Solo Angler Wins Texas Team Tournament

fishing tournament
Winning angler Craig Gilbert took home a first-place check of $20,000.
Bass Champs

Skeeter Bass Champs Central Region anglers converged on Lake Belton for their second of five events this year. Craig Gilbert topped the field this time around, taking the guaranteed 1st place $20,000 purse with a five-fish limit of 16.29-pounds.

It was a tough day on Belton, and every angler worked hard for every fish caught.

Gilbert fished alone for this event, and scrambled for his five bass. ?It started out pretty slow, but picked up as the day warmed up," he said. "I had been on some fish in practice, but the recent cold front had pushed those fish back. I had to go to plan B.?

Picking up a Carolina-rigged small green pumpkin finesse worm, he started targeting deep points. Fishing deeper water than other boats around him (20-25 feet), he managed a small keeper at his first stop. It took him awhile but he got his fifth fish in the livewell around 1:00. Gilbert has been fishing with Bass Champs for eight years, and this is his fourth 1st-place win.

James Hester and Chet Sutton?s day started fast then slowed down to a crawl. ?Our plan was to hit bushes and trees close to deep water. We boated our first fish within 10 minutes of fishing on a jig, and then nothing else happened in that spot.?

They decided to make a move up the lake to a steep point that dropped of to 30 feet. Using a Carolina-rigged Zoom brush hog, they managed two more keepers by 2:00. They then switched to a crankibait where they boated their fourth fish. They got their last fish within thr last 15 minutes of the competition, just when the fish really started to bite. Their limit weighed 13.30 pounds, anchored by their 4.99 lb kicker. Bass Champs awarded them $3,000 for their 2nd place finish, plus they won the Dodge Ram bonus giving them a free entry into any Bass Champs event.

A total of $38,220 was collected in entry fees, but Bass Champs paid back $43,200 in cash and prizes to their anglers, a payback percentage of 113%. It took 8.88 pounds to win a check in this event, the last ones in the line were Jack Waldrop Jr and Hub Bechtol who received $500.

The Anglers of the Year points race is underway and already tight. Top five teams after two events are:
300 pts Garrett Hennig & Jeffrey Smith
297 pts Dustin Grice & Johnny Grice
296 pts Lance Dillard & Lee Beuershausen
283 pts James Hester & Chet Sutton
279 pts Ryan Warren & Ryan Crawford

The next Central Region tournament will be held on Lake LBJ March 17th. In the mean time, Bass Champs staff and crew will head to Ray Roberts for North Region #2 on March 3, followed by South Region #3 March 10 on Lake Falcon.

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