, call Bass Champs at 817-439-3274 or click to www.basschamps.com
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