Cranor scores big win on Kissimmee Chain
ATHENS, Ala. – Darrell Cranor cruised to a wire-to-wire victory in the Toyota Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, Florida Division 6 two-day divisional championship, held Sept. 14-15, 2013, on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.
Running out of Camp Mack’s River Resort near Lake Wales, Fla., to fish the 100,000-acre chain of lakes south of Orlando, the Lakeland, Fla., angler caught a two-day limit of 10 bass weighing 45.29 pounds for about a 4.53-pound average. Cranor led on Day 1 with 25.96 pounds for a 5.19-pound average including a 7.83-pound kicker. On the second day, he brought in 19.33 pounds, the second day in a row he landed the biggest bag of the day, to seal the decisive 11-pound victory. For the Boater Division win, Cranor took home a check for $2,391.
“On the first day, I caught my fish at the south end of Lake Hatchineha with a big toad over the pads,” Cranor explained. “On the second day, I caught them around shallow shell beds with a magnum speed worm. I lost two 5-pounders on the last day.”
In second for the boaters, Bill Fugate of Kissimmee, Fla., landed two consecutive five-bass daily tournament limits totaling 34.16 pounds. On the first day, the division points leader also held second with 21.47 pounds. He added 12.69 pounds on the final day to collect $1,195 for the effort.
“On the first day, I caught most of my fish on a Big Easy around the Kissimmee grass,” Fugate revealed. “On the final day, I did the same thing. We caught everything that hit.”
Jared A. Dial of Winter Haven, Fla., finished third for the boaters with 10 bass going 30.61 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 9.52-pound kicker he caught on the first day to win the tournament lunker contest. On Day 1, Dial sat in fourth place with 18.57 pounds. He edged up one spot on the final day with a 12.04-pound bag to earn $796, plus an extra $65 for his lunker.
“I did the same thing both days,” Dial said. “I flipped a beaver. I started at mats first thing in the morning to catch a limit and then fished a hydrilla line to try to get bigger fish. The hydrilla line usually turned on a little later in the day. I lost a really good one on the second day. The big fish hit at about 1:45 p.m. on the first day.”
In fourth for the boaters, Russ Osborne of Orlando, Fla., brought in eight bass for a 29.97-pound tally including one 8.37-pounder. On Day 1, he held third with 18.85 pounds. On Day 2, Osborne brought in 11.12 pounds.
Van Soles of Haines City, Fla., finished in fifth place with a perfect two-day limit of 10 bass weighing 29.79 pounds. He held eighth place on Day 1 with 14.70 pounds and added another 15.09 pounds on the last day.
In the Co-Angler Division, Tom Reeves of Land O Lakes, Fla., made an impressive 17-place leap to win with four bass and 19.81 pounds for a 4.95-pound average. On Day 1, he only brought in one 2.85-pound bass to sit in 18th place. Fishing with Cranor, he found three fish on Day 2 at 16.98 pounds for a 5.65-pound average, the largest single-day bag by any co-angler. He anchored that bag with a 9.09-pounder that won the Co-Angler Division big bass title to pocket a check for $1,195 plus a $65 bonus for the lunker.
“On the first day, the sun got to me,” Reeves admitted. “I only fished a half-day and just sat in the back of the boat the rest of the day. I just couldn’t take the heat. On the second day, I caught fish on a speed worm. The big one hit at about midday.”
Taking second for the co-anglers, General Johnson II of Fort Myers, Fla., brought in a two-day total of five bass for 16.22 pounds including an 8.46-pound kicker. Johnson held 20th place on Day 1 with 2.37 pounds. He also vaulted 18 places on Day 2 with a 13.85-pound bag to collect $598.
“I caught everything on senkos,” Johnson explained. “The big fish just sucked it up and took off. I thought I had hooked onto an alligator!”
Bernie G. Binn of Clearwater, Fla., placed third among the co-anglers with five bass going 15.84 pounds including a 6.80-pound kicker. He sat in 16th place on Day 1 with 3.08 pounds, but brought in 12.75 pounds on the second day to move up 13 spots, enough to earn $399.
“I caught my fish on swim jigs and speed worms on both days,” Binn said. “On the last day, I had three bites and caught three fish.”
Garrett Cullen of Fort Pierce, Fla., landed in fourth place among the co-anglers with three bass for 14.59 pounds with a 7.26-pound kicker. He held fifth place on Day 1 with 7.33 pounds including a 6.12-pounder, the largest fish brought to the scales by any co-angler during the first day of competition. On the final day, Cullen landed his 7.26-pound lunker.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers, Michael Gonzalez of Apopka, Fla., found five bass for 13.87 pounds. He held second place on the first day with 9.37 pounds including a 5.87-pound kicker. He added another 4.50 pounds on the final day, dropping three places.
The top anglers from this division, plus those from the Alabama South, Georgia, South Carolina and East Tennessee divisions advance to the two-day regional tournament, slated for Oct. 4-5, 2013, on Lake: Hartwell out of Gum Branch near Hartwell, Ga. After the four regional tournaments, the top anglers from those events will compete in the BWS National Championship tournament, scheduled for Nov. 6-9, 2013, on Old Hickory Lake near Hendersonville, Tenn. The Boater Division champion will compete in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, set for Feb. 21-23 on Lake Guntersville, Ala.
For more information on this tournament, call Billy Benedetti, tournament manager, at 256-230-5632 or ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.
About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.