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Bad to the Bone

Co-angler Patrick Bone holds up his trophy for winning the FLW Tour event on Table Rock Lake.

BRANSON, Mo. - With one event remaining in the 2011 Walmart FLW Tour season, Patrick Bone owned a 38-point lead in the Co-angler of the Year race. But after zeroing on the second day at Pickwick Lake, Bone tumbled to third. At that moment, Bone made the conscious decision to quit fishing conservatively and instead fish to win. Three tournaments later, he accomplished that goal.

Bone's victory on Table Rock Lake almost never happened. Yesterday at 2:50 p.m. he had only three squeakers in the livewell. With 15 minutes left to fish (he was due in 3:15 and was 10 minutes away), he caught a 4-pounder and a 3-pounder. And today, he caught one of his two keepers with only a minute to spare.

"I just kept my head down all week," Bone said. "That's what you have to do is keep your head down and grind it out. It was a confidence deal. I knew if I put it in front of one, they'd bite."

The Cleveland, Ga., native had no practice after competing as a pro in the EverStart Southeast Division Co-angler champion Patrick Bone holds up his $25,000 check.event on Lake Seminole. He flew to Missouri on Wednesday and with no current fishing knowledge decided to use a Texas-rigged Zoom Brush Hog.

"The first few days I was flipping buck brush. When we were shallow, I'd use a 3/8-ounce Tiger Tungsten weight. Today we fished deeper so I used a bigger 1/2-ounce weight."

Despite temptations to downsize baits in an attempt to trigger more bites, Bone stuck with the Brush Hog.

"I came here to win. I didn't fish for bites or points. Last year I fished for points."

Part of the reason Bone fished to win is that he can't compete for a full FLW Tour season. In addition to fishing the EverStarts as a pro, he also qualified for the 2012 Walmart BFL All-American as a boater.

"I'm putting all my eggs in the All-American basket. I know that can change your life if you win. So that's where I'm focusing all my effort. If I win the All-American, I get to fish the Forrest Wood Cup on my home water - Lake Lanier."

Bone's two largemouths weighed only 4 pounds, 1 ounce, but they were enough to seal the deal. For a total weight of 27 pounds, 11 ounces, he earned $25,000.

"I've said it a lot of times. They could give away a box of doughnuts at a tournament and these guys would still work just as hard to win. The money's good, but it's (about) winning.

"All of the blood, the sweat and the traveling - it's awesome."

Bertrand retains second

Day-one leader Brock Bertrand was on pins and needles during the final weigh-in. With a tough bite and an ultra-tight leaderboard, he knew it could go several different ways. When his weight was Co-angler Brock Bertrand finished the Table Rock Lake event in second place.called, he was ecstatic to have bested Nick Hensley by only 2 ounces. But moments later, Bone bested him by just 6 ounces.

Bertrand's day in the spotlight was Thursday when he boated a monster 19-pound, 2-ounce stringer from the back of Terry Seagraves' boat. From there, it was a struggle for the Fayetteville, Ark., native. His two bass Saturday weighed 4 pounds, 6 ounces, giving him a three-day weight of 27 pounds, 5 ounces.

Bertrand's consolation prize is a check worth $7,500. And the next stop on the Tour is Beaver Lake, his home water.

Rest of the best

Hensley's Table Rock tournament got off to a slow start as he caught just two bass on day one weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces. On day two, he caught a limit worth 12-2 and rose from 46th to 15th. On the final day of competition, he caught four bass weighing 10 pounds, 5 ounces and rose all the way to third.

The Cumming, Ga., native finished the tournament with 27 pounds, 3 ounces and earned $5,000.

Jerry Reagan of Byrdstown, Tenn., was the only co-angler to catch a five-bass limit Saturday. His stringer officially weighed 9 pounds, 9 ounces, giving him a total weight of 27 pounds, 1 ounce. Reagan's fourth-place finish earned him $4,000.

JR Wright of Truckee, Calif., finished in fifth place after catching three bass Saturday weighing 6 pounds even. Wright, a former FLW Tour champion, said he had the fish on to win this week. He finished the event with a total weight of 25 pounds, 15 ounces - earning $3,000.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers at the FLW Tour event on Table Rock Lake:

6th: Steve Redwine of Blue Ash, Ohio, 25-4, $2,500
7th: Steven Meador of Bella Vista, Ark., 25-1, $2,000
8th: Chad Pipkens of Holt, Mich., 24-8, $1,800
9th: Casey Martin of New Market, Ala., 24-6, $1,700
10th: Hector De La Garza of Rockwall, Texas, 24-5, $1,600

Tags: brett-carlson  co-angler-headline  2012-03-29-table-rock-lake 

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