Monday, November 15, 2010

Mike Cork Takes First with a Toad at Red River

From Division 48, Shreveport/Bossier City, Mike Cork from Benton, LA is one step closer to the ABA National Championship with a 1st place win and $650 in the American Fishing Tour bass tournament held on the Red River this past weekend. 33 anglers met for the second tournament of the 2010-2011 season in division 48. Mike’s 5 fish limit weighed in at 20.01 lbs. Second place went to newcomer Jason Bloxum with a nice 5 fish limit weighing in at 13.67 lbs, third place went to the divisions youngest member Kent Cella with a 5 fish limit of 10.90 lbs. Kent joined the ABA last year at the age of 14 and is a young angler with a very bright future. Big bass was also awarded to Mike Cork for catching a monster 12.24 pound large mouth!

These anglers are acquiring valuable points to insure their birth in division’s two-day champion and the American Fishing Tour National Championship that will be held this fall. Their points are also being used to determine the divisional angler of the year. The top angler by points earned in this division will represent the division in the Angler of the Year final round.

The top five anglers were:
1. Mike Cork 20.01 Lbs.
2. Jason Bloxum 13.67 Lbs.
3. Kent Cella 10.90 Lbs.
4. Chris MeGee 9.71 Lbs.
5. Clint Sistrunk 9.25 Lbs.

Conditions: After a beautiful week of sunshine and 70 degree weather the anglers were met with a passing cold front that brought in rain and winds with morning temps in the low 40’s. The overcast skies delayed the launch by about 45 minutes with a pounding rain at take off. With water temps in the low 60’s all week the bass had been very active feeding up for winter but Mother Nature changed all of that for most of the field. The anglers were expecting the bite to be slow, which it was.

Winning Strategy: From Mike Cork… "I had told myself that with this cold front coming through, I'd better cover as much water as I could to get any active fish before it was too late. That didn't pan out; I had gone through my first 4 spots and only had one 12 incher to show for it. Come 10 AM I still only had the one fish in the livewell so I picked up my flipping stick and told myself that it's do or die. By now the cold front has passed through. I caught another 13 incher and a 2 pounder over the course of an hour and had roughly 4-5 pounds in the live well. It was 12 O'clock on the dot when I made a flip to a log jam that some hyacinth had blown up on from the strong north wind. As my bait fell to the bottom I see the line jump, I set the hook, but my rod actually went towards the water instead of up? The water exploded like I had never seen… Hyacinth went flying into the air, logs started sliding off the bank, and to be honest for a split second I thought I had hooked an alligator. It has happened more times than most would think down here. After fighting her between logs and stumps along with several line stripping runs, the careful preparation of my equipment paid off and I netted the biggest bass I have ever caught. I quickly placed her in the livewell, shut the door, locked it, and sat on it to try and re-gain my composure. I wanted to scream… I just sat there looking around in amazement from what just happened. I still had 3 hours left! It took me about 30 minutes to settle down from shaking so bad. I managed to lose a couple of decent fish and boat one more 3 1/2 pounder before the day was over and I had to head in. When I got to the scales I started to get nervous all over again. I wanted to get her back in the water as soon as possible too. She weighed in at 12.24 pounds, measured 25 1/4 inches long, and had a girth of 20 1/2 inches.” Mike was punching a 3/4 ounce TX rig Junebug super hog through wind matted hyacinth that was blown up onto log jams along steep banks. “I figure she was in about 4 feet of water about 2 feet off the bank.” The fish was photographed numerous times and well taken care of. Bass Life has a program in our area where the weight and measurement will give him a free replica of the fish. Mike’s equipment was a Dobyns 795c Champion Extreme Rod paired with a Shimano Castaic reel and spooled with 65 lb Power Pro braided line. The fish was released right back in the river still thrashing her head as he let her go. Mike, you will never forget this day and congratulations on the fish of a lifetime!

Next Divisional Tournament: This division’s next tournament will be December 4th on Grand Bayou Reservoir at the Resort Park Launch. For more information on this or any future event in this division contact Chris Wayand (318) 349-3363 or by email at:

The American Fishing Tour offers low cost, close to home bass tournaments that are designed for the weekend angler. All ABA anglers fish for money and points. The points advance the angler to their divisional championship and the top 500 anglers in the US are invited to the American Fishing Tour National Championship.

About American Bass Anglers
American Bass Anglers is the largest tournament organization for the weekend angler. American Bass Anglers operates the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series and the American Couples Series. Each tour is design specifically for the weekend angler offering low cost and close to home events so the anglers can qualify for larger championship. For more information on American Bass Anglers visit

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