After three days on intense competition, Ralph Steve DeBord hopes to make a wire-to-wire victory in the 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, National Championship tournament on Nov. 5.
One day away from a possible title, the Martinez, Ga., angler landed his third consecutive five-bass daily tournament limit for a total of 15 bass weighing 53.54 pounds. His largest fish weighed 5.77 pounds. On the third day, he pulled 14.98 pounds from Lake Guntersville. On Day 1, he caught 22.48 pounds and added 16.08 pounds on Day 2.
“I changed up and went to a different spot,” DeBord said. “I caught a limit by 10:30 a.m. and then went back to my other fish. I’m going to do the same thing on the last day.”
Catching 19.05 pounds on Day 3, Ryan McMurtury of Abbeville, S.C., jumped from seventh place into second with a three-day limit of 15 bass going 51.43 pounds with one 5.20-pounder. He caught 14.61 pounds the first day and 17.77 pounds the second day.
“I’m catching fish way up the lake,” McMurtury said. “I only have one spot. I caught 50 bass the first day and 45 the second day. I caught about 30 on the third day and quit fishing at 11 a.m. to save them for the last day.”
Brent Anderson of Kingston Springs, Tenn., moved up from ninth to third place with a total of 15 bass weighing 48.70 pounds. He landed 14.07 pounds on Day 1, 16.45 pounds on Day 2 and 18.18 pounds on Day 3.
Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., dropped a notch with 15 bass at 46.95 pounds. He landed 17.79 pounds on Day 1, 15.17 pounds on Day 2 and 13.99 pounds on Day 3.
Moving from 11th place to fifth in the Boater Division, Brandon Gray of Bullock, N.C., landed 15.92 pounds on Day 3 for a total of 15 bass weighing 45.82 pounds. He caught 14.81 pounds on Day 1 and followed that with 15.09 pounds. Robbie Pelt of Montgomery, Ala., took the Day 3 Boater Division lunker title by bringing in a 7.74-pounder.
“I fished wind-blown points with jigs,” Pelt said. “That’s what the big one hit. I also caught some fish suspended in 25 feet of water with jerkbaits.”
The top 400 weekend anglers from more than 40 states compete in two divisions. In the Co-Angler Division, Dennis McGouirk of Carrolton, Ga., kept his hold on the lead with a three-bass daily division limit weighing 10.70 pounds on Day 3. With a 15.75-pound second-day bag anchored by a 7.19-pounder and 6.58 pounds on Day 1, he landed a total of nine bass going 33.03 pounds.
Richard Peek of Centre, Ala., brought in his third consecutive three-bass daily division limit for a total of 27.73 pounds. He landed weights of 10.07, 10.02 and 7.64 pounds.
Steve Sommer of Norman, Okla., moved from seventh place to third with nine bass going 25.19 pounds. He caught 6.23 pounds the first day, 10.04 pounds the second day and 8.92 pounds the third day.
In fourth, Marty Colley of Ashville, Ala., caught eight bass for 24.48 pounds. Moving up from eight place, he landed 10.41 pounds the first day, 5.84 pounds the second day and 8.23 pounds the third day.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers, Bradley Dortch of Celebration, Fla., moved up one place with nine bass at 23.64 pounds. He landed 7.67 pounds on Day 1, 8.72 pounds on Day 2 and 7.25 pounds on Day 3.
Ronnie Stiek of Skiatook, Okla., maintained his lock on lunker honors. On Day 2, the co-angler caught an 8.05-pounder on a peanut butter and jelly jig with a craw in about 20 feet of water.
The four-day event concludes Nov. 6. Free and open to the public, the daily weigh-in begins at 3 p.m. in Guntersville State Park in Guntersville, Ala. Only the top 25 anglers in each division fish on the final day.
The winning boater will take home a check for $100,000 and qualify to fish the 2011 Bassmaster Classic, slated for Feb. 18-20, in New Orleans. In addition, the boating champion could add as much as $105,000 in cash bonuses for using a Triton boat, a Mercury outboard motor and a MotorGuide trolling motor. The boater who catches the largest bass each day will receive a $1,000 bonus.
The winning co-angler will pocket $50,000 and could accumulate up to $52,500 in bonus cash. The non-boater who brings in the daily division lunker pockets a $500 bonus.
Besides watching the final weigh-in, fans can check out the cooks competing in the ABA BBQ Championship Cook-off, sponsored by Early Times Whisky, or participate in various activities during the outdoors festival from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The festival includes exhibits from various sponsors and vendors, a Kid’s Fun Zone, silent auction and a U.S.O. show featuring the Bama Girls. Ashley Davis of Dothan, the reigning Miss Alabama, and Jeff Cook from the musical group Alabama will also be on hand.
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.