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Date: February 9, 2013
Region: 2013 South Region
Tournament: Lake Amistad #1
Tournament Trail: 2013 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Bass Champs winners take home over $28,000 in winnings on Amistad
By: Patty Lenderman

Bass Champs winners take home over $28,000 in winnings on Amistad

Bass Champs South Region went to Lake Amistad February 9 for the second tournament of the season with 216 teams vying for a portion of this 109% payback event in cash and prizes. Participants are limited to three fish for a full limit in all Bass Champs tournaments and the payback just keeps getting better. Winners John Byler and Matt France did their homework and qualified for nearly all available sponsor bonuses, taking home almost $30,000 at the end of the day.

Heavy winds posed big challenges for contenders, some ducking into protected coves while others stayed on windy points. 166 teams weighed in limits and the top 29 teams took home a paycheck.

John Byler and Matt France has traditionally participated in the North division of Bass Champs, but decided to try their luck in this South division event. “We haven’t been here (Amistad) since last year.” They drove in for the tournament the night before, and picked up a map of the lake. “We studied the map to try to put a plan together, and found a spot that looked like it may be a flat.” Rolling the dice, they headed straight to their targeted area. “It was really windy, but we hunkered down and hit it hard.” They were using Texas rigged flukes in 6’ to 10’ depths. “It was a pocket that had several points in it.” They worked three of those points throughout the day. “Each time we’d come back to one of the points, it was like a new wave of fish had moved in. A slow presentation of the bait was key. The wind was horrible, but luckily we have Power Poles and that helped a lot.” They caught numerous keeper fish throughout the day, but at 1:00 Matt latched on to the biggest fish he’d ever caught in his life. It was a monster fish, and there was no question of her size as he fought her to the boat. She jumped out of the water four times before getting her in. “It was incredible. When we got her in the net, she was just barely hooked – literally hanging on by a thread!” That bass tipped the scales to 11.12 lbs winning Big Bass of the tournament and securing their 1st place finish. Adding their remaining two fish, their total weight was 18.76 lbs. Bass Champs presented them with the guaranteed $15,000 1st place check, then Skeeter Boats added another $5,000 to their winnings as the highest team in a qualified Skeeter rig. They also won the Dodge Ram Bonus giving them free entries into any Bass Champs tournaments for the next 12 months – a $7,500 value! Their winnings didn’t stop there. Add in $500 from Biobor, $200 from Under Armor, $200 Costa Del Mar and the $200 Sure Life bonuses PLUS another $1,000 for Big Bass – their total winnings were over $28,000!! That’s over $1,500 per pound weighed in. “We really like the new format. It evens out the playing field, but it also changes up your mindset in the way you fish. We’ve been fishing Bass Champs for three or four years now, but plan on participating even more this year.” They would like to thank their wives for their continuous support – “and for letting us go fishing!”

Less than a pound behind them was the team of Mike Harman and Rick Scheen taking 2nd place with 17.87 lbs. “We started out trying to find deep grass.” Finding a few such areas, “those spots just didn’t pan out. At that point we just went fishing.” Shifting gears to find an area and a pattern that would yield the fish they were looking for, they took a chance on areas they hadn’t checked out during practice. “We stayed on grassy, windy points using swim and reaction baits.” By 10:00 they had a small limit, just under ten pounds. At 11am Rick caught their kicker weighing around 8 ½ pounds. They exchanged it for a three pounder in their livewell, upgrading their total by over five pounds. “We fished a lot of water. Mike caught our last weigh fish at 1:00, and we exchanged another three pounder for a five.” They were awarded $5,000 for their 2nd place finish and would like to thank Legend, Mercury, Powell Rods, Austin Boats & Motors, Lews Fishing and TTZ.

Derick Kuyrkendall and Forrest Wilson won 3rd place with 15.71 lbs, and there was a tie for 4th place at 15.42 weighed in by Chad Kallina & James Villarreal as well as Jerry Delafuente & Carl Wengenroth.

All total 29 teams were awarded checks, the last $1,000 check going to Webb Fry & Zach Brown weighing in 12.80 lbs.

With two tournaments now on the books, the Angler of the Year race is underway. The top five teams after two events are:
372 pts Derick Kuyrkendall & Forrest Wilson
358 pts Speedy Collett & Robert Collett Jr
350 pts Jason Gallas & Ken Parker
347 pts Steve Wilson & Raymond Cantu
333 pts Ira Lynn & Bill Garza Jr

The South Region will compete on Lake Falcon for the third tournament of the season March 9. In the mean time Bass Champs is heading to Sam Rayburn February 16, Lake Travis February 23 and then Lake Fork March 2.

Don’t forget to sign up for the 5th annual Dodge Ram Mega Bass tournament on Lake Fork April 7. It is the richest one-day big bass tournament in the world, awarding a Dodge Ram pick up truck and checks every hour!

For a full schedule of all four Bass Champs regions and other events hosted by Bass Champs, visit the website at www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274.
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