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Date: February 13, 2016
Region: 2016 East region
Tournament: Toledo Bend #1
Tournament Trail: 2016 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Husband and Wife Team wins Bass Champs at Toledo Bend
By: Jim Binns

Bass Champs second tournament of the year for the East Region was held February 13th, 2016 at the #1 ranked lake in the nation – Toledo Bend. The first tournament was held January 16, 2016 at Sam Rayburn with Louisiana anglers Dean and Joshua Sikes taking first place with a bag of bass that weighed 25.80 pounds.

Excitement filled the air tournament morning when the 310 teams (new Bass Champs record on Toledo Bend) launched at the beautiful Cypress Bend Park. Early morning weather was in the high 40’s with expected temperatures to reach the upper 60’s. It was a beautiful day for fishing – and the guaranteed $20,000 cash for first place and 41 places being paid made it even better.

The first bag of bass placed on the scales weighed 20-pounds so everyone knew that this was going to be a shoot-out. And after all the smoke cleared the Hemphill, Texas husband and wife team of Mike and Ashley Gibbs won first place and $20,000 with a 5-bass limit of Toledo Bend bass that pulled the scales down to the 28.13-pound mark. WOW! The team fished mid-lake and caught 15 bass during the day. Their original pattern of working a crankbait in the 20-foot depths just didn’t pay off so they switched to a shallow water technique using a soft jerk-bait with a split-shot weight. They had two bass over 6-pounds on back to back casts so obviously stayed with this pattern for the rest of the tournament.

Chantz and Douglas Wilkinson of Pineville, Louisiana took second place and $6500 with a limit weighing 27.31-pounds. Their pre-fishing pattern of working shallow bushes in the northern part of the lake was red-hot and they used a ½-oz. Oldham jig (black-blue) to do most of their damage. They did however catch a few bass including a 7-pounder on a tube and stated that almost all of their fish were caught before noon.

Third place went to Shawn Brossette (Coushatta, LA) and Brandon Tingle (Campti, LA) with a great bag of bass weighing 25.71-pounds. Also included in the bag was the Big Bass of the event, a monster weighing 12.67-pounds. The team took home $5000 for third place, $1000 for big bass and a number of other special awards. The Brossette/Tingle team only caught eight bass during the day – but they were certainly the right bass. Flipping bushes was the technique used and the big lunker was caught on a black/blue jig in about two feet of water. According to the team, it got VERY exciting before the big bass was brought into the boat.

The rest of the top 10 were as follows: Cole and Jeff Brewer (Leesville, LA) took 4th place and $4000 with 23.42, Richard Bacon (Basile, LA) and Shannon Thibodeaux (Hemphill, TX) 5th place for $3000 with 23.34, Joshua Ware (New Caney, TX) and Randy Carter (Porter, TX) 6th place and $2500 with 23.08, Rodney Dotson (Brookeland, TX) and Allan Paille (Springfield, LA) 7th place and $2000 with 22.95, Ralph and Colt Dear (Buna, TX) 8th place and $1800 with 22.84, Glen Freeman (Converse, LA) and Jeff Rice (Bossier City, LA) took 9th place and $1700 with 22.23 and Charlie McGee (Westlake, LA) and John Durio (Hemphill, TX) took 10th place and $1600 with 21.90.

So what was the bottom-line on the fishing patterns? Well shallow water was certainly productive for the top three teams but some other impressive bags of bass were caught on Carolina-rigs, A-rigs, Texas-rigged lizards, jigs fished in 20-plus feet of water and deep diving crankbaits. In fact the team of Ware and Carter were on a shallow water pattern way up in Huxley Bay that fizzled and they ran all the way back to Housen Bay to complete their limit using deep diving crankbaits.

It was a great event and the next tournament will be held March 12th, 2016 at Sam Rayburn with launching at the Umphrey Family Pavilion. For more information go to www.basschamps.com or call 817-439-3274.
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