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2014-03-22 07:58:59

Rice wins close one on Lake D’Arbonne

ATHENS, Ala. – Jeffrey Rice ground it out to win the American Bass Anglers Weekend Bass Series Louisiana North Division 12 tournament, held March 22, 2014, on Lake D’Arbonne near Farmerville, La.

Running out of Ludwig Marina in Farmerville on a breezy day, the 30-year-old angler from Bossier City, La., caught five bass weighing 22.58 pounds for a 4.52-pound average. He anchored his bag with a 5.91-pound kicker.

“I fished little sloughs running through the pads where the fish were coming up to spawn,” Rice revealed. “I caught my fish on black and blue senkos around pads in two feet of water. I fished it weightless on Seaguar fluorocarbon line. I didn’t move the bait very much at all. The fish hit it within the first five feet or they didn’t hit at all. I caught a total of five fish, but it was the right five fish.”

In second for the boaters, Stephen C. Van Sickle, 33, of Natchitoches, La., landed a five-bass tournament limit going 22.45 pounds with a 5.95-pound kicker.

“I heard a lot about Cypress Island, but I hadn’t fished there in three years,” Van Sickle recalled. “We found a series of brushy patches and threw watermelon seed and black flake senkos tipped with spinners as far into the brush as we could. We had a little cool snap. Every fish I caught hit right before that cool snap, during it or just after it. I caught a total of five fish and lost one.”

Scott W. Smith, 54, of Farmerville, La., took third for the boaters with five bass going 16.72 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 7.37-pound kicker that won the tournament lunker title.

“We fished Cypress Island up Little D’Arbonne because that’s where those big females are starting to pull in to spawn,” Smith said. “I caught my fish on brush hogs. Just before I caught that big fish, I lost a bigger one. It probably would have gone over eight pounds. I went about 50 yards and caught the 7-pounder. I also lost two 4-pounders. I caught my fish by swimming a big brush hog in watermelon candy. I caught seven fish.”

Finishing fourth, Sid Havard of Simsboro, La., landed four bass for 16.52 pounds. Thomas L. McMillan of Choudrant, La., rounded out the top five boaters with a five-bass limit going 16.44 pounds topped by a 5.55-pound kicker.

In the Co-Angler Division, Robert Massey, 37, of Downsville, La., won with three bass going 10.01 pounds for a 3.34-pound average. Fishing his home waters, Massey sealed his victory with a 5.08-pound kicker.

“Under the cloudy skies in the morning, the fish were scattered throughout the lily pad stems,” Massey explained. “When the sun came out a bit, the bass moved up on the banks around single cypress trees. We tried to find scattered fish looking for places to start spawning. We fished black senkos with different colored flakes rigged wacky style. I caught about eight fish.”

Taking second for the co-anglers, Larry C. Corley of Deridder, La., brought in a three-bass division limit for 9.30 pounds. Christopher Vallillo of Ruston, La., placed third among the co-anglers with three bass going 8.10 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 4.19-pound kicker.

In fourth place among the co-anglers, Tim Crow of Malvern, Ark., brought in three bass for 8.04 pounds. Mike Savage of Clever, Mo., finished in fifth place with three bass at 7.94 pounds. Mike L. Williams of Minden, La., placed sixth with three bass going 7.90 pounds, but his 5.37-pound kicker won the division big bass honors.

Slated for April 5, 2014, the next divisional tournament will be held on the Red River out of Grand Ecore Landing near Natchitoches, La. At the end of the season, the best WBS anglers from across the nation will fish the 2014 Ray Scott Championship, slated for Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., from Nov. 15-18. The champion boater will receive $100,000 and possibly up to $50,000 in Triton Gold Bonus money. The co-angler champion will win $50,000 and possibly up to $25,000 in Triton Gold Bonus money.

As a special Ray Scott Championship bonus, the Boater Division and Co-Angler Division champions will each receive entry fees and sponsorship into the one of two professional bass fishing series of the angler’s choice. The sponsorship includes entry fees into three professional events and sponsorship support. This sponsorship will put the champion within striking distance of one of two professional bass fishing championships.

At WBS events throughout the season, boater and co-angler competitors may also win hefty bonuses from such sponsors as Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, Royal Purple, MotorGuide and T-H Marine. See the manufacturer web sites for specific details on how to qualify for these bonuses.

For more information on this tournament, call Porter Trimble, tournament manager, at 318-201-3474 or ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see

About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is committed to providing 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, the Weekend Bass Series, the American Fishing Tour or the American Couples Series, visit

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