Stearnes Jigs To Victory On Hot Grand Lake
GROVE, Okla. – Brett M. Stearnes won the Boater Division in the American Bass Anglers Open Series, Presented by Caymas Boats, Oklahoma Division 14 tournament, held June 26, 2022, at Grand Lake.
Launching at the Wolf Creek Park and Boating Facility in Grove, Okla., the angler from Carthage, Mo. brought in a special 4-bass tournament limit for 17.11 pounds. That gave him the tournament victory with a 4.28-pound average.
“Since its inception, American Bass Anglers has always taken great care to release alive every bass caught in every one of our tournaments as quickly as possible,” explained Chris Wayand, ABA tournament director. “Heat can stress fish in a livewell, which could lead to unnecessary mortality in bass. The more bass in the livewell, the more each one becomes stressed. With the heat factor becoming a major concern at the Grand Lake event, ABA officials, in conjunction with lake managers, reduced the number of bass each angler could bring to the scales from five to four for this tournament only. This change only affected the Boater Division in this one tournament at this time. Anglers in the Co-Angler Division are still allowed to bring in a maximum of three bass as usual.”
Stearnes stuck with a jig most of the day and it paid off. He caught 15 good keepers and went home with $2,200 in his pocket.
“There wasn’t as much boat traffic as the previous day,” Stearnes stated “I caught everything on a jig, a Gene Larew Biffle Bug or a big crankbait. I had a limit by 7:30 a.m. I ran to about 20 spots.”
In second among the boaters, Dane S. Coale from Norman, Okla. also landed his four keepers. He finished with 15.30 pounds. He anchored that sack with a 4.40 pounder.
“I threw a shaky head most of the day and caught about 10 keepers,” Coale revealed. “They were all quality keepers. I was fishing points. When the clouds were out, I was not getting any bites. In the last two hours of the tournament, I went to a big fish spot. I culled a couple times and caught my two biggest fish, both over four pounds. Both hit a jig.”
Cameron G. Foster of Wagoner, Okla. landed in the third spot. He put four bass on the scale for 14.53 pounds. One of his fish weighed 5.21 pounds, the second largest bass caught in the tournament and one of two fish exceeding five pounds. .
Taking the fourth position, Darin B. Crowder of Claremore, Okla. brought in four keepers for 14.02 pounds. Colton D. Coale from Blanchard, Okla. also brought in four keepers and finished fifth among the boaters with 13.75 pounds.
Nic G. Conger from Fort Smith, Ark. took the 11th spot with four bass weighing 12.08 pounds. One of them dropped the scales to 5.33 pounds, the tournament lunker.
In the Co-Angler Division, Justin Fuller of Broken Arrow, Okla. landed a 3-bass division limit for 9.89 pounds. That gave him an average of 3.30 pounds. Fuller anchored his sack with a 3.54-pound kicker.
“When we started, the topwater bite was on,” Fuller exclaimed. “We started culling by 7:30 a.m. I don’t know how many times I culled! After the topwater bite ended, we started moving around and throwing a little bit of everything, but mostly soft plastics. Later in the afternoon, we started hitting some points for bigger fish. Our bigger fish came from eight to 12 feet of water.”
Phillip W. DeLong of Stillwater, Okla. placed second for the co-anglers. He brought in three keepers for 8.47 pounds, topped by a 3.16-pounder.
DeLong won the Co-Angler Division in another tournament held on Grand Lake the previous day. In that event, DeLong caught three bass going 10.77 pounds. He anchored that bag with a 3.75-pound bass.
In the June 26 tournament, Berton E. Pritchett from Gentry, Ark. took third with three bass at 8.26 pounds. He capped that catch with 3.79-pounder, the second largest bass caught by any co-angler.
“We stayed close to the marina,” Pritchett said. “We didn’t go more than a mile or two from the ramp. We went up a creek flipping brush hogs around shallow bushes all day long. We were in two or three feet of water on a wind-blown bank. Once the sun got up higher, it pushed the fish closer to the cover. I caught a limit by around 9 a.m. and landed a total of six keepers. I caught my biggest fish around noon.”
Stephen D. Stewart from Fort Gibson, Okla. finished fourth for the co-anglers with three bass and 7.98 pounds. . Stewart moved up one notch from his performance in the June 25 tournament. In that event, he placed fifth with three keepers going 6.83 pounds.
In the June 26 event, Rocky Daughtry from Norman, Okla. finished fifth for the co-anglers with three bass going 7.54 pounds. Johnathan H. Harrison of Henryetta, Okla. took the ninth spot with two bass at 5.85 pounds.
The June 25 tournament was the second event of the Oklahoma Division 14 season. An event previously scheduled to take place May 21, 2022, at Fort Gibson Lake in Wagoner was postponed until June 26 and moved to Grand Lake as the third tournament in the season and the second event in the weekend doubleheader. During May 2022, heavy rains caused flooding conditions that made boating on Fort Gibson Lake hazardous at that time.
Another “makeup” event, a tournament previously scheduled for March 12 at Lake Tenkiller, will now be held as the 2022 final regular season tournament for Oklahoma Division 14. That March event was postponed because a strong winter storm hit the area at that time. That event will now run on July 30, but still at Lake Tenkiller near Cookson. It will launch at the Chicken Creek ramp. To register for this tournament CLICK HERE.
The division will also hold its 2-day championship on Sept. 24-25, 2022. That event will also run out Wolf Creek Park and Boating Facility in Grove. To register for this event, CLICK HERE.
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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