Fishing & Boating News

Bass Champs wraps up on Toledo Bend, lone angler wins event and Anglers of the Year established

by: Patty Lenderman,

1st - Jeff Rice of Bossier City, LA
Photo by courtesy Bass Champs
(May 11, 2015 - Toledo)

Bass Champs East Region held their final regular season event for 2015 on Toledo Bend May 9, 2015 paying back over $61,000 to the top winners. Lone angler Jeff Rice of Bossier City, LA stayed ahead of the pack of 210 teams to win over $20,000.

Contenders were given a break from the rain for the most part, only having occasional sprinkles throughout the day. The biggest challenge was overcoming the increasing wind, blowing up to 20 mph. On a giant lake like Toledo Bend, that means big rolling waves and white caps, keeping many boats not too far from Cypress Bend to weigh in. A few went great distances for their creel, and for some it paid off.

Jeff Rice weighed in the biggest sack of the day to take the win. His partner, Glen Freeman, was unable to participate in this final tournament. Targeting ridges 8 to 22 deep, he pitched green pumpkin / blue flake football jigs for his catch. He wasnt catching numbers of fish, but the ones he landed were the ones he needed. I only caught seven fish, and lost two others. The biggest weighed in at 9.15 pounds, nearly winning Big Bass of the day. Adding the other four, his total weight was 25.57 pounds, winning the tournament and the guaranteed $20,000 first place check. Sure Life added another $200 for using the product in his livewell. Chad Potts, President of Bass Champs asked him if he got to keep all of the money since he fished by himself. Ill be splitting it with Glen  hed do it for me! He would like to thank God for giving him a great day, his family for their support, as well as sponsors of the team including Seaguar, Lews, Ranger, Yamaha, Nichols Marine and Lowrance.

2nd place was won by Charlie McGee and John Durio, having a total weight of 23.78 lbs. They also targeted a ridge, dropping from 8 to 12, with timber. It was pretty calm on the lake first thing in the morning, the team explained. We were throwing Carolina rigged Bass Kandi T-Craws. They knew this ridge had the fish they needed, and stayed in that one spot all day. We only caught five keepers. We lost one that would have weighed around four pounds. If we could have culled our smallest fish (a one pounder) with it, we may have won! Bass Champs presented them a check for $5,000. They also won the Ford Truck bonus, giving them free entries into Bass Champs events  a $4,800 value! They also received the $250 Talon bonus. They would like to thank Ranger, Mercury, Talon, MinnKota, Lews, American Rodsmith, Bass Kandi and Simon Outfitters.

The father & son team of Stan and Steve Burgay rolled the dice and made a very long run to the north end of Toledo for their creel and it paid off, winning 3rd place with 21.62 lbs. We probably hit five or six spots up there. We started out flipping the brush and boated around forty fish. Later we caught some off of a Spro frog. We didnt get as many bites on it, but better quality fish. They were awarded $4,000 for their finish.

Rounding out the top ten:
4th $3,000 21.43 lbs Mike & Ashley Gibbs
5th $2,500 21.37 lbs Ricky & Ronnie Madole
6th $2,000 21.03 lbs Jason Bonds & James Mitchell
7th $1,400 20.08 lbs Rodney Dotson & Yarri Schreibvogel
8th $1,300 20.07 lbs Jonathan Simon & Cade Durio
9th $1,200+ 19.86 lbs Nick Simon & Brett Bellard
10th $1,100 19.81 lbs Kris Wilson & Charles Bebber
last in the money27th $600 16.45 lbs Chad & Brent Kemp

The Big Bass of the day was caught by Pete Sorter, fishing with his brother Jimmy. We were fishing a deep flooded tree, about 20. I was using a ¾ ounce Denny Brauer jig with a Paca craw trailer, and when I brought the jig up about 10 and hit a limb, I had to set the hook to keep my rod! It was around 9:30am when the 9.45 pound bass hit, and was their third fish of the day. We stayed there for a while, but didnt get any more bites in that spot. We caught some of our other fish on a 6th Sense crank bait. That single catch won the $1,000 Big Bass check, and anchored their 14th place finish for an additional $1,010.

In a tight points race, the Anglers of the Year were established at this final regular season event. Congratulations to Jason Bonds and James Mitchell for achieving this prestigious title. As part of their reward, all of their entry fees into the 2016 East Region events are waived.

The fun is not over yet! Join Bass Champs for the 1st Annual TX Shootout on Sam Rayburn at the Umphrey Family Pavilion June 28 where the 1st place winner is guaranteed to win $50,000!

For  information on any Bass Champs hosted events,  call 817.439.3274