This season, the Lady Bass Anglers Association will take 15 anglers in each division to the Lady Bass Classic. This event will take place on Old Hickory Lake in Sumner County Tennessee. Thirteen anglers who had the highest total points will make up the bulk of the field with the final two spots filled from the Wildcard event. In the Wildcard, the top two finishing anglers in each division fill the final two Classic slots.
The LBAA kicked off the festivities with an awards and celebration banquet at the Gallatin Civic Center on Wednesday evening. The anglers were treated to a meal and goodie bags filled with items from the tour sponsors. Pam Martin-Wells was recognized, as the 2016 Angler of the Year. Noella McLaurin was recognized, as the 2016 Co-Angler of the Year. Angela Mayo was recognized, as the 2016 Rookie of the Year. Each of these ladies took a few minutes to speak to the group about their year and the awards they had earned.
As day one unfolded, the weather had begun to change and there was some concern about fog moving in and delaying the start. Fortunately this was not the case. The anglers were faced with severe thunderstorms that moved in with less than two hours to go before the weigh-in was slated to begin. As the anglers began lining up or the weigh-in, it was evident that the bite for the day had been a tough one. Not one angler in either division brought in a limit of fish. Rookie of the Year Angela Mayo (Maiden, NC) brought three fish to the scale for a weight of 7.84 lbs to take the day one lead. Coming in right behind her was Deb Warner (Murray, KY) with 7.25 lbs. Sitting in third was Cheryl Bowden (North Richland Hills, TX) with 6.93 lbs and the big bass of the day at 5.30 lbs. Rounding out the top five on day one were Lisa Johnson (Centre, AL) with 6.86 lbs and Robbie Hartline (Foristell, MO). In the co-angler division, things were even tougher. Only five anglers brought fish to the scale. Sitting atop of the leader board was Kelley Cameron (Hoover, AL) with 4.57 lbs. She was closely followed by Lisa Opfer (St. Charles, MO), with 3.46 lbs. The top five were rounded out by Christian Baxter (Talladega, AL) with 1.92 lbs, Noella McLaurin (Vivian, LA) with 1.90 lbs and Cassie Hall (Alabaster, AL) with 1.71 lbs.
Day two of the LBAA event opened with clouds and air temps in the mid 40’s. A sharp contrast to the record highs during practice. Throughout the day, there was a 5-10 mph north wind. Another sharp contrast to the south winds that prevailed during practice. On this day however, Pam Ridgle of Murchison, TX was able to bring in the first five fish limit to the scales on the pro side. This bag moved Ridgle up into fourth place with a total of 13.01 lbs. However, Texas pro Cheryl Bowden was able to bring in 8.41 lbs for the day to bring her two-day total to 15.34 lbs and the lead on the pro side. Angela Mayo (Maiden, NC) followed closely behind with 14.05 lbs. Lisa Johnson (Centre, AL) was right behind her in third with 13.32 lbs. Rounding out the top five is Donna Newberry (Prim, AR) with 9.32 lbs. On the co-angler side of the event, things got even tougher, though Teresa, Ehret (Red Bud, IL) was able to bring the first three fish limit to the scales. Ehret’s weight of 6.04 lbs which jumped her to the top spot after two days. Noella McLaurin brought 3.26 lbs to make her two day total to 5.16 lbs and moving her into the second slot. Rounding out the top five were Kelley Cameron (Hoover, AL) with 4.57 lbs, Lisa Opfer (St. Charles, MO) with 3.46 lbs and, DeAnna Lovvorn moves up into the fifth slot with 2.06 lbs.
DeAnna Lovvorn Bradyville, TN
Lady Bass Classic Champion Co-Angler Division
Day-three was slated to be the toughest day yet of the event. Temperatures were cold with light north winds, fog early and clear blue skies later. The pairings for day three was based upon the day two standings. Pro leader Cheryl Bowden was paired with co-angler leader Teresa Ehret and so on down through the last position. The tournament staff was able to get the anglers off before the fog set in on the final day. About mid-morning, the fog had burned off and the blue bird skies in place for the day. Once again the bite was tough all day long and it was evident as the anglers began to bring their bags to the scales. Cheryl Bowden was able to muster up two decent fish to bring her three day total to 19.74 lbs which allowed her to outlast Lisa Johnson of Centre, AL, whose final weight was 18.65 lbs. Rounding out the top five were Pam Ridgle (Murchison, TX) with 17.62 lbs for third place. Angela Mayo (Maiden, NC) in fourth with 17.62 lbs (tie breaker), and Secret York (Benton, KY) in fifth with 12.11 lbs. This was Bowden’s second Classic title. She was also the 2012 Lady Bass Classic Champion. DeAnna Lovvorn (Bradyville, TN) was able to bring in only the second three fish limit on the co-angler side. This 6.06 lb bag moved her to the top of the leader board. Lovvorn’s final weight was 8.12 lbs and enough to earn her the title Lady Bass Classic Champion of the co-angler division. Rounding out the top five Lisa Opfer (St. Charles, MO) with 6.42 lbs, Kelley Cameron (Hoover, AL) with 6.24 lbs, Teresa Ehret (Red Bud, IL) with 6.04 lbs and Noella McLaurin (Vivian, LA).
The 2016 Lady Bass Classic win for Bowden was her second classic win. Bowden also won the Lady Bass Classic in 2012. When asked about the win, Bowden stated, “if you had told me before this started that I could win this event with just seven fish, I would have laughed at you.” Several angler asked Bowden if she was on a pattern I practice to which she answered “no”. “I caught two keepers the entire practice. That to me, is not a pattern.” “I had an area”, stated Bowden. “In that area, there were tons of baitfish. I concentrated my efforts to the edges and to isolated wood using a Lucky Craft 2.5 crankbait in ghost shad.”
For Lovvorn, this was her first Lady Bass Classic win. When asked about the win, Lovvorn stated, “having only fished for three years, I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I could accomplish winning the Lady Bass Classic as a co-angler.” Lovvorn added, “the key was that I stayed with my confidence baits even when it got super tough.” My advice to others is “don’t try something brand new in something so important.”
Both classic winners were quick to point out that the support of their family, friends, sponsors and fellow anglers was key to not only this win but to any successes that they were fortunate enough to have during the 2016 season. The Sumner County Tourism and Visitors Bureau is the primary sponsor for this event. Johnson Controls is the Big Bass Sponsor for the Lady Bass Classic.
The Johnson Controls Big Bass winners for the Lady Bass Classic were Cheryl Bowden (North Richland Hills, TX) at 5.30 lbs and Kelley Cameron (Hoover, AL) at 4.57 lbs. The Sumner County Tourism and Visitors Bureau is the primary sponsor for this event. Johnson Controls is the Big Bass Sponsor for the Lady Bass Classic.