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Date: February 4, 2017
Region: 2017 Central Region
Tournament: Lake Travis
Tournament Trail: 2017 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Joe & Brandon Bray took no prisoners at the Bass Champs Central Region kick-off
By: Patty Lenderman

Bass Champs is on a roll, kicking off the Central Region 2017 season at Lake Travis on February 4th with 172 teams fishing for a portion of this 104% payback event. The father & son team of Joe and Brandon Bray won by a landslide, taking home over $20,000 for their day.

The week prior to the tournament temperatures had been in the 70’s, warming the water and luring bass to spawning areas. For many of the teams who had pre-fished for the tournament, they found the bass were biting very well. The day before the tournament, a cold front pushed its way through the area, and seemed to make it a little harder to get as many bass to bite. Nevertheless, there were lots of solid bass brought to the scales, and two teams brought in kickers over eight pounds.

“We started our morning trying to feel out what the fish were doing,” Joe Bray began. “We went to spawning coves and threw topwater lures and flukes.” Joe got a hit on his topwater, but missed the fish. “Brandon threw right back in there with his fluke and caught her!” That one weighed in at 7.85 pounds. “We kept moving to other spots that were similar, and put a small limit together.” Keeping on the move, they transitioned to main lake points with ledges 12’ to 25’ deep. “We switched to Carolina rigged brush hogs and Power Worms and the big ones started biting.” They continuously culled their creel until the smallest fish in their bag weighed around 4 pounds. “We had a great day – really amazing time. We just happened to hit the right corner at just the right time!” Their weight lunged to the top of the field with 28.45 lbs, winning by a big margin. While the duo has ranked high in past events, this is their first 1st place win. Bass Champs presented them with the guaranteed 1st place purse of $20,000. They won even more, qualifying for the Sure Life and Power Pole Bonuses! “We would both like to thank our wives for the encouragement and support they always give us,” Joe continued. “I taught my son to fish – now he’s teaching me.” They also wanted to thank Livingston Lures and Horseshoe Bay Resort & Marina on LBJ for their support. “We are all so lucky to have Bass Champs here in Texas. They run fantastic tournaments, and make it so us working guys can fish these weekend events for top dollars!”

Bryan Richards and Matt Kevil took a 2nd place win with their 20.81 lb limit. “Our day started out really good. We caught a limit in our first spot that included a couple of five pound kickers.” After catching their first limit, they went in search for bigger fish. “Our second spot was a main lake point with a ledge around 15’-20’ deep.” They were throwing a Texas rigged trick worm, and were able to cull up a couple of times before the end of the day. “The morning bite was definitely better for us. We hit a lull in the afternoon where we didn’t catch anything for about an hour and a half.” They had the right five to reel in a check for $3,500 at their very first Bass Champs tournament! They would like to thank Kistler Rods and Superior Physical Medicine.

3rd place was won with 18.96 lbs by the team of Jason Buchanan and Terry Kircus. “We caught a good sack in this one spot the week before the tournament, so we started out there.” They fished for hours in that area, and at 10:30 they still did not have a single fish in the livewell. “We were really starting to worry.” They packed up and went to a few other places that had been holding some smaller fish, and managed a limit. “Going there and putting some fish in the boat really helped give us a little much needed confidence.” Continuing to fish points and ledges 15’-25’ with jigs, they decided to go to yet another spot that had not really produced well during practice. “At about 1:30 we finally put a six pounder in the boat. It was an all-day grind until we found them. As the day went on, the bass we were catching looked more and more pale like they were just now coming up the river channel.” Bass Champs presented the team with a 3rd place check for $2,500. They were the highest finishing team in a qualified Skeeter Boat, so Skeeter doubled their winnings to a $5,000 payday. “We’d like to thank our wives and families for letting us do what we do. They are there at every single event supporting us whether we did well or not, and that means a lot.”

Rounding out the top 10 teams:
4th 18.33 lbs $2,000 Garrett Hennig & John Halley
5th 17.65 lbs $1,700 Steve Magnelia & Michael Tennant
6th 17.46 lbs $1,300 James Cantwell & Thomas Cantwell
7th 17.07 lbs $1,100+ Damon Ross & Glenn Ruckel
8th 16.85 lbs $1,035 Lee Beuershausen & Randy Grounds
8th 16.85 lbs $1,035+ Kyle Tatum & David Simono
10th 16.60 lbs $1,020 Charles Whited & Bill Polkinghorn
and last in the money23rd 12.16 lbs $600 Adam Clark & Rick Clark

The Big Bass of the day weighed in at 8.81 lbs, caught by Craig Urofsky fishing his first Bass Champs event. “I had gone way up river to this spot. It was a main lake point going into a spawning area,” he explained. It was a sandy point with bushes on it about 12’-15’ deep. “I was using a Zoom crawworm in an Alabama Craw color.” After he landed the big fish, about five casts later he got an even bigger fish on the end of his line! “She must have jumped out of the water at least four times, and was a lot bigger than the one I got in the boat. There was another boat nearby watching, and when my line broke about two feet above the hook, I think they were just as sick about it as I was.” Craig didn’t get a lot of bites, but this one landed him a $500 check for catching the biggest bass of the day. “I think this front shut them down, but with the warm weather this week, next weekend the bite will be CRAZY!”

Don’t miss a single chance to win big in Bass Champs tournaments. So far top teams have earned $209,000 in three events!
Jan 14 – East Region – Sam Rayburn PAID $106,900
Jan 21 – South Region – Falcon PAID $49,650
Feb 4 – Central Region – Travis PAID $52,450

Feb 11 – East Region – Toledo Bend
Feb 18 – North Region – Cedar Creek
Feb 25 – South Region – Amistad
March 4 – Central Region - LBJ
March 11 – East Region – Sam Rayburn
March 19 – Mega Bass – Lake Fork
March 25 – South Region - Falcon
April 1 – North Region – Ray Roberts
April 8 – Central Region - Belton
April 22 – South Region - Amistad
April 29 – North Region – Lake Fork
May 13 – East Region – Toledo Bend
May 20 – Central Region - LBJ
June 3 – North Region – Tawakoni
June 9-11 – Skeeter Owner’s Tournament – Fork
June 25 – Techron TX Shootout – Sam Rayburn
Oct 14-15 – 2017 Team Championship – TBA
Oct 21-22 – 12th Annual Berkley Big Bass - Fork

For more information, visit www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274
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