Bud Pruitt & Kevin Mason crowned 2018 Skeeter Bass Champs CHAMPIONS
|By: Patty Lenderman|
It has been an incredible season for four regions of Skeeter Bass Champs. On October 13-14, 2018 the two day championship was held for the first time on Lake Texoma with a record 275 teams competing for the crown. Rainy conditions, rising water and tough teams were but some of the challenges each angler faced. Not only was the title up for grabs, but two Skeeter boats powered by Yamaha and outfitted with Lowrance were in the sights for these qualifiers. The leaderboard showed major shifts over the course of the event as many teams climbed the ladder to top positions. In all, over $218,000 was awarded in cash and prizes – an amazing 269% payback! Skill, tenacity and maybe a little luck mixed in paid off for the winners Bud Pruitt and Kevin Mason.
Contenders were allowed to trailer to any available boat launch on Lake Texoma to launch closer to their fishing areas. This helped a great deal considering the weather conditions with huge downpours of rain and wind over the playing field. Texoma produced a lot of solid sacks at the scales!
Bud Pruitt of Sam Rayburn, TX and Kevin Mason of Coldspring captivated 1st place with a dominating two pound spread. “We started with a phenomenal practice,” the team agreed. “The first day we had some boat pressure where we were fishing, but managed an initial limit in 45 minutes. After that we moved to another area and upgraded our fish a few times.” At the end of the first day, they had 17.94 pounds, putting them in a top five position going into day two. “The lake rose every day significantly. One thing I have always lived by,” Bud stated, “is you never tell the bass where they are supposed to be. You have to follow them.” They found the bass were keyed in on clean spots between weeds, roadbeds and trails. They found their best spot on the second day, and using bladed baits and swim jigs trailered with black & blue Rage Craws and Reaction Innovation ‘Twerks’ as well as Strike King spinnerbaits, they amassed a second day limit of 18.80 pounds. In two days they tallied 36.74 pounds of bass to win the Championship and the top prize – a Skeeter FX20 powered by a Yamaha SHO and outfitted with Lowrance electronics. “We had such a blessed weekend. Everything just lined up. We lost as many fish as we caught!” Bud and Kevin would also like to tip their hats at the Bass Champs staff and crew, Skeeter Bass Boats “and all of the guys who fished this brutal weather weekend!”
2nd place winners were Adam Dunn of Houston and Joshua Ware of New Caney, TX. “The first day it was so windy, and the rain was pretty heavy,” Adam recalled. “We hit about five different spots the first day using topwater baits. Our better fish came in the afternoon.” Bringing in around 15 pounds on Day 1, they were sitting in 22nd position. “The second day the water was slick and calm. The bass would hit our bait, but not take it.” They were catching a few, but knew they needed more. “We kept moving, looking for the fish we needed. We switched to buzz baits and flukes, and with only twenty minutes to go the wind switched out of the north and put a little chop on the water. That’s exactly what we needed! The shad were busting in spots, and while it seemed that it was white bass and striper after them, the better black bass was there with them. We were able to cull three more times before having to pack it in.” They caught 19 pounds on the final day, and had a two day total weight of 34.73 lbs to win a Skeeter ZX225 powered by a Yamaha SHO with Lowrance electronics.
Chad Bailey of Comanche, OK and Lee Livesay of Gladewater, TX landed in 3rd place overall. “Lee found our spot in practice, and we stayed there both days,” Chad explained. “We only used Frogs, and stayed way back in the flooded woods and fields.” They culled a few times by mere ounces, ending up with 16.06 lbs for the first day in a 13th place position. “We went right back there to our starting spot on the second day. It was being hit pretty hard by other boats. We decided to stick it out and made a million circles covering it.” Lee reeled in their biggest fish so far, then right after that lost a nice one. “We let that spot rest for a little bit then came back to it. We didn’t get bit where he lost the fish, so we decided to scoot out just a little to see if it moved down the bank some.” That’s when Chad landed their kicker with only five minutes left to fish. It was their last cull, giving them a day two sack weighing 16.68 lbs. Their two day total was 32.74 lbs winning 3rd place and $6,000. “We’d like to thank Lake Fork Resort, R&K Distributing, Anheuser-Busch and Honey Hole Tackle Shop in West Monroe, LA.” An additional congratulations to each of these men as Chad recently welcomed an addition to his family and Lee has qualified to fish the Elite Series in 2019. “We will both take next year off from Bass Champs, but we’ll be back!”
The biggest bass of the tournament was reeled in by Keith McMillen from Quinland, TX, fishing with Pete Brandt of Garland. “We found some good fish in practice, and stayed in one cove both days of the tournament,” Pete recalled. They caught fish on a variety of baits, including a buzz bait, frog, and swim jigs. “The first day we fished there until around noon, and left the fish biting as we checked out a couple of other spots. The rain was horrible.” They had 14.23 pounds putting them in 38th place going into Day 2. “On the second day, the lake had risen quite a bit. Our fish had moved, and at 9:30 we still didn’t have a single fish in the boat.” They had confidence in their fish and in the area. “We moved in shallower to freshly flooded shoreline. It was covered in debris from the storms and rising water. That’s when we got our first bite of the day.” At 9:45am Keith caught the 6.86 lb’r that won Big Bass of the tournament. “We kept fishing frogs in literally 6” of water in the flooded grass.” Their efforts landed four fish for the final day, weighing in at 14.41 lbs. They finished in 12th place overall with 28.64 lbs, winning $1,500 plus $750 for Big Bass and the Abu Garcia bonus.
“This has been such a great season,” declared Chad Potts, Bass Champs President. “We would like to congratulate all of the teams as well as the champions at this event. It is each of you in every region that makes Bass Champs what it is, and all of us here would like to thank everyone who has fished with us. Our goal is to just keep making it better and better, so we will look forward to seeing you again next year!”