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Date: April 18, 2009
Region: 2009 South Region
Tournament: Lake Falcon
Tournament Trail: 2009 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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34.46 lbs wins Bass Champs Slugfest on Falcon
By: Patty Lenderman

Holy cow! No, let’s make that Holy Hawgs! Bass Champs South Region teams pumped it up on Falcon April 18, 2009 as fifty six of the 193 teams brought in sacks weighing more than 20 pounds. The top seven teams had weights over 30! Will Welch and John Basinger had the best overall five chunks in their bag to win with 34.46 lbs and take home $20,000.

It was an incredible day, with scattered thunderstorms and bass – lots of them, and several over the 10 pound mark being caught. Seventy nine limits were tallied, and not everyone weighed their creel. “We offer teams that don’t have enough to get a check in the standings to elect to go ahead and release their catch a chance in a drawing for $500” explained Chad Potts, tournament director. It is part of a conservation effort, putting as few bass as possible through more handling, going right back into the lake to keep getting bigger. Taking care of fisheries such as Falcon pays off, and it shows in events like this one as it took over 23 pounds to grab a check.

Winning by just over ¼ of a pound, Will Welch of San Angelo, TX and John Basinger of Slayton said the sun shined on them all day – and it did in more ways than one. “We were boat #150, and we got to our spot around 8am” Will recalled. “(Catching fish) went pretty slow for a while, we didn’t catch any good fish until around 11:30.” Never the less, they chose to stay in that one spot. “We had found these fish in practice and knew they were there. It was just a matter of getting them to bite.” Thunderstorms were all around them, but they never had a drop of rain hit them. As Will said, the sun shone on them all day. “At noon, I broke off on a good one. After that we started catching good, solid fish.” Sitting on a main lake point dragging a Texas rigged Senko in 15’, the big ones started getting hungry. Over the next couple of hours they hooked and culled their weight up to 34.46 lbs to win the tournament. “We were using Power Tackle rods, and they really made a difference for us with these big fish.” Bass Champs presented them with the 1st place $20,000 check.

The father and son team of Jesus Morales and Jesus Morales Jr of Laredo, TX won 2nd place with 34.14 lbs. They fished points that were close to flats with structure or bushes. “There was 100% cloud cover all day, and it really helped. My son missed a big bass early in the morning, then caught the 9.36 we had on a crank bait in 4’-6’ of water.” They had a sack full of chunks, giving the 1st place team a close run. “We’ve been fishing partners since my son was 9 years old” Jesus explained. “People from Mexico come here to fish and it is a real challenge. It gives us an opportunity to improve our skills.” The team participates in the annual International Challenge and enjoys fishing with Bass Champs. They were presented with the $4,000 2nd place check.

Another father and son team, Tony and Michael Gutierrez of San Antonio, TX won 3rd place overall with a 33.08 lb limit, also winning Big Bass with their 10.30 lb kicker. Not getting a lot of bites, the estimate hooking around ten keepers. “We caught our first fish about 9:00” Tony said. They had a nice run for a little while, putting a 10 pounder in the boat along with a 6 ½ and another over 2 pounds. “Then the lightening storm hit, and we put everything down and got low in the boat for a couple of hours.” Once the storm passed, they got back to business and “around 1:00 my son caught another one over 10!” They culled a few more times before heading in, but could not get rid of their last 2 ½ lb’r. “We’re pretty thankful. It was a good day of fishing.” Catching two bass over 10 pounds would be considered lucky by any anglers standpoints, but maybe Michael had an extra dose of luck just turning 16 this past St. Patrick’s Day! “We’d like to thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we’re glad no one got struck by lightening. I’d also like to thank Bass Pro Shops, my wife for letting us fish, and Nitro Boats.” The duo won $2,000 for 3rd place, $1,000 for Big Bass, and the All Star Rod bonus.

The Skeeter Boats Double Money Bonus went to Bill Kingsbery and Albert Hudson. Their 4th place $1,100 win was doubled to a $2,200 finish.

“As a tournament director, I have seen a lot of great catches and overall tournaments. Falcon is a great fishery and made for an exciting day seeing all of these hefty sacks of bass! I’d like to thank all the teams for taking such great care of the fish caught, whether they were weighed or not. It is your efforts that make all the difference in our lakes.”

The total payback was $51,600 – an incredible 103%! The top 26 teams received checks, the last one went to Joey and Fred Lester of Ft. Worth, TX weighing in a 23.34 lb limit.

The top teams in the overall points standings were shuffled! The Anglers of the Year race is heated up with only one tournament left for the South Region. Choke Canyon will be the host lake to wrap it up for 2009 May 16. Bass Champs staff and crew will head to Lake Fork next weekend for the third North Region team event.

722 pts Mike Bates & Tye Heineman
704 pts Cody Martin & Charles Simmons
701 pts Billy & Jack Hopkins
692 pts Lee Leonard & Scott Bronder
691 pts Derick Kuyrkendall & Forrest Wilson

South Region schedule:
1/17/09 Lake Amistad PAID - $50,750
2/21/09 Lake Amistad PAID - $55,750
3/21/09 Choke Canyon PAID - $50,750
4/18/09 Falcon Lake PAID - $51,600
5/16/09 Choke Canyon

East Region schedule:
1/24/09 Sam Rayburn PAID - $71,410
2/28/09 Sam Rayburn PAID - $65,110
3/28/09 Sam Rayburn PAID - $58,350
5/09/09 Toledo Bend
6/13/09 Sam Rayburn

Central Region schedule:
2/07/09 Travis PAID - $60,250
3/07/09 Belton PAID - $62,260
4/04/09 LBJ PAID - $56,250
5/02/09 Belton
6/06/09 Travis

North Region schedule:
2/14/09 Richland Chambers - PAID $51,600
3/14/09 Cedar Creek PAID $68,200
4/25/09 Lake Fork NEXT – Don’t miss it!
5/30/09 Lewisville
6/27/09 Tawakoni
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