Written by Conor Harrison, Lone Star Outdoor News
The big largemouth bass were on the beds, and the top teams took advantage at the Bass Champs South Region tournament Saturday on Falcon International Reservoir.
Boerne angler Jeff Richards, along with his partner Stan Mchardy, from Helotes, found several of the big females, including the 10.49-pound big bass of the tournament, to win the second leg of South Region with 26.12 pounds.
The two anglers took home $20,000 for the win, along with $5,500 in bonus money.
The teams battled windy conditions early in the day, but that didn’t stop many from heading to their spots to look for bass in shallow water.
“We though it was going to be a little windy,” Richards said. “It was a bumpy ride down south to our first spot in protected water. We were flipping in shallow water to fish that were mostly in about 3 to 4 feet.”
The shallow bite fit right in to the anglers’ strengths.
“We fish Falcon often,” Richards said. “We won here a couple of years ago and shallow fishing is our forte. If we can’t touch the bottom with our poles, we are fishing too deep. We went to our first spot and finished out a limit with one pretty good fish. Then we tried a secondary spot in Mexico and struck out completely. We then headed to a reliable creek and Stan caught the 10-pounder and another 9.5 about 1 p.m. on a soft plastic. Stan is a stud! That was his personal-best bass and his first-ever over 10 pounds.”
Even with the big bass in the livewell on the way back to the dock, the pair didn’t think they had enough to win.
“We thought we’d get a check — maybe big bass,” Richards said. “We got back and learned it was a little tougher than we thought. To get the win is awesome.”
Richards said he appreciates the professionalism of Bass Champs and said he and Stan always have a good time fishing in the tournaments.
“I’d also like to thank Skeeter and Yamaha,” he said, “along with Boerne Marine and Pure Fishing. I’ve been doing this a long time and all of those guys have been with me a long time.”
Laredo angler Jimmy Steed, along with Del Rio angler Charlie Haralson, came up about three-quarters of a pound short, but wound up taking second place and a check for $3,500 with a total of 25.53 pounds.
“It blew hard until about 11, but we caught all of our fish early,” Steed said. “It got slow late. We had a 3-pounder that we just couldn’t get rid of. We were flipping and using spinner baits to cast to bass on beds.”
It has been a while since the team has cashed a check, so it was nice for the pair to get things rolling on Falcon.
“We didn’t do very good on Amistad,” Steed added. “It was a tough tournament and we lost some fish. Hopefully, we can keep things rolling going forward.”
Rounding out the top three were the team of Frank Ramsey from Carey Illinois and Johnny Ellis from Del Rio. They brought 22.2 pounds to the scales and took home a check for $2,500.
“It’s a whole lot better to be down here this weekend than it is to be in Illinois,” Ramsey said.
The pair fish Falcon a lot (Ramsey has a home in Del Rio) and stuck to their gameplan they had used in practice the week before. The weather pattern the past seven days had been the same pattern the week before the tournament, so the pair was confident their spots still held fish.
“We caught fish all day,” Ramsey said. “We had over three limits, but we just had one in the bag we couldn’t get rid of that was about 3 pounds.”
The pair fished two predominate patterns.
“We were on the American side first, and we were throwing a spinner bait up shallow,” he said. “We also caught fish on Flukes and Senkos, as well. We caught a lot of 5s and 6s the weekend before, and they were still there. We ran back north into Mexico about as far as you could go and started flipping timber. We got a surprise 6-pounder back in there.
“If we could have culled that 3-pounder for a 7-pounder, we’d have been sitting in first.”
Ramsey said his sponsors help him out tremendously — Castaway Rods, All Terrain Tackle, Quantum Reels and Bass Pro Shops.
“We caught good fish all day,” he said. “It was just a really fun day of fishing.”
The next stop for the Southern Region will be March 28 on Amistad.
Go to BassChamps.com for more information.