Bass Champs South Region anglers shot right out of the box gettin’ jiggy for the first event of the 2011 season. Sixteen teams weighed in over 20 pounds, Alton Jones Jr and David Ridley III blew them all away with well over 30! Several double digit big bass were seen and nearly $60,000 was paid back in cash and prizes.
Bass Champs tournament trail is off to a hot start this season with even more sponsor incentives and paybacks. Between the big sacks brought in and the big bass that went with them, the weigh in proved to be exciting.
Weighing in 32.47 lbs, Alton Jones and David Ridley III dominated the tournament. The team started out using swim baits in deep water. “We boated a four pounder doing that, but had to change it up. We decided to go to shallow water and use XCS 100 crankbaits in a smallmouth green color in the grass.” It was a smart move. “We had about a four pounder coming to the boat, but we tried to rush things and lost it. After that they just exploaded.” In the next 20 casts they yielded 20 fish! “It was crazy. During that 30 minutes, David caught our kicker weighing 10.67 lbs.” Alton also caught a nice one to add to the bunch in the 9 pound range. “We probably caught 25 fish over 3 pounds.” Last year the team won 2nd place in March on Amistad, and this is now David’s biggest tournament fish to weigh in, beating the one caught last year at LBJ in Bass Champs weighing 10.08. Bass Champs presented them with a check for $20,000. They were also fishing in a qualified Skeeter boat for an additional $5,000. The team racked up with the Dodge Ram bonus as well as the Sure Life bonus.
Alton would like to thank Lovett & Associates – “they are the best financial advisors. That’s where we’ll be taking our check!” David would also like to thank Lovett & Associates, American Bank of Waco, Allen Samuels Dodge/Chrysler of Waco and American Rodsmiths.
Mike Harman and Matt Hill made a good run for top spot weighing in 29.87 lbs for 2nd place. “We stayed in deep water, using Carolina rigged Big Bass Candy worms.” Focusing on ledges in and around creek channels, they caught a few early then things slowed way down for them. “A little later in the day things really picked up. It was around 1:00 when we caught our big one.” Their ‘big one’ tipped the scales at an amazing 12.29 pounds! “It was too big for the livewell. We called Chad and headed in. He met us at the boat ramp, weighed the fish and we went back out and culled two more times.” Mike and Matt have both been fishing Bass Champs for a long time, but this is their first year as partners. What a great start to the season! “We’d like to thank Bass Champs for consistently doing a great job with these tournaments. It’s a fantastic tournament trail with a superb staff.” The team won $5,000 for their 2nd place finish, $1,000 for Big Bass, plus the Costa Big Bass Bonus.
3rd place was won by husband and wife Jim and Gail Criswell with 27.87 lbs. “We started catching immediately.” They were fishing in shallow water, around 12’-16’ on crank baits - but they were not the quality bass they were looking for. “Around 11:00 we went to deeper water, caught bigger fish and culled all of our initial limit.” The ledges in 30’-50’ proved to be the right type of area. The duo used Power Tackle Lateral Perch, Oldham football head jigs and Revenge Jiggin Spoons for their catch. “My wife caught our biggest bass, and when she was reeling it in an even bigger one was following it! She told me to get the net and get the bigger fish, but I figured ‘a bird in the hand…” The team enjoyed $3,000 in winnings to start the year. “This is a really good circuit and run right.”
27 places were paid with 205 participating teams. Austin and Jason Terry were the last in the money weighing 18.58 pounds for a $600 check.
The next South Region tournament will be February 12 on Lake Falcon. The East Texas Region kicks off next on Sam Rayburn January 22.
For complete schedules and more information click to www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274.
Bass Champs 2011 sponsors include:
Skeeter – Yamaha – WFN – Berkley – MinnKota – Dodge Ram – Academy – Abu Garcia – Humminbird – Progressive Insurance – Sure Life – Costa Del Mar – All Star rods – Continental Batteries – Navionics – Line X – Billy Bob’s Texas – Jasper Chamber of Commerce – Del Rio Chamber of Commerce – Zapata Chamber of Commerce – Sabine County Texas Chamber of Commerce – Wood County Industrial Commission