Brandon Gray earned a spot in the national championship by winning the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, regional championship tournament, held Oct. 22-23, 2010, on Kerr Lake near Henderson, N.C.
Anchoring his bag with a 4.54-pounder, the Bullock, N.C., angler caught two perfect five-bass daily tournament limits for 28.72 pounds to win a $28,000 Triton bass boat powered by a Mercury outboard and equipped with a MotorGuide trolling motor.
On the first day, Gray jumped into an early lead with a 15.68-pound effort, the largest single-day bag in the tournament. He followed that with 13.04 pounds, the second largest bag on Day 2.
“I spent my time looking for a group of fish that would stay put and not move,” Gray said. “I caught most of my fish in deep water, about 22 to 26 feet. I used a worm, a drop-shot rig and a crankbait.”
Anglers from the Maryland, North Carolina, New York West, New York East, Ohio and Virginia divisions fished the tournament on the largest lake in Virginia. Also called Bugg’s Island Lake, John H. Kerr Reservoir covers about 48,900 acres along the Roanoke River on the Virginia-North Carolina line.
In second for the 186 boaters, Eddie Griggs of Richmond, Va., also scored two daily limits for 21.85 pounds. He landed 10.46 pounds the first day and added 11.39 pounds the second day.
Close behind, Ron Nutter, Jr. of Newark, Ohio, caught 10 bass for 21.80 pounds. On the first day, he landed 8.09 pounds. On the final day, he brought in the largest sack, 13.71 pounds with a 6.67-pounder that took the tournament big bass title.
“I had a blow-up in 18 inches of water earlier in the week from a big fish, so I went back there,” Nutter said. “I fished there on the first day and didn’t get a bite. On the second day, I caught five fish. The big one was the last one. Most of my fish came from 12 to 16 feet of water on football jigs. I used about every color I had in the box. The best color was green pumpkin and bright blue. That’s what I caught the big bass on.”
Steve Sink of Winston Salem, N.C., landed in fourth with nine bass going 21.56 pounds with one 4.97-pounder. He held third on Day 1 with 13.89 pounds and followed that with 7.67 pounds. David Wright of Lexington, N.C., took fifth with 10 bass for 21.34 pounds including one 3.90-pound kicker. He caught 8.95 pounds the first day and 12.39 pounds the second day.
In the Co-Angler Division, Kermit Crowder of Petersburg, Va., scored a perfect six-bass two-day division limit for 13.57 pounds with a 3.04-pound kicker. He caught 6.62 pounds the first day and added 6.95 pounds the next day to win.
“On the first day, I caught all my fish on a crankbait,” Crowder said. “When the wind died down on the second day, I couldn’t get them to hit the crankbait so I threw a Carolina rig with a green pumpkin lizard in about six feet of water. I dragged it over shallow, rocky points. Most of the fish were on the side of the points.”
Michael Trivette of Blackstone, Va., finished second for the non-boaters with two three-bass daily division limits for 12.75 pounds with a 2.95-pound kicker. He caught 6.83 pounds the first day and 5.92 pounds the second day.
In third, Robert Green of Sedalia, N.C., landed six bass going 12.04 pounds. He made catches of 5.27 and 6.77 pounds. Mark Clatterbuck, Jr. of Stephens City, Va., followed with six bass at 11.86 pounds. He brought in bags of 5.30 and 6.56 pounds.
Shane Doughtie of Roanoke Rapids, N. C., rounded out the top five non-boaters with five bass at 11.79 pounds with a 3.31-pound kicker. He caught 5.60 pounds the first day and 6.19 pounds the next day. Herb Fazenbaker of McHenry, Md., took home division lunker honors with a 5.30-pounder.
The top 50 anglers in each division will compete in the Toyota Tundra BWS National Championship tournament, set for Nov. 3-6 at Guntersville State Park in Guntersville, Ala. Unfortunately, one top angler will probably miss the championship.
“Friday night after registration, Ray Griffin of Henderson, N.C., suffered a heart attack and could not fish the tournament,” explained Gary Conner, ABA tournament director. “At about 6:30 p.m. while I was driving back to the motel following the Day 1 weigh-in, he called me to apologize for missing the tournament! I was floored first that he called, but more so by the concern he expressed for the co-angler he felt he was putting out by not being there. Our prayers for a speedy recovery go to Ray. We hope to see him back on the water very soon.”
The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series is sponsored by Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Royal Purple, ProBass Networks, BioEdge, Rejuvenade and Carlisle Tire. For more information on this tournament, call (888) 203-6222. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.
About American Bass Anglers: The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series provides weekend anglers a professionally operated competitive tour with a path the world championship of bass fishing the Bassmaster Classic. American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers and the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, The American 150 Series or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.