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Date: October 21, 2017
Tournament: Berkley Big Bass Lake Fork 2017
Prize WinnersHourlyStoryPhotos
12th Annual Berkley Big Bass event on Lake Fork awards many winners – Athens TX angler tops them all to win fully loaded Skeeter boat!
By: Patty Lenderman

More than 1100 anglers from multiple states have made the annual trek to Lake Fork for the richest two-day hourly big bass event in the country – the Berkley Big Bass tournament. $150,000 in cash and prizes were awarded, including two fully rigged Skeeter boats! Allen Teague of Athens, TX caught the biggest bass of the event to win the mother load.

It has become an annual tradition for Berkley Baits, Skeeter Bass Champs and a host of anglers to team up for this coveted event. Twenty places were available each hour of this two day tournament to win cash and prizes. In addition, there were Junior and Women’s divisions, Exact Weight bonuses and empty bag giveaways. Lake Fork is not only a renowned big bass lake, but it has its own unique parameters as well. Only bass measuring 16” or less, or 24” and over may be retained. Due to that aspect, the two top prizes of fully rigged Skeeter boats, powered by Yamaha, outfitted with Lowrance electronics were awarded to the angler with the largest bass over – and under – the slot limit. One more thing. Anglers had to exclusively use Berkley products for their catch! To get things kicked off, contenders were given goodie bags with Berkley baits and a commemorative T-shirt.

This was the third time to fish the Berkley Big Bass tournament for Athens TX angler Allen Teague. “I got to fish with a friend and co-worker of mine, LaCharles Bass. It was his first time to fish one.” The duo headed to the south end of the lake to fish shallow water in a cove. “I was using the Berkley Rib Toad that was in my goodie bag. It was a pearl color, and we hit an area about 3’ deep.” Right away, he landed a fish on it. “I was just buzzing the bait across the water, and when it was about 15’ away from the boat, this big bass just smoked it!” After a short fight with the bass, they netted her in the boat. “She struck so close to the boat I didn’t get a good hook set in her. When we got her in the boat, the bait fell right out of her mouth!” That was at 7:40am on day one. They brought her right in to the weigh in, tipping the scales at 9.95 pounds! He started his winnings with a $1,000 check for that weigh in hour. It was a long wait for the remainder of that day and the next to find out the final outcome. “I didn’t even fish on the second day. I went to church, then listened to the radio and checked the Bass Champs Facebook page for updates on the tournament on my way there.” Several more big bass over the slot were weighed in, but his fish held up to win the grand prize of the tournament- a Skeeter ZX200 powered by Yamaha, outfitted with Lowrance electronics and Power Pole. “I can’t hardly believe it! Had a great time, love the new boat and can’t wait for next year’s event.”

There were numerous winners throughout the rest of the first day, both over and under the slots. The bar for the biggest bass under the slot was constantly changing, until the 9am weigh in hour on day 2 when DeAris Williams of Reno TX brought in his catch. “I had weighed in a fish the first day, but it was knocked out of the line up for checks,” Dearis began. “I was using the Berkley Rib Toad that was in my goodie bag. It was brown with a green belly.” He headed to an area with lily pads, and got his bite at 7:30am. “I was making far casts, skipping the bait across the water making its little legs work. This fish just sucked the bait under!” When he secured his catch in the boat, “I told my partner this was going to be a contender. When we measured it, the tail was barely touching the 16” mark. We fished one more hour and went in to weigh it.” At the weigh in, the fish was again measured and had shrunk just a little to 15-1/2”. Putting it on the scales, the weight locked in at 2.77 pounds, the heaviest of them all under the slot limit! DeAris won the $1,000 check for top fish of that hour and was presented a brand new Skeeter ZX190 powered by Yamaha with Lowrance electronics. “I am one happy camper!” DeAris exclaimed.

“This is a jam-packed fun filled tournament that we look forward to hosting every year,” Chad Potts stated. “This is the 12th year for this big bass event and we thank everyone for coming from near and far to fish it with us. Berkley makes a wide variety of proven bass catching baits, and this tournament is a great way to showcase them.”

This concludes the 2017 season for Bass Champs, so the entire staff and crew would like to wish everyone a great holiday season with your loved ones. “We’ll be looking forward to seeing everyone as we kick off 2018!”

Check out the full schedule at www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274 for more information
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