BATE AND KIRK SWEEP FIELD IN F.O.C.A.S. REND LAKE CHAMPIONSHIP
On Friday and Saturday August 3rd and 4th, F.O.C.A.S. (FEDERATION OF CHRISTIAN ANGLERS AND SPORTSMAN) tournament circuit held there 6th annual championship tournament at Rend Lake in Southern Illinois. This was the year end tournament for the 2007 season and launched out of the Sail Boat Harbor Access. There were thirty boats signed in to participate out of those who had qualified out of this year’s tournaments. On Thursday night they held a pre tournament meeting to draw take off positions as well as to discuss event rules.
Friday morning was very warm and calm and as is typical for Rend Lake this time of year very buggy. The word around the take off were that many had been catching fish. The results of other tournaments also showed that the lake had been producing good stringers coming into the event. Take off went smoothly and all that was left to see was how the field would respond to the hot and humid conditions forecast for the day.
At 2:00 PM the field began to return and no doubt about it the fishing had been hot as the weather. 27 of the 30 teams brought fish to the weigh in. Numerous teams had five fish limits and out side of the first place team there were lots of teams in striking distance. It was going to take someone to have a major second day of the first place team was going to have to take a big stumble. Here were the top three teams after day one.
1ST PLACE KIRK/BATE 5 FISH 16.13 LBS
2ND PLACE BIRCHER/HEINTZ 5 FISH 13.85 LBS
3RD PLACE FIELDS/SMOTHERS 5 FISH 13.58 LBS
First day B&R Outlaw Rod Big Bass Award was won by Paul Estel of Chester, IL and Keith Gale of Ava, IL. They caught their 5.59 pound lunker with a crawfish type bait at 8:00 AM in shallow water off of wood up in Casey branch. It earned them a check for $300.00.
1ST DAY B&R OUTLAW ROD BIG BASS-KEITH GALE AND PAUL ESTEL
Second day take off found the morning a little cooler and a little bit of air was moving. It was much clearer this morning so it was possible things could be different. Again everything went smoothly as the 30 boats left the Sail Boat Harbor Access. Time would only tell what the results would be.
As 2:00 PM rolled around and the boats started to show up it appeared that fishing had been good again today. For some the fishing had improved and for others it had slipped away from them. But for at least one team the old statement of “when you are hot you are hot “ held true.
The first day leaders had struck pay dirt again and brought in another good sack of fish to take a mammoth lead over the field. Jerry Bate of Ziegler, IL and Scott Kirk of Sesser, IL had the plan and the means and crushed the field. Their second day limit of 15.00 pounds gave them a total of 31.13 pounds and better than a 6 pound victory. First day they had caught their limit early using black and blue tubes and sweet beavers to load the boat. They were still catching fish but decided to leave their honey hole and look around for other possibilities. Maybe it was good that they left because on the second day again they had their limit early but they were the only five keepers they had for the day. In addition to the winning weight, on the second day they had the Big Bass for day two. For 1st Place they earned a check for $2500 with an additional $300 for their big fish.
Jerry is sponsored by Triton Boats, Mercury Motors, Motor Guide Trolling Motors, and Harrison Sport Center. Scott is sponsored by Ranger Boats and Yamaha Motors. Both of them are sponsored by Dunn’s Sporting Goods and Ziegler Outdoor and Feed.
1ST PLACE TEAM AND SECOND DAY BIG BASS- SCOTT KIRK AND JERRY BATE
In 2nd Place was the Husband and wife team of Melody and Bob Swisher of Mulkeytown, IL. They have appeared numerous times on the winner’s stand of FOCAS tournaments. Both days they weighed in limits with a weight of 11.52 pounds the first day and 13.58 pounds the second day making a total of 25.10 pounds for a $1400 check.
Working the north part of the lake the caught their fish with spinner baits fishing rock. They are sponsored by Caldwell Banker-Rex Rowland Realtors and Mighty Strike Lures.
2ND PLACE TEAM-BOB AND MELODY SWISHER
In 3rd Place was another FOCAS pair of regulars who are not strangers to collecting checks. The Father and Son team of Fred and Brian Hubler of Waterloo, IL had two consistent days of fishing. Two five fish limits of 12.47 pounds and 11.70 pounds gave them 24.17 pounds to capture a check for $1000. Catching all of their fish on chatter baits the first day they had to make changes on the second day when they could only catch one on the chatter bait. They changed locations and lure and caught another 4 keepers on tubes to help them earn their top finish position.
3RD PLACE TEAM- BRIAN AND FRED HUBLER
The 4th Place team took a slight stumble second day falling two places. Derek Bircher of Highland, Il and Tom Heintz of Waterloo, IL had five fish the first day they had caught on topwater baits very early and a weight of 13.85 pounds. The second day they were only able to get one top water fish and then switched to a Paca Craw rigged Texas style to catch 4 more fish for a weight of 9.78 pounds. It was still good enough to cash them a check for $500.00 and their plaques. They are sponsored by Eli Homes Inc of Waterloo,IL.
4TH PLACE TEAM-TOM HEINTZ AND DEREK BIRCHER
In 5th Place were Dave Mueller of Shiloh,IL and Ken Volkerding of Ofallon, IL. First day they caught 4 fish that went 9.09 pounds but they came back the second day with a much better stringer of 14.09 pounds which won them a check for $250. They worked hard and basically ran the lake to catch their fish and earn their rewards.
5TH PLACE TEAM-KEN VOLKERDING AND DAVE MUELLER
Check back next year for announcements about the F.O.C.A.S.’ schedule on http://www.focasoutdoormagazine.org/ or on 7/24 Outdoors.com in their up coming fishing schedules.