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Date: January 21, 2017
Region: 2017 South Region
Tournament: Lake Falcon #1
Tournament Trail: 2017 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Father & Son win Bass Champs South Region kick-off on Lake Falcon with over 30 pounds
By: By Patty Lenderman

It was a blustery day for 158 Bass Champs teams fishing the first South Region event of the year on Lake Falcon January 21st. Ready to make the cut for the top payouts in this kick-off event, twenty-one sacks over 20 pounds crossed the scales. Three teams caught kickers weighing over 10 pounds! The father and son team of Joseph Tomkins and Joseph Tomkins II came out on top with the biggest five fish limit weighing in at 30.98 lbs to win over $20,000.

The morning began with calm, almost no wind as the teams were released in numbered flights to head to their favorite fishing areas. As the day progressed, so did the wind, challenging anglers to hold their spots in 20+ mph wind, amplifying wave action in the process. Lake Falcon gave up several big sacks of bass before days’ end, making for an exciting weigh in!

Joseph Tomkins usually fishes Bass Champs events with his wife. “Something had happened, and she was not able to fish with me,” he explained. “I went ahead and tried to locate some fish a week prior to the tournament, and was not having a lot of luck. In three days, I only caught about 20 fish. One of them was pretty nice.” Tomkins still needed a partner for the tournament. “I called a few friends, my brother, all of whom would normally jump at the chance to fish – but they all had other circumstances preventing it.” One of those friends, Raul Perez, said that he would gladly fish it with him but was already fishing the tournament with his son. “That’s when it occurred to me to ask my son Joey.” His son gladly agreed to fish the tournament with him. “On the day of the tournament, after the playing of the national anthem and prayer, I said my own morning prayer. All I asked for was that my son had a good day on the water.” They took off and headed to the spot where Joseph had caught that one nice fish in practice. “it was a narrow rocky ledge, no wider than the length of the boat.” Starting out with crank baits, on his 10th cast Tomkins Sr landed their first fish, a little over 9 pounds. “I was so wired at that point!” He had to make himself slow down, so he picked up a jig. “We were catching small fish on either side of the ledge, and figured out that the bigger ones were sitting right down the length of it.” By 8:30 they had a limit in the boat weighing around 22 pounds. They were both catching nice solid fish to add to their creel. “I was so excited, shaking, I had to go back to crank baits.” At 11:00 he caught another bass over 9 pounds. “By the end of the day I was figuring we had over 28 pounds, and didn’t figure it would be enough to win but probably at least finish in the top 5. We had had a good day.” When they approached the scales with their catch, first one of their biggest was weighed at 9.47 lbs, and the total weight to beat to take over the lead at that time was 26.62 with a lot more teams yet to weigh. Their weight tipped the scales at 30.98 lbs taking the lead by a leap. Jeff Welch, Vice President of Bass Champs, took Tomkins Sr to be polygraphed while Joey stayed at the trailer waiting. “My son has fished smaller tournaments with me before, but has never been a part of the whole experience.” While Sr was being polygraphed, more nice sacks crossed the scales. “I kept thinking we were going to be bumped into 2nd place any time!” Finally, the scales closed and they were declared 1st place winners to win the guaranteed check for $20,000, and Sure Life added to their winnings for using the product in their livewell. “It’s all just so surreal! We got some of God’s favor today.” Jeff Welch asked them if they would be fishing the next South Region event at Amistad. “I wasn’t sure if we were,” Tomkins said. “You mean you’re not going to run for the Angler of the Year with your son?” Welch asked. After a moment of consideration and checking with his son, the decision was made – “We’re going to go for it!” Some people they would like to thank include Tommy @ Falcon Tackle, Andy Bryant @ Premier Yamaha, Steve Strunk for helping with tackle, “and there are more, but I would like to say a special thank you to Raul Perez for inspiring me to ask my son to fish the tournament with me!” He added “You never leave fish to find fish – we stayed in the same spot all day. And always remember – anyone can win!”

Carlos Serna and Ronald Vance won 2nd place with 28.13 pounds. “Our day started out really slow,” Carlos explained. “There were boats in the first couple of spots we wanted to fish, so we started moving around looking for other places.” Time was ticking, and at 10am they still didn’t have a single fish in their livewell. “We were just idling around, and saw a bunch of fish on our fish finder.” A few casts later, off of a rocky point in 14’ of water using a Strike King chartreuse & blue 6XD crank bait, they had two very nice fish in their tally. “I caught our biggest, 10.58 lbs. This is my personal best catch!” Fighting the wind, they just kept at it the rest of the day, catching one here and one there to complete their limit. Culling only once before the end of the day, their weight held up for a 2nd place win and a $3,000 payday. “We fish all of the Bass Champs tournaments that we can here on Falcon. God put is in the right spot and guided us all day.”

Rounding out the top 10:
3rd $2,000 26.97 lbs Ricardo Gonzalez & Arturo Saldana
4th $1700+ 26.62 lbs John Casparis & Weldon McGuire
5th $1,600 24.25 lbs Charlie Forster & Mike Bingham
6th $1200+ 24.04 lbs Kenny Rooke & Chad Barington
7th $1,100 23.78 lbs Spike Stoker & Stuart Jeffrey
8th $1,040 23.53 lbs Chans Martin & Sterling Martin
9th $1,030 23.36 lbs Juan Solares & Cesar Gomez
10th $1020+ 23.13 lbs Brad Nichols & John Stephens
….and last in the money….
21st $600 20.17 lbs James Kiser & Chuck Naomi

The Big Bass of the day was registered by the team of Brad Nichols & John Stephens, weighing in at a whopping 11.94 pounds, anchoring their 10th place overall finish and adding another $500 to their overall winnings, plus the Costa Del Mar bonus. This was the biggest of the double digit bass weighed in, a very impressive three all total from the field, and they caught the brute on a Carolina rig in about 8’ of water.

Several teams enjoyed even more winnings through tournament sponsor bonuses:
Sure Life bonus cash – (1st place) Joseph Tomkins & Joseph Tomkins II
Lowrance Gen 3 bonus – (4th place) John Casparis & Weldon McGuire
Skeeter Bonus Cash – (6th place) Kenny Rooke & Chad Barington
Sportsmans Auto Bonus – (8th place) Chans Martin & Sterling Martin
Costa Del Mar Bonus – (10th place) Brad Nichols & John Stephens
Sportsmans Auto Bonus – (18th place) Allen Shelton & Jeff Massey

Bass Champs Sponsors have bonus cash ready to pay out at every single event, adding to the already big paybacks. Be sure to qualify for all of them you can to win even bigger!

All total, Bass Champs will host 24 events in 2017, and will pay anglers over $2 MILLION in cash and prizes before the end of the year. Mark your calendar to fish as many events as you can for your chance to win!

So far top teams have earned $156,550 in two events!
Jan 14 – East Region – Sam Rayburn PAID $106,900
Jan 21 – South Region – Falcon PAID $49,650

Feb 4 – Central Region - Travis
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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