The inaugural Mississippi River Eco Tourism Center Charity Bass Tournament last Saturday out of Albany was a success.|
Scott Ford and Randy Beard, both of Geneseo, brought in a five-bass tournament limit weighing 15.64 pounds to win by less than a pound and take home the champs' purse of $750.
"We locked up to and fished in pool 13," Ford explained after the weigh-in. "We fished shallow water with no current that has grass and emerging lily pads."
"We used surface frogs and plastic baits mostly," Beard added. "While the fish catching action was anything but hot, we steadily caught about 15 keepers and a dozen shorts over the day."
Gary Carlson and Kolbi Reeder, both of Rock Island, showed that anglers don't necessarily have be in a high-performance bass boat to do well in a tournament. The duo came in second with a limit weighing 14.79 pounds. Their chosen boat — an aluminum flat bottom powered by just 60 horse power.
"Our boat was so slow we didn't even make the first lockage up to pool 13," Carlson said laughing. "But we still were able to catch a lot of fish."
"We caught about 20 keepers and about the same number of shorts," Reeder said, "fishing shallow water with gentle current and using surface frogs and spinner baits."
Having a bit of bad luck cost Ryan Beeman of New Windsor and Dusty Carlson of Rock Island (Gary's son) some serious cash. One of their five bass to be weighed-in died in route and the one-pound dead fish penalty dropped them from first to third place. The anglers official weight was 14.69 pounds.
As nearly the same as the fishermen who finished ahead of them, Beeman and Carlson fished pool 13 shallow water with weeds using jigs to catch about 12 keepers and a dozen shorts.
Maybe a little unusual was that the first- through third-place finishers all talked of little pre-tournament fishing — most just a day — while many other competitors in the field practiced several days and found the fish-catching and finding in both numbers and size to decline as the prior week went on. Many anglers spoke of caching lots of lunker bass early in the week, but that was not to happen on tournament day.
The event's big bass — the only bass weighed-in over four pounds, was a 4.35-pounder caught in pool 14 by Rock Island angler Chad Lemmon.
"While we didn't reach our goal of having 30 boats in the field," tournament organizer Jeremiah Hass said, "I was still pleased to have 24 boats, which is a great start for this event and a great start for the Greater Quad City Charity Bass Tournament Trail. The tournament raised $1,340 for the Mississippi River Eco Tourism Center facility, which is nearing completion on the Iowa side of pool 14."
Attention catfishermen: The Cabela's King Kat Tournament Trail will make a stop on the Rock River at Dixon on June 9. This one-day event has an entry fee of $200 per boat, a cash purse of $10,000, and will qualify anglers for the King Kat Classic to be held in late September in Selma, Ala. Anglers may fish anywhere between Oregon, Ill, and the Steel Dam at Milan. For complete information, go to www.kingkatusa.com or call (270) 395-6774.
Bob Groene is outdoors writer for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, he can be reached at email@example.com