Fish off! Chapman wins on Lewisville, gets 2013 ‘Classic’ berth

ChapmanCropped2Brent Chapman clinched the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Lake Lewisville Sunday by winning a tie-breaking fish-off against Josh Bertrand.

Chapman caught a 6-pound, 5-ounce to win the title.

The angler from Lake Quivira, Kansas and Bertrand, of Mesa, Arizona, were tied for the lead on Day Three and had to go into a tie-breaker fish-off on Sunday.

On Feb. 11, Elite Series pro Chapman weighed in three keepers, and Bertrand brought one fish to the scales. That put them tied for first with 20 pounds, 9 ounces.  

The fish-off, from 7 a.m. to noon CST on Sunday, was the decider.

Chapman won a check for $52,160, but the tournament victory also brought him a berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Chapman’s home water: Grand Lake.

The pressure is off for this year’s Elite Series, provided Chapman fishes the remaining two Central Open events, according to a news release from B.A.S.S.

“This is a big weight off my shoulders,” Chapman said. “First, this tournament is over. The bigger reason is that I made the Classic and finally got another win.”

The clinching bass very nearly never made it into the boat.

Chapman was fishing a small creek that had warm water from a discharge running into the back of it. When he arrived Sunday morning, the current had disappeared, and the water was in the high 40s, a severe temperature drop.

“I didn’t know what to think,” Chapman said. “I honestly thought if there wasn’t water generation back there, it would be shot. I decided I had to at least make a pass and give it a try. After fishing for a short while without a bite, I remembered my partner a few days ago caught one on a wacky rig.

“On my third cast, I caught that one.”

When he first set the hook, he thought the fish might have been a catfish or a drum by the way it was staying down. As it got closer to the boat, however, he realized just how big of a bass he had hooked.

“If it had been the Elite Series without a net, I probably wouldn’t have caught that fish,” Chapman said. “I got that fish in the boat and the hook fell out of its mouth. If I wasn’t able to use a net, that fish would have gotten off.”

The 23-year-old Bertrand was gracious in defeat, enjoying every minute of the excitement, but ready to get on the road home.

“Surprisingly, I’m happy that he won with a good fish like that,” Bertrand said. “It was an exciting day. Obviously, I am disappointed I didn’t make it to the Classic, but a second-place finish on unfamiliar water is still an accomplishment.”