Howes wraps up season with Kissimmee win
ATHENS, Ala. – Richard “Rich” D. Howes wrapped up the Florida Division 6 regular season in style by winning the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series, operated by American Bass Anglers, event on April 21, 2012.
Running out of Camp Mack Landing near Lake Wales to fish the sprawling Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, the Oviedo angler caught five bass going 24.04 pounds for a 4.80-pound average. He upped his average by catching a 9.52-pound bucketmouth. For the Boater Division victory, Howes collected $1,948.
“I stayed south and caught a bunch of fish early on a spinnerbait,” Howes said. “Once, I caught a fish, unhooked it and dropped the spinnerbait over the side of the boat as I went to put the fish in the livewell. When I looked back, my rod was taking off with a fish on the line. It was a short fish. I caught my keeper fish by flipping.”
In second for the boaters, Ted Sullivan of DeLeon Springs brought in a five-bass tournament limit for 19.99 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 6.60-pounder, pocketing $974.
“I fished open water pockets in the matted hydrilla and ripped Rat-L-Traps through them,” Sullivan advised. “I had to leave the hole at about 11 a.m. because the wind was so strong. The waves were busting over the bow. I never caught another fish all day.”
Bill Fugate of Kissimmee placed third among the boaters with five bass at 17.48 pounds. He collected $649.
“I was just flipping grass in Lake Kissimmee,” Fugate said. “I lost a 5-pounder and a 2-pounder that would have helped.”
Raymond Trudeau of Saint Cloud took fourth with five bass and 17.21 pounds, including a 7.03-pound kicker. Ronnie J. Seets lll of Davenport finished fifth with five bass going 17.10 pounder with one 7.48-pounder. James W. Williams of Apopka set a high standard in the big bass competition by landing a 10.25-pounder to win the tournament lunker laurel.
“I caught the big fish in Lake Toho at about 1:30 p.m.,” Williams said. “I was fishing a fluke and decided to throw a Rat-L-Trap. She grabbed it on the first cast. I backed off the drag and fought her out in the open water. Right as my partner got the net, she came unbuttoned.”
In the Co-Angler Division, Judith Foxx Johnson of Gainesville scored her second Kissimmee Chain victory this year. She brought in three keepers weighing 11.53 pounds to pocket $1,001. On Jan. 21, 2012, Johnson won the season opener on Lake Toho. On that day, she finished with three bass weighing 15.11 pounds anchored by a 10.78-pounder.
“Call me, Missy, because I kept missing everything,” Johnson joked. “I was very fortunate to catch the fish that I did catch. I lost one about 10 pounds. I was flipping and it came up and laid on the lily pad for a couple moments. The hook fell out and she was gone.”
In second for the co-anglers, Michael S. Press of Tampa landed three bass weighing 10.55 pounds. He anchored his bag with a 6.53-pounder that won division big bass honors. For the win, Press collected $500 with another $94 for the bucketmouth.
“We caught everything flipping between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.,” Press confirmed. “I only caught four bass and one was short.”
Bruce E. Johnson of Pembroke Pines placed second with a three-bass division limit hitting 9.32 pounds. For the effort, he earned $334.
“We pitched Culprit junebug worms into the reeds,” Johnson said. “I missed quite a few fish.”
Lee Blevins of Brooksville finished fourth with three bass and 8.83 pounds. Todd Scherr of Deerfield Beach took fifth place with a three-bass limit weighing 7.85 pounds.
For more information on this tournament, call Billy Benedetti at (256) 230-5632 or call ABA at (888) 203-6222. On line, see www.americanbassanglers.com.