The conditions changed as expected on Day Two of the 2018 Bass Cat Owners Invitational and the team of Kyle Presley and Justin Yarbrough changed with them to claim the victory. They added 13.20 pounds to their Day One weight of 13.03 to outlast 390 boats and to beat the second-place team of Willie McCord and Wesley Rodgers by nearly two and a half pounds.
Presley and Yarbrough are no stranger to winning big tournaments in Arkansas. Presley and his father won a prior Owners Invitational, and Presley and Yarbrough previously won the Cystic Fibrosis Benefit Bass Tournament. Due to work obligations, they did not practice for this tournament, but prior knowledge and a willingness to adapt earned them the victory.
The other teams in the top five included:
- 2nd Willie McCord/Wesley Rodgers, 23.79 lbs.
- 3rdJay Hardcastle/Dusty Hardcastle, 23.64 lbs.
- 4th Randy Reese/John Hill, 23.57 lbs.
- 5th Justin Brackett/Jarrod Frazier, 23.54 lbs.
Yesterday’s leaders, Steve and Phillips Isley, only brought three fish to the scales today and that dropped them to 17th overall.
On Friday, Presley and Yarbrough culled their way through nine keepers, mostly using a Buckeye Spot Remover shakey head with a green pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm, amassing a limit by 9:30 am. Later in the day, Kyle caught two of their better fish on a jerkbait. “We were fishing ‘ledgey’ stuff on a 15 foot break,” Justin said.
When heavy storms rolled in last evening, they expected the offshore finesse bite to remain consistent, so they were surprised that it failed to produce early. They caught one on a jerkbait and one bare keeper on the shakey head before Justin launched a spinnerbait as far back into a pocket as he good and got hammered by a solid keeper. Then he added a 3 pound 6 ounce kicker on the same bait in a foot of water.
By 3 pm, they still only had four fish in the livewell, but they ran up to Cranfield and Presley added two more, culling once. They might still have won without a limit fish but it would have been close. Their steady catches kept them ahead of the pack, and they expressed shock that Isley “who is a real good friend of mine,” Yarbrough said, didn’t do better, as he was fishing 63 degree water versus their 53 degree habitat. They remain perplexed about why his shallow bite didn’t hold up.
Both winners used War Eagle spinnerbaits, albeit in different colors. “Is there any other brand?” Yarbrough asked “The main key was we had to have a little dirty water and it had to have wind blowing in the pockets. Couldn’t get bit without wind.”
The winners fished the tournament out of Presley’s Pantera II, a boat they affectionately call “Old Red.” Yarbrough said that “it always comes through for us.” It floats shallow, which allowed them to get in the far backs of the pockets, and it’s exceptionally maneuverable, which comes in handy when they fish docks on Lake of the Ozarks.
Bass Cat President Rick Pierce called the 31st Owners Invitational an exceptional event. “I don’t think any company in the world has a more loyal group of owners than the Bass Cat Family,” he said. “From start to end, it was very good. It was extremely uplifting for our team to see the smiling faces and happiness expressed with their product. I believe we had 29 states represented, along with Canada and Japan. It was surprising to see a fair number of new Lynx models here and we were pleased with their comments. That one’s becoming a home run!”
The Bass Cat Owners Invitational features a payout of over 300%.
The team of Max Atkinson and Tim Adams won the grand prize drawing of a fully-rigged Cougar FTD with a Mercury 250 Pro XS, Humminbird electronics and a Minn Kota trolling motor.
John Walker and John Walker Jr. caught the big bass of the tournament, a 5.26 pound lunker that was one of two 5 pounders weighted in.
Bob Lipton and Kerry Betz caught the biggest Ozark Bass at 1.02 pounds.
Mike Lucas and Alan Ransom caught a 4.41 pound walleye to take home top honors in that category.
Ken West and Denis Ghegan caught a largest striped bass at 9.48 pounds.
More information and photos available on the Bass Cat Owners Invitational event page
About Bass Cat: Bass Cat, owned by Correct Craft, manufactures the industry’s premier bass fishing boats from its headquarters in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Family operated since it’s founding in 1971, Bass Cat is the longest continuously operating tournament bass boat company in the United States. For more information visit www.basscat.com.
About Correct Craft: Celebrating 93 years of excellence in the marine industry, Correct Craft is a Florida-based company with global operations. The Correct Craft family includes Nautique, Centurion, Supreme, Bass Cat, Yar-Craft, SeaArk, and Bryant boat companies, Pleasurecraft Marine Engine Group, and Aktion Parks. For more information please visit www.correctcraft.com.