Wilson Wins Wire-To-Wire Victory on Sam Rayburn
ZAVALLA, Texas – Kris L. Wilson held out to win the American Bass Anglers Top 150 Solo Series, Presented by Caymas Boats, Southwest Division regular season finale, held June 18, 2022, on Lake Sam Rayburn near Zavalla, Texas.
Launching at Cassel Boykin Park Landing for the 2-day event, the angler from Montgomery, Texas, landed two perfect 5-bass daily tournament limits to win by slightly less than half a pound. He finished with 43.70 pounds for a 4.37-pound average. Wilson took home $8,500 for the victory.
“It feels good to win,” Wilson commented. “I caught my fish in 18 to 25 feet of water around timber and brush. I fished a crankbait and a big worm. I tried about 30 spots and caught about 18 bass on the first day.”
On the first day, he brought in 26.23 pounds, the second largest sack seen in the tournament, but the biggest on the first day. That gave him an average of 5.25 pounds to take the early lead. He struggled a bit on the second day, but still caught a limit weighing 17.47 pounds to score the victory.
“The last day was tougher,” the champ admitted. “I only caught seven bass. I didn’t think I was going to win. I thought I would take second.”
Kevin Lasyone finished in second among the 48 competitors with 10 bass going 43.22 pounds. On the first day, the angler from Dry Prong, La. sat in fourth place with 16.58 pounds.
Catching two bass exceeding seven pounds on the second day helped push him up two slots and give him the biggest single-day sack of the tournament at 26.64 pounds. He capped that catch with a 7.53-pounder to pocket a check for $3,800. He also earned the title of Southwest Division Angler of the Year by points.
“I was fishing in 20 to 25 feet of water, but throwing up shallow and dragging it out,” Lasyone detailed. “Some bass bit the bait up shallow and some out deeper. All my fish hit a V&M J-Mag worm. Color didn’t matter. I didn’t have a limit until 11:30 a.m. On the first day, I caught my biggest fish from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. On the last day, I caught one big one in the morning and two in the afternoon.”
On Day 1, Tom Nilssen of New Braunfels, Texas, experienced a day-of-a-lifetime event for most people. He fished 20 minutes and decided to call it a day and weigh his catch early so they wouldn’t die in the Texas heat. In those 20 minutes, he pulled nine keeper bass from one spot. The 5-bass limit included a 10.38-pounder and two 6-pounders to land in second place with 25.73 pounds, only the third angler to break the 25-pound plateau in the tournament.
“On Day 1, I fished a main-lake point, but the fish were out deeper on the point,” Nilssen recalled. “I noticed some big trees in about 30 feet of water off the point. I backed off and worked my jig through those trees. The fish were suspended at about 24 feet deep in 30 feet of water. I cast the jig up into the shallows and worked it out to the deeper water. When it got into the deeper water, I worked it over the tree. The second it fell on the backside of the tree a bass would hammer it.”
On Day 2, Nilssen couldn’t repeat his Day 1 performance, but he did catch his second 5-bass daily limit for 10.27 pounds, slightly less than his tournament lunker by itself. He finished with 36 pounds and third place. He picked up a third-place check worth $2,700, plus a $1,000 bonus for the big bass. He also took third in the division AOY standings.
Blake A. Schroeder from Whitehouse, Texas, took the fourth spot with a perfect 2-day limit of 10 bass for 35.43 pounds. On the first day, he held seventh place with 15.48 pounds, topped by a 6.40-pound kicker, the second largest bass landed on the first day.
“The first day was pretty tough,” Schroeder stated. “I started deep throwing a 6th Sense Baits 300DD deep-diving crankbait. I caught a few keepers doing that. Then I fished a pile with a 6th Sense Ridge Worm and caught my big fish on that. Then, I went to the grass to fill out my limit. I caught seven keepers on the first day.”
On Day 2, Schroeder found five good keepers for 19.95 pounds to rise three levels. He pocketed $1,800 for fourth place.
“On the final day, I started on a brush pile,” Schroeder said. “On my second cast, I caught a 3-pounder on a Ridge Worm. I caught another one over six pounds and lost a big one. I went to the grass and caught one close to six pounds flipping. I caught about 10 keepers.”
Clay C. Phillips from Huntington, Texas, filled out the top five anglers with 10 bass going 34.62 pounds. Phillips sat in third after Day 1 with 17.10 pounds. Fishing consistently, he added 17.52 pounds the second day to collect $950.
Walt Stevens from Bernice, La. landed in sixth place with a perfect 10 bass at 33.46 pounds. He held 10th place on Day 1 with 14.09 pounds and added 19.37 pounds the second day. That boosted him four spots and earned him $800. He took 8th place in the AOY competition.
Landing in seventh place, Keith M. Jones of Texarkana, Texas, brought in 10 keepers for 30.11 pounds. He held eighth place on the first day with 15.28 pounds and boated 14.83 pounds the second day to jump one spot. Jones earned $750.
Cole D. Garrett from Winnfield, La. finished eighth with two 5-bass daily limits for 25.65 pounds. He held fifth place on Day 1 with 16.36 pounds. Garrett brought in 9.29 pounds the second day, dropping three slots, but picking up $750.
Taking the ninth position, Jared Norris found two limits for 25.44 pounds. The angler from Slidell, La. sat in the 20th spot after Day 1 with 10.47 pounds. He found 14.97 pounds of bass on the last day to vault 11 places. He won $750.
Bill T. Bean from Eufaula, Okla. rounded out the top 10 anglers with 10 bass weighing 24.06 pounds. He held the 19th spot on Day 1 with 10.70 pounds. He upped his catch to 13.36 pounds on the final day to jump nine places and win $600.
The ABA Top 150 Solo Series, Presented by Caymas Boats, features two regional divisions – Southeast and Southwest. Each division will hold three tournaments for the season. Both divisions offer big cash payouts and chances for anglers to advance to higher levels of competition.
Anglers pay $600 to enter each tournament and everyone fishes alone both days. No more than 150 anglers can participate in any divisional event. If 150 anglers participate, the winner of that event will take home a guaranteed $20,000. If fewer competitors register, the top 20 percent of the field will each earn a portion of the prize money, based upon the number of entries.
Anglers could also qualify for one of two post-season tournaments. The top 15 points holders in each division at the end of the regular season will qualify to fish the inaugural ABA Top 150 Solo Series Championship, providing they fished all three of their divisional events.
The first Series Championship will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 1 on Kentucky Lake at Paris, Tenn. in October 2022. Conducted like the divisional events, the Tour Championship will involve two days of intense competition with the winner taking home $25,000. In addition, every angler in the field will receive a payout.
Additionally, anglers who did not qualify by points for the Tour Championship, but who fished all three of the qualifiers in their division, will be invited to a two-day wild card event slated for Ross Barnett Reservoir in Mississippi on Sept. 9-10, 2022. From this wild card, the top five anglers will advance to the Tour Champion. Qualifying through their divisions by points and additionally from the wild card, the championship field will total 35 anglers.
Moreover, the top five anglers by points from each division after the Tour Championship can advance to the 2023 Ray Scott Championship, scheduled for April 2023 on the Red River in Shreveport, La.
American Bass Anglers is sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, T-H Marine, Garmin Electronics, Power Pole, Lucas Oil, RT Outdoors, Sportsman Card, Optima Batteries, Hotel Planner.com, and LurePartsOnline.com.
About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is committed to providing low-cost, close-to-home tournaments for the weekend angler and, at the same time, offering each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression.
For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Open Series, the American Fishing Tour, the American Couples Series, the annual Military Team Bass Tournament, and the Top 150 Solo Tour, all presented by Caymas Boats, visit www.americanbassanglers.com or call (256) 232-0406
This story was written by ABA staff writer John N. Felsher. To submit articles of interest email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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