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Date: May 5, 2018
Region: 2018 Central Region
Tournament: Lake LBJ #2
Tournament Trail: 2018 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Boatright & Maxwell champion Bass Champs Central Region finale on LBJ Anglers of the Year are named!
By: Patty Lenderman

It has been quite a season for Bass Champs Central Region teams, and the anticipation factor for the final event May 5, 2018 on LBJ only increased with weather delays. Nearly $53,000 was up for grabs and it was the last tournament to accumulate the points needed in the Anglers of the Year race. The hunt was on, but in the end it was Nick Boatright and Chad Maxwell who came out on top to win over $20,000!

The morning of the tournament greeted 174 teams with a heavy blanket of fog. “We had to keep everyone at the launch until the visibility improved,” stated Chad Potts, President of Bass Champs. “Everyone was biting at the bit to get started, but the safety of our participants is paramount.” After two long hours of delay, boats were finally released to start the hunt. “We extended the fishing time at the end of the day by one hour. Once the fog lifted, it was a beautiful sunny day with very little wind out of the North.”

Winners Nick Boatright and Chad Maxwell had planned to start their day using topwater lures. “Once we were able to get to our spots, it was too late for the topwater bite,” Chad recalled. They went to their first area, and didn’t do any good so started hunting different places. “We stayed in fairly shallow areas, all less than ten feet deep. Our third spot had brush piles and rock, and we started catching fish.” They used jigs and crankbaits throughout the day, staying on the move. Around noon, Chad latched on to their kicker fish, weighing in at 7.40 pounds on a jig in a brush pile. “That was a big help to our limit. At one point we lost a four pounder at the boat, and couldn’t help but think about it all day. We figured it would probably take 25 pounds to win, and we may have blown it losing that fish.” They tried a lot of old spots, and some new ones, mostly trying to find places without any boats on it. “Our last fish of the day was on a crank bait. It was a six pounder, and we culled a 3# with it.” Being in the first flight, they were among the first to weigh in, establishing the bar to beat at 23.50 pounds. “We just kept watching as all of the other teams came in, expecting to get knocked down at any time.” When it was all said and done, they stayed on top to win 1st place and $20,000! They also won the Lowrance bonus. “We just had an awesome day. I caught my personal best fish, and we caught our best stringer in this tournament. I guess it was just meant to be!” Chad concluded.

Jake Kennamer and Carson Conklin had a slow start, but came out with a 2nd place win. “Once we were let go, there were jet ski’s and wave runners everywhere,” Jake began. “We bounced around all morning looking for fish, and didn’t have anything at noon.” It wasn’t for lack of bites. They simply missed some and broke off on others. Then things started to change. Jake caught one around six pounds to christen their livewell with. “We started catching one here, one there, and finally had a limit around 15 pounds.” They tried deep water, they tried shallow water, docks and shady pockets. “It was getting late, and we only had about 30 minutes left to fish. We decided to do a Hail Mary and head to a shallow sea wall.” It must have been the power of prayer, as they caught their biggest fish at 6.81 pounds, plus made two other culls, increasing their overall weight by seven pounds in those last minutes! Weighing in, their best five totaled 22.28 pounds for a 2nd place finish and a check for $3,500. “We are really pleased how it all turned out. We had a great day, and are hoping for a 1st place finish someday!”

There was a tie for 3rd place. The father and son team of Kenneth and Jesse Fry as well as brothers Adrian and Daniel Barnes came in with 21.09 pounds. Kenneth said Jesse caught their fish and he netted them all day. “They seemed to only be hitting on that one bait,” Kenneth chuckled. Jesse was using a white-ish colored swim bait for his fortune. “I threw a lot of other stuff, but wasn’t having any luck on any of it,” Kenneth continued. They focused on isolated grass patches in 6’-8’ depths, and had a limit by noon. “Most of our fish were small, but we culled the rest of the day. Our better fish bit in the afternoon.” Now you may ask why Kenneth didn’t throw the same bait? “We had other swim baits like it, but they were all darker color and the fish only wanted that one lighter one!” They made significant culls late in the afternoon, starting by catching their biggest fish at around seven pounds. “Some of them we culled up by a few pounds, but we gained five pounds off of that biggest one.” The team tied the win for 3rd place earning a check for $2,250.

Brothers Daniel and Adrian Barnes hadn’t pre-fished for the tournament, but know LBJ well. “We went to a deep spot after the take off delay,” Adrian began, “and managed a limit within thirty minutes.” Mostly small fish, they headed to shallow water hunting for more. “We caught around fifteen fish throughout the day, and were able to cull four times. Our best cull was exchanging a 7.73 for a two pounder.” Every bit counts, and their weight also hit 21.09 lbs for a shared 3rd place win. They received $2,250 then Skeeter Boats doubled their win for being the highest placing team fishing out of a qualified Skeeter boat.

There were a lot of big bass seen at the scales, and the biggest of them all weighed 8.75 pounds. The team of Landon Glass and Craig Cordova brought this brute in catching a check for $500. It also anchored their 4th place overall finish with 20.73 lbs for another $1,700 check.

All total twenty three teams went home with winnings. The last $600 check went to Travis Daugherty and Travis Cockerham having 15.45 lbs.

With this final regular season event now in the books for the Central Region, the Anglers of the Year have been named. Lee Beuershausen and Randy Grounds have held on to the lead in points for most of the season and landed at the top of the pack earning the title Bass Champs 2018 Central Region Anglers of the Year!
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