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Date: April 5, 2008
Region: 2008 Central Region
Tournament: Lake LBJ
Tournament Trail: 2008 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Larson & Rule win more than $20,000 in Bass Champs at LBJ
By: Patty Lenderman

Just when you think you have the fish all figured out, a cold front hits and changes everything. Bass Champs Central Region anglers had their third event of the 2008 season on Lake LBJ April 5th. The sudden cold front that came through the area just prior to the tournament leveled out the playing field for all of the teams, sending everyone scrambling to figure out what pattern the fish were on. There was over $57,000 at stake in cash and prizes with a 102% payback and 206 teams fished hard for it. Bill Rule and Lucas Larson won 1st place and over $20,000 with an 18 pound sack!

The morning started out very chilly around the 40 degree mark. The cold front that had just pushed through the area left high pressure and blue bird skies in its wake. Typically, this is the toughest scenario for any angler to overcome. Fish generally are not active under these conditions and it is very difficult to get them to bite.

Bill Rule fished with his nephew Lucas Larson. This is the first season this duo has fished with Bass Champs. “Today was awesome!” Bill said they had five spots picked out to fish, and had a small 12 pound limit in the boat by 8:30. “We were fishing in the backs of creeks, throwing a weightless pumpkinseed worm.” They fished relatively shallow, anywhere from 2’ to 8’ depths. “We hit all of our spots, but only two of them really produced for us. The morning bite was best, but we caught fish all day.” Around 11:00 Bill caught their 7.58 lb kicker. They were able to cull a two pound fish with that catch, increasing their weight by over five pounds! It was the winning catch, and Bass Champs presented them with $20,000 for their 1st place finish. Adding a little sponsor money to their win, they also received $200 from Sure-Life Live release for using their product and winning the tournament. “Bass Champs is a great circuit. We’ve fished others, but this is the best. It’s a lot of fun, but the real difference is the professionalism of the tournament directors.”

Matt Hill and Trey Webb won 2nd place with their 14.90 lb limit. They fished hard for their creel, putting an initial limit together by about 10:00. “We went all over the lake today” Matt explained. Staying on a shallow pattern, they used jigs, crank baits and chatter baits. “We fished around wood, various vegetation and docks. We never fished any deeper than 5’ today. With the high pressure, the fish bit better than we thought they would today.” They culled, ounces at a time to their final weight. “We never put a kicker in the boat, they were all just good solid fish.” They won $5,000 for their 2nd place finish, then doubled their winnings being the highest finishing qualified Skeeter Boat team for a $10,000 finish! “We’d like to thank Chad, Jeff and the whole Bass Champs crew. This is a really great tournament circuit. Another thank you to Skeeter Boats – they made it a very nice payday for us!” They would also like to thank Ranch Road graphics and Kicker Fish Bait Company.

Rounding out the top 10 teams:
3rd 14.66 lbs $3,000 Randall Maxwell & Randy Grounds
4th 14.46 lbs $2,000 Damon Ross & Scott Ross
5th 13.92 lbs $1,200 James & Donna Cantwell
6th 13.72 lbs $1,090 Allen Shelton & Heath Moody
7th 13.42 lbs $1,080 David & Briana Meeks
8th 13.20 lbs $1,070 Charles Gerhart & David Shuster
9th 13.06 lbs $1,060 Scott Stagner & Dan Ross
10th 13.02 lbs $1,050 Pamela & Joe Pope Jr

Alan Shelton caught the biggest bass of the tournament, weighing in at 7.98 lbs. He caught her on his first cast of the day! “She was in a little canal, about 1 ½ feet deep. I was using a Texas rigged watermelon red Senko, pulling it down the length of the canal.” At that point, she bit – he set the hook, then she got hung up! “I knew she was a nice fish at that point, just didn’t know exactly how big she was. She got hung up in some PVC, and I had to jockey her a little and drag her over it. I’d say we really worked for this fish!” They were presented with $1,000 for having the biggest fish of the day in addition to the $1,090 they earned for placing 6th place overall.

Sponsor bonus winners:
Skeeter Bonus $5,000 Matt Hill & Trey Webb
Abu Garcia Revo Bonus James & Donna Cantwell
Sure-Life Live Release $200 Lucas Larson & Bill Rule

With the season half over, the Angler of the Year race is in full swing. This is an honor recognizing the team that has earned the highest points in a given season. The team that achieves this honor earns more than bragging rights. Their entry fees are waived for the next tournament season.
Top 5 teams by points:
665 Allen Shelton & Heath Moody
658 Randall Maxwell & Randy Grounds
638 Lucas Larson & Bill Rule
631 Matt Hill & Trey Webb
629 Richard Cone & Billy Jeschke

The next Central Region tournament will be held at Belton Lake on May 10. All regions may be fished by any angler or team. Join Bass Champs April 12 on Sam Rayburn with the East Region!

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