1st Place: Mark Farver & Steve Kline
Weight: 10.35; 2nd big bass - 3.04
Pattern: Flipping wood in current
Baits: Strike King Rage Craw with a ¾ ounce sinker, wacky rigged Senko, and shaky head worm
How it Happened: After covering a lot of water during practice on Friday, Farver had just one good bite - a 4 pound largemouth. That dictated where they would begin, and, ultimately, win the tournament. With nothing else to build on, they went to work and had their limit by 9:30 from this area; and those would be the only keepers they caught all day. In fact, they struggled to catch much anything afterward.
2nd Place: Mark Fennell & Teddy Bradley
Pattern: Frog fishing in channels and main river flats
Baits: hollow belly frogs and Zoom Horny Toads
3rd Place: Trevor Paulus & Dave Selig
Pattern: flipping wood on main river
Baits: unnamed creature bait pegged to ½ ounce tungsten bullet weight
4th Place: Lee Duracz & Jami Young
Pattern: Targeting largemouth in weeds and wood
Baits: Zoom creature baits & topwater
How it Happened: The team alternated between flipping the creature baits on main river wood and working the topwater over weeds also on the main river.
5th Place: Jason Schwartz & Brian Miller
Pattern: smallmouth bass in heavy current and largemouth on main river laydowns
Baits: Whopper Plopper, square bill crankbait, Strike King Rage Bug, Neko Rig
6th Place: Kelly & Kevin Warner defended their 2015 crown with a 6.60 pound limit and won $70.
Nevertheless, the work had been done, and their execution was flawless. This magical spot was a hundred yards long that included laydowns and a seawall. Current was also present.
Their biggest fish, a 3.04 pound largemouth, was the second biggest bass of the tournament, and was the first to bite. It choked on a Rage Craw after it was flipped into a laydown. A near identical fish came shortly after on the same bait and structure. On the outside edge of the same bank, two other keepers came from a Wacky rigged Senko and shaky head worm.
Winnings: 710 + 70 = $780 & Rod Bender Baits Certificate
How it Happened: The current Standings’ leaders predicted a tough bite and felt the best strategy they could employ was to cover as much water as possible. With the trolling motor on 70% nearly all day, the Winona Lake champions accomplished their goal by landing 5 total keepers with buzzing and hollow belly frogs. Four of their keepers were caught in the slack water of channels while their largest and final keeper came off a piece of a wood on a main river weed flat.
How it Happened: Despite being known for the quality jigs Paulus makes in his garage, neither he nor Selig could coax a bite with it in the wood they were targeting. They adjusted by tossing pegged soft plastic baits and landed over 30 fish. Their most dramatic came at 1:30. “We only had 3 keepers,” Paulus shared, “when we pulled up to a dock that another team had been working. We noticed they only worked one side of it, so went went to the other. We immediately caught our biggest fish of the day.” It weighed 2.83 pounds. Paulus added, “When we talked with them after the tournament, they told us they had lost a near 3 pounder under that dock earlier that day.”
All of their other fish came by flipping wood on the main river with soft plastic baits.
How it Happened: A few days prior to the tournament, the team found quality smallmouth far up river in heavy current. After racing there first thing during the tournament, they quickly landed 10 shorts and a keeper on a Whopper Plopper, but after that the bite stiffened. They could only entice one more bite, another keeper, on a square bill crankbait. Three hours later they ran down stream to flip wood cover along the river edge. They landed two more keepers with a Texas rigged Rage Bug, and a Neko Rig.
The big bass was caught with a frog in emergent weeds.
Winnings: $272 + Native Pride Tackle merchandise