The 2018 U.S. Anglerís Choice Championship
was held March 15th & 16th on famed Guntersville Lake, Scottsboro
Alabama. 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 284 teams would compete, all looking for that winning pattern or
area that would lend enough weight to take home one of three Bass Cat
Boats rigged with Mercury Outboards.
The event was hosted by Jackson County Tourism and the City of
Scottsboro Alabama. The official lodging site for the event was the
Comfort Inn and Suites in Scottsboro. 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 first class
Following the dinner teams were officially welcomed to the community and
lake by Rick Roden from Jackson County Tourism and Tony Wallingsford
from the City of Scottsboro. Rick Pierce of Bass Cat Boats then 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, Fury prop, 36v MotorGuide Trolling motor, free
entries, Fitzgerald Rods, cases of oil donated by Bass Cat dealers and
more. The evening was then finalized by recognizing the Fitzgerald Rods
Divisional Champions and awarding two Fitzgerals 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.
Temperatures during practice were cool and running nearly twenty degrees
under seasonal averages. As teams woke on the first day of competition
they were greeted clear skies and a crisp morning, with temps in the low
thirties at take off and ending up around sixty five degrees at weigh
time. The weigh-in started at 3pm and it wouldn't take long to see why
Lake Guntersville is a bass anglers must go destination.
When the scales closed after day one the
Wisconsin team of Rick Fry & Travis Alcock found themselves leading the
way with a massive Big G bag weighing 30.01lbs and nearly a three pound
lead. The team however struggled a bit on day two weighing 17.74lbs
dropping them to fifth place. Isn't that a statement, almost 18lbs and
"struggled" what a lake.
Day two the weather continued to improve temperature wise with morning
temps in the forties but mostly overcast on this day.
Josh Jackson & Luke Estel 2018 U.S. Angler's Choice Champions!
The final day weigh-in concluded minutes
after the last flight checked in and The Cedar Lake Division team of
Luke Estel and Josh Jackson would show that consistency is key and take
the win and 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 25.27
lbs and followed it up on day two with 27 lbs even, giving them a two
day total of 52.27 lbs and the title. The team focused their efforts on
shallow water transition areas leading to spawning areas. The team
reported fishing Strike King Red Eye Shad lipless crankbaits in water
depths of two to three feet. They utilized a run and gun approach on day
one but reduced those areas down to three on day two.
The team reported a phenomenal week of
practice capped off by an even better tournament and stated things
couldn't have went any better for them "it was a dream week for us" Luke
and Josh hauled home a new Bass Cat Pantera II rigged with a Mercury 200
ProXS and more cash and prizes for their win!
2nd Place Jeff Hampton and Chris Glover
The second place team of Jeff Hampton and
Chris Glover fishing out of the Indianapolis Division had a poor
practice but got a tip from fellow competitors that turned things around
for the event. They key was taller grass in two to three feet of water.
The team caught their fish near break lines on the main channel. The
weapons of choice were chatter baits and rattle traps. The team brought
22.80 lbs to the scale on day one and followed it up with one of the
larger bags of the event weighing 28.21 lbs on day two. They finished
just over one pound back and take home a new Bass Cat Classic rigged
with a Mercury ProXS 150 for the finish.
Power-Pole Top Contenders Third place
finish went to Josh Keeney and Gerald Mork
The Power-Pole Top Contenders Third place
finish went to North Wisconsin team of Josh Keeney and Gerald Mork. They
reported a tough practice catching only a few fish each day but thought
they may have found something to stick with late on the last day of
practice. They fished transition areas on the main channel that had
plenty of grass and were near creeks. The team used rattle baits and
vibrating jigs to weigh-in 24.34 lbs on day one and followed it up with
25.28 lbs on day two. The team earned over $13,800.00 for their finish.
Draw Boat Jeff Sykes and Harry Banycky
The luckiest team at the
event had to be Jeff Sykes and Harry Banycky as they won a Bass Cat
Pantera Classic with a Mercury 150 ProXS by DRAW by simply being present
at the final day weigh-in, they didn't even have to catch a fish!!
Lunker Lure Classic Big Bass Steve Marshall and Jeff Koch 9.22 lbs
The Lunker Lure Classic Big
Bass went to the team of Jeff Koch and Steve Marshall it weighed in at
9.22 lbs and earned the team $1,420.00 for day two Big Bass and
$1,500.00 for the overall biggest. That one fish earned the team
If you were unable to fish last season or make it to the championship
come join us in 2018! Call 618-496-3610 for a trail near you.