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Record turn out for 20th annual military tournament

ATHENS, Ala. – A record 159 teams competed in the opening day of the 20th annual Team Military Bass Tournament, which began Wednesday, May 5, 2010, on Lake Eufaula out of Lake Point Marina in Eufaula, Ala.

The father-son duo of Ryan and Karl Ingram jumped to an early lead in the three-day event. They landed a five-bass tournament limit anchored by a 6.12-pounder for a total weight of 23.23 pounds. Fishing the south end of the 45,181-acre lake on the Chattahoochee River between Alabama and Georgia, they caught their fish on spinnerbaits in 15 to 18 feet of water.

“We ran down to the south end of the lake until the water cleared up and stayed within sight of the dam,” Ryan said. “We caught our fish on 1- to 1.5-ounce Strike Zone Ledgebuster spinnerbaits.”

Mud from recent rains continues to flow down the river and could affect fishing. If the mud reaches their area, it might force the Ingrams to try something different on Day 2.

“The mud is steadily heading down that way,” Ryan explained. “If the mud gets down there, it’s going to shut that bite down. I anticipate catching our fish shallow on Day 2.”

Another father-and-son team holds second place after one day of competition. Hilton Glover, Sr. and Hilton Glover, Jr. finished the first day with five bass weighing 19.08 pounds, which included a 4.44-pound kicker.

In third, George Simonof and Eric Turner brought in five keepers for 18.88 pounds. Catching a total of eight keepers, their largest bass weighed 5.46 pounds. They only covered about 15 miles all day, but changing conditions could force them into a different pattern or location on Day 2.

“We practiced three days and every day the conditions were different,” Turner said. “We had to adjust our game plan. We looked for the right cover with the right structure and water clarity. When we found those three things together, the fish were there and they were quality fish.”

With bluebird skies and no wind, Simonof and Turner started slow, but reverted to what produced bites earlier. Provoking reaction strikes in practice, the team from Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas resumed that strategy by 10:30 a.m. with better results.

“We missed a few good ones,” Turner said. “We probably would have finished with more than 20 pounds if we had caught all the good fish we missed. We fished a spot I found years ago that fit the conditions we were looking for. We’ll start there in the morning and see if it produces. If not, we’re going to have to search for fish.”

Rounding out the top five Day 1 leaders, Clifton Holt and George Kunkle III landed five bass going 18.68 pounds, but set the lunker standard with an 8.13-pounder. Stillman Parker and Timothy Moore caught five bass weighing 18.37 pounds, but a penalty knocked them back to an official tally of 18.12 pounds. Their biggest fish hit 6.81 pounds. In all, the 159 teams brought in 567 keepers, releasing 547 alive for a total weight of 1,372.70 pounds.

The action on Lake Eufaula continues through Friday, May 7. The victorious team will win a fishing trip to Costa Rica. One lucky person will win an 8-day, 7-night vacation, sponsored by the Armed Forces Vacation Club. Triton Boats will offer up to $300 for a Triton Apparel Gift Certificate and an engine cover with customized logo when purchasing any Triton aluminum or fiberglass boat package. Other companies that donated prizes include Royal Purple Synthetic Motor Oil, Anglers Advantage Insurance, Gary Yamamoto Baits, Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Old Country Store, Moon Pie, Rejuvenade, BioEdge Fishing Products, Early Times Whisky and Vanndalizer Baits.

Complete Results

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