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Date: May 9, 2009
Region: 2009 East Region
Tournament: Toledo Bend
Tournament Trail: 2009 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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McCain goes solo to win Bass Champs on Toledo Bend
By: Patty Lenderman

May 9, 2009 Bass Champs East Texas Region held their fourth of five 2009 season events on Toledo Bend. More than $50,000 in cash and prizes were at stake for the 190 participating teams. Solo anglers took the top spots, with Doug McCain taking 1st place winning $20,000!

It seems that every event so far for this region has been met with big wind or stormy weather. This day was different, and for a change a regular take-off commenced instead of the trailering that has become almost norm. With enough wind to give the water a steady chop and partly cloudy skies, temperatures rose and several sunburns were seen.

Just as the scales opened, Doug McCain was among the first few to weigh in. Heaving his sack to the tanks, he had fished alone this day. His son and partner Mason could not attend for taking a college test. The scales locked on at 24.52 pounds! That set the mark for the many teams yet to come in. His kicker, a 6.52 lb bass was also in the lead for Big Bass – but only for a short while. Charles Bebber weighed in soon after with 21.32 lbs. He also fished solo, his partner Keith Caka couldn’t make the event. Then the big bass started rolling in. Elton Hightower weighed in a 9.84 lb brute that ultimately held Big Bass honors, although several others were weighed. McCain paced the pavilion at Cypress Bend nervously watching as more teams came in. This league of anglers is well known for big catches, and a sack bigger than his could come in at any time.

Finally the wait was over, the scales closed, and the win was secure! The first thing he did was call his son Mason to share the great news. “What a day!” he said with a mixture of excitement and relief. “I missed Mason out there today. I almost didn’t fish it without him.” He had located some quality fish in practice, so had a good game plan on where he was going to fish. “I started out pretty shallow, about 3’-12’ on main lake points.” Using mainly frogs but jigs from time to time as well, he had a small limit, about 12 pounds by 10:00am. “It took a while to figure out how the bass were oriented on the points. Once I figured that out, I went over the same areas I had already been to and just started culling up!” He doubled his initial weight by the end of the day and won the tournament by more than three pounds, receiving the 1st place check for $20,000.

Charles Bebber also represented his team by himself, bringing in the 2nd place winning weight of 21.32 lbs. “I’d like to thank God for a blessed day today,” Bebber said. His day started out fast and furious. Using a combination of Carolina rigged lizards and DD-22’s he had a limit in the boat by 7:05 and was culling by 7:14! “I stayed on main lake points. In the morning I was fishing water around 12-15’ deep. Later I backed out to 20-25’ areas, and probably caught around 20 keepers all day.” Out of his four targeted points, one of them produced well for him. Having all chunks and no particular kicker in the bag, his best cull was a 2 pounder for a 4 pounder. He received $3,000 for 2nd place and would like to thank Jesus Christ and Dirty Jigs Tackle.

3rd place tightened up quite a bit. James Elliott and Ron Hendricks brought in 20.14 lbs, only .04 more than the 4th place teams’ official weight. Choosing secondary points in 8’ of water, the morning bite did not pan out for them. “We didn’t have a fish in the boat yet at 8:30” the team explained. Luck turned around for them about then and by 9:00 they had a small limit in the boat. “We moved a lot, probably hit around 30 spots. The afternoon bite was better for us.” They were using Bomber crank baits and a variety of Carolina rigs. Their gear included Shimano rods & reels, a Nitro / Mercury bass rig, and Shimano Gamma line.

Elton and John Hightower registered the Big Bass of the tournament at 9.84 lbs. Elton caught her at 10:00 in the morning on a lightly weighed Carolina rigged watermelon fluke in 6’ of water. “I knew it was a big fish right away, it headed out to deep water. I wasn’t sure it was a bass because it wouldn’t come up.” It gave Elton a run for the money, making three rounds around the boat before he could wrangle her in. The team won $1,000 on that catch to add to their $500 23rd place overall finish. Having an All-Star rod in their boat, they also won the All-Star rod bonus of two new rods.

There is a lot of bonus money available in each Bass Champs event. All of the sponsor incentives are explained at www.BassChamps.com. One of the bonuses include an opportunity for the first exact weight brought in to cash in. When the first one crossed the scales, Chad Potts asked the angler if he knew what he may have won. The angler did not have a clue, he had not read about the incentives. Jokingly, Chad told the angler that if he has a Skeeter Dealer’s business card with him he would win a new boat! The angler nearly fell to his knees, then Chad came clean and told him that he was just kidding about the boat but that he was eligible for $250!

Andrew Upshaw and Ben Matsubu won the Skeeter Double Money Bonus being the highest finishing team in a qualified Skeeter Boat! Their 6th place $1,050 check turned into a $2,100 finish.

Top Teams
1st $20,000 24.52 lbs Doug & Mason McCain
2nd $3,000 21.32 lbs Charles Bebber & Keith Caka
3rd $2,000 20.14 lbs Ron Hendricks & James Elliott
4th $1,200 20.10 lbs Joey Landrenedu & Sean Meche
5th $1,100 19.04 lbs Ricky Potts & Bill Hudspeth
6th $1,050 + 18.32 lbs Andrew Upshaw & Ben Matsubu
7th $1,040 17.80 lbs Billy Penick & Jerrel Pringle
8th $1,030 17.30 lbs Randy Qualls & Mike Metcalf
9th $1,020 16.96 lbs Ricky Madole & Ronnie Madole
10th $1,005 16.46 lbs Bill Cook & Bob Vote
…..and last in the money….
26th $500 13.12 lbs Shalon Nash & James Williston

There is only one event left to determine who will be the East Region anglers of the Year. Here’s a quick update on the top teams in the points race:
899 pts Mike Michalec & David Ozio
879 pts Greg Pugh & Bill Dominque
851 pts Nathan Stroup & Eric Adams
843 pts Harold Allen & Albert Collins
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