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Date: October 11, 2014
Region: 2014 Bass Champs Championship
Tournament: 2014 Championship
Tournament Trail: 2014 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Clark & Rambo crowned Champions 2014 Skeeter Bass Champs
By: Patty Lenderman

It has been an exciting year as teams in four regions of Skeeter Bass Champs, the richest tournament trail in Texas, fished their way to the season championship on the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana October 11-12, 2014. Qualifying teams fished for a portion of more than $200,000 being paid back in cash and prizes, including two new Skeeter boats powered by Yamaha! Weights were stacked tight throughout the competition, but in the end it was the East Region team of Rusty Clark and Cory Rambo who championed the event.

222 teams from the North, South, Central and East Regions converged on the Red River to compete on neutral water for this two day event. This Skeeter Bass Champs Championship paid back a whopping 333% to the top forty teams.

“Our first practice day was poor,” Rambo recalled. “The second day we went to pool 5 and found a pocket of pads in clear water and got lots of blow-ups on River2Sea frogs, and decided that would be our starting spot.” On the first day of competition, Clark and Rambo put two 3 pounders in the boat and a 15” keeper from their starting spot. “We decided to leave the area alone, and hit some other spots and caught five more keepers.” Later they went back to the pads and boated another three pound fish, giving them just under ten pounds to secure a 7th place position going into day two. “On the second day, we decided to sit on that spot and just burn it up. We had all of our weight by 10am, all from that one drain on that special River2Sea frog.” They managed another ten pound 3 fish limit for a two day total of 20.45 lbs to win the tournament. Skeeter Bass Champs awarded the champions the grand prize of a Skeeter FX 20 powered by a Yamaha SHO. They also won a $500 bonus from Talon and $200 from Sure Life. “Rusty and I have won Anglers of the Year several times in the six years we have been fishing together, but never 1st place! We would like to thank our sponsors – Simon Outfitters, Falcon Rods, Lews Reels, River2Sea, Humminbird, MinnKota, Talon, Ranger, Yamaha, Premier Yamaha, Costa Del Mar and Sunline. This wouldn’t be possible without them!”

Central Region lone angler Adam Miranda won 2nd place and a new Skeeter ZX 250 powered by a Yamaha 250 SHO with 18.34 lbs. “Everything happens for a reason,” Adam began. “My wife and parents were planning on coming to Shreveport to watch the tournament. They were going to travel in my wife’s Mercedes, but just before they left, the airbags in the car went out, and they had to come in dad’s pickup truck. It’s a good thing – we had to bring home two boats from the tournament!” Adam had never laid eyes on the Red River prior to practice for the tournament. “I did some scouting on practice days, and caught one fish on Thursday, two on Friday. I really didn’t expect anything (during the competition). “ He decided to concentrate his efforts along a single 100 yard stretch using a black/blue craw. “The first day, I caught three keepers on my first pass. I just kept grinding and beating the bank, catching a lot of keepers throughout the day and culling by ounces.” He had a good foot-hold in the standings on day one, having 14th place in a tight line-up. “On Sunday, I arrived at my spot around 7:45, and at 8:05 I caught my first keeper. By 8:45 I had my initial limit, and started culling up by ounces again.” He kept his eye on the time as the day started coming to an end. “I knew I had to leave by 3pm to get back to the weigh in. At 2:52 I made my last cast, and flipped into a tree.” He caught a four pound bass, making a final cull gaining him two more pounds! “That last cast really paid off!” Skeeter Bass Champs awarded him his new Skeeter boat, and his family was ecstatic for him. “It really meant a lot to me that my parents and wife were there. My dad taught me to fish, and we have always been partners until this year. This was my first year to fish with Bass Champs, and am I looking forward to next season? Oh, yeah!”

North Region anglers Shonn Blassingame and Cody Burdine made an incredible comeback from their day one standings to finish in 3rd place overall with 17.85 lbs. “We had fished the Red River before, so during practice we checked out some familiar spots,” Cody reported. “On Thursday, we got 8 bites, and Friday we pulled up on a lily pad field and got 15 bites. After that we moved and punched hyacinth getting another 35 bites.” On day one of competition, the drew boat #52 and headed straight to the lily pads. “On my fifth cast, I broke off at a log.” Forty minutes later they had a limit in the boat. “We caught 15 fish in the pads, then went to the hyacinth and caught more using a watermelon red Berkley craw.” Their day one weight put them in 21st position going into day two, just 1-1/2 lbs out of 1st place. “The take-off order was reversed the second day, and we thought someone would be on the pads we were fishing, but they weren’t.” A cold front had come through, and dropped the water temperature a few degrees. “The fish didn’t cooperate at first.” They finally put a limit in the boat, then made a good cull with their kicker weighing in at 4.37 lbs. “Around 12:30 we started idling out of the area, and hit a stump. Then we hit another stump, and our motor locked up.” They put their trolling motor down, and trolled about 2,000 yards until they were able to wave another contender from the Central division for help. “They towed us in and saved us – really super nice guys!” Their two day 17.85 lb total won 3rd place overall, and they were awarded $6,000. “We would like to thank Bass Champs. They always do a good job on these tournaments and we really like to fish with them. We would also like to thank our wives and the good Lord.”

Brent Bellard of the East Region caught the Big Bass on day one, weighing in at 5.50 lbs with partner Nick Simon. “We’re from Louisiana, so we know the river pretty good.” They chose to fish several ridges and ditches with a mix of grass, hyacinth and lily pad stems. “These ridges were 2-1/2 ft on one side, coming up to a foot and a half, down to 3-1/2’ on the back side. On Saturday, one of our keepers came off of a Santone spinnerbait, and two more from a Stanley Ribbit.” They were finding the fish on the tops of the ridges, and had a limit by 9:30, leading the pack on day one. The Rowdy camera crew joined the leaders for the final day of competition to catch all of the action. “With the cold front that came through, our fish just shut down on us the second day.” They fished their primary area a good bit on Sunday, then branched to other areas. “We were shooting for 15 pounds. We didn’t make the run to pool 4, and decided to grind it out. The bass would bite, but spit out the bait. They were just knocking the spinnerbaits, and wouldn’t commit. With the low water, we couldn’t get into all of the areas we wanted to.” Brett and Nick achieved a 5th place finish and was awarded $4,000. Their day one Big Bass earned another $750 check. Being the highest finishing team in a qualified Skeeter boat, they doubled their winnings with the Skeeter bonus for another $4,750 check. “We would like to thank Santone, Skeeter Boats, Bass Champs, Yamaha, Lowrance, Power Pole and MinnKota.”

The biggest bass of the tournament was caught by Bobby Chestnut and Jim Byars, weighing in at 6.41 lbs. It was their only catch inn two days, paying off with a $750 check, plus the UnderArmor, Costa Del Mar, BioBor and Abu Garcia Revo bonuses!

“Congratulations to all of our championship teams! This has been a phenomenal year in all of our regions,” stated Chad Potts, President of Bass Champs. “Thanks to all of our anglers and our outstanding sponsors, we are proud to have paid out over 2 million dollars this year in cash and prizes to our participants. Bass Champs Tournament Trail is tailored for you, and we continue to strive to make it better and better every year. Next season we are going to a five fish limit, four events per region, and $20,000 guaranteed for 1st place at every event. Plus, we are adding a new team event that will be the richest guaranteed cash team event in the United States and will feature a $50,000 guaranteed 1st place and an additional $10,000 Skeeter bonus. We’ll look forward to seeing everyone next year!”

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