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Stephens Wins Championship on Lake Wylie

Michael Stephens of Gastonia, North Carolina won the American Bass Anglers Ram Truck Open Series Area 4 Championship between the North Carolina and South Carolina divisions tournament, held August 27th & 28th on Lake Wylie.

Running out of the Buster Boyd Landing near York, South Carolina, Michael caught eight bass over a two day period weighing a total of 20.19 pounds with a 4.40-pound kicker. For the Boater division victory, Stephens took home a check for $10,000 and will be receiving a new SIMMS Challenger rainsuit from SIMMS for his win.

“Yesterday (Saturday) was real rough, I had two keepers come off that I really needed. I went up the river and flipped trees and some top water. Today (Sunday) the rain from last night dirtied up some pockets with the wind blowing in them and some shad were schooling and flipped some trees and got some key bites that I got them in the boat.”  Stephens said.  

In second for the Boaters, Richard Bradford of Hoffman, South Carolina landed eight bass totaling 19.90 pounds. He collected $1,500 for the effort. “I caught all my fish both days on a Missile Baits D-Bomb in two feet of water or less around docks and grass.” Bradford said. 

Bryan New of Belmont, North Carolina took third for the Boaters with nine bass totaling 19.77 pounds. He earned $1,000. “I was just fishing bream beds and covering as much water as I could.” New said.

Finishing in fourth place, Jason Wilson of Lincolnton, North Carolina weighing in eight bass totaling 19.45 pounds. He earned $900 for his efforts.

Rounding out the top five was Kelly Logan of Morganton, North Carolina weighing in eight bass totaling 19.18 pounds. He collected $775 for his efforts.

The Biggest Bass for the Boaters was caught by Seth Ellis of Lillington, North Carolina and Jason Wilson of Lincolnton, North Carolina who each had a 4.42-pound kicker, however, Wilson was not in the optional Big Bass pot and Ellis pocketed $670. “I caught the big one on top water around 10:30 am," Ellis said.

In the Co-Angler division, George Hirapetian of Charlotte, North Carolina won with six bass totaling 11.67 pounds over a two day time period. He pocketed a check for $5,000 and will also be receiving a new SIMMS Challenger rainsuit from SIMMS for his win.

“I only had seven keepers and I lost one 2 ½ pounder that I knew was going to hurt me. Saturday, I caught everything on a pink floating worm and Sunday I caught everything on a shakeyhead and a green pumpkin floating worm. The trick was to fish very slow, I would let it sit sometimes 20 minutes before I got a bite. I was using braided line with a 6lb fluorocarbon leader. I would like to thank my partners for both days and thanks to ABA for having better tournaments this year with better payouts.” Hirapetian said. 

Taking second for the Co-Anglers, Hunter Harwell of Hickory, North Carolina brought in five bass totaling 10.33 pounds. He collected $700 for the effort. “I caught my fish both days flipping trick worms and senkos. Day one I landed two keepers and had a third one, probably 2 ½ pounds, break my line. That one ultimately cost me the tournament. Today (Sunday) went better, I caught some on a worm and some on a carolina-rig.”  Harwell said.

Sammy Freeman of Columbia, South Carolina placed third among the Co-Anglers with four bass weighing 8.95 pounds. He earned $500. “Saturday I started out throwing a spinnerbait and that didn’t work so I threw a Zoom trick worm at every piece of timber we could find. Today we channel fished and I threw a Zoom Ol’ Monster Texas-rigged and dug them out. Slow old timey fishing.” Freeman said.

In fourth place among the Co-Anglers, James Akins of Cumming, Georgia brought in five bass weighing 8.81 pounds.

Dylan Ballard of Canon, Georgia finished in fifth place with four bass weighing 7.68 pounds.

The Biggest Bass for the Co-Anglers was caught by Chris Odom of Charlotte, North Carolina that weighed 3.86 pounds, however, Odom was also not in the optional Big Bass pot and Clyde Whiteside of Forrest City, North Carolina pocketed $300 for a big bass that weighed 3.78 pounds.

Don Goodfellow of Simpsonville, SC was the winner of a $100 Best Western Travel Card at the two day event, August 27th and August 28th, Ram Truck Open Series event at Lake Wylie. Goodfellow lodged at the host Best Western hotel during the event and he was entered into the Best Western Travel Card drawing. There is a drawing for a $100 Best Western travel card at every Ram Truck Open Series event that has a Best Western host hotel. Anglers must bring their Best Western hotel receipts to registration to enter the drawing.

The top 20 Boaters and top 20 Co-Anglers, by place of finish at this event, advance to the 2017 Ray Scott Championship, slated for Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, TN in April of 2017. 

For more information on this tournament, call Billy Benedetti, tournament manager, at (256)230-5632 or ABA at (256)232-0406. On line, see www.ramopenseries.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 offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Ram Truck Open Series, the American Fishing Tour or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.



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