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Date: February 26, 2011
Region: 2011 Central Region
Tournament: Lake Belton #1
Tournament Trail: 2011 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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$20,000 payday for Husband & Wife team at Bass Champs on Lake Belton
By: Patty Lenderman

Would you ever imagine when it would take less than 10 pounds to get a check in a Bass Champs tournament? It happened February 26, 2011 on Lake Belton! Craig and Carla Gilbert stole the show with their five bass limit, winning by more than a 7 pound margin for the guaranteed 1st place purse of $20,000. Twenty three teams were awarded winnings, and the last place only had a little over 8 pounds in their sack!

With a weight of 19.90 lbs, the husband and wife team of Craig and Carla Gilbert topped the field of 173 teams to win the tournament. Their day did not begin with a concrete plan in mind. “When we started out, we looked each way to try to figure out which way to go.” After just a few moments, the decision was made to head to a creek near the river. “We started out in shallow water, using watermelon red Carolina rigged brush hogs.” They caught a few fish, then the bite just shut off. “We switched to jigging spoons, and finished our limit.” By days end they had boated a total of 8 bass, with a six pounder being the biggest in the bunch. Craig enjoys being a full time outdoorsman, and Carla is now enjoying retirement from a correction office. Bass Champs presented the couple with their $20,000 1st place check. “We’d really like to thank Cliff Brown at Texas Boat Works for keeping our boat in good shape for us to be out on the water.”

Tim Mabray took on the field on his own, catching 12.68 lbs for a 2nd place win. “I started out using a fluke out in the main lake and caught two keepers right off the bat. The rest of the day I stayed on the move, moving point to point with a shaky head.” Most of his fish were caught in 10’-15’ depths, and he kept steady at it until wrapping up a limit at 1:00. “I was only able to cull one time after that.” Working in outdoor sales at a lumber company, Tim does not get to travel to participate in all of the tournaments. “I fish Bass Champs every time they come to Belton!” He was awarded $3,000 for his 2nd place finish.

The father & son team of Dustin and Mickey Perry took 3rd place with a 12.28 lb total. “I was the net man today!” stated dad Mickey. “We had pre-fished some the weekend before, and didn’t catch anything the first 6 hours we were out there. After Dustin landed our first fish, we decided that’s where we would start.” They went back to the spot they had found and tried topwater lures and crank baits. “We didn’t catch any doing that, so we switched to jerk baits and flukes in 25’ of water. The fish were suspended about 8’ down, so Dustin was letting his baits free fall weightless.” The first fish in their livewell weighed around five pounds. “Once we put our initial limit together, we spent the rest of the day tediously culling by ounces.” Mickey is an electrician by trade, and used to fish Bass Champs South region. “I wanted to fish with my son this year, so the Central region worked better for us.” After fishing the college circuits representing Texas Tech, Dustin is now a teacher there. The duo won $2,000 for their day.

Randy Hibler and Randall Christian registered the biggest bass of the day at 6.25 lbs, adding $1,000 to their 7th place overall finish. The team also won the WFN bonus.

The Anglers of the Year will be determined at the conclusion of all five events for the Central Region. Now that the second tournament is in the books, here is how the top five teams in points are stacking up:
351 pts Randy Hibler & Randall Christian
337 pts Melvin Yezak & John Yezaj
327 pts Tully Williams & Joe Anderson
323 pts Kevin Stuart & Paul Luna Jr
319 pts Hunter Jordan & Kenneth Fuller Jr

The next tournament for the Central region will be April 2nd on Lake LBJ. Bass Champs staff and crew will head to Lake Fork next for the North region tournament March 5th.

Don’t forget to sign up for the RAM Mega Bass event on Lake Fork 3/27/11. There will be a new Ram Truck winner every hour, with the 10 biggest bass of each hour being awarded!

For more details, click to www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274
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