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Jared Lintner Wins Bassmaster Opens Championship At Table Rock

Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande, Calif., takes the lead on the final day of the 2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship held on Table Rock Lake with a three-day total weight of 37 pounds.

                                                                                                         Photo by James Overstreet/B.A.S.S.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Dialing into the details was the ticket to victory for Jared Lintner, winner of the 2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship on Table Rock Lake.

Linter of Arroyo Grande, Calif., added 10 pounds, 15 ounces of bass today to push his winning total weight to 37 pounds for three days of fishing. Brandon Lester of Fayetteville, Tenn., took second with 34-11, and Derek Hudnall of Baton Rouge, La., was third with 34-1. Bobby Lane Jr. of Lakeland, Fla., was fourth with 32-7, and Scott Suggs of Alexander, Ark., took fifth with 32-3.

Weather was a key factor throughout the three-day tournament. A chilly rain on Friday was braced by sunny, unseasonably warm weather on Thursday and Saturday. The best fishing occurred during the worst weather, when the bass were most active in the low-light conditions.

Everyone, especially including Lintner, knew the bass were in the fall transition, moving from deep to shallow water.

“I knew the bass were moving shallow, just not enough to put together a reliable pattern,” he said.

When the bites began Lintner, took note. He discovered greater concentrations of bass holding on steeper tapering shorelines used as migration routes.

“It started replicating itself so I went searching for similar areas,” he explained.

The steep dropoffs near shorelines where Lintner initially discovered the pattern were a 45-mile run from the launch site. Table Rock is a big lake, and Lintner decided to search nearer the weigh-in site. After two days, he found enough of the steep transition areas to complete a pattern. Lintner could spend more time fishing, allowing the continually moving bass to come to him.

On Thursday, Lintner moved into fourth place with 12-14, a respectable catch compared to the rest of the field. The next day, rain and overcast skies made the bite better, producing a limit weighing 13-3.

Today, the sun came out and the post-frontal funk set in. Lintner caught his limit by 8:30 a.m. The sun grew brighter, the wind went calm and the bite shut down.

“The low light compensated for the lack of wind, which made the pattern really click,” he said. “Without wind, the fish could see lures from farther away in the clearer water.”

By midday the wind picked up but the bite did not for Lintner. That made the early morning bite the saving grace for the Californian.

Lintner alternated between a Spro Mike McClelland RkCrawler 55 crankbait, and a Jackall MC/60. He also used a 3/4-ounce jig with a Strike King Rage Bug. He flipped the latter setup when encountering isolated cedar trees near the transition areas.

Lester used a technique that is popular on his native middle Tennessee bass fisheries during the wintertime. Called tight lining, it involves methodically fishing a lightweight jig across deepwater structure. Very little movement is necessary to make the fish bite.

“I found bass at the ends of bluffs but couldn’t make them bite anything,” he said. “I thought of tight lining and it worked.”

Lester used a 3.75-inch X Zone Lures Shiver Shad on a 1/8-ounce jighead for his tight-lining rig fished on 10-pound braid with a 6-pound test leader.

He further dialed into the pattern by finding bass staging where deep bluffs transitioned into other forms of structure, such as rocky points or gravel shorelines.

The Opens Championship was the climax of a year featuring eight events in as many states. The Top 28 pro and co-anglers in the point standings from the Central and Eastern divisions qualified for the championship.

Lintner and the Top 3 pro anglers in points from each division were invited to bass fishing’s premier event, the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. Frank Talley, Brad Whatley and Derek Hudnall advanced from the Central Division, while Brandon Lester, Bobby Lane Jr., and Garrett Paquette qualified from the Eastern Division. The Classic is set for March 15-17 in Knoxville, Tenn. Lester won the Eastern points title, while Frank Talley of Temple, Texas, won the Central title.

Lintner earned a Classic berth, $10,000 bonus cash and a Triton 19 TrX with Mercury 200 Pro XS and accessories worth $45,000.

Winning the $750 Phoenix Big Bass Award on the pro side was Mark Rose of Wynne, Ark., with a largemouth weighing 6-1. Alex Heintz of Denham Springs, La., won the co-angler $250 Phoenix Big Bass Award with a largemouth weighing 4-7.

Lane earned the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash Award of $500 on the pro side for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses client-approved product on his boat.

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Huk

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine, Carhartt, Livingston Lures, Lowrance

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster  Opens Championship 10/18-10/20
Table Rock Lake, Springfield   MO.
(BOATER) Standings Day 3

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA       15  37-00  200  $56,500.00
Day 1: 5   12-14     Day 2: 5   13-03     Day 3: 5   10-15
2.  Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN        15  34-11  199  $17,000.00
Day 1: 5   10-10     Day 2: 5   12-09     Day 3: 5   11-08
3.  Derek Hudnall          Baton Rouge, LA         15  34-01  198   $5,500.00
Day 1: 5   10-00     Day 2: 5   12-08     Day 3: 5   11-09
4.  Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL            14  32-07  197  $10,000.00
Day 1: 4   08-06     Day 2: 5   13-06     Day 3: 5   10-11
5.  Scott Suggs            Alexander, AR           14  32-03  196   $1,000.00
Day 1: 4   08-09     Day 2: 5   13-11     Day 3: 5   09-15
6.  Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA 13  31-15  195     $600.00
Day 1: 4   07-12     Day 2: 5   13-05     Day 3: 4   10-14
7.  Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR         13  31-08  194     $600.00
Day 1: 4   08-13     Day 2: 5   13-14     Day 3: 4   08-13
8.  Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK            14  30-10  193   $1,000.00
Day 1: 5   10-09     Day 2: 4   10-02     Day 3: 5   09-15
9.  Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA          11  28-15  192   $1,500.00
Day 1: 5   15-01     Day 2: 5   12-03     Day 3: 1   01-11
10. Mark Rose              Wynne, AR               11  27-01  191   $2,750.00
Day 1: 5   15-09     Day 2: 3   06-01     Day 3: 3   05-07
11. Justin Atkins          Florence, AL            11  26-06  190     $600.00
Day 1: 5   10-04     Day 2: 5   14-02     Day 3: 1   02-00
12. Tyler Rivet            Raceland, LA             8  22-13  189   $1,000.00
Day 1: 5   14-06     Day 2: 3   08-07     Day 3: 0   00-00
PHOENIX BOATS BIG BASS
Mark Rose                Wynne, AR           06-01        $750.00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        10       111       250-00
2        18       117       285-10
3         6        43        93-06
———————————-
34       271       629-00

Caleb Sumrall Takes Lead In Bassmaster Opens Championship At Table Rock

Caleb Sumrall of New Iberia, La., takes the lead on the second day of the 2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship held on Table Rock Lake with a two-day total weight of 27 pounds, 4 ounces.

                                                                                                                     Photo by James Overstreet/B.A.S.S.

RIDGEDALE, Mo. — Caleb Sumrall is turning a handicap in his favor, and today it earned him the lead at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship on Table Rock Lake.

Fishing from a borrowed boat, Sumrall has no fish-finding electronics to function as his underwater eyes in his search for bass. Instead, he is relying on his own vision to pattern what is emerging as a winning pattern.

Sumrall, of New Iberia, La., today added 12 pounds, 3 ounces to his overall total of 27-4. Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande, Calif., is second with 26-1, while Justin Atkins of Florence, Ala., moved into third place with 24-6. Brandon Lester is fourth with 23-3, and Tyler Rivet holds down fifth place with 22-13.

Sumrall, a Bassmaster Elite Series rookie, is targeting bass in transition between summer and fall fishing patterns. The bass are moving from deeper areas in the main lake into shallower creeks to feed on baitfish. Sumrall is wisely choosing to stay shallow to let the bass come to him.

He said the heavier largemouth he had been catching were being replaced by more aggressive, but smaller, spotted bass. “I made a key adjustment so I could get dialed back into the largemouth,” he said.

The payoff was adding a much-needed 4-pound largemouth to his livewell.

“Fishing without the electronics makes me think how many times we overthink, overanalyze the simple basics of finding fish,” he noted. “Honestly, with fishfinders I would probably be more distracted, not so dedicated to finding these key areas that are visible above water.”

For Sumrall that is the right combination of trees, rock and depth that are rest stops and ambush cover for the migrating bass.

“It’s likely I wouldn’t have found that combination if not forced to visually search while I fished,” Sumrall explained. “I’m literally going in and out of creeks, reading the water as I go, fishing with my eyes.”

Catching so many smallmouth in textbook areas normally favored by largemouth pleasantly baffles Lintner. On Thursday smallmouth filled his weigh-in bag; today only one largemouth occupied the space.

“I don’t get it at all because I’m flipping jigs into cedar trees in shallow water — classic largemouth areas,” he said.

Vital to the success of his pattern is wind, which adds a prismatic effect to break up the water clarity. Lures are less easy to identify, and the bass can be more easily fooled into biting.

“Cloudy wind, sunny wind, it doesn’t really matter,” he added. “I caught eight keepers off one windblown stretch where yesterday there were none.”

Sunny, mild weather on Thursday gave way to rainy, chilly conditions on Friday. Daytime temperatures struggled to reach the mid-40s and rain chilled the water even more.

Fishing in such miserable weather seems absurd unless you are fishing for the most coveted prizes in the sport. Those are seven coveted berths in the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

The Opens Championship is the climax of a year featuring eight events in as many states. The Top 28 pros and co-anglers in the point standings from the Central and Eastern divisions qualified for the championship.

The overall winner earns a Classic berth, $10,000 cash and a Triton 19 TrX with Mercury 200 Pro XS and accessories worth $45,000.

The Top 3 pro anglers in points from each division following the championship are also invited to the Classic, set for next March in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Thursday leaders of the Phoenix Big Bass Award still hold those spots. They are Mark Rose of Wynne, Ark., with a largemouth weighing 6-1, and co-angler Alex Heintz of Denham Springs, La., with a largemouth weighing 4-7.

Winning the co-angler division with a weight of 13-7 was Mandel Pettus. The angler of Miller Place, N.Y., won a Nitro Z18 with a Mercury 150 Pro XS outboard and accessories, $10,000 cash and paid entry fees in the 2019 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens division of his choice.

Pettus won the title in his rookie season as a co-angler in 2014, and is now able to make a dream come true.

“I just fished my last event as a co-angler, am going to live my dream, hone my trade as a boater and pro angler,” said Pettus, a fitness business owner.

The Top 12 anglers launch at 7:15 a.m. CT from Long Creek Marina. The Saturday weigh-in begins at 4:30 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Springfield.

On Saturday you can follow the action live on a special edition of Bassmaster LIVE, from 8-11 a.m. and Noon until 3 p.m. CT. Find the show on Bassmaster.com and see BASSTrakk real-time scores, updated photo galleries, videos, a live blog and articles.

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Huk

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine, Carhartt, Livingston Lures, Lowrance

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster  Opens Championship 10/18-10/20
Table Rock Lake, Springfield   MO.
(BOATER) Standings Day 2

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA          10  27-04  200
Day 1: 5   15-01     Day 2: 5   12-03
2.  Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA       10  26-01  199
Day 1: 5   12-14     Day 2: 5   13-03
3.  Justin Atkins          Florence, AL            10  24-06  198
Day 1: 5   10-04     Day 2: 5   14-02
4.  Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN        10  23-03  197
Day 1: 5   10-10     Day 2: 5   12-09
5.  Tyler Rivet            Raceland, LA             8  22-13  196
Day 1: 5   14-06     Day 2: 3   08-07
6.  Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          9  22-11  195
Day 1: 4   08-13     Day 2: 5   13-14
7.  Derek Hudnall          Baton Rouge, LA         10  22-08  194
Day 1: 5   10-00     Day 2: 5   12-08
8.  Scott Suggs            Alexander, AR            9  22-04  193
Day 1: 4   08-09     Day 2: 5   13-11
9.  Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             9  21-12  192
Day 1: 4   08-06     Day 2: 5   13-06
10. Mark Rose              Wynnee, AR               8  21-10  191
Day 1: 5   15-09     Day 2: 3   06-01
11. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA  9  21-01  190
Day 1: 4   07-12     Day 2: 5   13-05
12. Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK             9  20-11  189
Day 1: 5   10-09     Day 2: 4   10-02
13. Brad Whatley           Bivins, TX              10  20-10  188
Day 1: 5   09-04     Day 2: 5   11-06
14. Rob Digh               Denver, NC               8  20-04  187
Day 1: 3   06-07     Day 2: 5   13-13
15. Toby Hartsell          Afton, OK                9  20-04  186
Day 1: 4   08-15     Day 2: 5   11-05
16. Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC           8  20-00  185
Day 1: 3   07-05     Day 2: 5   12-11
17. Harvey Horne           Bella Vista, AR          9  19-11  184
Day 1: 4   09-07     Day 2: 5   10-04
18. Wesley Strader         Spring City, TN          9  19-07  183
Day 1: 4   07-00     Day 2: 5   12-07
19. Mike Huff              Corbin, KY               9  18-15  182
Day 1: 4   08-01     Day 2: 5   10-14
20. John Cox               Debary, FL               8  18-08  181
Day 1: 3   06-05     Day 2: 5   12-03
21. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              9  18-07  180
Day 1: 4   09-06     Day 2: 5   09-01
22. Ed Loughran III        Mechanicsville, VA       8  17-14  179
Day 1: 5   12-12     Day 2: 3   05-02
23. Garrett Paquette       Canton, MI               7  17-05  178
Day 1: 3   06-03     Day 2: 4   11-02
24. Patrick Walters        Ladson, SC               6  12-06  177
Day 1: 2   03-08     Day 2: 4   08-14
25. Frank Talley           Temple, TX               6  11-12  176
Day 1: 4   07-14     Day 2: 2   03-14
26. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  11-04  175
Day 1: 2   04-06     Day 2: 3   06-14
27. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         3  07-00  174
Day 1: 2   04-11     Day 2: 1   02-05
28. Drew Cook              Midway, FL               3  05-11  173
Day 1: 3   05-11     Day 2: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        10       111       250-00
2        18       117       285-10
———————————-
28       228       535-10

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster  Opens Championship 10/18-10/20
Table Rock Lake, Springfield   MO.
(NON_BOATER) Standings Day 2

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Mandel Pettus          Miller Place, NY         6  13-07  200  $33,000.00
Day 1: 3   07-07     Day 2: 3   06-00
2.  Alex Heintze           Denham Springs, LA       5  12-07  199  $10,250.00
Day 1: 3   08-09     Day 2: 2   03-14
3.  Austin Bonjour         Templeton, CA            5  10-08  198  $10,000.00
Day 1: 2   04-12     Day 2: 3   05-12
4.  Gary Haraguchi         San Jose, CA             5  09-14  197   $2,000.00
Day 1: 2   03-09     Day 2: 3   06-05
5.  Todd Lee               Jasper, AL               4  09-06  196   $4,000.00
Day 1: 1   02-01     Day 2: 3   07-05
6.  Brian Murphy           Sulphur, LA              4  08-14  195   $2,000.00
Day 1: 1   02-10     Day 2: 3   06-04
7.  Jordan Lane            Conroe, TX               4  08-12  194   $1,500.00
Day 1: 1   01-13     Day 2: 3   06-15
8.  Jared Rudd             Salyersville, KY         4  08-08  193     $800.00
Day 1: 1   01-13     Day 2: 3   06-11
9.  Jonathan Hankins       North Tazewell, VA       4  08-05  192   $1,500.00
Day 1: 3   06-06     Day 2: 1   01-15
10. Noel Allen Jr          Brandon, MS              4  07-10  191   $3,000.00
Day 1: 2   03-07     Day 2: 2   04-03
11. Jeff Wallace           West Monroe, LA          3  06-11  190     $750.00
Day 1: 3   06-11     Day 2: 0   00-00
12. Brett Walker           Pleasant Valley, MO      2  06-07  189   $1,300.00
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 2   06-07
13. Chad Smith             Minnetonka, MN           4  06-07  188   $5,000.00
Day 1: 3   05-10     Day 2: 1   00-13
14. Todd Walters           Ladson, SC               3  06-01  187   $1,300.00
Day 1: 1   01-13     Day 2: 2   04-04
15. John Connell           Marion, IL               3  06-00  186   $4,000.00
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 3   06-00
16. Mark Powers            Platteville, CO          3  05-11  185   $2,500.00
Day 1: 2   03-13     Day 2: 1   01-14
17. Bobby Bakewell         Orlando, FL              2  04-12  184   $2,500.00
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 2   04-12
18. Steve Robbins          Piketon, OH              2  04-12  183     $700.00
Day 1: 1   02-11     Day 2: 1   02-01
19. Joe Lee                Midlothian, TX           2  04-01  182   $5,000.00
Day 1: 1   02-07     Day 2: 1   01-10
20. Paul Tabisz            Virginia Bch, VA         2  03-14  181     $750.00
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 2   03-14
21. Daniel Corkern         Florence, MS             2  03-12  180   $1,000.00
Day 1: 1   01-12     Day 2: 1   02-00
22. Beau Browning          Hot Springs, AR          2  03-09  179     $900.00
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 2   03-09
23. Eulon Lee Jr.          Eclectic, AL             2  03-07  178   $1,000.00
Day 1: 1   01-11     Day 2: 1   01-12
24. Dennis Akers           South Portsmouth, KY     2  03-05  177     $900.00
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 2   03-05
25. Justin Leet            Bartlett, TN             1  03-00  176     $700.00
Day 1: 1   03-00     Day 2: 0   00-00
26. Stephen Parnell        Brandon, MS              1  02-07  175     $800.00
Day 1: 1   02-07     Day 2: 0   00-00
27. Skyler Anderson        Harlem, GA               0  00-00    0     $550.00
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 0   00-00
27. William Mcnutt II      Bossier City, LA         0  00-00    0     $550.00
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1         5        34        74-06
2         8        47        97-09
———————————-
13        81       171-15

 

Yamaha Marine Renews Partnership with the ACA and Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series

SAN ANTONIO, TX (October 18, 2018) –  The Association of Collegiate Anglers along with the Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series are proud to announce their renewed partnership with Yamaha Marine. As in years past, the 2019 sponsorship includes the annual Yamaha Angler Appreciation Night at the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship in May 2019, Yamaha Contingency Program, as well as extensive promotion of Yamaha Marine products.

The Yamaha Contingency Program awards up to $1,000 for a victory if the boat used in competition is powered by a Yamaha motor and the anglers display the Yamaha logo on their jerseys while competing at the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship. In the event the winners aren’t participating in the program, the highest finishers to display the Yamaha logo on their jerseys are still eligible for a $500 bonus per event, regardless of motor brand.  Complete details can be found on the Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series Discounts and Incentives page.

2018 Yamaha Contingency Winners:
University of North Alabama
 Lake Blasingame & Tristan Crowder

 

“We want to commend the Association of Collegiate Anglers for their accomplishments year after year in promoting these events,” said David Ittner, Yamaha Marine Group Tournament, Sponsorship and Pro Staff Manager. “We see our future in these Collegiate Anglers and will remain committed to the Cabela’s Collegiate Bass Fishing Series again for 2019.”

 

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Bassmaster Opens Championship Will Decide Classic Berths At Table Rock Lake

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A year-long tournament circuit that included eight events in eight states and thousands of anglers from across the country will reach its conclusion next week with the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Championship on Table Rock Lake.

 

The Top 28 pro and co-anglers from the regular-season standings will fish Oct. 18-20, with daily takeoffs at 7:15 a.m. CT from Long Creek Marina. Weigh-ins the first two days will be back at the marina at 3:15 p.m., with the final-day weigh-in shifting to the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo., at 4:30 p.m.

All three bass species — largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass — could play a role in deciding the seven berths that are at stake for the Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

“The lake is full of fish, but it’s like fall fishing anywhere else,” said Brock Mosley, a Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Collinsville, Miss. “You can expect a lot of bites. But with the 15-inch minimum size limit, it can be hard to find keepers.

“You’ll catch a mixture of all three species — and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some 15-pound bags that have at least one of each.”

That diversity in the bass population will force competitors to make difficult choices, and no one can say for sure which anglers’ strengths will play best.

If smallmouth and spots are the dominant species, deep-water specialists could locate big schools of offshore fish and grab center stage. But shallow-water anglers might also dial in a largemouth bite that gives them an advantage.

Another wild card could be the weather. Fall is trying to take hold in the area with temperatures expected to be in the low 30s Monday night, but then back into the mid-60s by Saturday.

“This is not going to be a straight, down-the-line, this-is-what-will-happen kind of tournament,” said Carl Jocumsen, an Australian-born angler who now lives in Texas. “The lake is going to change every day at this time of year. Keeping an open mind and keeping an eye on the conditions is going to be a massive part of this tournament.”

The regular-season Opens circuit included four tournaments each in the Central and Eastern divisions. The Top 10 from the season points standings in each division qualified for the championship, along with the winners of all eight events.

When the dust settles at Table Rock, the overall winner of the Opens Championship will receive a Classic berth, plus $10,000 cash and a Triton 19 TrX with Mercury 200 Pro XS package worth $45,000. The Top co-angler receives a Nitro Z18 with a Mercury 150 Pro XS outboard.

The Top 3 pro anglers in points from each division following the championship will also be invited to the Classic.

Frank Talley, Brad Whatley and Toby Hartsell currently occupy the Top 3 spots in the Central Division standings, while Bobby Lane, Brandon Lester and Garrett Paquette lead the Eastern Division.

John Cox, a Florida pro who finished the regular season fourth in the Eastern standings, said a Classic berth is his main objective — and he doesn’t believe it’ll happen unless he hoists the Opens Championship trophy.

“The way the standings line up, there’s no way I’m going to make it into the Top 3 in points,” Cox said. “So really, the only way I’m going to make it into the Classic is if one of the guys in front of me wins or if I win.

“So, it would be nice to take some of the mystery out of it and just win.”

Jocumsen said he’ll be working from a similar game plan.

“This is the best tournament I’m ever going to fish because it’s win or nothing,” he said. “I have to win to get that Classic berth. There’s no other option. There’s no risk in doing that. I have to do that.

“That makes it fun.”

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Title Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Premier Sponsors: Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota

2018 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Series Supporting Sponsors: Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine, Carhartt

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

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