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TEAM TOURNAMENT
Date: October 20, 2007
Region: 2007 North-East Championship
Tournament: 2007 North-East Championship
Tournament Trail: 2007 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
StatsResultsBig BassStoryPhotosPoints
Kyle Rowe and Vince Neal take home $30,000 at North-East Region Championship on Falcon!
By: Patty Lenderman

They’ve fished hard all year, earning the right to be at the 2007 Championship. The North and East regions of Skeeter Bass Champs converged on Lake Falcon for the team championship with a payback in cash and prizes of $107,500! Vincent Neal and Kyle Rowe hit the jackpot with ten bass that weighed nearly 60 pounds in two days winning $30,000!

Lake Falcon was chosen as a “neutral” lake for these regions. Every team who had fished all five events in their region qualified to fish this championship. One hundred eighty four teams traveled to Lake Falcon and weighed in more than 4,000 pounds of bass.
The anglers were allowed to practice Thursday and Friday on Lake Falcon. But, the main activities began Friday afternoon at 5:30 PM with the Zapata Chamber of Commerce providing dinner at drinks before the tournament meeting. All of the activities including the meeting, dinner and weigh-in ceremonies took place at the infamous Beacon Lodge on Lake Falcon.

There was great deal of excitement as the teams went through boat checks on Saturday morning. The take-off order was based on how each team finished in the Angler of the Year race in each region. On Sunday the order was reversed. The anglers were faced with rising lake conditions, frontal systems, and high winds both days of competition.

After day one, the Anglers of the Year from the North Region, Shonn Blassingame and Shane Elmore were leading with 27.22 lbs. The Bass Champs TV crews followed the team on Day two, but they were unable to repeat their day one efforts. While being interviewed on stage, Blassingame stated, "We actually had our chances to bring in a good bag, but as everyone will get to see on the show, we just couldn't get them in the boat. This lake is incredible. There are fish in here that fight harder than any fish we've ever seen".

When the scales finally closed at 4:50 PM on Sunday afternoon, it was Vince Neal and Kyle Rowe taking home the 1st place check of $30,000 weighing in 57.08 lbs. “It’s been an awesome weekend” Vince stated afterward. We came up to check out the lake the week before the off-limits and found some fish. We stumbled onto one spot that had a big mess of big fish. When we went back for them during the tournament, we couldn’t find them. Finally, at about 10 or 11:00, we did. We got three big bites, and had a seven pounder follow our bait to the boat. They were in 10-12' deep, with a line of brush that tapered out to about 15'.” They were using 8" Texas rigged Lake Fork Tackle worms. “The color didn’t really matter. As long as you put the bait near the bass, they would go after it. They were holding in the brush, but the key was the 10-12' water level. Any deeper we couldn’t work them out of the brush.” The first day they brought in about 26 pounds with a 6 pound kicker. The final day, they brought in more than 28 pounds, including four bass over 6 pounds! “Each day we boated a small limit the first 45 minutes. We culled up a couple of times, then hit a couple of other spots. We were able to cull all of our original limit plus some. The first day we hit 6 or 7 areas, the second day only 5 spots. It was phenomenal - the kind of day guys dream about. All four of our bigger bass were wadded up in the brush. We had to troll up to them to get them out, and we didn’t lose any. By the afternoon, we were catching four pounders and just releasing them, knowing that they wouldn’t help us out any.” Vince and Kyle met each other through a draw tournament in another series. They stayed in touch afterward, and their friendship developed. Now they’re a formidable bass duo, and Champions for the Skeeter Bass Champs 2007 season! Vincent added, “We really enjoyed Lake Falcon and the area. We’d like to say thank you to the city of Zapata for being so gracious and to Bass Champs for putting on a World Class event.”

The 2nd place team is from the North Region, weighing in another great two day total at 50.94 lbs. Willie Bensley and Michael Hulsey put it together to win $15,000. “It was tough!” Willie stated. “The wind was howling for two days, and our fish were out on a main lake point with 3' swells.” They were fishing the mid lake area with 1 oz white spinnerbaits with nickel blades. “We’d throw it out there, and let it go to the bottom, about 14-15' deep and slow roll it back to the boat.” Saturday they weighed in nearly 24 pounds and was in 15th coming into day 2. “On Sunday, we went back to our spot and someone was already sitting on it. We backed off and fished the outside area and were able to put together a small limit. After that we moved up river, and culedl up. We flipped the trees and brush with brush hogs. I’ve never been here before, but we really loved the lake. It’s got a lot of good fish in it and we had a great time. I’d like to thank my family. We’ve been gone 4 or 5 days, and without their support I wouldn’t be able to do this.”

Tommy Climer Jr and JD Laughery climbed their way from nearly 30th place on day one to win 3rd place at the final count. “We’ve never been to this lake before, but we were able to practice Thursday & Friday and found a few good spots. Saturday the wind came, and eliminated several places we were going to fish” Tommy explained. “We managed to catch a 20 pound stringer Saturday flipping the bushes in 10'.” That was a good start, but they had a lot of pounds to make up on the second day. “On day two it really got fun. We started our morning running up the lake. We had hit a log on Saturday, and did not realize that it damaged our lower unit. After catching a few fish, we went to make a move and the motor started knocking. We shut it down to an idle, and just started fishing at the brush that was there. JD said ‘This may be a blessing from God’. The first fish we caught was five pounds, and the second one we got in the boat was a nine pounder. We continued to work the bushes in the area, and caught about three limits of 4 pounders. We called back to Bass Champs at the weigh in just in case the motor went completely out. Luckily, we made it back in.” This team has been fishing Bass Champs for about 5 years, and made 2nd place in the Championship at Tawakoni a few years ago. This time, they climbed up the ranks from their 27th position on day one to win 3rd place with 49.30 pounds and a check for $10,000.

The biggest bass of the tournament was a double digit 10.66 lb sow caught by Jeff Scifres of the East Region. “I caught her on my second cast on the first day! To tell you the truth, when I set the hook on her and she jumped out of the water I thought she would go about 15 pounds.” Jeff was throwing a white 1/4 oz spinnerbait between the bushes in about 7'. “These bass are so aggressive, they just annihilate the bait.” Saturday was a good day for them, “we were culling four pound fish all day. It got tougher for us on Sunday. We lost a few that we probably would’ve won the tournament with.” This isn’t Jeff’s first time to Falcon, but it’s been 20 years since his last visit. “The lake is high. It doesn’t even look like the same lake. It’s good to be here. We worked hard all weekend, and it paid off. Thanks to my partner Phil Hanks. He did a real good job of netting her. He was as nervous as I was!” They won $2,000 for their big bass, plus another $2,000 for finishing in 15th place overall.

The traveling team of Mike Kernan and David Webber finished in the 7th position for $2,500 in addition they were the highest finishing team in a qualified Skeeter boat and earned an additional $2,500 for the “Skeeter Double Your Money Bonus”.

Top 5 teams:
1st $30,000 57.08 lbs Vincent Neal & Kyle Rowe East Region
2nd $15,000 50.94 lbs Willie Bensley & Michael Hulsey North Region
3rd $10,000 49.30 lbs JD Laughery & Tommy Climer Jr North Region
4th $ 5,000 48.62 lbs Rick Scott & Roy Ellison East Region
5th $ 4,000 48.26 lbs Charles Bebber & Keith Caka East Region

Twenty five places were paid, and Charles Reagan & Steve Joe Smith received the last check of $2,000 for their 40.80 two day total.

This wraps up the 2007 season, with the champions declared. “Thanks to all the teams who fished with us this year” Chad Potts, President of Bass Champs stated. “We’ve seen a lot of tough anglers compete and thank you for choosing Bass Champs. Skeeter Boats is our Premier Sponsor and a lot of you have enjoyed some great bonus money from them and will continue to do so for many years to come. We are fortunate to have a lot of great sponsors providing top notch products for our anglers. Have a great holiday season and we’ll see you in 2008!”

The Bass Champs television crews captured the action from this event. The show will air in the spring of 2008 on The Outdoor Channel.

The North Region will kick off the season February 9th at Cedar Creek, and the East Region will begin January 19 on Sam Rayburn. For more information, click to www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274.




There is a lot of money up for grabs through sponsor incentive bonuses.

Skeeter - Double your money bonus up to $5,000 for the highest finisher in a Skeeter Boat at every tournament (boat must be within 3 years of original purchase)

Dealer Bonus - $250 to the first team at each event to have an exact even weight and a signed business card from a Skeeter Dealer

Abu Garcia - If your team wins Big Bass and you have an Abu Garcia REVO in your boat, you will win two new REVO’s.

Sure Life - If your team wins a Bass Champs Team event with 5 live fish and you have either - Catch and Release or Please Release Me in your live well, you will receive an additional $200
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