SEPT 10/11, 2011 (9/11) – Found ArmyBassAnglers Pros and Coalition Pros at the 2011 Kelly Jordan Oakley Big Bass Classic on Lake Sam Rayburn competing for $10,000 in the first annual event. More importantly it found ArmyBassAnglers and the Coalition conducting a fundraising operation for the Warrior and Family Support Center in San Antonio, TX and commemorating the Fallen Heroes of Flight 93, The Twin Towers, The Fire Fighters, The Police Officers, The First Responders and the Service Men and Women who have so proudly served this country for the past 10 years fighting this countries longest war in the War on Terror.
The first to cash a check in the hourly weighs in of Day 01 would be the ArmyBassAnglers Pro Staff team of Jarod Shelton and Jason Blackmon weighing in a 2nd place hourly winner of 4.48 lbs for $300 in the 1200 – 1300 hr. “This is my home lake,” stated Blackmon, “so we were very confident going into this tournament that we would cash a check. I’ve cashed numerous checks on this lake with my normal partner Mike Garrett on Bass Champs. So, basically we used our existing points and patterns to target the fish.”
The team of Chuck Guthrie and Vinney Adler would fair extremely well on the famous lake Sam Rayburn using Lake Fork Trophy Lure products, Victory Tackle spinnerbaits and Fury lures to bring (2) money fish to the scales. Chuck Guthrie, with a flare of drama, kept the crowd weighting as he “played” the game of sizing his fish up at the dock against other anglers, then wisely weighed their first fish in in the 1300 – 1400 weighing 4.10 lbs for 3rd place and a $200 check, then promptly followed it up in the final 1400 – 1500 hr with another money fish for 4th place! “It was a pretty good day on the water. We had a great time,” stated Guthrie. “I had an awesome time,” stated his Coalition Pro Staff partner Vinney. “This was my first time to participate in an event as an ArmyBassAnglers Coalition Pro Staffer, fish with one of their Pros, be a part of the fundraising operation and get to be filmed for the TV Show on WFN all at the same time…talk about awesome and getting to be a part of the SUPPORT.DEFEND.FISH. mission. I got to see and be a part of it all first hand, what a weekend—HOOAH.”
ArmyBassAnglers Coalition members Don Brunson and Mike Carroll would have just as memorable day, but for different reasons. Late in the day, Brunson hooked a small fish on a rattle trap that slung the bait and put the hook straight into Brunson’s index finger all the way past the barb. With potential money fish in the box the team decide to come in and weight the fish and seek medical attention. The fish was just inched out at the scales putting it in 6th place and just out of the money. Then all eyes and camera’s turned to Don’s finger as (Dr.) Kelly Jordon from the Elite Series proceeded to demonstrate on camera (with Don as the test subject) how to remove a deep set hook from his finger using fishing line and a very quick jerking motion. “On the count of 3. 1, 2, 3—jerk and the hook was free from Brunson’s finger. You okay asked Kelly Jordan, “ checking on his patient. “Lol…I didn’t feel a thing,” stated Brunson. “He obviously knew what he was doin and know I have a really cool story tell and new friend in Kelly Jordan and it was all caught on camera, this should make for an interesting show.”
Day 02 found the teams of ArmyBassAnglers Pro Staffer Cody Roberson and Don Bailey on the water filming with the WFN crew a special commemoration to 9/11. This being both anglers first time to fish the lake, the plan was simple…find grass and fish it all day. Bailey and Roberson put two keepers in the live well just minutes before the hour would close holding a potential 4th or 5th place fish in hand, but as luck would have it, they were 20 minutes from the weighin. So the decision was made to stay put and sure enough they would have taken 4th place in the 1000 – 1100 hr. The rest of the day the team landed fish, but constantly had to make a decision whether to take the fish in and give up their spot or continue to fish looking for a more solid fish. “We had a “bubble fish” that weighed 2.44 lbs so we were constantly watching the text messages to determine whether or not to make the run and give up or fishing spot that was producing fish. A fish of this size has already cashed over (6) checks from 3 place to 5th place over the past 2 days, so we needed to managed the weigh in time of this fish closely to give us the best chance.” With that said, at the 1200 – 1300 hour the team finally saw numbers at the scales that would warrant the trip in. Over the course of the next 3 hourly weighins, they would go in and out at the dock attempting to “slip” the fish in for a 4th or 5th place check, literally waiting till the last 30 seconds to decide each time and getting edged out by literally oz’s each time. “We had a great day and the stress of weighing these two fish, just about gave me a heart attack, but that’s what makes these tournaments so much more exciting,” stated Don Bailey.
Day 02 would be a much better day for the Team of Brunson and Carroll, they would land a money fish and bring it to the scales. They weighed in a 3.89 lb fish that would hold up in the 1000 – 1100 hour for a 1st place hourly winner bringing home a check for $400. “I honestly believe this was payback from the Man up-stairs for yesterday,” stated Brunson. Not only did Brunson deal with the hook situation, at the end of the Day 01 tourney he and Mike Carroll rescued a troubled boater on the lake and towed them back to the dock that took over 1 ½ hours to tow them back.
All in all it was a great tournament and not only did the organization fair extremely well on the water everyone did a great job raising awareness and funds for the Warrior and Family Support Center. “I don’t think we could have had a better tournament on such a memorable day than we did,” stated Roberson, President and Founder of ArmyBassAnglers. “I’m really proud of the guys and really proud to be a part of such a great organization that will never forget 9/11 and the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much—HOOAH!”
For more information on ArmyBassAnglers and the Coalition visit them at www.armybassanglers.com.