1212 A RECORD SETTING FISHING FOR FREEDOM   HOOAH!Jan 12 – Falcon Lake reports have been dismal for several weeks. Many have been discussing the lack of quality and quantity for some time on the best bass lake in the country. So in the first Skeeter Basschamps event of 2013, two ArmyBassAngler prostaff teams and several coalition teams did not have high expectations. The idea was to just go fish, have a good time after a long break from competition, and enjoy the nice weather that was forecasted. Don Bailey and Chad Nelson were both fishing alone as their fishing partners, Cody Roberson and Don Brunson, were conducting one of many fundraising operations for Returning Heroes Home, a non-profit organization in San Antonio that provides a comfortable “home-like” facility for wounded Soldiers and their Families ( Chad was unable to be at the Friday night registration, so Don was kind enough to draw his take-off number for the next morning. Don apologized as he handed Chad number 101, a late start considering there were only 164 boats in the event. Bailey’s plan was to run to the dam and fish his way back to the ramp stopping at places that he and Cody had caught fish in previous events. “I threw everything I could think of, but just managed one bite all day,” Bailey lamented at the end of the day. But there were over 80 teams that did not weigh in any fish, so he had a lot of company. Nelson’s plan was to do something similar. He decided to start just short of the dam at a secondary point where he too had caught fish previously. “Every place I have fished before is probably out of the water right now. I remember this place had deep enough water close to it that it should still fish the same way it did when the water was higher,” Chad discussed prior to takeoff.


To his surprise, there were no boats close to his spot as he brought the Skeeter 20I down off place. He decided that he would live and die by the crankbaits today. He parked the boat in about 20 feet of water and started throwing a Strike King 6XD into 6 feet and digging rocks as he brought it deeper. Within 30 minutes there were several other boats fishing the same cove, but none threatened his plan. The first fish grabbed his 6XD at about 8:30 and the tug-o-war was on. “I was trying to be pretty nonchalant about that fish because she was just digging deep and not surfacing. I knew it was a good one and I didn’t want the other boats to know it too.” He had no idea until he saw her as she came up next to the boat. She was huge, but he just quickly lipped her and got her in the livewell. When discussing it later, he described the only nerves were because he did not have a partner to net the monster. “I just wanted to retie the crankbait and get it back in the water.” Within a few casts he had another hookup. This one fought a lot more and did a couple of tail dances to show off. But she had the entire crankbait in her mouth and it would have been almost impossible to throw the hooks. Again, he quickly got her in the other livewell in hopes of catching the third keeper. Basschamps went to a three fish only format this year and he knew another good fish would give him a great shot at a check, especially considering the tough conditions on Falcon lately. But the third fish never bit and Chad’s hopes dwindled to maybe having the big fish of the day. But he still wasn’t sure what he had in the livewells. “I finally had to take a break and look at those two fish again. I estimated the first at 10 pounds and the second around 6 pounds and figured 16 pounds might at least get a check.
Well folks, the first fish was the big one of the day at 11.03 pounds and the second was obviously pretty good too. His total weight for the two was 18.21 pounds, good enough for a fourth place finish overall. The winning weight with three fish was just over 20 pounds. “You know how many times I’ve been told that just one more keeper would have put me in first place? I’m still ecstatic with my day and my personal best by a big margin. Everything just went well today…..from the Dobyns rod having a great backbone and a soft tip, to the drag being perfectly set on the Evercast reel, to the Strike King 6XD being the right choice, it was just one of the days very few of us ever get to experience. I’d also like to give special recognition to Biobor for their continued support to Basschamps and the ArmyBassAnglers.”
Total Entries: 164; average weight was 4.5 pounds. For more information on this or any Bass Champs tournament, go to HOOAH! SUPPORT.DEFEND.FISH.

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