Culberston and Davis Take the Win on Lake Fork
After the original kick off for the North Region had to be postponed due to dangerous winter weather, things got back on track March 13 as 471 teamed competitors merged on Lake Fork. This was the highest participation in the north region since 2005. Curt Culbertson and Jonathan Davis drew first blood in this region to win $20,000.
Lake Fork is a slot lake, meaning that fish measuring in the slot between 16" to 24" are illegal and must be released. Only fish under 16" or over 24" can be weighed in.
Temperatures started out in the lower 40's, rising to over 60 degrees by days end. The winds were fairly calm under partly cloudy skies. Water temperatures on Lake Fork is still in the lower 50's, but the bass are already trying to make the move to shallow water.
Curt Culbertson and Jonathon Davis won 1st place and the guaranteed $20,000 purse weighing in 12.50 lbs. The team focused on soft plastics rigged "wacky" style. They were able to catch over 40 fish during the day. "We've never won a tournament this big before, this is awesome!" stated Davis.
Coming in 2nd place with 11.82 lbs was the team of Chuck Turner and Mark Huffman. Chuck stated, "We pretty much did the same thing the winners did, water-melon red wacky-worms in the back of creeks. We didn't catch quite as many fish as they did, but we still had a great day."
11.50 lbs won 3rd place, with two boats bringing it in for a tie. Terry McGilivray and Dennis Hastings shared the win with lone angler Ray Vereen. Terry and Dennis planned to hit lily pads in Williams Creek. "That plan didn't pan out for us. At 12:30 we had one keeper in the boat." They knew they had to make a move, so they headed to Mustang to fish alligator grass at a main lake point. "We caught one on a red rattle trap, then worked our way down a windy grass line with a watermelon red Lake Fork tackle ring fry. We caught 9 more, just the right size." Their fish was shallow, all in 1'-4' of water. Before the end of the day they wrapped up a limit and was able to cull twice to their final weight. The team would like to thank Lake Fork Tackle, Steve's Prop Shop and All Star Rods.
Ray Vereen of Emory, TX also weighed in 11.50 lbs fishing by himself.
For the first time in Bass Champs history, a bass over the slot limit was weighed in to capture Big Bass honors. Kevin Gardner from Marietta, Oklahoma caught the 10.94 lb sow to win Big Bass honors, and the weight also held for a 9th place overall finish for he and partner Craig Sanders. Their plan was simple: strictly target big bass. Using a ½ ounce, chartreuse and white Wareagle spinnerbait, they headed to White Oak and fished in the tree tops. "I usually use a trailer hook on my spinnerbaits, but took it off to fish these conditions," Kevin explained. Sitting in 18', the team targeted depths of 8' right along the tree line down the side of the channel. Going into the afternoon, the team didn't have a single fish in the livewell. Finally, with only an hour and a half left to go, they started getting the bites they were looking for. "We caught one 23", the next was 23 ½". Finally, I caught this one that was right at 24". The team won $1,000 for Big Bass and another $1,060 for 9th place overall. "We'd like to thank Snap Tail Lures, Black Beard Marine and Legend Boats."
There were 32 places paid in this 95% payback event. Brandon Brewer and Jeramy Marinelli cashed the last $600 check for their 9.82 lb weight.
The next North Region event will be held at Lake Ray Roberts on April 17th. In the mean time, Bass Champs staff and crew will head to Lake Amistad for the South Region's third event of the season March 20. Every Bass Champs tournament is an open event for anyone to participate in. Whether you just want to try one or can fish them all, come get your part of the money! For more information call 817-439-3274 or click to www.BassChamps.com.