(Apr. 04, 2012 - Lake Fork, TX)...
Skeeter Bass Champs hosted the 2nd Annual Dodge Ram Big Bass tournament on Lake Fork April 1, 2012. New all time records were set for participation as SEVEN Dodge Ram 1500’s were to be awarded to top hourly winners. A Skeeter ZX190 powered by Yamaha and equipped with MinnKota and Humminbird electronics was added to the truck winner with the biggest bass of the day. Four bass in the nine pound range were registered, and one truck was won with a 2.32 lb bass. All total, 15 places were awarded each hour and 1,748 anglers had a chance for a portion of over $200,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs in cash and prizes.
Fork is a slot lake, meaning that only fish under 16" or over 24" is legal. All others within those measurements must be released immediately as they are illegal to keep.
Michael Hotelling of Fort Worth, TX won the first Dodge Truck of the day weighing in a 2.32 lb bass. He was in the lead alone until Jason Steindorf weighed in another 2.32. The two ended the hour tied for the truck. The rules state that if two or more anglers tie for a truck, the tie breaker will be determined by the contestant’s second largest bass weighed-in during tournament hours. In the event that a winner may not be determined by the above stated method, the winner will be determined by which angler weighed-in the winning fish first. All other ties will be resolved by splitting equally all money involved in the tie. Mr. Hotelling brought in a fish that weighed 1.89 in the second hour. Mr. Steindorf brought in a fish in the final hour that would determine which angler would win the 1st hour truck. After all the excitement and drama building up the weight of this one fish, Mr. Steindorf’s fish fell short by .16 lbs, and Mr. Hotelling claimed the 1st hour Truck.
The remainder of the day, it took mega bass over the 24" slot to win the new Dodge pickup trucks.
Cory Elling of Arlington, TX took the lead for overall big bass during the 9:00 hour with a 7.00 lb fish. His lead was short lived as Ken Addington of Colleyville, TX took over with a 9.68 lb sow.
Thomas Kressley of Irving, TX closely challenged the overall leader during the 11:00 hour weighing a 9.34 lb big bass, and Eric Ammerman of Lavon, TX nearly had it when he won the 12:00 hour with a 9.50 lb’r.
Jason Robertson of Lindale, TX won the 1:00 hour with his 9.02 lb fish, still leaving Ken Addington in the overall lead with one hour to go. Brent Sigler of Robinson, TX won the last truck given away weighing in an 8.20 lb bass.
When the scales officially closed, Ken Addington’s bass had held to win the grand package of a Dodge Ram Truck and a Skeeter ZX190 powered by Yamaha and equipped with MinnKota and Humminbird electronics, a total package worth nearly $55,000!
"It was a great day with my buds. I had my 24 year old Godson, Dustin, and the 18 year old young man, Khristian that has been mentoring with me. Dustin is quite the stick and has been catching 30 fish per day at Fork on a drop shot finesse worm every trip here lately. Our plan was that Dustin & Khristian would go for the fat under the slot fish to try to cash a check to cover expenses. I would fish deeper with a bigger bait to try to catch a whale.
We started fishing at 6:30 am when the radio said Go... Right away Dustin catches a good slot fish of about 5lbs. and gets our blood flowing. That boy can flat out catch em! Khristian strikes next with a nice 15.75" bass and we put it in the livewell. I weighed the fish with my little digital scale and it shows 1.80lbs. so I fear it isn’t big enough to cash a check but we hang onto it anyway for insurance. Dustin and Khristian keep catching fish but most are in the 16-24" slot that Fork is notorious for.
Meanwhile I am throwing a Mag Fluke and a big Yum Dinger out deeper. By 9:00 D and K have landed 12 fish and we are pumped! We skipped between secondary small points trying to maximize our fishing time. There are a few spots during the spring that I have supreme confidence in for big fish and we moved to one of them about 9:30.
Dustin and Khristian were still drop shotting in shallow water for the males and I threw out to about 8 feet with the big watermelon candy Yum Dinger. I picked up on the line and it was heavy... I set the hook and immediately my rod loads with a heavy fish! We were in heavy timber and I say a quick prayer that my 20lbs. Seaguar Invisx holds.... The fish jumped once about 30 feet from the boat and I tell Khristian to get the net. I knew she was at least 9 lbs. when I saw her and my old heart started really thumping!
I worked her to the boat and Khristian netted her like a pro. High Fives, Fist Bumps, and Man Hugs all the way around and we put her in the livewell. We had left my big measuring stick in my boat storage so we had to ask some fishermen nearby (always at Fork) if we could use theirs. We trolled over to them and put the fish on the board to see if she would go OVER the elusive 24" mark..... She measured 24.5" long and we are in business!!! I grabbed my digital scales and weighed her. She pulled the scale down to 9.5lbs. and I knew we were in the money so we strapped everything down for the long ride to Lake Fork Marina.
If you haven’t fished a large big bass event at Fork you need to know there is a lot of strategy at the weigh in line. Case in point: A man from Shreveport was already in line with an over the slot fish in his bag waiting for the hourly weigh in to start. We had left my fish in the well and was observing all the guys at the tanks to see if another fish was larger than mine. If we had seen another fish that appeared larger we would have left and came back the next hour.
With 15 minutes left in the hour the Louisiana man goes to the scales with his bass..... It goes 8.00 and he is happy... for a few minutes. We went to the boat and bagged my fish and came back to the tanks to wait for the last few seconds to weigh my fish. With less than a minute left I hand my fish to the weigh-master and they measure the fish. She goes well over 24" and we hold out breath as she is placed on the scales! She goes 9.68 on the official scales and they announce that I had won that hour!! This was good for a new Dodge Ram with a Hemi and leather interior. Not a bad way to start a Sunday!!"
That was the 10:00 weigh in hour, and there were still several hours to go with more than 1,700 contenders out there fishing. At the close of each hour, he felt increments of relief as he waited for the last hour to come to a close.
"With less than 30 minutes to go they announced over the radio that my fish was still leading for the overall weight! I couldn’t believe it! I thought for sure it would take at least a 10 or better to win this thing. We loaded the boat and drove to weigh in to see the chaos. They had a record number of entrants for this event with 1748 fishermen. Bass Champs hosted the event and did their usual great job of running the event. At 2:30 they announced that my fish had held up to win the overall tournament and had taken the new Skeeter ZX 190 boat with Yamaha 150 HPDI grand prize as well."
Ken and the other young men he fished with agreed when they entered the tournament that they would evenly split whatever winnings they received.
"The boat was valued retail at $35K and the truck had an MSRP of about $22K so it was it was a great day for sure!!
Bass Champs President, Chad Potts, stated, "I would sincerely like to thank and congratulate all of our staff for the effort they put in over the past 5 days. It takes a lot of people and lot of hours to pull off an event of this size. They all went over and above to insure the event was a success. In addition, The support that Ram and Skeeter have for weekend anglers is second to none. Our new partner and presenting sponsor of this event BIOBOR was on hand to introduce their new fuel additive (BIOBOR EB) product that is without a doubt the most productive and best valued fuel additive on the Market today." Chad continued, "Special thanks to Lake Fork Marina for allowing us to basically take over their entire parking lot and boat ramp. We couldn’t have hosted the event without their complete willingness to open up their facility the way they do. Also, we would like to thank the Wood County Industrial Commission for their support."
Skeeter Bass Champs would like to thank everyone who fished the annual Dodge Mega Bass tournament, the only event of its kind awarding SEVEN Dodge Ram Pickup trucks to the top hourly winners! Stay tuned to the BassChamps website for more great opportunities to win some MEGA bucks in lakes all across Texas.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
Bass Champs has already set the date for next year’s Ram Mega Bass on Fork. Set your calendars for April 7th, 2013. Get your hotel rooms booked and get ready for an even bigger event next year.