Fishing & Boating News

Pipkens Takes Slim Opening-Round Lead At Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest On Lake Fork

by: Dave Precht, VP/Editorial & Communications, BASS

Chad Pipkens leads after Day 1 of Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife at Lake Fork with a whopping 31 lbs, 15 oz 
Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.
(May 2, 2019 - Lake Fork, TX)

When Chad Pipkens suffered a broken collarbone playing hockey back in early March, some people automatically assumed he was done fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series for the year.
 
But not only has he kept fishing, he’s actually been better since the freak accident happened.
 
The veteran pro from Lansing, Mich., caught five bass Thursday that weighed 31 pounds, 15 ounces and took the opening-round lead in the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on Lake Fork.
 
The catch gave Pipkens a 4-ounce lead over Brandon Cobb of South Carolina (31-11) and a 1-5 advantage over Texas pro Chris Zaldain (30-10) on a day when 19 competitors managed at least 20 pounds for their five-bass limits.
 
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to break anything else,” Pipkens said, laughing. “But being injured has definitely caused me to slow down and fish a little differently than I did before — and I think it’s showed in the way I’ve finished.”
 
Before Pipkens’ injury, he had 51st- and 54th-place finishes in the first two Elite Series events on the St. Johns River and Lake Lanier. After breaking his collarbone in three places and enduring a surgery that left him with a massive scar, he finished ninth in his next event at Lake Hartwell — his highest finish on the Elite Series since a fifth-place showing at the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship at Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., in 2015.
 
He actually got off to a slow start Thursday when he went looking for a couple of large bass he’d found on spawning beds during practice. When he realized those fish were gone, he tried to exploit a shad-spawn bite that has been hot all over the lake.
 
Since that particular bite happens early — and since he had wasted some time on the bedding fish — that didn’t work either.
 
Once he finally gave up on the supershallow possibilities, he started putting fish in the boat.
 
“I think my timing was just off in the morning, but it got right in the afternoon,” he said. “I rolled up to a place and caught a 4 1/2-pounder and nothing else. Then I went to another place and just lit them up.”
 
Since bass are weighed and released immediately after they’re caught during Texas Fest, Pipkens knew the weight of each individual bass he caught. His five biggest weighed 7-0, 6-14, 6-8, 6-5 and 5-4.
 
He said the major thunderstorms that moved through the region Wednesday night may have been the reason his early-morning tactics didn’t work.
 
“That thunder and lightning we had last night even shook me and woke me up,” Pipkens said. “I don’t know for a fact that it had anything to do with the fishing this morning. I just know the fishing wasn’t like it was in practice.”
 
Cobb, who grew up fishing for bass during the blueback herring spawn this time of year on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, devoted some of that knowledge to fishing the gizzard shad spawn on Fork Thursday — and it eventually paid off with 31-11.
 
His biggest five bass weighed 8-12, 7-2, 7-0, 4-12 and 4-1.
 
“I think the lightning had them a little messed up last night,” Cobb said. “I didn’t have a fish at 10 o’clock — and after the practice I had, I really didn’t expect to catch a fish after 10.
 
“It was a really tough day for me until I hit one little flurry.”
 
That flurry produced most of his weight in about 15 minutes.
 
“That’s the way it’s been for me all week long,” Cobb said. “If you run into them, it’s good. But if you don’t, it’s really tough.”
 
While the other anglers were tightlipped about which baits they were using and where, Zaldain was open about using a swimbait to catch the bulk of his 30-10 weight.
 
His bass weighed 7-6, 7-4, 5-12, 5-12 and 4-8.
 
“I’ve had some good days this year, but this was the most fun I’ve had all season,” Zaldain said. “This morning was just unbelievable with two 7 1/2-pound fish, two that were almost 6 pounds and a 4 1/2.
 
“I’m around them. I have a good idea of what the fish are doing right now.”
 
In addition to the $100,000 first-place prize and the $1 million total purse that will be split by the 75-angler field, the angler who catches the Toyota Tundra Big Bass of the week will earn a new Tundra. The competition for that award could be as interesting as the overall tournament itself.
 
The Top 10 bass caught Thursday each weighed 7-2 or better, and Cobb and Oklahoma pro Luke Palmer tied for first place, each with an 8-12.
 
The tournament will resume Friday with takeoff at 7 a.m. from Sabine River Authority in Quitman and weigh-in back at the same site at 3 p.m. The anglers will take a break from competition Saturday to sign autographs, conduct seminars and meet fans at a special Outdoors Expo.
 
The Expo will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with free demo boat rides, prize giveaways, food vendors and a live performance by country star Chris Knight at 4:15 p.m.


2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2019 Bassmaster Texas Fest Title Sponsor: Toyota
2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors:  Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird


2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors 


2019 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Beneficiary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 

2019 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Host Sponsors: Lake Fork Chamber, Wood County Industrial Commission, the Sabine River Authority, Quitman Economic Development Commission, Emory TX Tourism

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, BassPro.com Bassmaster Open Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.
 
2019 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department 5/2-5/6
                                Lake Fork, Emory  TX.

                           (PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  31-15  100
  Day 1: 5   31-15
2.  Brandon Cobb           Greenwood, SC            5  31-11   99
  Day 1: 5   31-11
3.  Chris Zaldain          Fort Worth, TX           5  30-10   98
  Day 1: 5   30-10
4.  Garrett Paquette       Canton, MI               5  28-12   97
  Day 1: 5   28-12
5.  Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  27-01   96
  Day 1: 5   27-01
6.  Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK             5  26-14   95
  Day 1: 5   26-14
7.  Drew Cook              Midway, FL               5  25-12   94
  Day 1: 5   25-12
8.  Brandon Card           Knoxville, TN            5  25-11   93
  Day 1: 5   25-11
9.  Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  22-13   92
  Day 1: 5   22-13
10. Lee Livesay            Gladewater, TX           5  22-10   91
  Day 1: 5   22-10
11. Jay Yelas              Lincoln City, OR         5  22-05   90
  Day 1: 5   22-05
12. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  21-08   89
  Day 1: 5   21-08
13. Derek Hudnall          Baton Rouge, LA          5  21-02   88
  Day 1: 5   21-02
14. Cory Johnston          Cavan CANADA             5  21-00   87
  Day 1: 5   21-00
15. Shane LeHew            Catawba, NC              5  20-13   86
  Day 1: 5   20-13
16. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  20-10   85
  Day 1: 5   20-10
17. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            5  20-06   84
  Day 1: 5   20-06
18. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               5  20-05   83
  Day 1: 5   20-05
19. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  20-01   82
  Day 1: 5   20-01
20. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           5  19-11   81
  Day 1: 5   19-11
21. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  19-08   80
  Day 1: 5   19-08
22. Patrick Walters        Summerville, SC          5  19-02   79
  Day 1: 5   19-02
23. Greg DiPalma           Millville, NJ            5  18-13   78
  Day 1: 5   18-13
24. Jeff Gustafson         Keewatin Ontario CANADA  4  18-08   77
  Day 1: 4   18-08
25. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              5  17-14   76
  Day 1: 5   17-14
26. Jesse Tacoronte        Kissimmee, FL            5  17-13   75
  Day 1: 5   17-13
27. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  17-07   74
  Day 1: 5   17-07
28. Seth Feider            New Market, MN           5  17-04   73
  Day 1: 5   17-04
29. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               5  17-00   72
  Day 1: 5   17-00
30. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  16-13   71
  Day 1: 5   16-13
31. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  16-02   70
  Day 1: 5   16-02
31. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             5  16-02   70
  Day 1: 5   16-02
33. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA  4  16-02   68
  Day 1: 4   16-02
34. Gary Clouse            Winchester, TN           5  16-00   67
  Day 1: 5   16-00
35. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  15-15   66
  Day 1: 5   15-15
36. Harvey Horne           Bella Vista, AR          5  15-13   65
  Day 1: 5   15-13
37. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  15-09   64
  Day 1: 5   15-09
38. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  15-07   63
  Day 1: 5   15-07
39. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          4  15-07   62
  Day 1: 4   15-07
40. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  15-05   61
  Day 1: 5   15-05
41. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  15-02   60
  Day 1: 5   15-02
42. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  14-14   59
  Day 1: 5   14-14
43. Scott Canterbury       Odenville, AL            5  14-07   58
  Day 1: 5   14-07
44. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA           5  14-06   57
  Day 1: 5   14-06
45. Chris Johnston         Peterborough Ontario CA  5  14-03   56
  Day 1: 5   14-03
46. Hunter Shryock         Newcomerstown, OH        3  14-03   55
  Day 1: 3   14-03
47. Mike Huff              Corbin, KY               3  13-14   54
  Day 1: 3   13-14
48. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  13-13   53
  Day 1: 5   13-13
49. Koby Kreiger           Alva, FL                 5  13-10   52
  Day 1: 5   13-10
50. Clark Wendlandt        Leander, TX              5  13-05   51
  Day 1: 5   13-05
51. Matt Arey              Shelby, NC               5  13-04   50
  Day 1: 5   13-04
51. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  13-04   50
  Day 1: 5   13-04
53. Randy Pierson          Oakdale, CA              5  12-15   48
  Day 1: 5   12-15
54. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  12-14   47
  Day 1: 5   12-14
55. Tyler Rivet            Raceland, LA             5  12-06   46
  Day 1: 5   12-06
56. Kyle Monti             Okeechobee, FL           5  12-03   45
  Day 1: 5   12-03
57. Chris Groh             Spring Grove, IL         4  12-03   44
  Day 1: 4   12-03
58. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           4  12-02   43
  Day 1: 4   12-02
59. Frank Talley           Temple, TX               5  11-14   42
  Day 1: 5   11-14
60. Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX              5  11-06   41
  Day 1: 5   11-06
61. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          5  11-05   40
  Day 1: 5   11-05
62. Brad Whatley           Bivins, TX               4  11-03   39
  Day 1: 4   11-03
63. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         5  11-01   38
  Day 1: 5   11-01
63. Bill Weidler           Helena, AL               5  11-01   38
  Day 1: 5   11-01
65. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  10-13   36
  Day 1: 5   10-13
66. Ed Loughran III        Richmond, VA             5  09-04   35
  Day 1: 5   09-04
66. Randy Sullivan         Breckenridge, TX         5  09-04   35
  Day 1: 5   09-04
68. Jake Whitaker          Fairview, NC             5  09-02   33
  Day 1: 5   09-02
68. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  09-02   33
  Day 1: 5   09-02
70. Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC           5  08-14   31
  Day 1: 5   08-14
71. Rob Digh               Denver, NC               3  08-06   30
  Day 1: 3   08-06
72. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            4  08-05   29
  Day 1: 4   08-05
73. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  4  06-07   28
  Day 1: 4   06-07
74. Quentin Cappo          Prairieville, LA         1  05-10   27
  Day 1: 1   05-10
75. Dale Hightower         Mannford, OK             2  05-08   26
  Day 1: 2   05-08

Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1        62       354      1221-03
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          62       354      1221-03