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Lake Guntersville Tournament of Champions
March 17th-18th 2016
Final Story

 

The 2016 U.S. Anglerís Choice Championship was held March 17th & 18th on one of the best bass fisheries in the world Lake Guntersville. At full pool Lake Guntersville stretches 75 miles from Nickajack Dam to Guntersville Dam, covers 69,100 surface acres and boasts 900 miles of beautiful shoreline. This would be the stage in which 271 teams would compete, all looking for that winning pattern or area that would lend enough weight to take home one of three Legend Boats rigged with Mercury Outboards.

The event was hosted by Jackson County Tourism and official lodging site for the event was the Comfort Inn and Suites in Scottsboro, Alabama. Scottsboro offered teams and families plenty of entertainment while not on the water and some fantastic places to dine. The people living in the Scottsboro community are some of the friendliest you will find anywhere in the country.

Teams gathered Wednesday for a first class banquet followed up with a short meeting held at the Scottsboro Goose Pond Civic Center. Southern hospitality was in full force as teams were treated to a fantastic dinner consisting of Grilled Chicken & Pork Chops with plenty of sides and deserts to top it off.

Following the dinner teams were officially welcomed to the community and lake by J.P. Parsons from Jackson County Tourism. Randy Qualls President of Legend Boats spoke to the anglers after which executive director Rick Byrnes started the receipt draw where thousands of dollars in prizes where awarded including a Power-Pole, $500.00 in cash, free entries, TFO Rods and much more. The evening was then finalized by recognizing the Temple Fork Outfitters Divisional Champions and awarding two TFO rods to each team along with plaques for their accomplishments. Lastly a brief review of the water and event specific rules were covered and then teams were released to make last minute preparations.

The weather during practice and the event was nearly perfect for March. Temps were in the sixties & seventies for the most part but there was a couple days that saw upper eighties and low nineties. Great weather doesn't always equal great fishing and the bite was off as compared to past events.

As teams woke on the first day of competition they were greeted clear skies and a beautiful morning with temps in the fifties at take off and ending up around seventy degrees at weigh time. The weigh-in started at 3pm and even though the bite was tough when you have this many quality teams some will always figure it out.

When the scales closed after day one the North Indiana team of Don Whitaker and Richard Delagrange found themselves in the lead with a bag weighing 25.97lbs. However they struggled on day two and ended the event in twentieth place.. 

Day two saw the ongoing beautiful weather pattern continue the sunny skies however were replaced with overcast by days end.


Jeff Gee and Steve Majewski 2016 U.S. Angler's Choice Champions!

Minutes after the last bag was weighed the results were in. The Mississippi Pool 13 team of Jeff Gee and Steve Majewski would show that consistency is key and take the win to be crowned U.S. Angler's Choice Champions. The team brought heavy bags to the scales on both days. On day one they weighed in 23.29lbs and followed it up on day two with 20.80lbs giving them a two day total of 44.09lbs and the win. The team focused their efforts in the mid lake area of the lake not moving to far upstream or down stream from Goose Pond. On day one the team reported fishing rattle baits in water depths of four to six feet. They utilized a run and gun approach as they really found no concentration of fish in any one area.

On day two once again rattle baits were the key as they continued to run the same spots on the main channel. They culled through approximately ten keepers per day as they used a run and gun approach to be crowned 2016 U.S. Angler's Choice Champions and win a new Legend Alpha 191 with a Mercury 200 Pro XS +$1,602.00 in cash.


2nd Place Mark O' Brien and Ryne Sanders

Coming in second place and missing the win by just under two pounds was the Lake Egypt Division Team of Mark O' Brien and Ryne Sanders. On day one the team weighed a five fish limit of 21.27 lbs. and followed it up on day two with 21.02 lbs giving them a two day total of 42.29lbs even. The team reported catching their fish on the South end of the lake flipping Beavers and Senkos around tree tops and laydowns. The depth the team was fishing was approximately 2 to 6 feet of water. For the second place position the team wins a certificate for a new Legend Alpha 191 with a Mercury 150 OptiMax.


3rd Place Ken Heintz and Tom Heintz.

Taking the third place position and the Power-Pole Top Contender award was the Lake Egypt Division team of Ken Heintz and Tom Heintz. They brought 5 fish to the scales on day one weighing 20.04 lbs and followed it up on day two with a limit weighing 21.66 lbs giving them a two day total of 41.70 lbs. The team fished a hump in the mouth of a spawning cove on the South end of the lake. They utilized shaky heads to get their initial bites and once they fired up the school they would switch to swimbaits. Their fish were positioned in 8-10 ft of water.


Draw Boat Brian Belke and Brian Partak

The luckiest team at the event had to be Brian Belke and Brian Partak as they won a Legend Alpha 191 with a Mercury 150 OptiMax by DRAW by simply being present at the final day weigh-in, they didn't even have to catch a fish to win but they did as they cashed checks totaling $2,224.00 for their 16th place finish and that surely wasn't luck!


Lunker Lure Classic Big Bass Dave Sanders and Pete Banach 11.58 lbs

The Lunker Lure Classic Big Bass went to the team of Dave Sanders and Pete Banach it was a true lake monster weighing in at 11.58 lbs and earned the team $1,354.00 for day one and $1,500.00 for the overall biggest. That one fish earned the team $2,854.00


Tim Grounds Big Stringer Nick Vitullo and Jarret Knize 26.59 lbs

The Tim Grounds Big Stringer of the event went to Nick Vitullo and Jarret Knize. They brought a bag to the scales weighing 26.59 lbs and claimed the Tim Grounds Big Stringer $2,500.00 Bounty!!

Tournament Notables:
1,298 fish were brought to the scales.
Total weight of all fish 3,738 lbs
Avg. size bass= 2.88 lbs
Day 1 big bag: Don Whitaker and Richard Delagrange 25.97 lbs.
Day 2 big bag: Nick Vitullo and Jarret Knize 26.59 lbs.
Day 1 big bass: Dave Sanders and Pete Banach 11.58 lbs.
Day 2 big bass: Nick Vitullo and Jarret Knize 8.06 lbs.

This was an awesome event for all who attended! If you were unable to fish this season or make it to the championship come join us in 2016! Call 618-496-3610 for a trail near you.