Keeney, Berrens Launch Offshore Bronzeback Blitz To Win Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit
Bays de Noc Qualifier
Presented by Stratos Boats
Escanaba, Mich.—July 29, 2017—Wisconsin’s Josh Keeney and John Berrens, Jr., dialed in the offshore tube bite to tank a 5-bass limit of smallmouths weighing 26 pounds, 1 ounce, and win the Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit’s Bays de Noc regular season qualifier presented by Stratos Boats July 29.
“To come out on top of such an elite field on a fishery like this is incredible,” said Keeney, of Winneconne. “These are the best bass anglers in this part of the country, and after the weigh-in they were the first ones to congratulate us.”
“It’s a great feeling,” added Berrens, of Weyauwega. “There are some great sticks who bring in huge bags on this body of water. I guess we stumbled onto the right bites at the right time.”
Keeney and Berrens focused on Big Bay de Noc’s legendary offshore fishery, where they dragged ¼-ounce tube jigs on reefs in 4 to 8 feet of water. Berrens noted that their Garmin electronics played a pivotal role in finding fish-holding areas in the massive system. “The Panoptix sonar (which lets anglers see around the boat in real time and three dimensions) helped us find prime structure off to the side of the boat, without driving over it,” he said.
Their limit was spread out throughout the day. “We got a keeper right away and then a fish here and there until we caught our last keeper during the last hour,” said Keeney.
In a testament to the quality of the Bays de Noc smallmouth population, each of their bass topped the 5-pound mark. “The smallest was 5-1 and the biggest was 5-11,” said Keeney reported. “We’ll take that any day, on any body of water.”
Regulars on the NABC trail, Keeney and Berrens were quick to note the sportsmanship and camaraderie exhibited by circuit anglers. “We had another tournament boat near us in one area, but they were very cordial and kept their distance,” he noted. “That’s one of the things I love about fishing the NABC. The competition is intense, but the anglers are all professional, respectful and courteous.”
The victors collected a cool $4,600 for their efforts, including the $3,600 first-place cash payout, plus the $1,000 Garmin Grand Giveaway contingency.
Rounding out the top four teams were:
2nd: Bob Ahrndt, Chad Kurowski, 25-06, $1,800 cash, plus $2,716 from the option pot and $500 from the big fish pot
3rd: Kevin Dillingham, Dan Goldberg, 25-04, $1,100 cash, plus $250 from the big fish pot
4th: Jason Corrao, Shaun Kruzitski, 25-00, $722 cash, plus $250 from the big fish pot
In all, the Cabela’s NABC awarded a total payout of $11,938 in cash and prizes.
A total of 111 bass weighing 473 pounds, 4 ounces crossed the scale at Escanaba Harbor and were returned to the Bays de Noc system in the Cabela’s NABC’s catch-and-release format. Big bass was a 6-pound, 11-ounce behemoth bronzeback caught by Bob Ahrndt and Chad Kurowski.
Based in Escanaba and hosted by the Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau, this was the third of four 2017 Cabela’s NABC qualifiers. The regular season concludes on Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota, August 19. A special NABC Open and the Tournament of Champions are set for September 23-24 on the Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is in its seventh season as title sponsor of the NABC. Other sponsors include: Ranger Boats, Stratos Boats, Mercury Marine, Garmin and G-Juice.
Based in Ponca City, Oklahoma, the Cabela’s NABC is open to two-person teams regardless of club or sponsor affiliation. Entry fees are $400 per regular season tournament and for the NABC Open.
Along with an overall payback to anglers well in excess of 100 percent, a small donation is included in each entry fee and matched by the NABC and other conservation organizations up to 3-to-1 in support of bass conservation projects anywhere the NABC does business.
For more information, visit northamericanbasscircuit.com, email email@example.com, or call (580) 765-9031.