SEPTEMBER 8, 2012—WALKER, MN—The father-and-son team of Bernie and Brad Ksionek sacked an impressive 18.72-pound, 5-fish limit to win top honors and $10,400 in cash at the Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit’s Leech Lake qualifier presented by Cabela’s.
“It’s a great day,” Bernie Ksionek, of Port Edwards, Wisconsin, grinned moments after topping the field of 103 anglers from six states in a wild shootout in front of a cheering crowd gathered lakeside at scenic Trapper’s Landing Resort.
“I’m just happy to be able to fish with Dad again and give him a win,” added Brad Ksionek, of Wausau, Wisconsin. He explained the team targeted 2 to 4 feet of water off a rocky island with patches of bass-holding lily pads. Swim jigs and Texas-rigged YUM Wooly Hawgtails were their go-to presentations.
The win earned them the $10,400 first-place check, along with a $500 Cabela’s gift card through the Cabela’s Angler Cash program, $250 PRADCO baits package for being the highest-finishing team using Bomber, Booyah, XCalibur and YUM products, $160 in U2 Pro Formula and Oxygenator contingencies, and a $100 prize package from Trigger X and Sufix.
Second-place finishers Troy Karafa, of Hebron, Illinois, and Wally Ciborowski, of Spring Grove, Illinois, weighed 18.61 pounds, worth $3,500 plus a $250 Optima Batteries contingency and $100 Normark prize pack. In third, Andy Young, of Mound, Minnesota, and Jim Pinke, of Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, cashed a $1,500 check plus a $100 Normark prize pack. In all, the top 10 teams shared a $20,800 payout plus thousands more in sponsor contingencies and Big Bass Pot winnings.
During the weigh-in, the Cabela’s NABC presented kids age 12 and under with rod-and-reel combos, courtesy of the National Professional Anglers Association and Pure Fishing. The tournament drew extensive media coverage. Representatives of North American Fisherman covered the event, and participated in photo shoots featuring Cabela’s NABC anglers and sponsor products after the event.
This was the fourth and final qualifier of the Cabela’s NABC’s 2012 season. The schedule included stops at Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago and Madison Lake chains, and Minnesota’s Gull Lake. The Circuit also crowned its 2012 Team of the Year. Minnesotans Will Pappa, of Lonsdale, and Austin Felix, of Eden Prairie, captured the coveted title and $2,000 in cash, plus a free entry into the Cabela’s NABC World Bass Championship, for accumulating 315.37 points in their three best 2012 finishes.
“We’re pumped,” beamed Felix. This is a great Circuit with a lot of really good sticks.” Besides the cash and Championship berth, the prestigious award carries prime bragging rights in the bassin’ world, since the Team of the Year topped a field of more than 200 anglers over the course of the season’s four events.
Wisconsin’s Casey Gallagher and Ty Cornell finished a close second in the Team of the Year race with 299.43 points, worth $1,000 in cash. Brian Korfmacher and Todd Brunson took home $500 for their third-place finish with 286.18 points, while Joseph Hall and Aaron LaRocque earned a free entry into the 2013 Cabela’s NABC qualifier of their choice for finishing fourth, with 281.24 points
With the regular season wrapped up, the Circuit moves on to the Cabela’s NABC World Bass Championship, set for Oct. 5-6 on Pools 4 and 5 of the Mississippi River. The event offers a $30,000 cash purse plus sponsor bonuses, and carries a $20,000 first-place paycheck. The invitation-only event will feature the top 10 overall teams in the season’s points race (based on best two finishes) and top 20 earlybird entries, or Premier Teams.
Founded in 2011, the Cabela’s NABC is open to all anglers regardless of club or sponsor affiliation. Its popular team format lets you choose your partner and cut your costs. Teams may fish one or all qualifying tournaments. Payouts are based on the number of teams entered in each event, not including sponsor bonuses from Cabela’s, Stratos Boats, Ranger Boats, Bomber, Booyah Bait Co., Optima, Oxygenator, Sufix, Trigger X, XCalibur and YUM.
Entry fees are $500 per team, and anglers may register by mail, fax or online. Full details and printable registration forms for the 2013 regular season will be available by December at northamericanbasscircuit.com.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is title sponsor of the North American Bass Circuit. Official sponsors include Ranger Boats, Stratos Boats and the North American Fishing Club. Supporting sponsors include Mercury Marine, Bomber Lures, Booyah Bait Co., Rapala, Sufix, Trigger X, XCalibur, YUM, Angler’s Pal-MarineTech Products, Wave Fishing, O2 Marine Technologies, Gemini Sport Marketing, Reflections, and Optima Batteries.