UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Vaughn claims co-angler crown on Mississippi

Vaughn claims co-angler crown on Mississippi
Brien Vaughn of Kinmundy, Ill., proudly displays his first-place check after capturing the co-angler title at Fort Madison.

FORT MADISON, Iowa - During the final day of Stren Series competition on the Mississippi River, the entire co-angler field combined to catch exactly five keeper bass. The good news for Brien Vaughn was that he caught three of them.

As a result of his catch, Vaughn managed to leapfrog from fourth to first place overall on the day when it mattered most, capturing the tournament title and a brand-new Ranger boat valued at $30,000 in the process.

"It feels good," said Vaughn, a resident of Kinmundy, Ill. "Yesterday I lost a 4-pounder, so that hurt. But today I had two fish in the boat within 10 minutes. Then, at about 1:15 p.m., I pulled up to a log and caught my third fish. It was nerve-wracking. But it was a great week overall."

Vaughn credited his win to his extensive fishing experience on the Ohio River.

Co-angler Brien Vaughn weighs in his catch en route to victory on the Mississippi River."I fish river chains back home, so I know how to adapt when the conditions change," said Vaughn. "The water was dropping today, so I knew the fish were going to pull back. So I needed to move out a little deeper and make sure that I didn't fish all the way to the bank. So having that experience on the Ohio River, knowing what to do, that really helped me."

Vaughn said that he targeted bass by flipping a 3/8-ounce black-and-blue jig tipped with a Zoom Super Chunk trailer.

And how did he feel about getting his first major win during such difficult conditions?

"I'm speechless right now," said Vaughn. "This is one of my biggest accomplishments of my career."

Baldwin finishes in runner-up position

Co-angler Brad Baldwin of Dayton, Ohio, finished the Stren Series event at Fort Madison in second place.During the second day of Stren Series tournament action, Brad Baldwin of Dayton, Ohio, turned in a Herculean effort, shooting up the leaderboard from a tie for 100th place to first place overall. Unfortunately for Baldwin, he couldn't quite duplicate that effort in the finals.

In the end, Baldwin's three-day catch of 9 pounds, 5 ounces was only good enough for second place.

"I had a 1-pound, 2-ounce lead heading into the finals, and I thought if I could just catch one fish, everyone else would have to catch at least three fish to catch me," said Baldwin. "There weren't a lot of people who caught three fish this week. But as it turned out, Vaughn caught three today.

"Honestly, though, I had a good week," Baldwin continued. "When you come back to the finals with only one fish, you really can't expect to win."

Baldwin said he mixed up his bait selection quite a bit this week, given the constantly changing conditions.

"I threw a little bit of everything this tournament," said Baldwin. "Today I was pitching a tube and targeting lay-downs. And I wound up catching my only fish today, with 15 minutes left to go, on a crankbait."

In the end, Baldwin said he was happy with his performance overall.

"It was a good week," said Baldwin, who won $2,700 in prize money. "I've had a few second places, and I'd just like to win one of these just one time. But I have no complaints."

Yoder grabs third

On the strength of an 8-pound total catch, Rod Yoder of West Lafayette, Ind., took home third place overall at the Stren Series Fort Madison event.On the strength of an 8-pound total catch, Rod Yoder of West Lafayette, Ind., took home third place overall as well as a check for $2,000.

"I had a great week," said Yoder. "It's really hard to describe the thrill of running down a lake on the final day of competition. And catching of a fish on the last day, that's just a bonus."

Yoder said he targeted bass using a Zoom Brush Hog in a green-pumpkin color.

Woods nets fourth place

Kenny Woods of Hazard, Ky., finished the day in fourth place overall after turning in a three-day catch weighing 6 pounds, 9 ounces.

Although Woods acknowledged that the weather was trying at times, he said he couldn't have been happier with his performance.

"Today was a good day to be alive," said Woods. "The weather was much better, and the boat ride was much smoother. On Thursday, I was staring to question my sanity. But although the fishing has been tough, I've had a great time this tournament. I really enjoyed myself."

For his efforts, Woods walked away with over $1,700 in prize money.

Best of the rest

Dennis Marcinek of Chicago finished in fifth place overall with a catch of 5 pounds, 14 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler finalists:

6th: Sunny Hawk of Salt Lake City, 5-5
7th: Dan Goeke of West Point, Iowa, 5-5
8th: Andrew Bray of Clinton Township, Mich., 5-4
9th: Derek Kaalberg of Rock Island, Ill., 4-13
10th: Brian O'Neill of Sandwich, Ill., 4-13

Stren Series Central Division action resumes at Lake of the Ozarks, scheduled to take place Oct. 1-3 at Osage Beach, Mo.

Tags: gary-mortenson  co-angler-headline  2009-08-20-mississippi-river 

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