ATHENS, Ala. – Helped by a monster bag on Day 2 and the blanking of the two-day leaders on the final day, Team Gipson emerged as the 2010 champions at the 20th annual Team Military Bass Tournament, which concluded May 7 at Lake Point Marina on Lake Eufaula.
Mike, 51, and Jake Gipson, 23, both of Niceville, Fla., landed 17.99 pounds on the final day to finish with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 58.25 pounds. For the victory, they collected $4,000 and a fishing trip to Costa Rica.
“On the first day, we caught most of our fish on white swimming jigs and swimming toads on top,” Jake said. “On Days 2 and 3, we switched it up, throwing floating frogs around the mats. We had one mat about the size of the back of the boat that probably produced about 50 percent of our weight and all of our bigger fish.”
The Gipsons brought in bags weighing 15.25 and 25.01 pounds on the first two days. They also pocketed a $1,000 bonus for landing the Day 2 lunker, a 7.26-pounder. The 25.01-pound bag on Day 2, the second largest single-day tally in the tournament, rocketed the Gipsons up from 15th into second place in the record-breaking 159-boat field.
“On Day 2, Jake caught back-to-back 5-pounders on his first two casts,” Mike said. “They were really killing that frog. It was green with a white belly and a little yellow on it. Most of the fish were right on the edge of the grass mats. We worked that frog off the mats. On Day 2, we had 20 pounds by 8:30 a.m. and 25 pounds by 11 a.m.”
With muddy water coming down the Chattahoochee River from points north, the Gipsons fished at the southern end of the 45,181-acre lake along the Alabama-Georgia line. At first, they saw few other competitors, but more teams moved south as dirty water flowed down the lake.
“The key for us was finding clear water so we spent most of our time down by the dam,” Jake explained. “There was a shad spawn in some of the creeks down there. On the first day, we shared our area with one other boat. By the afternoon of the second day, more boats gravitated toward the south end of the lake because of the water color. Today, it was a zoo down there. At one point, a local boat was sitting on the mat we were fishing and pulled out a 4.5-pounder by punching through the grass.”
Randy Duncan and John Brady took second with 15 bass weighing 56.93 pounds. On the final day, they landed the largest single-day bag of the tournament at 25.45 pounds, but suffered a penalty. On Day 1, they held seventh place with 17.99 pounds, but dropped to 12th place by Day 2.
Mike Lawrence and Eric Ostendorf stayed in third with 15 bass going 56.51 pounds. They caught 16.95 pounds on the first day and stayed two places out of first with 38.95 pounds after two days.
Consistently landing near the top of the lineup, George Simonof and Eric Turner finished fourth with 15 bass for 54.23 pounds. They landed 18.88 pounds on Day 1 and followed that effort with 19 pounds on Day 2 and 16.35 pounds on the final day.
Joseph and Joseph Avery took fifth with 15 bass at 51.83 pounds. Steadily climbing, they placed 34th with 12.79 pounds on the opener and moved into 17th place after two days with 30.65 pounds. On the final day, they landed 21.18 pounds.
After leading for the first two days, Ryan and Karl Ingram struggled at the buzzer, coming up with nothing for the weighmaster on the final day. They caught 23.23 pounds on the first day and 17.99 pounds on Day 2 to hold the lead with 41.22 pounds, but finished in 27th place.
On the first day, Clifton Holt and George Kunkle III boated the tournament lunker, an 8.13-pounder. In all, the anglers landed 1,831 bass weighing 4,679.89 pounds over three days. The anglers released alive 1,716 bass or 93.7 percent of their keepers.
For more information on the Military Bass Anglers, call 888-203-6222.
About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers offers over 1,000 tournaments per year in 40 states that are designed for the weekend angler. 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, The American 150 Series or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.