Prairie du Chien, Wisc.—Sept. 24, 2017—Minnesotans Will Pappa and Austin Felix rallied to claim the crown at the North American Bass Circuit’s 2017 Tournament of Champions Sept. 23-24 on the Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.
“We’re feeling really good right now!” exclaimed Pappa, of Lonsdale, moments after taking the title. “This has been one of our goals for a long time. We’d won an NABC qualifier, Team of the Year and cashed checks before but never won one of those fancy champions’ trophies until today.”
“We finally did it!” added Felix, of Eden Prairie. “We knew if we could put two consistent days together we’d have a shot at it, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Pappa and Felix tapped a hot wing dam pattern on day one for a 5-fish limit weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces. The weight put them in third place, where they trailed leaders Adam Hermsen and T.J. Maglio by nearly a pound. Undaunted, they stuck to their game plan on day two and added 16 pounds, 12 ounces to their tally for a leaderboard-topping 32-pound, 9-ounce total.
“Austin found a wing dam in practice that produced a lot of our better fish,” Pappa explained, noting that topwater spook-style baits were hot, with slow-moving jerkbaits a distant second. “A sweet spot on the wing dam produced fish until about 9 a.m.,” Felix added. “After that, we flipped jigs and plastics to laydowns and cutbanks.”
The champs collected more than $12,700 for their efforts, including the $9,000 cash payout and $2,716 cash from the option pot, plus a pair of custom champion’s trophies.
Rounding out the top three teams were:
2nd: Adam Hermsen and T.J. Maglio, 32-00, $4,000 cash
3rd: Josh Keeney and John Berrens, Jr., 29-13, $2,000 cash
In all, the Cabela’s NABC awarded a total payout of $25,756 in cash and prizes at this event. Over the course of the entire 2017 season, the NABC paid out $123,452 in cash and prizes, which represents a 120 percent payback on anglers’ entry fees.
A total of 139 bass weighing 356 pounds, 1 ounce crossed the scale at the St. Feriole Boat Launch and were returned to the Mississippi River in the Cabela’s NABC’s catch-and-release format. Big bass was a 5-pound, 8-ounce tank boated by Felix and Pappa.
This was the final event of the 2017 Cabela’s NABC season. Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, concludes its seventh year 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. 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.