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Date: January 12, 2013
Region: 2013 South Region
Tournament: Lake Falcon #1
Tournament Trail: 2013 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Bass Champs kicks off 2013 with the South Region on Lake Falcon
By: Patty Lenderman

Bass Champs kicks off 2013 with the South Region on Lake Falcon
Bates & Heineman win the season kick-off

It’s Bass Champs 2013! Chad Potts and Jeff Welch have shaken it up a little, making this old game just a little more interesting. New year, new winners, more money – it just keeps getting better and better. (see details in last paragraph)

Bass Champs hosts four regions across Texas, and the 2013 season kicked off with the South Region and 164 teams on Lake Falcon January 12. Anglers were fishing for a piece of the 104% payback totaling $47,150. Three big bass were brought in surpassing the 10 pound mark, but Mike Bates and Tye Heineman won 1st place overall taking home over $15,000.

Even with only three fish, Mike Bates and Tye Heineman’s sack exceeded the 20 pound mark for a 1st place win. “We started our day at a main lake ledge on the river channel.” Using a 1 oz Oldham Tilapia jig tipped with a Yamamoto Flappin Hog trailer, they caught two fish in 30’ of water to start their day. “Later we moved down to the dam area and fished shallower water (12’-20’) with a Bomber Citrus Shad crank bait.” They could see the bass move in to feed, and threw their crank baits inside and outside the ledge line, finding that the fish were positioned right on the break line getting ready to spawn. “We caught about 12 fish, our best one (7.67 lbs) came at about 2:00 on the crank bait.” This team has been fishing with Bass Champs since 2007, and although they have been in the money several times, this was their first 1st place win. “It was just a perfect day, and everything went right.” Mike works for Nitro throughout the week while Tye operates Hired Killers Pest Control. Bass Champs presented them with a $15,000 check for weighing in the top weight at 20.85 pounds and they also received $200 from Sure Life for using the product in their livewell. “We really like the new format. It is easier to care for the fish you’ve got in your livewell and easier to cull. It’s also more competitive. This is the way to go.” They would like to thank Nitro, Mercury, Blue Bonnet Chrysler Dodge, Bass Pro, Kinami Baits and Hired Killers Pest Control for their support.

The 2nd place team of Brian Hall and Jacob Beck nearly hit the 20 lb mark with their three fish limit, weighing in 19.77 lbs. “The bite was really slow for us today. We only caught five or six bass all day.” Taxidermists by trade, their plan was to throw a Carolina rig in deep 20’ water all day. “We hit several spots, but all of our fish came from one area.” Jacob caught their kicker, which was their second catch of the day, weighing just under 8 pounds. “We had all the fish we weighed in by 10am. Bass Champs awarded the team $5,000 for their 2nd place finish. They would like to thank Grumpy’s Baits in Bronte TX “but especially I would like to thank my wife for letting me go!” – Jacob

Bill Garza and Ira Lynn won 3rd place weighing in 18.53 lbs. “We had a really good day,” Bill explained. “All of our fish were caught in our first spot.” It was a main lake point that dropped from 2’ to 20’. “We were using a new Xcite Baits Uber Shad, Carolina rigged and a mud bug color Rock Crawler jig.” The bite was fast and furious for the team, as they caught and culled all they would for the day by 8:15am. Bass Champs awarded them $3,000 for their 3rd place win. “This new format is great. It gives more people more chance to win more money.”

There were two bass brought to the scales that tallied exactly the same – 10.37 lbs, but neither one of them won Big Bass. Chad Nelson’s 11.03 pounder beat them all for a big win. “The day went really well for me. I had to fish by myself this tournament because my partner Don Brunson was at an Army Bass Anglers event raising money for Wounded Warriors.” Both Chad and Don are in the Army, and Chad plans on retiring in November. “Don knows this lake a lot better than I do, so if we were fishing together chances are we never would have fished this particular spot.” It was a small secondary point near private property with an old boat ramp on it. “I sat in 20’ of water, throwing to 6’-8’ with a deep diving crank bait.” Using a slow retrieve method, the giant bass hit at 8:30am. Being by himself, it could be challenging to safely retrieve a fish of that size without the aid of a partner. “She tired out pretty quick, and just rolled to her side when I got her to the boat, so I was able to lip her right in. That was my first fish of the day.” He re-tied his bait, and ten minutes later got his second (and last) fish weighing just over 7 pounds. “That one fought – tail danced, the whole nine yards.” He had to net her, and with an 18.21 lb total on two fish Chad was just over two pounds from 1st place. “I gave Don a hard time, telling him he would have probably caught the third fish that would have given us a 1st place win!” Bass Champs presented him with $2,000 for winning 4th place overall, another $1,000 for Big Bass, then Skeeter Boats doubled his winnings to $6,000 for being the highest finishing angler in a qualified Skeeter rig. Adding to his winnings was $500 from BIOBOR plus the Dodge Ram Bonus giving him a free entry into any Bass Champs tournament during the next 12 months. “I really like this new format. There's no other team trail in the country where I could win $6000 plus free entry fees for an entire year for 4th place. It's awesome!" Chad would like to thank his family for always being there for him, “but especially my wife Kacy. She is so supportive, and she is excited about my catching fish, whether I win or not.”

When asked about the new format changes for Bass Champs, Chad Potts, President of Bass Champs stated, “We are not really interested in catering to the professional or elite anglers. We pride ourselves on being the best and most lucrative trail for weekend tournament anglers. Most of the anglers that fish with us have regular jobs or businesses and can’t stay on the lake fishing 5-7 days a week. In fact, many of our anglers have a difficulty finding the time for one day on the water before the event. They’ve got the talent and confidence to put up their hard earned money and compete against other anglers, but spending a lot of time on the water is not an option. By changing our format to a three fish limit, keeping the lake off-limits all week, and not allowing pro's to enter, it's about as even of playing field as it gets." Potts continued, " I understand where anglers are coming from, I used to fish alot of tournaments myself. I know when you have a full time job and can't practice all week, you are at an immediate disadvantage. Our new format caters to the anglers that have jobs and/or families that require their time. Consequently, they don't have much time to practice. There are professional trails that cater to anglers that have the time to dedicate weeks of practice time to a lake. I think the professional trails, or trails that allow professionals to enter, are great for someone that has a lot of money and a whole lot of time to spend on the water. Most of our anglers aren't in that situation. It may take a few events or even a few years for some anglers to appreciate the change, but I'm confident that it will happen. It will only take a few times for them to compete in another trail and get beat by a professional or someone that has spent all week practicing for them to realize that Bass Champs is the only trail that is really offering a format for true weekend anglers. In addition, there's no other trail in the country that guarantees the money in the top 5 places and sponsor incentives that we are in 2013."

To see a full schedule of all Bass Champs tournaments, visit www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274
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