Close Finish on Lake Conroe
ATHENS, Ala. – Justin Buller of Willis, TX won the American Bass Anglers Open Series Oklahoma Division, held May 19th on Lake Conroe, with an excitingly close finish above the runner-up. Launching from Lakeview Marina in Conroe, TX the anglers went out for the day with clear skies, mild winds, and a harsh sun that stayed around most of the day with the wind picking back up closer to weigh-in. The boats launched for the day promptly at 6:00 am and returned to weigh-in at 2:00 pm.
Justin Buller was one of two anglers to breach the 26-pound mark across the scales, landing a full five-fish limit with a net weight of 26.44 pounds. Buller's largest bass of 7.66 pounds provided a strong anchor to lock in the lead. He managed to take home a $5000 check for his first-place winnings.
“In reality I had a rough morning,” Buller explained. “I was unable to cull at all today. In fact, I caught my last fish, my final keeper, on my way back in for check-in. Difficult day, but it just managed to be enough. Made out to be a good day in the end.”
In second place, shy of the leader by a mere 0.04 pounds, boater Gabe Alanis also of Willis, TX brought in five fish totaling at 26.40 pounds. Alanis also had the largest bass for the boaters, and overall, at 9.09 pounds. Together with his big bass award and second place finish, Alanis took home $560 for the day. With a point of honesty, Alanis was unavailable for comment regarding his day's fetch.
Rounding out the top three boaters, James Nitschke of Conroe, TX came in third place. He brought in a full limit of five fish, weighing in at 20.48 pounds. Although he was unable to close the 6-pound gap between himself and the 2nd place boater, he led the following 4th place angler by almost 5 pounds. Nitschke took home $200 for his catch.
“I caught three little ones first thing this morning, then started bumping one about every 30 minutes to an hour,” Nitschke said. “I caught about 20 fish but was only able to cull 2 or 3 times all day.”
Finishing in fourth place was Ronnie Wagner of Houston, TX, with a limit for 15.50 pounds, and in fifth place was Kris Wilson from Montgomery, TX with a 5-fish limit weighing 15.47 pounds. Both anglers took home checks of $100 for their time.
For the co-angler side of the house, Tyler Forrest out of Crosby, TX took home first place bragging rights with almost a 4.5-pound lead over the next angler. With three fish, one of which weighed 8.18 pounds, Forrest stacked up 15.03 pounds to maintain the lead at the end. His anchor fish was also the largest bass caught by the co-anglers. Forrest took home $900 for the winning placement and another $125 for his big bass.
“We were pretty much all over the lake, but started shallow,” stated Forrest. “There was a little bit of a top water bite, and then the wind started picking up. I switched over, going with a chatter bait, caught some fish, then headed back to this side of the lake. We fished deep the rest of the day. Lost a couple good ones, but we made the best out of the day we could.”
Coming in second for the co-anglers was Dustin Carlson from Montgomery, TX. Catching a limit bag with three fish, Carlson totaled out with 11.33 pounds to lock in the second-place finish. He pocketed a $400 check for his finish on the water.
“I had a boater that ended up being a great guide, Scott Peterson, and he turned me onto good fish,” said Carlson. “We were catching them all on different plastics, a shaky head, and a Carolina rig. Turned out to be a good day overall.”
Lining out third place for the co-anglers was Cody Hall, who came across the scales with three fish as well weighing in at 9.88 pounds. Hall's fish were pretty level across the board with no significantly larger kicker. He took home a check for $300.
“We ran North just a little way and managed to do our damage in that area,” explained Hall. “The heat did come into play towards the end of the day, but we maintained ok and came in solid for the weigh-in.”
In fourth place for the co-anglers was Brian Tolley of Victoria, TX with three fish weighing 9.32 pounds, while Jay Childs took the mark in fifth place with two fish totaling 6.40 pounds.
Slated for June 23rd, the next divisional tournament for the South Texas Division remains right here at Lake Conroe, launching from Lakeview Marina. At the end of the season, the best anglers from across the nation advance to the 2019 Ray Scott Championship, slated for the first week of April 2019 on Lake Eufaula, AL.
For more information on this tournament, call Chris Wayand, tournament manager, at 256-230-5627 or ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see http://www.abaopenseries.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 American Bass Anglers Open Series, the American Fishing Tour or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.
American Bass Anglers Inc. is supported by Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, Geico, Berkley, ABU Garcia, T-H Marine, Best Western Hotels, Maui Jim, Garmin, Sirius XM Marine weather and Optima Batteries.