Fishing & Boating News

22 yr old Arkansas angler, Gary Green tops a record field of over 1900 anglers with a 10.02 & wins a Skeeter ZX 200- Yamaha SHO plus $15,000 cash at the Mega Bass on Lake Fork.

by: Patty Lenderman,

Bass Champs President Chad Potts with Gary Green and his 10.02 lb Winning Bass
Photo by courtesy Bass Champs Tournament Trails
MegaBass winner,Gary Green with his trophy and a New Skeeter ZX 200.
Photo by courtesy Bass Champs Tournament Trails
(Mar 21, 2016 - Lake Fork, Tx) Skeeter Bass Champs hosted their annual Mega Bass tournament, presented by the Sportsman’s Auto Network on Lake Fork March 21, 2016 - the largest one day Bass tournament in the world that keeps getting bigger. Over 1900 anglers from over 30 states and more than $200,000 paid back in cash and prizes in single day for amateur anglers only. Twenty two year old Gary Green of Glenwood, Arkansas caught the biggest bass of the day - a double digit sow, taking home $15,000 cash AND a new Skeeter Boat!

The day began on a very cold morning, and as the tournament progressed so did the wind. Some tried to hold and fish their spots in the wind while others vied for protected coves. Lake Fork is a slot lake, so anglers can only weigh fish less than 16” long or over 24”. All others in-between those measurements must be released immediately and not weighed in. The big ones were biting, and several bass over the slot were caught giving those lucky anglers a big payday!

The first weigh hour was 8am. Bob Roberts of Longview, TX won the first $15,000 check with his 9.35 pound sow. “I just got lucky,” Roberts exclaimed. “I got on the lake at 6:45am, went to my spot and got set up.” His spot was in the middle of an open field, having a slight hump and sparse grass. “I threw a Carolina rigged watermelon candy Zoom trick worm in about 5’ of water.” He made a long cast, and within the first 10 minutes of fishing he got the bite. “When I was working it back to the boat, it felt like it got hung up. Then it started swimming off!” Bob was fishing by himself in this tournament, his wife and partner Bobbie could not make it. He wrangled his big sow safely to the boat on his own and brought it in to weigh and win the first hour. “I’d rather be lucky than good – and today I got lucky!” Bob has fished every Mega Bass event Bass Champs hosts, and the Skeeter Owner tournament and the Berkley Big Bass events. “Bass Champs puts on great events, and I like fishing all of them!”

The 9am hour was won by Rockwall, TX angler Jonathan Ham. His day started off fast and furious as well. “I was fishing a dock with a swim jig. She bit within about the first 6 minutes of fishing!” His big fish tipped the scales at 8.65 pounds, giving him a $15,000 payday! Terry Long of Bridgeport, TX added to his $500 hourly check, weighing in a 2.08 lb. bass, by winning the Crossed Industries bonus for another $3,000!

The 10am hour was the only hour of the day where only ‘unders’ were weighed. The top bass that hour weighed in at 2.35 pounds, caught by Jim Holmes of Prosper, TX for a $15,000 paycheck. “It was very windy and very cold,” Prosper began. “I just went fishing and caught a few fish.” Jim decided to fish flats in 12’ of water with Texas rigged watermelon red baby brush hogs. “They bit well first thing in the morning. I caught a few slot fish, then a weigher. I kept fishing for a few more hours, then came on in to weigh it.” Great decision – he won the hour with the only under the slot fish of the day! “I’m going to give my wife $5,000 of it and then figure out what I want to do with the rest.” Jim would like to thank Sartins Marine and Breaking Bass Swim Baits for their support.

The 11am hour saw not only big bass but an even weight winner as well. Scott Morton of Nacogdoches, TX caught a sow that weighed 8.26 lbs to win 1st place of the hour and $15,000. “My dear friend Josh Jamison talked me into fishing this tournament, he had fished a few of the Mega Bass tournaments before,” Morton explained. “I have never fished a tournament before and this was my first time on Lake Fork.” They headed to the bridge, and anchored. “We just started fishing. I was dragging a 12” worm on a 7/0 hook. I really didn’’t expect to catch anything, but I figured if you’re going to go for big bass, you’’ve got to use a big bait.” The wind and waves allowed them to fish a slow drift, dragging the anchor along. “I drug my worm for about 150 yards, then it felt like it had hung up on a stick or something. I tugged to get it loose, and it tugged back!” Scott split the winnings with his fishing partner, but dedicated the event to his grandmother. “Her name is Irene Harold, and we just lost her this past week. She was 77 years old. I know she was with me and smiling on me today.”

Juan Hernandez of Gilmer, TX took 2nd place overall in this hour for $1,000, and also won and additional $500 for weighing a 3.00 even weight bass.

The biggest fish of the day, a double digit mega bass was weighed in during the noon hour. Gary Green of Glenwood, Arkansas made the long trip to fish the event and it paid off big. “I decided to just go fishing, and hope to get a bite.” He was fishing shallow water banks, 5’-6’ deep in a cove with a floating worm. “I was fishing with my brother and my dad. She bit around 9am, and I knew it was a big fish as soon as I set the hook!” Waiting a couple of hours before weighing in the big sow, once the scales locked in she was 10.02 lbs, the biggest fish caught in the tournament! Bass Champs presented him with a $15,000 check AND a new Skeeter ZX200 powered by Yamaha and equipped with Lowrance, Power Pole and Minn Kota. “I’d like to thank God first and foremost overall,” Gary stated. “I’d also like to thank my family.”

With only two weigh in hours remaining, two bass over the slot were tallied during the 1:00 hour. Jerry “Benton” Hall of Lewisville, TX had the biggest one weighing 9.71 pounds for the $15,000 check. “It was cold, – very cold – and windy,” Benton recalled. “The start time for the tournament was 6:30am, but I decided to wait until 7:00.” Once he got on the water, he headed to the back of a creek. “I was looking for pre-spawn areas. I found where this creek intersected with a point, and had a 15’-20’ drop-off.” He tied on a deep diving crank bait. Fishing along the creek channel, he threw to water 5’ deep at a secondary point at the edge of the drop off when she bit. Fishing with his lifelong buddy Mark Smith, together they got the fish in and secured in the livewell. “It was my first fish of the day – I just got lucky. The weather deteriorated pretty quick after that.” Staying back at the holding tanks along with the tournament winner, Benton waited until the 1:00 hour to weigh. “This is my biggest fish ever! I really enjoy fishing this event. It’’s the right time of year, has a great payout, and is always well run by the Bass Champs crew. I hope to continue fishing it for many years to come!”

Jerry Archer of Poetry, TX took 2nd place that hour with his big catch weighing in at 8.67 pounds.

The final hour also had to big fish over the slot weighed in, and was won by Larry Ladnier of Rockwall Texas with his 9.55 lb. sow. “My partner Steve Foushee and I headed to a spot quite a ways from the weigh in. We were fishing points and flats in 2’ to 12’ as out of the wind as we could.” Larry had a Texas rigged Berkley Power Worm tied on, using a Lew’s rod & reel combo. “I caught a lot of slot fish and unders, but nothing to weigh in. Steve caught a lot of slot fish as well.” That all changed when Larry set the hook at 2:10. “She was BIG! We were pretty far from the weigh in, so as soon as we got her locked down, we battened down the hatches and headed in. We only made it with five minutes to spare!” David Sorrels of Linden, TX was sitting in the $15,000 seat with his 9.06 pound catch just waiting on the clock to run out and the scales to close. Larry bumped him into the 2nd place seat to win top spot of the last hour. “I really needed this – I just retired from Bass Pro Shops at the end of January!” He would like to thank his partner Steve as well as his wife for her support.

Biobor sponsored several bonus checks each hour, and when it was all said and done over $200,000 in cash and prizes was paid out in this richest one day hourly bass tournament in the world.

“We’’d like to congratulate all of the winners and thank everyone for making the journey, and for some a really long journey to come fish the Mega Bass event with us, presented by the Sportsman’s Auto Network. It was a great day, and a lot of big fish were weighed in. This annual event just keeps getting bigger and better every year. We hope everyone had a lot of fun and plan on fishing again next year!” – Chad Potts, Bass Champs President.

There are more upcoming opportunities to win some big money with Bass Champs! There are still several Bass Champs tournaments remaining in the team trails, with some specialty events coming up as well.
June 10 – Skeeter Owners Tournament, Lake Fork
June 26 – TX Shootout, Sam Rayburn - $50,000 for 1st place!
October 15 – 11th Annual Berkley Big Bass, Lake Fork