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Date: March 1, 2014
Region: 2014 North Region
Tournament: Lake Ray Roberts #1
Tournament Trail: 2014 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Blassingame & Burdine take a commanding win at the Bass Champs North Region Season Kick-Off
By: Patty Lenderman

It’s the start of the season for Bass Champs North Region anglers! Nearly 200 teams converged on Lake Ray Roberts for a piece of the pie and over $60,000 was up for grabs in a 116% payback event. Shonn Blassingame and Cody Burdine surged past the rest of the pack to win the guaranteed 1st place prize of a Ford F-150 pickup truck.

Anglers in this region have been waiting for months for their turn to compete on March 1, but they had to wait just a little bit more as a dense fog had emerged the morning of take-off and everyone was kept at the launch point, delayed for three hours until conditions were safe. To compensate for some of the fishing time, the teams were allotted an extra hour to check back in at the end of the day.

Shonn Blassingame and Cody Burdine headed for a ledge in a big pocket that had a depth range of 8’ to 14’ deep. “We pulled up on this spot, and saw fish on the graph. We just kept fishing for them, going in circles, but we just couldn’t get them to bite.” The morning had started off cold, and the water temperature was around 50 degrees. “About 10am, we finally put a six pounder in the boat with a jerk bait.” The fish had turned on for them, and they quickly amassed a limit weighing around 15 pounds. “We just stayed in that same area all day, and never cranked the motor until it was time to come in.” Hammering away at this area they pretty much had to themselves, Shonn made a cull with an eight pounder, and Cody followed catching one in the seven pound range. “We probably caught about 15 fish all day, some with an Alabama rig. By the end of the day we were culling four pounders!” Their three fish limit weighed in at 20.12 lbs, winning the tournament by nearly a five pound margin. Bass Champs awarded the team the new Ford F-150 pickup truck valued at over $25,000 and Sure Life added to their winnings with an additional $200. “We would like to thank Jesus Christ for looking over us, and our wives for their encouragement and support. It was a lot of fun!”

Dusty Spurgin and Garrick McPherson won 2nd place with another strong sack weighing in at 15.88 lbs. They were awarded $4,500 for their finish, then Skeeter Boats doubled their winnings for being the highest finishing team in a qualified Skeeter boat. Fun N Sun added another $500 to their purse for a total of $9,500.

3rd place was won by Steve Schmidt and Rick Newton, weighing in an exact weight of 13.00 lbs. “We had done some pre-fishing a week before the tournament,” Rick explained. Targeting deep water rocks with stumps nearby, they struggled for their first fish. “We didn’t put our first fish into the boat until around 12:30. The water temperature started out around 50 degrees, and we were just waiting for it to warm up.” Using Alabama rigs and chatter baits, they hit two spots, but the island with several points around it was the most productive for them. “We just went round and round on that spot. We had confidence in it.” They only got two bites all day, and one of them weighed about eight pounds that Rick boated using the Alabama rig. They received $2,700 for their 3rd place win and would like to thank Anglers Pro Tackle, Kicker Fish, Kistler Rods and Danny’s Norwood Automotive for their support.

There were several nice bass brought to the scales, but the biggest of them all weighed in at 10.20 lbs, brought in by Terry Bollom and Trent Menees. They won $750 for that single catch, and won the Costa Del Mar bonus for wearing their sunglasses when they weighed in their fish. It anchored their 8th place win for another $1,060. Trent Menees stated, “We caught the fish using a drop shot Double Z finesse worm, with 8lb Florocarbon, and a spinning rig in 35 feet of water. It was definitely not our intention when we started the day to end up throwing a drop shot in that deep of water, but we were fishing a point and just kept getting deeper when we saw arches on the graph. We were almost out of fishing time when we found it. I picked up the drop shot and immediately hooked up with the fish.” Trent continued, “There were definitely more fish there. We caught two more little ones the next two casts but they weren’t keepers, then we just ran out of time. We only had one keeper. I guess if you’re going to catch one, that’s the one to catch.”

The top 26 teams enjoyed a payday at this event, the last in the money was Tommy Randle and Steve Schiele weighing in 6.13 lbs.

Several teams enjoyed bonus money from Bass Champs sponsors, including:
Minn Kota Talon ($250) Ryan Dempsey & Buster Johnson (4th place 12.59 lbs)
Ford Bonus (Free tournament entries for 12 months) Ryan Cohlmeyer & Darren Heavner (16th place, 7.55 lbs)
Fun N Sun ($100) Tommy Randle & Steve Schiele (26th place, 6.13 lbs)

The next tournament for the North Region teams has been moved from Lake Tawakoni to Lake Fork on March 29. In the mean time, Bass Champs staff and crew are headed to LBJ to kick off the Central Region season on March 8.

All Bass Champs tournaments are open for everyone who would like to fish and have a chance to win a portion of the biggest paybacks in the industry. For more information click to www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274
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