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Date: March 22, 2015
Tournament: Ford Mega Bass 2015
Prize WinnersHourlyStoryPhotos
West Virginia angler tops a world record field over 1800 anglers to win the 7th Annual Ford Mega Bass on Lake Fork
By: Conor Harrison

Joshua Franklin makes the 940-mile one-way trip from his home in Huntington, West Virginia to Lake Fork several times a year.

His father-in-law used to own a house on the lake, and the draw of possibly winning a big tournament on the lake has kept him coming back.

Franklin finally realized his dream when he hooked a 10.9-pound bass around 11:45 a.m. to win the event and take home a new Ford F-150, a Skeeter ZX 200, Yamaha 200 SHO and Minn-Kota-Humminbird package. The big fish allowed the Mountaineer state angler to best more than 1,800 other anglers at the biggest one-day bass tournament in the world. The Ford Mega Bass presented by Biobor.

“We got to the lake Tuesday night and began fishing Wednesday,” he said. “The water temps were up and down and the rain wouldn’t go away. The day of the tournament, the water temperatures were 62 degrees, so we focused on catching fish in 8 to 10 feet of water.”

Throwing a Flash Pop that was similar to a small Alabama rig with a secret swimbait attached, Franklin caught a fish below the slot limit and cashed an hourly check early in the tournament.

“Once we cashed that first check, I said, ‘Well now I’m going to catch an over,’” Franklin said. “My lure wasn’t 5 feet from the boat when she hit. I set the hook and thought this is a big fish. She went under the boat and I thought I might lose her, but we got her in the net, made sure she was long enough and I knew we might have caught the big fish of the tournament.

“I said, ‘We need to go to the dock now.’”

Franklin was fishing midlake, so he had a good run back to the weigh-in spot.
“I had that Skeeter pegged,” he said.

Once the fish was weighed in about 12:45, it was a waiting game for Franklin.
“I was pacing a lot,” he said. “All of these people started weighing in overs and I was thinking, where are these fish coming from? There were six in the last hour.”
Once he had beaten out all comers, Franklin got emotional after a tough year.
“When our son was three months old, he was diagnosed with a rare heart defect,” Franklin said. “We had to fly him to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He’s now 6 months old and doing great, but it was real tough not knowing if your son was going to make it. Coming from that, I still can’t believe I won the biggest one-day bass tournament in the world.

“That new Skeeter sure looks good being pulled home to West Virginia.”
Six other anglers also weighed in fish good enough to take home a new Ford F-150 truck:

RON LEE Yantis TX 10.71 Ford F-150

PAT MOLINA Mesquite TX 10.65 Ford F-150

BRYAN RHOADES Bowie TX 10.25 Ford F-150

CHARLES VAUGHN Mountainbury AR 10.03 Ford F-150

ANDY WILBURN Royse City TX 9.79 Ford F-150

TIM RICHARDSON Blanchard OK 9.22 Ford F-150

All told, fifteen fish over the slot limit were weighed in. More than $250,000 in cash and prizes were handed out to anglers from 32 different states.
For more information, go to BassChamps.com.
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