Baumgardner Looks for Possible Wire-to-Wire Victory
By John N. Felsher
ATHENS, Ala. – With the competition gaining on him, Chris D. Baumgardner continued his race toward a possible wire-to-wire victory in Day 3 of the four-day 2021 Ray Scott Championship, held April 16 on Lake Chickamauga near Dayton, Tenn.
Baumgardner of Gastonia, N.C. outpaced the other 147 anglers in the Boater Division with three consecutive five-bass daily tournament limits for a three-day total of 55.99 pounds. That gave him a 3.73-pound average for the event.
On the first day, Baumgardner jumped out in front with five bass at 22.18 pounds, the third highest one-day bag and one of five daily stringers to top 20 pounds. On Day 2, Baumgardner increased his lead with 40.02 pounds after landing a 17.84-pound sack. On the third day, he caught five keepers weighing 15.97 pounds.
“It’s getting tougher,” Baumgardner said. “I’ve been catching smaller and smaller bags. I fished for big fish and didn’t catch a whole lot of fish on the third day. I don’t know what to expect on the final day.”
Steadily moving up the roster, Billy C. Cline from Argyle, Texas, currently holds second place with 53.57 pounds, less than 2.5 pounds off the lead. He started with a five-bass daily tournament limit going 16.84 pounds, giving him 11th place. On Day 2, he only caught four bass, but his 14.26-pound sack pushed him into eighth place with 31.10 pounds. On the third day, he again caught his limit, turning in a 22.47-pound bag, just shy of the biggest one-day catch seen so far in the tournament.
“All week, I’ve been sight fishing,” Cline advised. “It’s been steady, but not real good. Every morning, I tried something new. This morning, I started in an isolated, random spot. I caught a good one early and started catching more. We probably caught 20 keepers before 11 a.m. I caught a six-pounder off a bed at about 1 p.m.”
Haden Lamb of Ooltewah, Tenn., dropped a notch from second to third on Day 3 with 15 bass and 51.30 pounds. He held sixth place on Day 1 with 17.50 pounds, but vaulted into second place on Day 2 with an 18.66-pound bag to give him a two-day total of 36.16 pounds. On the third day, Lamb brought in another limit for 15.14 pounds, keeping him within striking distance of the title.
Also falling one rung, Brett Brumnett from Wagoner, Okla., brought in three consecutive daily limits for 48.42 pounds. He currently holds fourth place. On the first day, Brumnett landed 15.90 pounds to put him in 15th place. On Day 2, he caught a big sack of bass weighing 20.21 pounds, the third largest single-day bag in the tournament, to put him in the number three slot with 36.11 pounds. He landed five bass weighing 12.31 pounds on Day 3.
Travis Manson came all the way down from Conshohocken, Pa., to compete in the championship tournament. Going into the final day, he holds fifth place with 14 bass at 48.31 pounds. On Day 1, he held 14th place with a five-bass daily limit and 16.14 pounds. With only a four-fish bag going 9.69 pounds on Day 2, he faltered a bit, but occupied 20th place with a two-day total of 25.83 pounds. On the third day, he made up for it by catching the largest single-day bag yet seen in the tournament, five bass weighing 22.48 pounds for nearly a 4.5-pound average to soar 15 spots.
Kenny M. Carroll of Opelika, Ala., sits atop the lunker ladder. He caught the only double-digit fish so far, a 10.21-pounder. Trent Menees from Justin, Texas, caught an 8.48-pounder, the second largest lunker of the tournament to date and one of two eight-pounders. Bobby A. Tadlock of Clinton, Tenn., caught the other bass breaking the eight-pound barrier with an 8.05-pounder. All three of the biggest bass came on the first day.
In the Co-Angler Division, Phillip J. Johnson of Griffin, Ga., regained the lead by nearly doubling his two-day total to 32.84 pounds for a commanding 8.35-pound lead. In all, co-anglers brought in 11 double-digit one-day sacks so far in the tournament and Johnson accounted for two of them.
Johnson greatly helped himself on the third day by bringing in the largest one-day sack so far in the Co-Angler Division, three bass at 15.91 pounds. His 7.57-pound kicker, the third largest bass caught by a co-angler, gave him a 5.30-pound average for that one bag. On Day 1, he led with three bass at 10.68 pounds. He added 6.25 pounds on the second day, but dropped to fourth place with a two-day total of six bass weighing 16.93 pounds.
Eli H. Brumnett of Wagoner, Okla. holds second place among the 140 co-anglers with a perfect three-day division limit of nine bass weighing 24.49 pounds. Brumnett held eighth place on Day 1 with 8.39 pounds and moved up five spots to third on Day 2 with a 9.29-pound catch. His six fish gave him a two-day total of 17.68 pounds. He moved up another notch on Day 3 with a 6.81-pound sack.
Also on Day 3, David L. Marr from Cleveland, Tenn. dipped two levels to third place with seven bass and 23.62 pounds. On the first day, Marr found three keepers for 8.34 pounds and ninth place. On Day 2, he landed 12.24 pounds, the third largest one-day bag in the Co-Angler Division so far in the tournament. He held the Day 2 lead with 20.58 pounds, but on the third day, he only landed one 3.04-pounder.
Jesus A. Gutierrez from Haines City, Fla., steadily advanced throughout the first three days of competition to hold the fourth spot with seven bass and 22.99 pounds going into the final day. Gutierrez sat in 22nd place after Day 1 with a three-bass daily division limit weighing 6.82 pounds. After catching 9.72 pounds, he moved up 14 steps to sixth place on Day 2 with six bass and 16.54 pounds. On the third day, Gutierrez only brought in one fish, but that 6.45-pound mossback put him up another two notches.
Brian M. Haworth of Cookeville, Tenn. also consistently improved his standing throughout the event to reach the fifth spot with a perfect nine-fish three-day division limit weighing 22.92 pounds. He held 27th place on opening day with 5.96 pounds. He added 6.48 pounds on the second day to zoom into 13th place with 12.44 pounds. On Day 3, Haworth landed 10.48 pounds with help from a 6.48-pound kicker to soar up eight notches.
Chris A. Bowers of Brandon, Miss., leads the lunker tally for the Co-Angler Division with a 7.97-pounder, one of three fish in the division to top seven pounds. Jason E. Prestridge of Paradise, Texas, caught the second largest bass in the division at 7.74 pounds.
The action concludes on April 17 with the final weigh-in beginning at 2 p.m. at the Dayton Boat Ramp, located at 175 Lakeshore Street in Dayton, Tenn. Only the top 25 boaters and co-anglers compete on the final day. The public is invited to the weigh-in.
The champion boater will receive $50,000 in cash plus a new fully-equipped Triton 21TRX bass boat powered by a Mercury outboard, a trailer, a T-H Marine Hot Foot and a certificate worth $1,000 toward the purchase of Garmin Electronics. The boat package retails for about $65,000.
The winning co-angler will receive $25,000 in cash plus a new fully-equipped Triton 19TRX bass boat with a Mercury outboard, a trailer, a T-H Marine Hot Foot and a certificate worth $1,000 toward the purchase of Garmin Electronics. The co-angler boat package retails for about $45,000.
The top 20 percent of the boaters and co-anglers will also receive cash prizes, depending upon how high they placed in the standings. Anglers in both divisions could possibly win bonus money and prizes from ABA sponsors.
The annual Ray Scott Championship culminates the 2020 season for the Bass Pro Shop Open Series, presented by American Bass Anglers. During the 2020 season, boaters and co-anglers from ABA divisions across the country competed in divisional tournaments and a two-division final event to qualify for this Ray Scott Championship.
American Bass Anglers commitment is to provide low cost, close to home tournaments for weekend anglers and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression.
For more information about American Bass Anglers visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256) 232-0406.
American Bass Anglers is sponsored by Bass Pro Shops, Triton Boats, Mercury Motors, Motor Guide, Berkley, Abu Garcia, T-H Marine, Power Pole, Garmin, Monster Energy, Lucas Oil, Engel Coolers, OPTIMA Batteries, REKS Sunglasses, and HotelPlanner.com.
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