Lakecaster Online

Consistency was the key to win Tournament of Champions for Schweitzer - Ligon
By Patty Lenderman

In a Champion Boat owners only event, 117 teams gathered at Cypress Bend Marina on Toledo Bend for a two day tournament October 23-24. Dealing with strong winds and occasional rain, these Champion boat owners were very happy with the performance of these boats in challenging conditions. Anglers from several states, some as far away as Ohio and Kentucky were there to win a part of the $65,000 in cash and prizes to be one at this event.

1st place team John Schweitzer & Bill Ligon were consistent both days, bringing in 16.51 lbs on day 1 and then topping their weight off on day 2 with 17.06 lbs. They narrowly missed big bass honors on the first day, bringing in a kicker at 6.76 pounds. This duo traveled south on the lake to Housen Bay, fishing along a 100 yard stretch with a 12' ridge and grass line that dropped to 25'. Both days they fished this ridge back and forth with a ½ oz ghost white spinnerbait with double chrome willow blades and a Carolina rigged Gambler bacon rind creature bait. They caught over three limits of fish with this method the first day, and lost a "double digit" bass. The second day, the pattern held and they caught closer to five limits of fish. This team would like to thank Champion, Shimano, Lowrance and Daichi.

Coming in 2nd was Glen Freeman and Hank Williams. They also found their fish in 12'-20' fishing timbered slopes. Their best bite was between 8:00-11:00 on day one, bringing in a 16.07 lb limit. On day 2 they said they really needed the wind that was prevalent the day before, only being able to cull up to a 14.84 lb sack. They caught their fish on a 3/8 oz black and blue jig with a pork trailer, a fire tiger crank bait and a Texas rig. Two colors were working for them on their Texas rig, plum and redbug. They would like to thank Champion, Mercury, Bomber, Mr. Twister, Shimano, Lowrance and Nicols Marine.

Matt Holmes reeled in Big Bass honors on day 1 weighing 6.85 lbs. He caught her on a chrome rattle trap fixed up with red hooks in 4' of grass. She bit at 1:00 off of a point at the mouth of Housen Bay.

Big Bass on day 2 was caught by Tim Thomas. Weighing in at 7.24, it was also the big bass overall for the tournament. He was throwing a Texas rigged Zoom Brush Hog, watermelon with silver flake in 20' of water when she bit the end of his line at noon. Tim was still excited after the weigh in and said "she fought hard. When I set the hook she started stripping drag. When I got her turned around and coming to the boat, she jumped out of the water three times before Darrel (Gilbert) got her in the net."

Top Teams:
1st $5,000 33.57 lbs John Schweitzer & Bill Ligon
2nd $2,500 30.91 lbs Glen Freeman & Hank Williams
3rd $1,000 25.66 lbs Dale Logan & Dennis Tietje
4th $ 750 25.51 lbs Mark Grissom & Bob Ramsdell
5th $ 600 23.43 lbs Dean Wood & James Wood
6th $ 550 23.10 lbs Chip Robinson & Jeff Deveer
7th $ 500 23.08 lbs Keith Jones & Bill Hudspeth
8th $ 450 22.36 lbs Keith Caka & Charles Bebber
9th $ 400 21.81 lbs Jeff Musgrove & Roy Pharis
10th $ 300 21.59 lbs Jack Adams & Charles Boenig

Big Bass Day 1 $500 6.85 lbs John Guidry & Matt Holmes
Big Bass Day 2 $500 7.24 lbs Tim Thomas & Darrel Gilbert

In two days, there were 1,180 lbs of bass brought to the scales, and thanks to the superb livewell systems in the Champion boats, a little Bass Medics Rejuvenade in each one and the careful handling of the bass by the anglers, there were only two fish out of the whole event that didn't swim back into the waters of Toledo Bend.

Each angler was given a ticket with a number on it, and several winners were drawn for prizes such as trolling motors, propellers, duffle bags, personal coolers, Maui Jim sunglasses and much much more. The grand prize drawing of a Champion 198 Elite bass boat powered by a 225 Mercury Optimax motor valued at $43,000 was won by Bruce Brown.

Several boats were brought to the tournament by area dealerships Nichols Marine, Red Wing and Cajun Outboards. The anglers were able to test drive a series of Mercury powered models, including the Champion 198 Elite powered by a Mercury 250 Optimax XS.

Champion Boats began their customer appreciation events in 1984, according to Dave Barnett, factory representative. "This is our way of giving back to the owners, to tell them 'Thank You'. They could have bought any boat on the market, and they chose Champion." This was their fourth and final event for 2004, the others having been on Lake Mead, NV, Grand Lake, OK, Gunnersville, AL and then here on Toledo Bend, LA. Every other year, anglers who have competed in all events as well as other anglers who are picked through other means, (like youngest teamed angler who has the top weight in an event, or couples with the highest weight, etc.) will have the chance to fish Champion Boats' Ultimate Challenge. Details for all of Champion Boat tournament events can be found on their website or call 615-494-2090. The 2005 schedule will be posted on the website in late November.

"At Champion, the only thing more important than building exquisitely crafted boats is building exceptionally loyal customers - customers that become part of the Champion family. That is why we are proud to host our Tournament of Champions events, a tradition created in 1984 to honor Champion owners for their loyalty and continued patronage." - Champion Boats

Tim Thomas (R), fishing with partner Darrel Gilbert (L) caught the Big Bass on day 2 weighing 7.24 lbs and also claiming big bass overall.

Matt Holmes (L) caught the Big Bass on the first day of the tournament, weighing in at 6.85 lbs. He was fishing with partner John Guidry
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Glen Freeman and Hank Williams won 2nd place honors with a two day total weight of 30.91 lbs

1st place winners John Schweitzer brought in consistent weights both days to win the event with 33.57 lbs

Back to Lakecaster Online contents