Ethridge enjoys victory on Center Hill Lake
ATHENS, Ala. – Jeremy Ethridge opened the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, Tennessee Central Division 3 season with a win on March 17, 2012, at Center Hill Lake.
Running out of the Ragland Bottoms landing near Sparta, the Nashville angler caught five bass weighing 18.91 pounds. He padded his Boater Division victory with a 4.47-pound kicker, earning $2,301.
“I found the pattern in practice,” Ethridge explained. “I caught about 11 keepers with three smallmouth, all on spinnerbaits. I was fishing bluffs on the main lake. I caught fish steadily in the first three hours. I caught two of my bigger smallmouth in the last two hours of the tournament.”
In second for the 51 boaters, Matt R. Stanley of Alexandria brought in a five-bass tournament limit for 18.33 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 6.33-pound largemouth that took tournament lunker honors. For second place, Stanley earned $1,150 with an extra $245 for the big one.
“I caught all largemouths,” Stanley said. “I caught two limits throwing jerkbaits. We were sitting in 50 to 80 feet of water and the fish were suspended about 10 feet deep around points. I caught my biggest bass flipping a green pumpkin plastic bait.”
Jeff Hollingshead of Murfreesboro placed third among the boaters with five bass at 16.70 pounds. His biggest fish weighed 5.15 pounds. Hollingshead went home $767 richer.
“I caught three largemouth, a smallmouth and a Kentucky spotted bass,” Hollingshead said. “It was a grind. I didn’t have a limit until about noon. I caught all my bass on an Alabama rig around bluffs. My bigger fish came later in the day. I caught one on a spinnerbait.”
William C. Bell of Smithville finished fourth among the boaters with five bass going 16.10 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 5.16-pound kicker. Rounding out the top five boaters, Tim Staley of Dowelltown brought in five keepers for 15.96 pounds.
In the Co-Angler Division, Brandon A. Tramel of Smithville caught three bass for 11.90 pounds. His biggest fish weighed 3.82 pounds, enough to give Tramel the victory and a check for $1,174.
“I caught two fish early,” Tramel said. “My last fish hit a spinnerbait at about noon. I caught one flipping a jig and the other on a sweet beaver.”
Jim R. Fontaine of Smyrna caught a three-bass division limit for 9.48 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 4.21-pound kicker and pocketed $587.
“For most of the day, we caught fish on Rat-L-Traps,” Fontaine said. “We also caught some on jerkbaits. We fished bluffs in 25 to 30 feet of water. We ran about 15 miles.”
James “Jim” E. Gunn of Nolensville brought in three bass for 9.45 pounds. He capped his catch with a 3.76-pound kicker, winning $391.
“I stuck with a jig all day,” Gunn said. “It was kind of green pumpkin and reddish. It took until about noon to catch a limit.”
Dane L. Gamble of Lavergne finished in fourth place for the co-anglers with three bass at 9.12 pounds including one 4.57-pounder. Marty Maynard of Cookeville landed in fifth place with three bass and 8.82 pounds with a 3.88-pound kicker. Byran D. Cochran of Cookeville landed the biggest bass in the division, a 4.63-pounder worth $125.
“The big one was the second one I caught,” Cochran said. “It hit at about 1:40 p.m. I was throwing a jig near a bluff.”
For more information on this tournament, call Randy Sullivan at (256) 230-5633 or ABA at (888) 203-6222. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.
-- John N. Felsher
About American Bass Anglers: The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series provides weekend anglers a professionally operated competitive tour with a path the world championship of bass fishing the Bassmaster Classic. 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 and the American Fishing Tour, The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.