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Date: June 1, 2013
Region: 2013 South Region
Tournament: Lake Falcon #3
Tournament Trail: 2013 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Mark Pena goes solo and cashes in over $17,000 at Bass Champs on Falcon
By: Patty Lenderman

Anyone who fishes in any of the Bass Champs regions will tell you there are a lot of good anglers and tough teams fishing. To win, there must be the right combination of luck and skill. Mark Pena fished solo, bringing in 24.21 lbs with three fish to win 1st place and over $17,000!

It was the finale event for the South Region teams June 1, 2013. Temperatures registered over 100 degrees before days end, with high winds making for rough rides on the water. One hundred twenty teams competed for over $38,000 in cash and prizes, reflecting a 118% payback percentage in 16 places paid.

There were three sacks weighed in over the 20 pound mark, which shows what kind of hefty bass were caught on three fish limits. In most tournaments, a per fish average weight is between two and three pounds. The average per fish weight in this tournament was 4.02 lbs!

Mark Pena normally fishes with Jorge Cabasos, but had to go it alone for this final tournament. “It was a rough ride to my first spot. The waves were crazy. When I finally got to my destination, I chose a 1 oz Texas rig with a plum Berkley Power Worm.” He made a cast, and landed a small fish. “I casted right back in the same spot and caught an eight pounder!” That was a great start to the day, but before long the bite got really slow. “I switched to a drop shot, rigged with a watermelon magic super fluke. I just casted out there, and that’s when I caught my big one!” That catch weighed in at 9.85 lbs, giving him just under twenty pounds on two fish. “It got slow again, so I decided to hit another spot.” This time, his area had a rock pile base and he began using a home made green pumpkin jig. He caught more keepers, and culled to a total weight of 24.21 lbs to win the tournament. Several other teams had kickers in the nine pound range, but Mark’s held up as Big Bass of the day. Bass Champs presented him with the guaranteed 1st place check for $15,000 and another $1,000 for Big Bass. He also won several sponsor bonuses, including the Revo Reel bonus, Costa Del Mar, BioBor and Sure Life to push his total winnings over $17,000. “I have been fishing with Bass Champs for about four years now and really enjoy it. They do a great job.” He would also like to thank Do-It molds, his boss Keith Dunn for giving him the day off to fish and Falcon Lake Tackle.

Tye Heineman and Mike Bates won 2nd place overall with 23 pounds. “We won the first tournament this year, and were really hoping to wrap it up by winning the last one!” They drew boat #73, and when their flight was released they headed to the south end of the lake. “It was a rough ride!” They pulled in to their first spot, a secondary point on the river ledge. “There wasn’t anyone around.” Mike tied on a Strike King 6XD crank bait with a powder blue back, while Tye chose a 1 oz Oldham tilapia jig with a smoke watermelon flappin hog trailer. “On Mike’s eighth or ninth cast, he caught our kicker weighing 8.83 lbs. Then the crank bait bite died, and we caught everything else on jigs.” They cast to 6’ depths, working their bait back. “The fish were about 14’ deep. By 9am we had two big bass in the boat and one small one. At 10am we caught another good one, then nothing else to cull with the rest of the day. “We had a good day – a really good day!” They won $5,000 for their 2nd place finish plus the Dodge Ram bonus giving them free entries into any Bass Champs tournaments for the next 12 months – a $7,500 value! “We missed the Ram bonus earlier this year and didn’t want that to happen again. So, we purchased a new Ram truck from Blue Bonnet Chrysler and it paid off. We would like to thank Mercury, Nitro, Blue Bonnet Chrysler Dodge, Kinami Baits, Hired Killers Pest Control, Oldham Jigs and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The last team to weigh in a sack in excess of 20 pounds was Brian and Denise Wallgren. “It started out really slow for us, and then we lost our trolling motor,” Brian recalled. They decided to pool their luck into one spot and stay there the duration of the day. “We had planned on hitting other areas, but….” As it turned out, it was the spot they needed to be in. “Two of our fish came on a crank bait, and one on a craw. My wife caught all of them!” Brian was a good net man, though. “She had a limit in the boat by noon, then at 2:00 she caught our kicker.” Their big fish weighed in at 9.46 lbs. “We exchanged it for a three pounder in the livewell, and kicked our weight up by six pounds!” Their three fish total was 21.40 lbs, winning 3rd place and $3,000. Brian has fished Bass Champs before, but this is the first year the husband and wife teamed up to fish a season. “We’d like to thank Bass Champs for putting these tournaments on, they do a great job. Also, while most guys thank their wives for letting them fish, I would like to thank my wife for fishing with me. She’s a great partner!” They would also like to thank Haynie Boats, Mercury and Chris’ Marine.

Skeeter Boats doubled the winnings for Bruce White and Raymond Zetka, being the highest finishing team in a qualified Skeeter boat.

It took 15.07 lbs to win a check in sixteen places paid. Arlen and Christopher Hauschild cashed in on the last $500 won.

Now that all five South Region tournaments are in the books, congratulations to Lee Leonard and Scott Bronder for winning Anglers of the Year. They had the highest accumulation of points, and for their accomplishment all of their entry fees for the South Region 2014 season are waived.

Check for Championship qualifier information on www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274.

There are only three open tournaments left for Bass Champs 2013 season. Gas up your truck and boat and fish these last events for your chance to win!
June 14 – (East) Sam Rayburn
June 22 – (North) Ray Roberts
June 29 – (Central) Belton

Bass Champs will be hosting the 20th Annual Skeeter Owner’s Tournament on Lake Fork June 8-9. There will be $250,000 up for grabs in this commemorative event, including an all new Skeeter FX20 with a Yamaha SHO250 for the biggest fish caught over the slot, and a Skeeter ZX200 powered by Yamaha will be awarded to the angler catching the biggest fish under the slot! With family activities, several divisions to compete in, more prizes being given away, all hosted by the renowned Fish Fishburn – it is a tournament you don’t want to miss!

Also make plans to participate in the 8th Annual Berkley Big Bass tournament on Lake Fork October 19-20. Ten places will be paid each hour, plus exact weight bonuses! Two Skeeter boats will be won, each powered by Yamaha, to the biggest fish over and the biggest fish under the slot.

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