Bass Champs East Region Wraps up the Season on Toledo Bend – Elshout & Price take the Final Win
|By: Patty Lenderman|
|What a picture perfect day on Toledo Bend for the East Region season finale May 13, 2017. With over $72,000 up for grabs, 244 teams hit the water on the hunt for a portion of it. There was even more at stake, with this being the last push for points in the Angler of the Year race. Winners Martin Elshout & Mark Price found nearly 30 pounds of bass to take the win, and several big bass were seen at the scales including a double digit sow!
The scene was set at Cypress Bend Marina, and teams were released in flights to head out in their final hunt. Slightly cloudy skies with only a hint of breeze and temperatures rising only into the mid 70’s gave way to a fantastic day to be on the water. As the teams began rolling in to begin the weigh in, tallying their pounds and final points in the Angler of the Year race, the final line up shuffled many times until the scales came to a final close.
2016 Anglers of the Year Martin Elshout and Mark Price took the final crown for the East Region, bringing in a whopping 29.78 pounds. They targeted water 12’ to 15’ deep with football head jigs all day. “We had one point in the day where we had a good flurry, and caught a six, a seven and an eight pounder,” they reported. Their kicker weighed in at 8.04 lbs to anchor their 1st place win, catching the guaranteed $20,000 check then Sure Life added to their winnings for using the product in their livewell.
Glen Freeman and Jeff Rice also had a great sack of bass, bringing in 27.51 lbs for a 2nd place win. “We went ‘old school’ for our fish,” Freeman explained. Using Texas rigged Double Z worms at ridges and humps in 15’-20’ depths, they secured their final finish for a $5,500 check and caught the Lowrance Gen3 bonus as well.
Ryan Pinkston had to go it alone this last tournament, and reeled in a 3rd place finish with 23.35 pounds. “I drug a V&M football jig all day,” he recalled. Fishing in depths 10’ to 15’, he estimates catching a total of 15 bass throughout the day to cull from. Bass Champs presented a check for $4,200.00.
The remaining overall top ten lineup:
Now for the Big Bass race. Several kickers in the seven pound range were brought in, and a few eights. The biggest of them all weighed in at 10.99 lbs, caught by Scott Eastman fishing with Gil Leger. “We were fishing the South end of the lake in areas with patchy grass in 12’-14’ with big Texas rigged worms,” Eastman began. “It was right at 8am when I felt the hit. I eased my pole up to check it, and she took it down so I set the hook. As I was reeling her in, I got to see her as she came up out of the water, and I yelled ‘Holy smokes!’ Gil grabbed the net, and as she got closer to the boat, Gil saw my line jump and thought she may have gotten off for a moment.” They secured her in the boat, making for their second fish of the day. “We had to hunt for the rest of our limit, and broke off on two others. If we got them in, who knows how we may have finished!” They won $1,000 for that one fish, plus received the Costa Del Mar sunglasses bonus. It anchored their 8th place overall finish for an additional $1,500.
Finally, this was the decisive event for the crowning of Anglers of the Year. Clayton Boulware and Albert Collins were leading the points race coming into this final event. Before it was all said and done, the final standings in the Angler of the Year race took quite a shuffle. Coming up from a 3rd place position and over 35 points to make up for, Kris Wilson and Bryan Lohr made it to the top, and are the Bass Champs East Region Anglers of the Year. For this great accomplishment, not only will their entry fees for the East Region 2018 events be waived, but they will also be featured on the Bass Champs TV show with the Anglers of the Year from the other regions where they will go to a private lake to fish head to head against each other. “They will each be given all of the same equipment and furnished with a Skeeter boat for this challenge,” Chad Potts, President of Bass Champs announced. “This will be a very exciting show, and a once in a lifetime experience for these teams who have worked hard to earn their titles. Be sure to catch it on the WFN channel or you can see any of the Bass Champs TV shows on our website.”
There’s even more exciting events coming up that are open to anyone who wants to fish. The next big tournament coming up on Sam Rayburn June 25th is the Techron TX Shootout. This is the richest one day team tournament with $50,000 guaranteed up for grabs for the 1st place winners. You don’t want to miss this one!
The remaining 2017 schedule for all of Bass Champs: