Written by Conor Harrison, LSON
The battle on the border for bragging rights and more than $20,000 went to Lake Hills angler Scott Hutzler and Michael Bradley from San Antonio when they brought a 5-bass limit weighing 18.8 pounds to win the Bass Champs South Region on Lake Amistad Saturday.
The pair know the lake well, and have been figuring out what the fish have been doing on Amistad since the beginning of the year.
“We’ve been on these fish since January,” Bradley said. “The bite has been on and off, but we’ve been hitting a grass bite off of deep points in 15 to 25 feet of water. In January, it was all little males, and then the bigger fish started to move in. Everything we caught today came off of Texas rigs — Brush Hawgs, Senkos and Flukes.
The team caught all of their fish on one spot, going a while between bites before switching which kind of soft plastic they were using and triggering another bite. Bradley said he thinks the lake is beginning to fish better after a rough couple of years.
“I think it is getting better,” he said. “We had three of our fish early, then caught a bunch of small fish, then went another hour or two before we put our fourth fish in the boat. We caught six total keepers and didn’t put our fifth keeper in the boat until right around 2 p.m. We were sweating it.”
When the pair came into the weigh-in, they thought they would get a check, but never thought they had enough for the win.
“This is our first win,” Bradley added. “We were expecting it to be tough. We thought 20 or 22 pounds would win.”
A familiar team came in second place — Laredo angler Jimmy Steed and Del Rio angler Charlie Haralson — and took home a check for $3,500 with 17.64 pounds.
“Second isn’t bad, but it is a bummer to get our second, second place in row,” Steed said after finishing second at the Bass Champs tournament on Falcon earlier this season. “It is always good to cash a check, but it is tough to come that close again. I’ve won several of these and know how tough they are to win.”
The pair caught their fish throwing jerkbaits in 8 to 10 feet of water.
“We’ve been catching them up around 5 feet for the past month,” Steed said. “All of our fish on Saturday came on jerkbaits and Senkos. We probably caught 30 fish today — all deeper. We didn’t catch anything until a 5-pounder about 10 a.m. We started backing off (into deeper water) and started catching them.”
The team focused on back drains with Big Bite Baits.
In third, the team of Ken Parker from Boerne and Jason Gallas from Bulverde brought 16.74 pounds to the scales.
“We caught fish all day, but our bigger bass came later in the day,” Gallas said. “We were just happy to fish today. We caught our fish in the backs of coves where we found some clearer water. We threw Trick worms and jerkbaits in less than 8 feet of water. The back of creeks all had fish — some held bigger fish than others.”
Gallas said the pair aren’t deep-water fishermen and this is the time of year they earn their checks.
“This is when we make our money,” he said.
Parker, who owns Boerne Marine, wanted to thank Bass Champs, all of the anglers who come out and fish Bass Champs, Skeeter, Yamaha and Power Tackle Rods.
More than 170 teams competed on Amistad. The final South Region tournament will be held April 25 on Falcon Lake.