Big Bass Thursday's Update
June 2020, Volume 114
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Few things in this world drive a man like competition. It really doesn’t matter what the challenge, doing it better than others is an obsession with some people. I am one of those people. I’ve often said, “If granny and I are playing checkers, I’m going to take her out.” No longer competing on the playing fields of baseball and football I now turn my competitive spirit to bass fishing as do so many that show up to show out at our Bassin’ in the Boot Big Bass Thursday Tournaments.
The rules are simple, 3 hours give or take to bring back to the scales the largest bass of the night. Launching and blasting off each week at 4:45, we generally have 20-30 anglers competing for the monetary prize. We rotate the tournament between Lake Concordia and Lake St. John. The payouts are good at 90% with 10% going the end of the year classic, AOY, and Average Fish winners. You must fish 10 tournaments to be eligible for end of the year payouts.
Depending on the number of entries we split the pot 90% with 10 or less anglers, 60%/30% with 11-15 anglers, and 50%/30%/10% with 16 or more entries. The winner of the tournament always fishes free the next week.
We wanted to do a recap of the season so far and to let everyone know there is still plenty of time to get involved. The first tournament on March 12th we had 11 guys fish on Lake Concordia with an average weight of 2.55# and topping all anglers was Shannon Gay with a 4.43# prespawn hawg.
Kyle Ensminger with twins! Unsure which fish to weigh he brought a 4.19 and 4.26 pounder to the scales to take the victory. Fish were caught on a to-be-released Shongaloo Outdoors Voodoo Creature.
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On March 19th we had 10 guys fish Lake St. John. Randy Pitre came out on top with a 4.77# bass beating yours truly by mere ounces. The weather was a key part in the fishing as strong winds and rain got the bass on St. John fired up. Numerous nice size bass were weighed in at the scales.
March 26th was the last tournament we held before the world stopped spinning for several weeks. The uncertainty centered around the COVID 19 and state wide proclamations put a damper on participation. The decision was made to cancel the tournament for several weeks but not before we paid three places for the first time this year. Coming in at 3rd with a 3.14# bass, Robbie Buckles solidified his spot on the money list for the first time in 2020. Topping the scales at 3.61 pounds, kayaker Andy Green finished 2nd in his first Bassin’ in the Boot Big Bass Tournament but the two were overshadowed by young gun, Trey Buckles with his first win of the season. No stranger to the big bass format Trey won numerous tournaments in 2019 and earned the free fishing spot for the following week with his 3.7# greenback.
The next week to fish was May 7th and the anticipation was through the roof. Many guys had stayed off the water competitively since the previous tournament and they were itching to get back in the swing of setting hooks and boat flipping bass. With 25 boats on the water it was anyone’s tournament to win. Some familiar names made sure to keep the others in check and humble. Cashing in for the 2nd straight tournament, Robbie Buckles brought a 3.91# bass to the scales and should have fully anticipated a shot at first place but as more and more guys made their way in the 3.99# fish caught by Shannon Gay bumped Robbie off the leader’s spot. Now enters Mr. Late Guy, you know him. The last one to launch and the one that fishes to the buzzer, Mr. Ronnie Gillespie. Ronnie comes to the weigh table with a smile and a chunk. Laying a 4.13# beautiful Lake Concordia football on the scales to collect the $300 first place prize, not bad for an evening of fishing.
The following week saw 15 guys on Lake St. John and the battle came down to the wire. With a mere .03 ounces separating first and second place, Mr. Second Place, Kyle Ensminger inked some cash with a 3.02# beauty. Kyle most likely will hold the record for second place finishes for many years and after 6 misses of payout last year we changed the payout model to help Kyle get some cash. Last year 1 fish, winner take all left Kyle brokenhearted and cashless on 6 different occasions. This year his 2nd place finish earned him some green. Trey Buckles kept Mr. Second in his place by bringing a slightly bigger fish to the scales.
May 21st proved to be the tournament of the new comers. All 3 places paid out to guys who fished their first tournament of the year. Big fish were caught as Concordia seldom disappoints. Collecting $60 and 3rd place honors, Corey Williams cashed in for the first time in 2020 with his 3.51# fish only to be bumped by veteran Bassin’ in the Boot angler, Brad Pritchard with a 3.99# beauty. Brad’s first tournament of 2020 yielded him $180 for his work. First place however was secured by a local stick, no stranger to bass tournaments but in his first ever Bassin’ in the Boot Big Bass Tournament, Mr. Greg Rabb cashes in top prize of $300 by weighing in a 4.06 pounder.
Last week proved to be a slugfest on Lake St. John with several fish over 3 pounds brought to the scales. Shannon Gay, no stranger to the winner’s circle took the $50 3rd place prize anchored by his 3.31# bass falling just a little shy of the 2nd place slot worth $145 for the 3.51# fish that Colt Slover hooked. But as fate would have it. Mr. Second Place, Kyle Ensminger went home $240 richer for the 4.26# St. John hawg he snatched on a prototype bait from Shongaloo Outdoors. Finally, Kyle has ended the curse and finished higher than the two hole.
There are still 16 weeks of fishing left before the September 24th Bassin’ in the Boot Big Bass Classic. An ample amount of time to get your 10 weeks in to qualify for the last derby of the year. Prizes for the last tournament will be based on participation of the year. The 10% held back each week by Bassin’ in the Boot will be split 3 ways, Classic Winner, Largest Average Top 10 Tournament Weights, and Most Total Weight All Year. Last year the finale paid $500 to John Bruce of Vidalia.
Shannon Gay holds up a 4.43 hog to take the win after weighing in with our Thursday night crew.
If you’re wondering if you have what it takes to compete then come and fish with a great group of guys and enjoy some healthy competition and a little trash talk. We launch from Spokane Landing on Lake St. John and out of Lakeview Lodge on Lake Concordia. The entry fee is $25 plus launch. We have guys from all around the area that fish with us including the Jena, Alexandria, Baton Rouge, and Miss-Lou regions. Make the drive and let’s geaux bassin’ on Lake Concordia and St. John!
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Charles Anderson of Bassin' In The Boot with a second place 4.14 pound largemouth.