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Date: March 24, 2018
Region: 2018 South Region
Tournament: Lake Amistad #2
Tournament Trail: 2018 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Leonard & Bronder surge ahead of the pack to dominate the win on Amistad at Bass Champs
By: Patty Lenderman

The weather conditions on Amistad were more than alluring as Bass Champs hosted the South Regions third event of the season on March 24, 2018. Nearly $53,000 was up for grabs for 175 participating teams in this 103% payback tournament. Lee Leonard and Scott Bronder dominated the win, with plans on sharing their winnings with the family of a fallen comrad.

Lake Amistad is brimming with big bass set to spawn with the air and water temperatures prime. The wind was nil for the field of anglers rushing over this deep clear water lake to find the bites that would pay off at the scales. In a lake like this it is easy to see clearly with the naked eye depths to twenty feet. Such was the case on this day with the surface water like glass and sunny skies. As beautiful as that sounds, for anglers it makes it tough. The bass can see them too!

As the weigh in commenced, it was evident that conditions were tough to catch a bite. Brandan Kenncil and Zach Bibb established the initial tournament lead. “We were fishing in a pocket, and found the fish biting,” Brandan began. “Zach caught our first fish, a small keeper.” Using a craw worm, they were fishing shallow water when Brandan got their next bite. “As soon as I set the hook, I knew it was a good one!” Brandan landed the fish, weighing in at 11.16 pounds! “We wrapped up a limit with small fish, and spent the rest of the day culling by mere ounces.” All total, their five fish weighed 17.64 pounds and stayed on top of the pack until nearly the end of the day. Ultimately they won Big Bass and $500 plus 2nd place for an additional $3,500 check.

Lee Leonard and Scott Bronder had gotten a late draw to start their day. “We weren’t real happy with the late start, our fish were biting early during practice,” Lee explained. Lee is a police officer in San Marcos. “Last December, a friend and fellow police officer, Ken Copeland, was killed in the line of duty. He left behind his wife and two sets of twins, 9 and 12 years old. We agreed that if we managed to win the tournament, we would each give his wife $1,000.” With that they embarked on their day, targeting points with deep water nearby. “We boated our first fish fairly quick, and its size was ok, then we caught another. The bite was slow, but we had six spots picked out to hit. When the sun came out, the water was so clear that it hurt us, making the bite that much tougher to find.” One by one they put keepers in their livewell, but it took until noon to wrap up their initial limit. “Our better fish came off of two of our spots, and we were able to cull up one or two pounds before the end of the day.” Upon arriving at the scales, their final five fish weighed 21.17 pounds, dominating the win. Bass Champs presented the duo with the guaranteed 1st place $20,000 purse and they also won the Lowrance and Sure-Life bonuses. “We really didn’t think we would have enough weight to win the tournament. We are going to give Mrs. Copeland part of our winnings, but not only that we intend to get the kids out fishing with us.” The team would like to thank Triton boats, Texas Boat World, Tire Factory Outlet, Wood Bros. Custom Rods and San Marcos Police Officers Association for their help and support.

3rd place was won by Tyler Wilson and Melody Dixon. Melody reported targeting deep water initially, 18’-25’ deep with grass. “I was using a Lake Fork Creature bait and Tyler used swim baits and drop shots,” Melody stated. Right off the bat, Melody christened their livewell with a good sized bass. “After that, we just caught dinks throughout the day.” As the hours passed, then down to mere minutes left to fish, Tyler landed their second biggest fish. “We had started in deep water, then tried shallow for a while, then headed back out to deep water to wrap up our day. It was just a real good day to fish.” When they arrived at the weigh in, transferring their fish into a bag, they checked their smallest fish one last time. “It was close on the measuring board. Tyler checked it and just wasn’t absolutely sure, and just about released it. I stopped him and checked the measurement, and it was hitting right at 14”. The weights were so tight that if he threw that fish back, we would have lost a pound and that would have made a LOT of difference in the line up!” They had 17.47 lbs for a $2,500 payday. “We know a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to put these tournaments on, so I would like to speak on behalf of all of us fishermen – THANK YOU!”

Rounding out the top five includes 4th place winners Josh Pasco and Ryan Dupriest with 17.40 lbs, winning $2,000. 5th place had 17.16 lbs, and were the highest finishing team in a qualified Skeeter boat. Mike Coon and Wesley Graham doubled their $1,700 check to a $3,200 payday, and won the Sportsmans Auto Bonus as well, with a $5,000 value!

Bass Champs paid the top 23 teams, and the last $600 check went to Joseph Lane and Nathaniel Ashley with 11.31 lbs.

The South Region has now completed three of four events and the points are racking up. Rick Scheen and Mike Harman retained the points lead now going into the final event which will be back on Amistad April 21. Going into the final event, the top 5 Anglers of the Year points leaders are:
487 pts. Rick Scheen and Mike Harman
448 pts. Charles Whited & Jimmy Shelton
443 pts. Allen Shelton & Jeff Massey
442 pts. Kenneth Fairly & Tommy Law
438 pts. Lee Leonard & Scott Bronder

Anyone can enter the open season events. Whether you fish one or fish them all, don’t miss your chance to win like a pro. The next opportunity will be on April 7 at Ray Roberts as the North Region fishes their second event of the season. For more information and full schedules, visit www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274.
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