SEPTEMBER 25, 2011—WALKER, MN—Minnesotans Buckley Smith and John Roundsley carved their names in bass fishing history by weighing in 34.95 pounds to win the North American Bass Circuit’s first-ever NABC World Bass Championship, held on Minnesota’s mighty Leech Lake.
Their 10-fish NABC limit of beefy largemouths earned them a $20,000 first-place check in the two-day event, along with a $1,000 Ranger Cup bonus and a great prize package including Rapala, Trigger X and Sufix products.
“It’s a great experience,” said Roundsley, of Brainerd. “Buckley and I have been tournament fishing together for three years and had some good finishes, but this takes the cake.” The majority of their fish came from three feet of water in a reed bed in Waboose Bay, on jigs tipped with soft-plastic craws.
After an exciting season spanning three states and thousands of acres of prime bass water, the Circuit’s inaugural season drew to a dramatic close at the Championship, held out of Trapper’s Landing Lodge on the lake’s scenic south shore.
As the weigh-in crowd held its breath, Roundsley and Buckley edged out reigning NABC Team of the Year, fellow Minnesotans Keith Tuma, of Baxter, and Jim Smith, of Brainerd, who tallied 34.83 pounds. “It’s still sinking in to get this win against the best of the best,” added Smith, of Lindstrom.
The event pitted the NABC’s top 25 teams in an all-out bassin’ brawl that treated the weigh-in crowd to numerous lead changes, big bass and hefty baskets. Teams earned a berth in the invitation-only Championship at the Circuit’s three qualifiers. The NABC’s first season started strong on Wisconsin’s bass-rich Lake Winnebago Chain June 11, and teams battled on Michigan’s Big and Little Bays de Noc July 30. Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka hosted the final qualifier August 19.
In all, the top seven teams shared the $30,000 cash payout plus $1,250 from the Big Bass Pot and sponsor contingencies. Tuma and Smith earned $4,000 for second place, plus the $1,000 Cabela’s Angler Cash bonus and U2 contingency.
The Leech Lake fishery produced largemouths on a variety of presentations. Two-hundred and three largemouths weighing a total of 602.93 pounds were weighed in under the NABC’s catch-and-release format. The Circuit’s Bass Conservation Fund donated $15 per boat to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for fisheries projects on the Leech Lake system. To date, the NABC and its sister trail—the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit—has donated more than $300,000 to fisheries projects in states where its tournaments are held.
Following the Day One weigh-in, the NABC and National Professional Anglers Association presented kids age 12 and under with great gifts, including free rod-and-reel combos, free tackle packages from Northland Fishing Tackle, NPAA “Future Pro” T-Shirts and more.
This was the final event of the NABC’s inaugural season, and plans are already under way for 2012. The NABC is open to all anglers. And its popular team format—which lets you choose your partner and cut your costs—has stood the test of time for 26 tournament seasons on the Cabela’s MWC. For details visit northamericanbasscircuit.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Title sponsors of the NABC include Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, Ranger Boats, Stratos Boats and the North American Fishing Club. Supporting sponsors include Mercury Marine, Rapala, Sufix, Trigger X, Detwiler-MarineTech Products, Gemini Sports Marketing, Wave Fishing, O2 Marine Technologies and Optima Batteries.