Randy Phillips of Oxford, Mass., closed strong Friday, securing a berth in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic and the overall win in the 2009 Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship on the Harris Chain of Lakes with a three-day total of 31 pounds, 1 ounce.
With the victory, Phillips also scored a Skeeter/Yamaha rig valued at more than $60,000.
“It feels great, I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I could not have asked for a better tournament, everything turned out great and I’m very excited to go to the Classic, this is my dream.”
Despite landing a limit – no certainty this week – Phillips only had 6 pounds, 15 ounces on the final day of competition. But tough conditions prevailed and many of the challengers slipped. Don Hogue of Pasco, Wash., had the lead heading into the final day but fell short, claiming runner-up honors with a three-day total of 29-1.
But Hogue did take solace in the fact that he earned a 2010 Bassmaster Classic berth by way of champion of the Western division. Phillips took the Eastern division.
“This is surreal, it’s something you dream about like you dream of going to the moon,” Hogue said. “I’m kind of overwhelmed, but I’m sure most of the guys are.”
Hogue describes himself as a West coast guy, having never fished in Florida or in Alabama. Hogue will fish there, on Alabama’s Lay Lake, for the 2010 Classic, which is set for Feb. 19-21 out of Birmingham, Ala.
In the Southern division, Brent Long of Cornelius, N.C., held on with a five-fish limit that went 7-3 Friday. Long will be fishing his second Classic and his only other Classic experience came on Lay in 2007. Long was fourth this week.
Jeff Freeman of Max Meadows, Va., held off Gerry Jooste of Harare, Zimbabwe, to secure his second Classic berth. Freeman won the 2007 Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship on Florida’s Lake Tohopekaliga and has also scored victory in Bassmaster events as a co-angler. He will represent the Mid-Atlantic division. Freeman placed seventh in the tournament with 24-05.
Despite finishing 12th in the tournament, Bryan Schmidt of Olney, Texas, had a good enough tournament to take his second consecutive Classic berth. Schmidt bested fellow Texan Tom Jessop of Dalhart and Samuel Anthony of Independence, La. Schmidt will look to repeat his strong 2008 performance when he finished sixth.
To round the Classic qualifiers, Jody Adkins of North Canton, Ohio, will represent the Northern division on the strength of his third-place finish in the tournament. The full standings can be found below.
In the Junior Bassmaster World Championship, which played out on nearby Lake Yale, Jake Cook of Kennewick, Wash., bested the 15-18 division with 13 pounds, 1 ounce. John Duarte of Middle River, Md., won the 11-14 division with 5 pounds. Youth prizes included scholarships for the top finishers.
The Bassmaster CastingKids National Championship was also determined with Sierra Voisin of Mildmay, Ontario, Canada, scoring her third CastingKids victory in the 7-10 age division. Jared Raymer of Brandenburg, Ky., won the 11-14 division besting Shauni Voisin, Sierra’s older sister. Kids in two age groups ( 7-10, 11-14 ) casted, pitched and flipped to targets. Full stories can be found on Bassmaster.com.
2009 Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship presented by Yamaha Outboards and Skeeter Boats Final Standings
2009 BASS FEDERATION NATION CHAMPIONSHIP 10/28-10/30 Harris Chain Of Lakes, Tavares Fla. (BOATER) Standings Day 3
Angler Hometown D No./lbs-oz Total $$$
1. Randy Phillips Oxford, Mass. (MA) E 13 31-01 $60,000.00
2. Don Hogue Pasco, Wash. (WA) W 13 29-01 $5,000.00
3. Jody Adkins North Canton, Ohio (OH) N 13 28-03 $2,500.00
4. Brent Long Cornelius, N.C. (SC) S 12 28-00 $1,000.00
5. Skip Sjobeck Randolph, Vt. (VT) E 6 26-07 $1,500.00
6. Chuck Murray Louisburg, N.C. (NC) S 15 25-07 $500.00
7. Jeff Freeman Max Meadows, Va. (VA) M 14 24-05 $1,000.00
8. Randy Wieczorek Buffalo City, Wisc. (MN) N 13 24-05 $500.00
9. Brian Hensley Edwardsburg, Mich. (IN) N 15 24-00 $500.00
10. Ron Cherkas Grimes, Iowa (IA) N 12 23-13 $500.00
11. Gerry Jooste Harare, Zimbabwe (ZWE) M 15 23-02 $500.00
12. Bryan Schmidt Olney, Texas (TX) C 11 23-00 $250.00