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Date: October 23, 2010
Tournament: Berkley Big Bass Lake Fork 2010
Prize WinnersHourlyStoryPhotos
9.08 pounds wins the 5th Annual Berkley Big Bass tournament on Lake Fork
By: By Patty Lenderman

9.08 pounds wins the 5th Annual Berkley Big Bass tournament on Lake Fork

The Berkley Big Bass tournament on Lake Fork presented by Bass Champs was met by a record field of over 790 anglers October 22-23, 2010. Dale Drewery caught the biggest bass of the weekend to win the top prize of a new Skeeter ZX 200 powered by a Yamaha VZ200 HPDI motor.

It was a windy tournament for this record setting attendance to fish the 5th Annual Berkley Big Bass tournament. Any Berkley product could be used, but ONLY Berkley products, and the surrounding tackle stores were ready with a vast array of them. Ten places were paid each hour, with TWO Skeeter boats given away as top prizes. With all new ways to win, including a Junior Division, a Women’s Division and a Berkley Big Bag Give-Away, between cash and prizes well over $100,000 was up for grabs for nearly 800 participants.

Lake Fork is known for its big bass, but has a slot limit. Any bass between 16” and 24” are considered illegal, so only fish under or over the slot could be weighed in. The Skeeter boats were for the biggest bass over and the biggest bass under the slot.

Nacogdoches, Texas angler Dale Drewery entered the tournament along with several family members. “My daughter and I fished together, then her boyfriend and my son-in-law fished in another boat.” Making their way to Lake Fork Marina to register Friday, they learned that the weather could be rough. “It was Sunday morning when I caught this one. There was a lot of wind that morning, and we just eased up the lake to our spot.” Getting there, he tied off to a snag and was bobbing with the wind. “It was a point with flooded timber about 20’ deep. I was using a Carolina rigged 10” Berkley Power worm with blue flake.” Drewery had just made a long cast with the wind, and was moving to the back of the boat that wasn’t bobbing as much. “As soon as she took the bait there was no doubt it was a big fish. When I set the hook, she took off with it, stripping drag.” Then she jumped, and they got a good look at her. “I think I’ve got a winner!” he said to his daughter. The bass went down, and got hung up in the timber. “I told my daughter to unhook the boat so we could drift closer to her.” Giving it a little slack, the bass again took more drag. “I felt her come loose (from the snag), and when she was about 15-20’ away from the boat she jumped again. My daddy always said that if you get a big fish, don’t rush her. She’s lived in that water all of her life, and a few more seconds won’t hurt.” After wearing her down, Drewery got her to the boat where his daughter lipped her in. “We didn’t have a net on us. I told my daughter when she got ahold of it hang on tight and don’t let go!” After a small celebration in the boat, they brought her in. The scales locked in at 9.08 pounds, taking the tournament lead – but there was still hours left to go. “We went ahead and loaded up the boat, just watched the rest of the weigh in. At one point, a guy came in with another big fish and people were going to check it out and getting pretty excited about it. The camera crews came over, and I figured I just lost the boat.” He walked over to the Skeeter ZX 200 and kissed it goodbye. “I was in agony. When they finally put it on the scales, the weight was 8.56! We all yelled out. Winning one of these things is just pure delight! His bass held up to win the Skeeter ZX 200 powered by a Yamaha VZ200 HPDI motor , Humminbird electronics and Minn-Kota trolling motor.

The winning bass under the slot was weighed in during the first hour of the first day. Michael Rogge of the Lake Fork area headed out to deep standing timber, about 22’ along a creek line. “It was early, about 7:30. I was swimming a 5” Berkley Power hog (watermelon blue) through this deep timber. I have to give a lot of credit to the rod I was using. It is so sensitive I could tell the difference between a light bite and bumping into a stump. The wind was really blowing, and that’s the stuff I like to fish in out in the open lake. He caught the fish, and measuring just under 16” he brought it right in. “She was short and fat. Very healthy fish.” The scales locked in at 2.96 pounds, the biggest under the slot to be weighed in over the course of two days. He was presented with a Skeeter SX 195 powered by a Yamaha 150 , Humminbird electronics and Minn-Kota trolling motor. “This is my third year to fish this tournament, my first time to cash in. I’d like to thank Berkley for putting this tournament on every year, and Jeff, Chad and the whole Bass Champs crew run it very well. Especially though, I’d like to thank my wife. I almost didn’t enter this tournament but she encouraged me to. She’s a wonderful woman.

Chad Potts, President of Bass Champs stated, "I'm excited to see this event continuing to grow each year. I was a little concerned about the participation heading into the weekend because of the threat of severe weather. However, we ended up avoiding the bad storms, and had a great turn out again." Potts continued, " I would like to thank Berkley for their continued support of this event and grass roots tournament anglers. They are a great partner."

At the conclusion of the event, Andrew Marks of Berkley addressed the crowd, and thanked everyone for their continued support of this event and for choosing Berkley products for their fishing needs. Marks stated," This event is always a learning experience for us. The feedback we receive helps us with product development, marketing research, and gives us a clear idea of what our customers want from Berkley in the future. We look forward to seeing everyone next year."

Special thanks to Lake Fork Marina for being such wonderful hosts.

Highlights of the tournament will be re-capped on the WFN Network. For showtimes, follow the WFN link on www.BassChamps.com
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