Guntersville Tournament of Champions
March 17th-18th 2016
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
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
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
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!!
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.