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Date: January 9, 2021
Region: 2021 East Region
Tournament: Sam Rayburn #1
Tournament Trail: 2021 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Rodgers & Burleigh top 291 teams at Rayburn to take home over $20,000. Moore & Land catch a 13.44 lb. Sharelunker
By: Bass Champs Staff

Rodgers & Burleigh top 291 teams at Rayburn to take home over $20,000. Moore & Land catch a 13.44 lb. Sharelunker

January 19, 2021 marked the season kick-off for Bass Champs, and a huge field of 291 teams ponied up to win a portion of the $86,025 paid back to the top 39 teams. Five sacks breached the 20-pound mark, with Josh Rodgers and Casey Burleigh topping them all with a 26.69-pound limit to take home the guaranteed $20,000 1st place check plus even more with the Sure Life Catch and Release sponsor bonus!

The morning began with temperatures in the lower 30’s and fog blanketing the lake resulting in a slight delay for teams to be released to take off to head to their coveted fishing areas. “Due to the high number of participants, to take the best care possible of the fish and the fishery, we let everyone know that we were offering a conservation bonuses at the end of the day,” explained Chad Potts, President of Bass Champs. The conservation bonus is for teams who do not have enough weight to garner a check and elect to release their fish in lieu of weighing them in. Those teams were then eligible to win $500 in a drawing for electing to release the fish directly back into the lake. The team who would not have otherwise won a check each took home $500 in winnings! A prayer thanking our men and women of our armed forces and the National Anthem was played, with reverence from the field, and the teams took off in numbered flights.

As 3:00 neared, teams began lining up at the stage at the Umphrey Family Pavilion to tally their catch. While the crowd size was limited due to covid restrictions, there were still plenty of friends and family on hand to make for an exciting weigh in. Rayburn did not hold back, as limit after limit crossed the scales, with top weights steadily climbing. In addition to close weights there was a giant 13.44 lb. ShareLunker weighed in by

Rumors were floating around that someone was going to be bringing in a giant. There were a few really good fish brought in that weighed over 8lbs, and the team of Brannon Mire and Dennis Narcisse weighed in a 9.59. They held the lead on Big Bass for about 45 minutes. Then the team of Travis Moore and Norman Land stepped in the tanks. When the official fish measurer, Bud Little, pulled it out of the tank the crowd immediately took notice. The huge fish went in the bag and the team headed to the stage. Bass Champs emcee, Chad Potts stated, “They need a 9.60 to take the lead on Big Bass and this one looks like it’s going be more than enough”. It was. When the scales locked in, the fish officially weighed 13.44 lbs. The team caught it deep on Carolina Rig. Travis Moore said later, “The fish really didn’t fight as much one would expect, but they were extremely excited to get it in the boat.” The team collected nearly $3000 including 8th place, Big Bass, Abu Garcia Bonus & Techron fuel additive bonus. The Bass Champs staff kept the fish in their state-of-the-art release trailer after the tournament until a representative from ShareLunker and the Hatchery met them for the drop off. The fish was in great shape for the transfer.

When the scales closed and the polygraphs were completed, the team of Josh Rodgers and Casey Burleigh were declared winners with their limit weighing in at 26.69 pounds, their biggest being 7.23 lbs. Casey stated “The first spot we stopped was in about 22 feet of water. We threw deep diving crankbaits and we caught about 20 pounds in the first 6 casts. From there we moved to similar spots on the North end of the lake and were able to cull up. We caught a 7.23, a 5, & a 6 pounder on the next two spots. We didn’t have any more bites after that. We were boat # 50, so luckily, we were able to get to our starting spot before someone else did. Josh and I have been partners since 2014. We’ve come really close to winning big events in the past, but haven’t had all the pieces fall together. We did this weekend and were able to pull it out. This is definitely exciting, and the timing couldn’t be better. My wife and I got married last year and we are leaving right after the tournament to finally go on our honeymoon. In addition, we just found out that we are having a son. Ironically, Josh and his wife are expecting a son in April as well. So, it looks like the Burleigh -Rodgers will continue for years to come.”

The 2nd place winners of Keelan Manuel & Clint Conrad had a hefty sack of 24.33 pounds with an average weight of nearly 5 lbs. The team took home $6500 for their finish.

The team of Lowe and Strother hung on to a 3rd place win with their 21.00 lb. limit. They enjoyed a $5000 payday.

The top 10 teams:
1st $20,200 Josh Rodgers & Casey Burleigh
2nd $6500 – Keelan Manuel & Clint Conrad
3rd $5000 – Pete Lowe & Jerry Strother
4th $4500 – Rusty Clark & Cory Rambo
5th $3500 – Wyatt Frankens & Cody Barchenger
6th $2500 – Kenny Cole Jeramy Cole
7th $2000 – Sammy Christian & Allan Shivers
8th $2950 – Travis Moore & Norman Land
9th $1400 – Jason Moorhead & Ty Moorhead
10th $1300 - Kurtice Floyd

and last in the money
39th $1000 - Tim Reneau & Judy Reneau

The 3 Guaranteed Skeeter Bonus Cash places went to
15th place - Todd Castledine & Jason Bonds - $2500
22nd place - James Blythe & Kevin Lasyone - $1000
23rd place – Bubba Nugent & John Benoit - $500
The new $2000 Spark Energy bonus was not claimed this weekend so the next east region event will boast a $4000 Spark Energy bonus. If you haven’t switched your electric/natural gas provider over to Spark. Now is the time.

“With the number of participants we had at this event, we were able to add substantially to the checks paid. We were also able to increase the number of places paid to 39. We’d like to thank everyone for fishing with us and helping to make Bass Champs the #1 team trail in Texas!”

All total, Bass Champs will host 22 events in 2021, and will pay anglers over $2.5 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!

2021 Bass Champs schedule of events:

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