Thirty five teams gathered for the second installment of the Wappapello Division of the Anglers’ Choice Tournament Trail on Sunday, May 31, 2009. Anglers’ expectations of big catches were running as high as the lake level for this tournament, due to post spawn giant bass lingering in the flooded bushes. At the end of the day the Southeast Missouri impoundment did not disappoint, as it relinquished several five fish limits. Gale Breckenridge from Paragould, Arkansas, and partner Greg Brasher also from Paragould, capitalized on a summertime pattern, in amassing their winning string. Their five fish limit weighed 16.60 pounds and earned them $1420 plus trophies. The 1 st place team was cranking ledges to cull through at least seven keepers, with “big” crankbaits. “Those baits had to have a four-inch diving lip on it or you couldn’t get deep enough,” Breckenridge said with a smile. “We were throwing DD22s and Fat Free Shad crankbaits in citris shad color,” he explained. “We found the fish holding tight to the break-line of the channel and you had to be fishing 16 to 18 feet deep.” The team targeted key spots from Chaonia Landing to the Greenville Bridge. As impressive as a sixteen pound sack is, it could have been even better. “We lost at least 4 or 5 fish in the five pound range. They just came up and shook loose,” he lamented. Lost fish not withstanding Breckenridge and Brasher take the win, and 1 st place trumps everything else. They are sponsored by Rang- er Boats, Mercury Outboards, Ardent Reels, Crock-O-Gator Lures, Twin City Marine, and Southern Pro Lures. Finishing in 2 nd place with 14.80 pounds was the familiar, Ber- nie, Missouri, father and son team, Dell and Danny Walker. “We stayed up river all day and had to hit a lot of spots,” said Danny Walker. “We never could really get on a concentration of fish, just one here and there.” The team focused on channel drops in the five to seven foot range and threw “shad color” crankbaits. “We picked up a few short fish on a spinnerbait, but the keepers came on the crankbait,” said Walker. The team took home $856 plus trophies for their five fish limit. On a side note, as told by Walker, they had mo- tor problems on the way to weigh-in and Breckenridge and Brasher stopped, transferred Walker’s catch to their boat and gave him a ride. Who said nice guys finish last?
Following up on a win on Saturday at Big Bucks on the north end of the Fox waterway, Zach Schmigletz choose a differ- ent partner(Ryan Johnson) and still was able to fish to a first place $1400.00 win. On Saturday he used his Dad to cinch the win. The poundage was lower because of the 5 fish rule at USAC. Their com- bined 5 fish weight was 12.37lbs. Big bass was secured with a not so big Big Bass but still worth $360.00. Tom Behof of Elk Grove and partner Mark Hanks netted a 3.92lb. Largemouth. They ended up in 23rd spot. 2 nd Place went to George Pipala and Tom Sipolt with 10.82lbs. There was a rumor at the weigh-in that at this trip out George fished the front of the boat, claiming to have caught two limits at Big Bucks, different partner, event the day before. When your part- ner is on fish you just have to go to his spots. 3 rd was rounded out by Darrell Christoph and Kark Kucik with 10.66lbs. This was the second time this team has been in the money this year. Dare I say, less than a pound difference separated 2nd thru 5th place. The key to winning this tournament was how to catch short biting fish. Many contestants complained about almost boating bass that were short biting. A bass will bump a bait rather than eat it, or they will mouth the bait to move it but not necessarily put the bait far enough into their mouth to allow a good hook penetration. How do you do it??? Don’t have a clue.
Fox Chain diviSion 6/7/2009
Wappapello diviSion - lake Wappa- pello - redman Creek 5/31/2009
1st Place Aaron Ault & Jason Herrell