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Heading into the second event of this year’s PAA Bass Pro Shops
Tournament Series Presented by Carrot Stix, smart money was on Stacey
King to challenge for the title. Conventional wisdom was not
overturned this week as King led the tournament from wire to wire with
three limits of bass that totaled 58.52 pounds.
His 1 1/2-pound day one lead dwindled to just over a pound
yesterday, but on the strength of a massive 22.99 limit today, he claimed
the title by more than 6 pounds.
For his efforts, he won $5,000 in cash and a new Nitro Z-8 with a Mercury 225 Optimax outboard and TH-Marine Atlas jackplate.
King also had the biggest single bass of the tournament today, a 6.22-pound largemouth that earned him a Humminbird 898c SI combo.
The remainder of the top five, in order, included Hefty pro Mike
McClelland, Frog Tape pro Brian Travis, Booyah pro Terry Butcher and
reigning PAA Angler of the Year, Gene Larew pro Tommy Biffle.
While King cemented his status as Table Rock royalty with the victory,
behind every good man there’s a good woman. In this case the queen, also
named King, is his wife Peggy.
â€œI really didn’t have a lot of confidence going into today,â€ the Nitro
pro said. â€œI told Peggy that this morning. You think I didn’t get a butt
Apparently the butt chewing she dished out sunk into his brain in a
hurry. He caught the tournament’s big fish on his second cast of the
day. King used a variety of lures, including jigs and swimbaits, but
related that every fish he brought to the scale this week came on one
of two oversized plastic worms â€“ a Bass Pro Shops 12-inch Squirmin’ Worm
and a 13-inch straight-tailed hand pour.
King credited some of this morning’s success to second place finisher Mike McClelland.
â€œNormally, I like to fish that big worm fast,â€ King said. â€œBut yesterday
on stage Mike said something about having to slow down to get better
bites. This morning early I fished it real slow.â€ That made a huge
difference. He had enough weight to win within the first few hours.
â€œBig fish like big baits, especially in the summertime.â€
King confirmed that he’d have thrown even larger worms if he could find some.
He did his damage on tapering points that abutted the river channel.
McClelland’s weights improved each day, and if it weren’t for King’s massive limit,
his 22-pound bag would have been the biggest of the tournament. Like
King, he fished large profile baits all week. They included a Jewel
football-head jig with a Zoom Brush Hog as a trailer, a big Zoom Ol’ Monster worm
and an unnamed swimbait.
â€œIn a tournament like this, you have to make up your mind to fish for fewer bites with big baits,â€ he said.
After an uncharacteristically difficult Elite Series season, McClelland hoped that this event would be his â€œslump-buster.â€ He cost himself the chance to win by starting in the wrong place on day
one. He didn’t land his first keeper that day until nearly 1 o’clock and
managed to salvage the day with over 12 pounds in the last few hours.
While a runner-up finish can be disappointing, McClelland had a positive
outlook about the angler who beat him.
â€œThis is where I learned to bass fish,â€ he said. â€œIf I’m going to get
beat here, I want to get beat by Stacey King. When I was 16 years old, he
took me under his wing and took me out on the Bassmaster tour with him.
He’s one of the most incredible anglers I’ve ever been around.â€
Biffle and Travis spent most of their day flipping and each had his
lightest limit of the tournament. Biffle burned a lot of gas and a lot
of baits to amass his 45.26 pound total catch.
â€œI’d go up and fish one tree, then run two to three miles or up to ten
miles to the next one,â€ Biffle said. â€œYou’ve got to be fortunate to get
the big bites and then when you get them you have to be lucky to get
them out of the bushes. I probably went through 200 to 300 Biffle Bugs
in the past three days.â€
The next tournament in the PAA Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series
Presented by Carrot Stix will take place August 18-20 on Alabama’s Neely
Henry Lake near Gadsden, Alabama.