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Date: February 6, 2010
Region: 2010 Central Region
Tournament: Lake Belton
Tournament Trail: 2010 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Waldrop & Bechtol win over $20,000 at Bass Champs Central Region season opener on Belton
By: Patty Lenderman

Who would have ever thought that four pounds would catch a check in a Bass Champs tournament? Well, it happened on Belton Lake February 6, 2010! High water, cold temps and elusive bass challenged 200 Central Region teams vying for more than $50,000 up for grabs. Jack Waldrop and Hub Bechtol topped them all with one of only two limits weighed in.

A last minute change in venue had to be made due to an alert from the Corps of Engineers. Lake levels on Belton had surged more than 10 feet causing some locations to be under water. Registration and weigh in had to be moved to Cedar Ridge Park.

The high water kept the anglers on the move as well as they searched for clear water among the floating debris on the lake. Teams were held a little later than usual for safe take-off so that they could see the floating obstacles better as they traveled. Temperatures started out in the mid 30’s rising only to mid 50’s by days end. Finding fish under these conditions was tough. This is probably the only Bass Champs tournament that will be seen that just over four pounds won a check!

Austin anglers Jack Waldrop, Jr and Hub Bechtol brought in one of only two limits weighed in to win the tournament. Jack gave his partner Hub most of the credit for the day. “This is the best day of my life! Hub caught our biggest and most of our fish today.” They had scouted the lake a week before and found a creek channel with a lot of brush in 8’ depths. “Hub was using ultra light line with a pointer stick, and I was using a soft jerkbait,” Jack explained. “This was just a little area with ultra clear water.” Only boating about one fish per hour, they caught six fish total for the day. “I lost one that weighed about six pounds. We saw it. I was pretty upset, but after that Hub caught our 6.36 lb kicker.” Adding their other four, their total weight came to 14.38 lbs to top the field and win the guaranteed 1st place purse of $20,000. They were also using Sure Life products in their livewell to cash in on that $200 bonus. “We’d like to thank Fitovers eyewear, South Austin Marine, Bang, The Angling Channel, Bee Caves BBQ and Waters of America Trophy Fisheries and Wetland Environments for their support.”

Brandon Tingey and Blake Poncio, both of Katy, TX won 2nd place with 13.62 lbs. “We covered a lot of water,” Brandon stated. “We targeted rocks and old structure. Nothing new.” Going for a reaction bite, they used lipless crank baits and spinnerbaits with Castaway rods in 2’-8’. “This was the perfect opportunity to cover newly covered rocks with the high water and got the reaction bite we anticipated. When we caught a fish, we’d slow down and really dissect that area.” They knew the morning bite would be crucial, and for them it was. They boated all the fish they weighed in by 9:30. “We’d like to thank Bass Champs. They have the best Texas tournament trail there is. Really 1st class.” They would also like to thank Castaway rods, GFX wrap, PBH Express and Brandon would also like to thank his wife Kelly for her support.

Would you pay nearly $215 a pound for a fish? Bass Champs did! Randall Christian caught the Big Bass of the tournament weighing 9.68 lbs. “This is the biggest bass I’ve ever caught during a tournament! It was about 8:00 at my first spot, at a secondary point about 8’ deep. The lake is way up, and the fish were scattered. I was using a tandem Stanley chartreuse & white double willow spinnerbait. This area just had bare bluff banks, and looked like a good pre-spawn area. I wish I could say I caught this fish because I was smart, but I just got lucky. I tried a hundred other places just like it but never caught another fish.” Fishing by himself, he won $1,000 for Big Bass plus another $1080 for winning 7th place overall.

Twenty seven places were paid, with the last check going to David Underwood and Keith Honeycutt with 4.48 lbs.

10th place team Mike Garret and Ron Seevers won the Skeeter double money bonus, and had the first even weight of the tournament at 8.00 lbs. This qualified them for another bonus if they had in their possession a business card from a Skeeter boat dealership. They were prepared and received an additional $250.

The next Central Region tournament will be on Lake Travis March 6. Bass Champs will be kicking off the North Region February 13 at Cedar Creek. For more schedules and information click to www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274.
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