Browning Comes From Behind For Win And $16,000
HIXSON, Tenn. – Paul J. Browning came from behind to win the American Bass Anglers Top 150 Solo Series, Presented by Caymas Boats, Southeast Division tournament, held June 18, 2022, on Lake Chickamauga.
Browning came all the way up from Pecos, Texas, to fish the Tennessee River impoundment. The anglers launched at Chester Frost Park in Hixson, Tenn. for the 2-day event. Browning landed two straight 5-bass daily tournament limits to put 39.45 pounds on the scale and $16,000 in his pocket.
On the first day, Browning held sixth place with five keepers weighing 18.27 pounds. He topped that catch with a 5.52-pounder.
“I was fishing deep all during practice, but just couldn’t make it happen,” Browning commented. “I had three clumps of grass up on the main river that had a big drain close to it. The fish just kept pulling up on it. First thing in the morning on Day 1, I started flipping a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog. I caught a 5-pounder and a 3-pounder with the next cast.”
Browning returned to his honey hole for more action on the final day. He put 21.18 pounds on the board, the largest Day 2 bag and the second largest caught in the tournament. That gave him the lead by about a pound and three-quarters. He capped that Day 2 catch with a 6.82-pounder.
“I had a limit by 8:30 a.m. and started culling,” Browning said. “I must have culled three limits of fish on the final day. I also threw a Profound Outdoors Z Boss 20 crankbait on 12-pound-test line to get it down deep.”
Jeff Knight from Cleveland, Tenn. took second among the 111 competitors. He brought in two daily limits to finish with 10 bass going 37.72 pounds. He anchored his catch with a 6.91-pound mossback. For second place, Knight earned $6,000.
Knight sat in eighth place after the first day with five good keepers weighing 17.69 pounds. He came back the next day with 20.03 pounds, one of only five anglers to break 20 pounds in a day. That jumped him up six slots.
“Every fish I caught came on a jig,” Knight advised. “I was fishing ledges with a 3/4-ounce football jig. I fished in the mouth of the Hiwassee River. I was sitting in about 28 to 32 feet of water and throwing up to 18 to 20 feet of water. On the final day, I had all my fish by 8 a.m. I struggled on the first day.”
Day 1 leader Dale Pelfrey from Rockwood, Tenn. finished third with 10 bass for 37.34 pounds. On Day 1, he landed the biggest single-day sack in the event at 22.89 pounds. He topped that sack with a 7.14-pound bass, the third largest lunker caught in the tournament and one of three bass exceeding seven pounds.
“On the first day, I finally got onto a hole that I wanted to fish all day,” Pelfrey reported. “I only had three fish at 1:30 p.m. and ended up catching five more in 30 minutes before the lightning ran me out.”
On Day 2, Pelfrey caught another 5-bass limit, but struggled to find big fish. He ended the day with 14.45 pounds, dropping him down to third. For third place, Pelfrey collected $4,800.
“I fished offshore ledges both days,” Pelfrey revealed. “I did a lot of running and hitting as many spots as I could. I didn’t have the current on the second day like the first day so the fish didn’t really turn on. I caught seven keepers on the first day and six on the second day. It wasn’t easy fishing. It’s hard to get two good days consecutively on this lake.”
Derick E. Robinson from Friendsville, Tenn. dipped from second to fourth place. He ended the event with 10 bass going 37.30, less than half a pound from second. He landed a check for $3,300.
On the first day, Robinson put five keeper bass on the scale for a 20.82-pound bag, the third largest single-day bag caught in the tournament. He added 16.48 pounds the following day.
“Mostly, I dragged a football jig offshore,” Robinson said. “I caught a few fish shallow on a football jig or a swim jig. On the first day, when the storm came through in the afternoon, I got into a small pocket to get out of the storm. That’s where I caught my biggest fish, a bass slightly over five pounds, around a dock in that pocket.”
Seth Davis of Harrison, Tenn. jumped four spots from ninth to fifth on the final day. He landed a perfect 10 bass for 35.48 pounds to score a check for $2,550. On the first day, he caught 17.66 pounds. Fishing consistently, he put another 17.82 pounds on the board the final day.
“I ran around a lot,” Davis detailed. “I had a couple big bites each day, but not enough. I never could put five big bites together. I threw a little bit of everything.”
Leading the second five finalists, Todd M. Hollowell from Fishers, Ind. brought in nine keeper bass for 34.59 pounds and sixth place. On the first day, he held 11th place with five bass and 17.02 pounds. He improved by five rungs on the second day with four bass weighing 17.57 pounds.
Rusty White, Jr. from Soddy Daisy, Tenn. landed in seventh place with 10 bass tallying 33.64 pounds. He held fifth place on Day 1 with five bass for 19.06 pounds including a 6.08-pound kicker. On the final day, he landed five bass going 14.58 pounds to dip two spots.
In eighth place, Christopher “Cricket” A. Keeble from Lenoir City, Tenn. ended the tournament with two 5-bass daily tournament limits for 32.98 pounds. He held 22nd place on Day 1 with 13.11 pounds. With a 19.87-pound bag on Day 2 anchored by a 6.77-pounder, he shot up 14 levels.
Joshua R. Norris of Spring City, Tenn. fell from fourth to the ninth spot. He finished with 10 bass and 31.31 pounds. On the first day, he brought in 20.43 pounds topped with a 6.08-pound kicker. On the last day, he landed 10.88 pounds. Mostly he fished offshore with a drop-shot rig and a skirted scrounger.
Wrapping up the top 10, Jonathan R. Barksdale of Armuchee, Ga. found two good limits for 30.95 pounds. He sat in 13th place on Day 1 with 16.36 pounds. He added 14.59 pounds the final day to hop up three places.
Wade Batey from Scottsboro, Ala. landed the tournament lunker, a 7.63-pounder. He caught the mossback on the first day and finished with a total of six bass weighing 18.43 pounds.
The ABA Top 150 Solo Series, Presented by Caymas Boats, features two regional divisions – Southeast and Southwest. Each division holds 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 to fish 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 2-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.
For information about the Lake Chickamauga tournament, call Tournament Director Floyd Vaughn at (256) 230-5633. For more information or to register for any ABA Solo 150 event, see www.americanbassanglers.com/Top150 or call (256) 232-0406.
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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