Cummings Leads Bass Fishing Championship on Bull Shoals LakeCummings Leads Bass Fishing Championship on Bull Shoals Lake Derek Cummings, 34, from Mason, Mich., leads The Bass Federation National Championship bass fishing tournament after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces on the opening day at Bull Shoals Lake
BRANSON, Mo. (March 12, 2009) - Northern Division boater Derek Cummings, 34, from Mason, Mich., leads The Bass Federation National Championship bass fishing tournament after catching five bass weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces on the opening day at Bull Shoals Lake. The catch was the heaviest of the first day, giving Cummings a slim 4-ounce lead over fellow Northern Division rival Nicholas Smyers of Franksville, Wis., in the race to win the "Living the Dream" $100,000 prize package that includes berths into two events - the Forrest Wood Cup and the Bass Fishing League All-American.
"I caught fish all day long," said Cummings. "I pulled off my spot around nine this morning and I know there are more there, but I wanted to save them as I knew I had a good sack. I tried some new areas and others that I planned on fishing this tournament and everywhere I pulled up on had fish."
Cumming said he was throwing a crankbait and will continue the same methods tomorrow. "I am going to do the same thing tomorrow," he said. "I am not sure what spot I will head to as I have another spot that is on fire."
In addition to the championship berths, the TBF National Championship will also award $10,000 and a "Living the Dream" prize package to the first-place boater. The package includes use of a "Living the Dream" wrapped Chevy truck and Ranger boat powered either by Evinrude or Yamaha, sponsor merchandise and paid entry fees into the winner's choice of either the 2010 Walmart FLW Tour or Walmart FLW Series to compete against top bass anglers.
Anglers from six nationwide TBF divisions competed during 2008 and qualified through a series of TBF club, TBF state and TBF divisional tournaments to compete in the no-entry-fee TBF National Championship.
Rounding out the division-leading boaters are Brandon Craner of Filer, Idaho (Western Division, 17-3); Daniel Ellis of Gleason, Tenn. (Southern Division, 16-10); Zachary King of Clarksville, Ark. (Central Division, 15-3); Brent McNeal of Huntingdon, Pa. (Mid-Atlantic Division, 14-3); and Jim Gildea of Weston, Mass. (Eastern Division, 12-7).
Overall there were 186 bass weighing 472 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 44 boaters. The catch included 27 five-bass limits.
Mark Modrak of China Township, Mich., led the co-angler challengers Thursday with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces. Representing the Northern Division, Modrak caught his limit while fishing with Central Division boater Zachary King. King is currently leading his division with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 3 ounces.
"Being a co-angler is something new to me," Modrak said. "I am used to being in the front of the boat, but my boater today gave me a lot of freedom. I had an excellent boater."
Modrak caught all but one of his fish on a crankbait, with the other on a jerkbait. "My first fish came real quick and then there was a lull," he said. Then about 1:30 [p.m.], they turned on. I have always wanted to fish the All-American, so if I can do good, this could give me the ammunition to fish the FLW Tour or Series."
If Modrak holds on for the win, he will earn a $5,000 cash prize and a berth into the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup for a chance to fish for as much as $50,000. He will also earn a berth into the BFL All-American along with the top co-angler from each TBF division for a chance to fish for as much as $70,000.
Rounding out the division-leading co-anglers are Kenny Pannell of Springville, Ala. (Southern Division, 13-2); Jerry Necaise of Long Beach, Miss. (Central Division, 12-9); Rueben Williams of Rice, Va. (Mid-Atlantic Division, 12-9); David Martinez of Tucson, Ariz. (Western Division, 7-4); and Chris Bowker of Marshfield, Mass. (Eastern Division, 6-4).
Overall there were 108 bass weighing 227 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 44 co-anglers. The catch included 11 five-bass limits.
K Dock Marina will host takeoff Friday and Saturday at 7 a.m. Anglers will weigh in Friday at 4 p.m. at the Branson Convention Center located at 200 E. Main Street in Branson. Saturday's weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. at the Branson Convention Center followed by the FLW Tour weigh-in at 4 p.m. FLW Tour anglers will return to the convention center Sunday for their final weigh-in at 4 p.m.
The entire field of 44 TBF boaters and 44 co-anglers compete Thursday and Friday for an accumulated two-day weight. The top boater and co-angler from each of the TBF's six divisions will advance to Saturday's final round, where the winners will be determined by the heaviest three-day accumulated weight.