One ounce is all it take for Westmoreland and Ansell on the Mississippi

Westmoreland, Ansell Win Cabela’s North American Bass
Circuit’s Mississippi River Tournament


Presented by Mercury Marine


For Immediate Release –

La Crosse, Wisc.—July 20, 2013—Minnesotans Johnston Westmoreland and Al Ansell targeted unpressured largemouths lurking beneath backwater slop to win the Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit’s Mississippi River qualifier out of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Westmoreland, of Moose Lake. “When we finished third at the NABC tournament on Pokegama Lake in June, we lost by three ounces. We won this by an ounce!”

Lacrosse winners

Indeed, competition was fierce among the 74 teams vying for a share of more than $30,000.00 in cash and prizes up for grabs on Pools 7 and 8 of the Mississippi. Westmoreland and Ansell’s five backwater bucketmouths tipped the Cabela’s NABC scale at 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Their closest rivals were one ounce behind, while third place was just three ounces back with 17 pounds, 11 ounces.

“We were one of the first teams to weigh in, and our nerves were really going as we watched everyone else come to the stage,” added Ansell, also of Moose Lake. “I was shocked that we hung on to win.”

The winners purse was $12,500 which included $11,500 in cash and $1,000.00 in Cabela’s Gift Cards for taking first. Their strategy centered on locating weedy backwaters with pockets at least four feet deep, and water temperatures from 80 to 82 degrees. Ultimately, though, finding unfished bass was key. “When people throw topwater frogs on the slop, it leaves tracks,” said Westmoreland. “We looked for areas with no tracks.”

Ansell explained that both standard and popper-style frogs produced fish. He noted that stout tackle was key in extricating the bass from their sloppy surroundings. “We used heavy rods and 65-pound braid,” he said. “When you got a fish, you pulled until you couldn’t pull anymore.”

The Green Bay, Wisconsin, team of Gary Adkins and Kyle Carpenter collected the $4,500.00 prize for second place. Fifth-place finishers Jason Corrao, of Madison, Wisconsin, and Matt Stefan, of Park Ridge, Illinois, earned the $1,000 Cabela’s Angler Cash contingency for being the highest-placing team registered in the Cabela’s Angler Cash program. Wisconsinites Brian Post, of Janesville, and Joe Shaw, of Madison, won the $200 Optima Batteries True Blue contingency for their sixth-place finish.  

A total of 331 bass weighing 862 pounds, 3 ounces crossed the stage at the West Copeland Boat Launch, and a full 98 percent were returned to the river in the Circuit’s catch-and-release format. Big bass of the tournament was a 4-pound, 12-ounce beauty brought in by Dan McGarry, of Tomah, Wisconsin, and Travis Brugen, of Cashton, Wisconsin. Sixty-one of the 74 teams competing brought limits to the stage despite a cool front passing through the region, and falling water levels affecting fish location.

This was the third of four Cabela’s NABC North Region qualifying tournaments in 2013. The remaining schedule includes Leech Lake, Minnesota, out of Horseshoe Bay Lodge, Sept. 20-21; and the North Region Championship, set for Oct. 11-12 on Wisconsin’s Chippewa Flowage. In addition, the NABC South Region features qualifiers at Lake Hartwell, South Carolina, Sept. 7; and Clark’s Hill Lake, Georgia, November 9. The South Region Championship is set for Lake Lanier, Georgia, Dec. 7-8.

Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is in its third season as title sponsor of the NABC. Other sponsors include: Ranger Boats, Stratos Boats, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, Optima Batteries, O2 Marine Technologies and Sea Grant.

Based in Ponca City, Oklahoma, the Cabela’s NABC is open to two-person teams regardless of club or sponsor affiliation. Entry fees are $500 per regular season tournament and $600 for each two-day region championship. Payback is 80 percent at the event, with the balance to support the championship and angler of the year prizes. In addition, a small donation is included in each entry fee and matched by NABC and other conservation organizations up to 3-to-1 in support bass conservation projects anywhere NABC does business.

Registration remains open through the Sunday night prior to each tournament or until the field fills. For more information, visit, email, or call (580) 765-9031.