In a squeaker on Texas’ Lewisville Lake, Mark Tucker of St. Louis found 12 pounds and an ounce worth of bass to take home his first B.A.S.S. win, $10,000, a Skeeter/Yamaha boat-and-motor package and a berth in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic. His total after three days was 45-15.
“I’ve got to thank the Lord big time. This is all thanks to Him. This has been a long time coming, and to finally get it feels great. You strive to be the best, and when something like this happens, there’s nothing like it,” he said. “This is an awesome lake and it’s great to be here.”
However, Tucker almost didn’t make it out of the gate this morning. An expired insurance policy on his BassCat meant he had to be held at the dock until an updated policy was shown to B.A.S.S. staff. The ordeal cost him 15 minutes and a lot of stress.
Tucker feels that he was the only one employing the pattern that he did. He was slowly working a Smithwick Rogue jerkbait over 8 to 10 feet of water along rocky points. The keys, he says, were his line, patience and cold water. He searched for the coldest water that he could find.
“They wouldn’t hit it if it fell down, so I used Trilene XT monofilament so it would rise a bit,” he said. “I’d slowly twitch it, and then they’d load up on it.”
Tucker’s jerkbait pattern triggered a flurry of Kentucky (spotted) bass activity, but the big ones wouldn’t stay buttoned up. He lost what would have been the biggest fish of the tournament at his boat. Tucker estimated it to be in the 9-pound range. If he had fished flawlessly, Tucker said he would’ve had 25 pounds in his first hour on the lake. What’s more, the big fish that he lost took his Rogue that was working. So, he scrounged around his boat, found a similar color pattern and modified it to look like the one that was working.
“I know these guys in the top 12 are awesome fishermen, and with the fish on the bank I thought the weights would skyrocket,” he said.
Per his statement yesterday, Tucker plans on heading to Shreveport, La. — the sight of the 2012 Classic, his eighth — to practice right away.
Eleven ounces behind Tucker is Casey Scanlon of Lenexa, Kan., with 45-4. Scanlon weighed in 19-1 today, the heaviest stringer of the tournament, for a total of 45-4. His bag was anchored by a 6-14 big bass.
“The key for me was to fish slow,” he said. “I had about an hour that was awesome where I really caught ‘em good.”
In third place is Chris Ford who added 15-7 to his total for a cumulative weight of 35-4. In fourth place is Billy Cline of Grapevine, Texas, who could only manage two keepers that went 3-15, giving him a total of 33-15. Rounding out the top 5 is Kevin Ledoux of Choctaw, Okla., whose three fish went 6-1, giving him a total of 23-1.
Also notable is aspiring Elite angler Janet Parker, who finished sixth. She wound up with a total of 22-10.
Despite the heaviest bag of the tournament crossing the stage today at Bass Pro Shops in Grapevine, Texas, weights were down significantly. Two of the final-day pros and four co-anglers failed to register any keeper bass. There wasn’t a single three-fish co-angler limit brought to the scales today. Warm, windy conditions had Lewisville’s prespawn bass in a tailspin.
On the co-angler side, Clayton Coppin of Wagoner, Okla., took home a brand new Skeeter/Yamaha rig valued at $35,000 for his winning weight of 18-8, more than 4 pounds ahead of second place.
“This is not easy to do; there’s some tough competition out there,” Coppin said. “The way that things were going this morning, I thought we were going to whack ‘em. We didn’t, but I got enough to win and that’s all that matters.”
In second place is Michael Curbow whose two bass that weighed 3-0 brought his total up to 14-7. In third is Wade Garcia of Alma, Ark., who didn’t register a bass today, but wound up with 13-13. In fourth is Darryl Hanks who also blanked today but had 12-2, and in fifth place is John Englund, who added a 1-11 bass to his total for 12-0.
The next Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open is on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo., April 28-30, where another 2012 Bassmaster Classic berth will be awarded. After the final event on the Arkansas River in Muskogee, Okla., set for Sept. 8-11, the third and final Classic berth will be handed out, and the top five anglers in the points race will be offered a spot in the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series.
2011 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
2011 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Official Sponsors: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, Skeeter, Triton, Yamaha
2011 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Supporting Sponsors: Humminbird, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats
BASS PRO SHOPS BASSMASTER CENTRAL OPEN- PRO- FINAL
2011 Central Open 1 – Lake Lewisville BO 02/24-02/26 Lake Lewisville, Lewisville Texas
(BOATER) Standings Day 3
Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$
1. Mark Tucker Saint Louis, Mo. 15 45-15 315 $55,600.00
Day 1: 5 16-10 Day 2: 5 17-04 Day 3: 5 12-01
2. Casey Scanlon Lenexa, Kan. 15 45-04 295 $15,900.00
Day 1: 5 12-09 Day 2: 5 13-10 Day 3: 5 19-01
3. Chris Ford Kennedale, Texas 14 35-04 290 $13,250.00
Day 1: 4 6-10 Day 2: 5 13-03 Day 3: 5 15-07
4. Billy Cline Keller, Texas 12 33-15 285 $10,600.00
Day 1: 5 16-05 Day 2: 5 13-11 Day 3: 2 3-15
5. Kevin Ledoux Choctaw, Okla. 10 23-01 280 $9,540.00
Day 1: 3 7-01 Day 2: 4 9-15 Day 3: 3 6-01
6. Janet Parker Little Elm, Texas 8 22-10 276 $8,480.00
Day 1: 5 13-11 Day 2: 1 4-12 Day 3: 2 4-03
7. Chris Zaldain San Jose, Calif. 8 22-02 272 $7,420.00
Day 1: 5 12-08 Day 2: 3 9-10 Day 3: 0 0-00
8. Jared Miller Norman, Okla. 8 20-09 268 $6,360.00
Day 1: 5 14-04 Day 2: 1 2-02 Day 3: 2 4-03
9. Sammy Burks Joplin, Mo. 8 19-11 264 $5,300.00
Day 1: 5 12-04 Day 2: 1 3-00 Day 3: 2 4-07
10. Tommy Durham Whitney, Texas 9 18-09 260 $4,770.00
Day 1: 5 10-09 Day 2: 3 6-05 Day 3: 1 1-11
11. Jerry Dolezal Bullard, Texas 7 17-12 257 $4,240.00
Day 1: 3 7-08 Day 2: 4 10-04 Day 3: 0 0-00
12. Jimmy Johnson Ganado, Texas 8 17-09 254 $3,710.00
Day 1: 5 9-10 Day 2: 2 5-10 Day 3: 1 2-05
About B.A.S.S. For more than 40 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles. The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications — Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times — comprehensive website Bassmaster.com, and ESPN2 television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle. The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation events presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.
B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.