Grand Lake o' the Cherokees Classic
March 16th-17th 2017
Final Story




The 2017 U.S. Anglerís Choice Championship was held March 16th & 17th on one of the nations premier bass fisheries Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, Grove Oklahoma. Nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountain Range Grand Lake has a surface area of 46,500 acres and 1300 miles of beautiful shoreline. This would be the stage in which 249 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 the City of Grove and the Grove Convention & Tourism Bureau. The official lodging site for this event was the Stonebrook Inn. The City of Grove offered teams and families plenty of entertainment while not on the water and some fantastic places to dine. The people living in the Grove community are some of the friendliest you will find anywhere and the support we received from the community was unprecedented. From the Grove police department and rotary directing traffic, the GRDA providing the release trailer and simply the hospitality shown by all. Grove gets it! The ramps, parking and the entire complex at Wolf Creek is made for large events and one of the best we have seen.

Teams gathered Wednesday for a first class banquet followed up with a short meeting held at the Indigo Sky Casino. Teams dined on Sliced Baron of Beef, Mashed Potatoes and Brown Gravy, Seasoned Green Beans, Rolls and Chefs Choice of Assorted Desserts.

Following the dinner teams were officially welcomed to the community and lake by Brent Malone from Grove Tourism, after which Kody Bradbury Legend Boats Brand Manager spoke to the anglers, followed by Jason Littlefield from the GRDA who went over some lake rules.  Then it was time for the receipt draw where prizes where awarded including a Power-Pole, free entries, and Fitgerald Rods. The evening was then finalized by recognizing the Fitzgerald Rods Divisional Champions and awarding two Fitzgerald Stunner series 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.

Grand Lake is truly an awesome fishery but Mother Nature can shut down even the best of the best and she did her utmost to do so. High temps leading up to practice ranged from 60-80 degrees for nearly three weeks and early on it looked like the timing would be perfect. Unfortunately a major cold front pushed through and temps struggled to get above freezing for the majority of the seven day practice causing water temps to plummet. The weather did improve during competition but the damage was done.

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

When the scales closed after day one the Lake of the Ozarks team of Brett & Beau Govreau found themselves leading the way with a bag weighing 18.28lbs. 

Day two continued to improve temperature wise with morning temps in the low sixties but with overcast changing to Sun around mid day.

Beau & Brett Govreau 2017 U.S. Angler's Choice Champions!

The final day weigh-in concluded minutes after the last flight checked in and The Lake of the Ozarks team of Brett & Beau Govreau was able to hold on for the win to be crowned 2017 U.S. Angler's Choice Champions. The team brought solid bags to the scales on both days. They followed up their day one bag with 13.84lbs and bested the second place team by just over four pounds with a two day total of 32.12lbs.

The team reported a tough practice and were not able to locate fish relating to a normal springtime pattern on the lower end of the lake. They turned to focusing their efforts farther up the lake closer to the sailboat bridge area. They found pay dirt in a smaller less used creek that had a subtle ditch running through a flat. The fish were located in these depressions.

Day one of competition the team returned to this area and they boated approximately 15.5lbs by 11am and left the area alone for day two. The team was able to run around to new areas and upgrade to the day one weight of 18.28lbs as the culled through eleven keeper fish.

Day two the team returned to their primary spot only to find they had company. They still managed to boat a couple keepers but decided to make a move. They continued to run the same pattern of small shallow creeks and focused on the depressions within the flats. The fish were caught in water no deeper than six feet and often a subtle one foot difference within is where the fish were located. They culled through thirteen keepers on day two but was unable to get the bigger bites. The team used 1/2 oz V&M Pacemaker Adrenaline jigs in Okeechobee Craw Pattern. They also reported catching a few fish on a 1.5 square bill. The 2017 U.S. Angler's Choice Champions are sponsored by Triton Boats, Mercury Marine and V&M Lures.

2nd Place Jason Vance and Roger Mikels

The second place team of Jason Vance and Roger Mikels had a mixed practice. Initially they caught some decent fish but as the cold front effects grabbed hold the bite deteriorated and they had to make adjustments. Switching to Rapala Jerkbaits they found the could get bit, not often but when they did it was a larger fish. The fish were relating to shelves dropping from 6 to 12ft.

Day one the team went to their primary area and was only able to boat three fish by noon. They decided to go searching and pulled into a cut near the Sailboat bridge area and they hit the hot spot... After boating several Drum the team hooked onto a 6.14lb beast and and follow it up with a couple of three pound plus fish. This had the team sitting in fourth place with a total weight of 15.17lbs.

Day two needless to say the team starts in the spot they found late on day one. Twenty-five minutes into the day another boat arrives. The team asked the other team that just arrived in the area to please allow them room as they are in fourth place with a chance to win. The other boat responded we are leading the event and caught our fish here. The two teams continued to share the water and eventually both left. Jason and Roger was able to fill their limit by running back to their day one primary area and bring five to the scales weighing 12.94lbs giving them a two day total of 28.11lbs and good for the second place finish. The team is sponsored by Toyota, Bob Wohrman Fishing Team, Vision Floors & More, Lews Reels and Carpet One.

Power-Pole Top Contenders Third place finish went to Art and Brandy Hunt

The Power-Pole Top Contenders Third place finish went to Art and Brandy Hunt. They reported a tough practice catching only a few fish each day. The team stayed shallow fishing flats and a Marina near the Horse Creek area.

Day one they hit their primary flat and it didn't produce. They made a move to the Marina area and after about an hour boated their first keeper weighing about 5lbs on a 5/8 oz spinnerbait slow rolled on the bottom in about 3ft of water. they went on to boat several good fish on both spinnerbaits, crankbaits and a shakeyhead to end the day with 17.05lbs.

Day two they returned to the marina but this time they had to switch up baits and had four in the boat by 10am flipping Sweet Beavers. They continued to fish the area and brought a limit to the scales weighing 10.92lbs giving them a two day total of 27.97lbs and winning the Power-Pole Top Contender award.

Draw Boat Dennis Waldron and Chris Hale

The luckiest team at the event had to be Dennis Waldron and Chris Hale 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!!

Lunker Lure Classic Big Bass Scott Crigger and Adam Crigger 7.11 lbs

The Lunker Lure Classic Big Bass went to the team of Scott Crigger and Adam Crigger it weighed in at 7.11 lbs and earned the team $1,245.00 for day two and $1,500.00 for the overall biggest. That one fish earned the team $2,745.00

If you were unable to fish last season or make it to the championship come join us in 2017! Call 618-496-3610 for a trail near you.