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1st Place: Dave Steed made a bold statement earlier in the week that he is bringing his best game in an effort to qualify for the Classic. Well, he did. He and substitute partner, Mickey Thomas, beat the field by nearly a full pound. Their 11.42 pound earned them $729, but they also weighed the heaviest fish of the event, a 5.12 pound largemouth, which awarded them another $368, making their catch worth $1,097.
Steed admits they tricked fish on a trio of baits, “We began with topwater and caught three small keepers. Then we went to a breakline where we caught three more on C Flash Magnum 44 crankbaits and Berkley Powerworms.”
They left this breakline, but returned when other areas failed to produce. “We went back to that spot and immediately, I broke off a three pound smallmouth,” Steed recalls. They then
stayed put and made three big culls, including the big bass. All of these fish fell for the Powerworm matched up with ¼ ounce worm weights, Texas rigged.
“The key to the area were the weeds,” confesses Steed. “The fish were in the deeper weeds and you had to get the bait to them to get bit.”
To add to their winnings, they also boasted a KeelGuard on their boat, which qualified them for another $150 with the incentive program offered by Megaware KeelGuard.
2nd Place: Steve Januchowski and John DuPont only needed 45 minutes to secure a top 5 finish, and nearly pull off the victory. “It took longer to idle to our starting point than to catch our fish,” joked DuPont. Unfortunately, they only caught four keepers and could not finish the limit. Regardless, those fish weighed 10.43 pounds and won them $462.
“We got all of our fish on topwater, frogs and Strike King Sexy Dawgs,” admitted DuPont, “but once that bite ended, we could only get one other keeper bite and it jumped off.” The area that produced was against a bank with heavy weed growth.
The team tried water out to 20 feet deep, docks, flats, breaklines, and into “people’s yards!” “We did everything we
could think of,” claimed DuPont. “It’s hard to be disappointed with second place, but we’re disappointed we could not finish our limit.”
3rd Place: The longest run from a top 5 team belongs to CJ McCafferty and Jim Dailey. “It took about 65 minutes to reach James Lake,” revealed McCafferty. This is where they caught a 9.60 pound limit to claim $340.
They landed 6 keepers and just two shorts, but the ratio of keepers to shorts was worth the wait. “We focused on two areas,” acknowledged McCafferty. “Both spots were an inside curve on an underwater point.” They held their boats in 25 feet of water and caught fish on both drop shot rigs and a grub.
“The fish on the drop shot were obviously on bottom, but we also marked suspended fish and we got them to bite by slinging a Case Plastics grub matched up with an ⅛ ounce ballhead,” McCafferty offered. “We just dropped the grub to the depth and swam it back quickly.”
4th Place: Bryan Holderman and Ben Diamond worked the east side of Tippecanoe all day to bag their 9.57 pound limit and win $243.
The bite was good early as they had a limit by 9:30 by tossing pop-r style baits, but it slowed considerably after that time. They caught only three more keepers, which resulted in one cull. These fish were fooled with a jig.
Their big fish, a 3.82 pound largemouth and second heaviest of the tournament, exploded on the pop-r after it revealed its location by chasing shad. This fish earned the team another $92.
5th Place: After a 48 minute idle to their spot on Lake James, Jim Wheeler and Tom Seljan worked the outside edge of breaklines with jigs to gather a 9.19 pound limit.
Seljan confessed, "It was a slow bite. We caught just eight keepers and seven short fish all day. We kept our boat in 10 feet of water and flipped our jigs into the weeds."
The strategy earned them $194.
6th Place:Jennie Reyes and Kevin Miller (left) landed a 9.09 pound limit to win $170.
7th Place:Lake Maxinkuckee winners, Teddy Bradley and Tom Bell (right), put together an 8.96 pound limit to win $122.
8th Place: Tournament Directors Andy Buss and Mark Fennell (left) brought an 8.95 pound limit to the scales to claim $97.
9th Place:Jason Dittmar and Tony Kaser's (right) 8.70 pound limit scored them $73.
D's Lures Award: A limit of fish weighing 8.56 pounds by Ron Nelson and Ron Fabiszak (left), was good enough to claim a prize worth over $50.
Bass Pro Shops Award:Steve Prange and Josh Stalcup finished 15th place with 8.19 pounds and won a Pro Qualifier reel provided by the BPS store in Portage, Indiana.
Solar Bat Sunglasses Incentive: Finishing in 20th place with 7.36 pounds, Larry Schwartz and JR Troyer qualified for the Solar Bat Incentive worth $100 in cash. Make sure you are qualified!