Fishing & Boating News

Chris Smith & Brad Barington take home over $25,000 on Amistad

Kuyrkendall & Wilson win AOY honors

by: Patty Lenderman,

Amistad Winners!
Photo by courtesy Bass Champs Tournament Trails
(May 23, 2016 - Lake Amistad, TX) Bass Champs 2016 season is quickly wrapping up, as the South Region held their final event on Amistad, May 21st. There were 145 teams fishing this final round for a portion of the purse valued at $46,400 – a whopping 107% payback! Chris Smith & Brad Barrington pulled out the win with over 20 pounds, taking home over $25,000.

Contenders had quite the variety of weather patterns for their last tournament. Cloudy, rain, some wind and then sunny skies before days end. Those components and a lot of skill added up to a close weigh in all the way down the line in 19 places paid.

“We just lucked out and had a really good day,” Chris Smith declared. “My partner (Brad Barrington) talked me into fishing this tournament. I never would have dreamed that we would win it!” Their plan was to fish deep, healthy grass with Texas and Carolina rigs. “We didn’t catch anything for the first couple of hours.” They stayed on the move and tried several spots with Senko’s and lizards. Finally, they broke the ice and put their first fish in the boat. “We started catching one here, one there, and did a lot of running.” They wrapped up their initial limit around noon, and were able to cull a couple of times after that. “We caught all the fish we weighed in by about 1:30. We caught more fish after that, but nothing to cull with.” Putting their final five on the scales, their weight racked up to 20.37 pounds, staying just ahead of the pack to win 1st place. “We got lucky and caught some good ones!” Bass Champs awarded the winners the guaranteed 1st place check for $20,000. They were also in a qualified Skeeter boat to win an additional $5,000. Their winnings continued as they cashed in on the Power Pole and Sure Life bonuses, taking home well over $25,000. “We would definitely like to thank our wives for letting us do what we do and standing behind us. We are very blessed. The Lord was with us today.”

Coming in a very close 2nd place was the team of Mike Reid and Chad Kunkel with 20.03 lbs. “Our day started out on the wet side,” Chad explained. “They were biting really good for us until the sun came out.” They put their efforts in areas 10’-15’ deep along shorelines and points with Carolina rigged lizards. They hit around ten spots, but the bite was tough for them. “When it stopped raining, we only had four fish in the boat. We caught our last one between 2-3:00.” Fishing only their second or third Bass Champs event, they took home a check for $2,500. “My partner Mike put everything together for us. He keeps the boat well supplied and he is a great partner!”

Randy Dixon and Stephen Winter won 3rd place with their 19.58 lb sack. Throwing Carolina rigged Ten Bear plastics in a Baby Yeo color, they boated their first fish on their third cast weighing about three pounds in 12’ of water. “We were fishing areas with spotty duckweed and hydrilla,” Randy explained. “My partner was throwing Ten Bear ¾ oz football jigs in a peanut butter & jelly color with a 10” junebug worm. We caught LOTS of fish!” As the day progressed, they followed the fish to deeper water, up to 20’. By 1:00 they had all the fish they weighed in. “The key was to have some shade of purple in whatever you were using.” Bass Champs presented them a check for $2,000 for their 3rd place finish. “Ten Bear makes great products, and they really worked for us today. I’d also like to thank my wife and all my employees for putting up with all of the fishing that I do. A special shout out to Judy Reneau for coming through for me with my ‘confidence fishing rod’. I fish a lot of different tournaments. Bass Champs is a class act. They are really amazing.”

The Big Bass of the day was caught by Ryan Watkins, weighing 8.62 pounds. “We had a good practice,” Ryan began. “I practiced with a medium heavy rod, and the bass were just mouthing the bait. I realized that I was going to have to taper down my gear.” On tournament day, they had honed their gear and were ready to execute. “We started out in an area off of a grass flat in 12’-18’ of water,” Ryan recalled. Rigging up a green pumpkin/purple Strike King Rage Cutter with a 5/16 oz tungsten weight on a 6’-11” Thirteen Fishing Arch Angel medium action rod with 14# Sunline. “The fish wanted a slow presentation. Not hopped or jerked – just dragged painstakingly slow. With the full moon, we knew the morning bite would be better until around 8:30 or 9, and then pick back up later in the afternoon. That’s pretty much how it played out.” By 9am, they had their big bass and four ‘swimmers’ to go with it. “We had four areas to fish, and we just kept hitting them, fishing them thoroughly and milking it. As tough as it was, we needed every bite. That Thirteen Fishing rod made all the difference!” Their Big Bass catch caught a check for $500, and anchored the 9th place win for he and partner Gran Shandley. Their total weight was 18.31 pounds, for a $1,020 check. Their winnings continued with the Delo, Costa Del Mar and Under Armour bonuses.

With the points for all four events added up for the South Region, Derick Kuyrkendall and Forest Wilson came out on top to win Anglers of the Year by a mere five point margin. The reward for earning this prestigious title are their 2017 entry fees will be waived for the South Region. Congratulations to them for attaining this achievement!

The final open Bass Champs team event for 2016 will be June 4 on Lake Tawakoni as the North Region wraps up their season.

Also mark your calendars and plan to fish these upcoming Bass Champs hosted events:
June 10 - Skeeter Owner’s Tournament, Lake Fork
June 26 – TX Shootout, Sam Rayburn
Sept 17 - Fishing For Freedom, Thousand Islands, NY
Oct 15-16 – 11th Annual Berkley Big Bass, Lake Fork

“The 2nd Annual TX Shootout is coming up next month on Sam Rayburn. With a guaranteed 1st place purse of $50,000 it is the worlds richest one day team event, and you don’t want to miss it!” Chad Potts announced. “I’d like to thank everyone for fishing with us – it’s been a great season. Hope to see you at our other events, and look forward to seeing the qualifiers at the championship. Good luck everyone!”

The 2016 Championship will be a two day event, October 8-9, 2016 on The Sabine River, Orange, TX. Over $200,000 in cash and prizes is guaranteed to be awarded, including a Skeeter FX 20 powered by a Yamaha 250 SHO for the 1st place winners, and a Skeeter ZX 225 powered by a Yamaha 225 SHO for the 2nd place team. The top 40 teams will receive checks.