Stacey King Runs the Table...Rock
Stacey King celebrates his victory.PAA
Heading into the second event of this year's PAA Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series Presented by Carrot Stix, smart money said that Stacey King would challenge for the title. Conventional wisdom was not overturned this week as King led the tournament from wire to wire with three limits of bass that totaled 58.52 pounds.
His pound and a half Day One lead dwindled to just over a pound yesterday, but on the strength of a massive 22.99 limit today he claimed the title by over 6 pounds.
For his efforts he won $5,000 in cash and a new Nitro Z-8 with a Mercury 225 Optimax outboard and TH-Marine Atlas jackplate.
King also had the biggest single bass of the tournament today, a 6.22 pound largemouth that earned him a Humminbird 898c Si combo.
The remainder of the top five, in order, included Hefty pro Mike McClelland, Frog Tape pro Brian Travis, Booyah pro Terry Butcher and reigning PAA Angler of the Year Tommy Biffle.
While King cemented his status as Table Rock royalty with the victory, behind every good man there's a good woman. In this case the queen, also named King, is his wife Peggy.
"I really didn't have a lot of confidence going into today," the Nitro pro said. "I told Peggy that this morning. You think I didn't get a butt chewing?"
Apparently the butt chewing she dished out sunk into his brain in a hurry. He caught the tournament's big fish on his second cast of the day. King used a variety of lures, including jigs and swimbaits, but related that every fish he brought to the scales this week came on one of two oversized plastic worms - a Bass Pro Shops 12-inch Squirmin' Worm and a 13-inch straight-tailed hand pour.
King credited some of this morning's success to second place finisher Mike McClelland.
"Normally, I like to fish that big worm fast," King said. "But yesterday on stage Mike said something about having to slow down to get better bites. This morning early I fished it real slow." That made a huge difference. He had enough weight to win within the first few hours.
"Big fish like big baits, especially in the summertime," he said, then confirmed that he'd have thrown even larger worms if he could find some. He did his damage on tapering points that abutted the river channel.
McClelland's weights improved each day, and but for King's massive limit his 22.00 pound bag would have been the biggest of the tournament. Like King, he fished large profile baits all week. They included a Jewel football head jig with a Zoom Brush Hog as a trailer, a big Zoom worm and an unnamed swimbait.
"In a tournament like this, you have to make up your mind to fish for fewer bites with big baits," he said.
After an uncharacteristically difficult Elite Series season, McClelland said he hoped that this event would be his "slumpbuster." He said that he cost himself the chance to win by starting in the wrong place on Day One. He didn't land his first keeper that day until nearly 1 o'clock and managed to salvage the day with over 12 pounds in the last few hours. While a runner-up finish can be disappointing, McClelland had a positive outlook about the angler who beat him.
"This is where I learned to bass fish," he said. "If I'm going to get beat here, I want to get beat by Stacey King. When I was 16 years old he took me under his wing and took me out on the Bassmaster tour with him. He's one of the most incredible anglers I've ever been around."
Biffle and Travis spent most of their day flipping and each had his lightest limit of the tournament. Biffle burned a lot of gas and a lot of baits to amass his 45.26 pound total catch.
"I'd go up and fish one tree, then run two to three miles or up to ten miles to the next one," Biffle said. "You've got to be fortunate to get the big bites and then when you get them you have to be lucky to get them out of the bushes. I probably went through 200 to 300 Biffle Bugs in the past three days."
The next tournament in the PAA Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series Presented by Carrot Stix will take place August 18-20 on Alabama's Neely Henry Lake near Gadsden, Alabama.