By Bob Groene, The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus
First, second and third—those are the finishes Paul Malone of Pleasant Valley has amassed over the last three years in the Children’s Therapy Center (CTC) Charity Bass Tournament. The cream does rise to the top, eh?
Last Saturday, teaming again with last year’s partner, Mike Mitchell of Delmar, Iowa, the Malone-Mitchell duo brought in a limit of five bass weighing 13.12 pounds to win the 35th annual CTC charity tournament by over a half pound earning $3,000 for the victory.
“We had a total of five bites,’’ Malone said describing how tough Mississippi River bass fishing has been of recent. “And our final bite and fish came with just two minutes to go before we had to head to the locks to get back to the weigh-in.’’
“We made a lotta casts today,’’ Mitchell added. “I was using a white surface frog and Paul was throwing a black one. We spent the entire day in Spring Lake (pool 13) where the water was so shallow we had to use the trolling motor on high and a push pole to get around.’’
While they did not say this, the Malone-Mitchell team may have opted to fish in Spring Lake because a 75-boat Illinois Bass Federation tournament was also being held on Pool 13 that day. They reported seeing no other boats fishing in their territory.
The fishing Crigger brothers, all hailing from Clinton, made their mom extra proud taking both second and third places.
Adam and Scott caught a limit weighing 12.50 pounds to earn second.
“We fished around lilly pads in Pool 13 using surface frogs and tube lures,’’ Scott said. “We had about ten bites and culled four keepers.’’
“And we fish real slow—just grind it out,’’ Adam added. “There were a few other boats in the area we were fishing, but there was room for all of us.’’
Younger brother Jacob Crigger teamed up with Andy Murphy also of Clinton to take third place with five bass weighing 12.45 pounds. They also used surface frogs and tubes around pads.
Big bass honors and a new Minn Kota trolling motor went to Steve Geerts of Morrison who lured a 4.20 pound largemouth to eat his surface frog in Pool 13.
Skeeter Performance boats professional bass angler Dave Mansue, who recently won a BASS Open Tournament on upper Chesapeake Bay, did a masterful job of emceeing the weigh-in and had high praise for the CTC Charity tournament.
“I’ve been tournament bass fishing for a long time and I’ve never come across a charity event that’s been going for 35 years,’’ he said. “This is a wonderful event for a wonderful cause and it’s run very well—you should be proud of what you’re doing here.’’
A new feature was added to the tournament this year—a Junior Division—for high school anglers. Four teams of 2-anglers each entered without charge—unfortunately that group did not catch a keeper.
There were just 15 5-bass limits caught this year compared to 50 last year. That could be attributed to several factors: in general, poor fishing; the 75-boat tournament being held in Pool 13; a 2-hour shorter fishing day due to DNR regulations for summer tournaments and Tug Fest that closed off the lower portion of Pool 14 in mid-morning. I am happy to report that all fish were weighed in and released alive in 80 degree water and 88 degree air temps.
And for the 35th time, the reel winners of this event will be the hundreds of youngsters who will receive professional therapy treatments provided by the $17,000 raised this year—bringing the all-time total to $420,000.