By Bob Groene, The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus
(September 24, 2013) When many of us grey heads think of the number 39, our memory goes back to the late entertainer Jack Benny who for 50 plus years always quipped that he was 39 years old.
Last Saturday, the number 39 belonged to the Children’s Therapy Center Charity Bass Tournament as the platinum event was held for the 39th time — one of the longest runs of such events in the country.
The Crigger brothers, Adam and Jacob, hailing from LeClaire and Clinton, set two records for their tremendous effort to victory last Saturday. They not only brought in the heaviest five-bass limit in tournament history, weighing 16.37 pounds, but they also became the only partners to win the event twice; and in consecutive years! They won $3,000.
“This was a family win,” Adam said. “My brother Scott had to work today and couldn’t fish in the tournament, but he still prefished for us. Jacob prefished and so did I — all of that contributed to us winning.
“We planned to lock up to pool 13, and had time to fish one spot in 14 before locking,” Jacob added. “We stopped on a wing dam and quickly caught two very nice smallmouth, so we were wondering if we should take the time to lock up and back or stay in pool 14. We’re weed fishermen, so we locked up.”
Locking up also worked well for the Criggers as they told of catching a 10 keeper smallmouth and eight keeper largemouth (over 14 inches) over the day using crankbaits and plastic lures for baits.
“We had a pretty nice limit, but thought we could catch a bigger largemouth using a surface frog over the weeds, so that’s what we did for the final three hours,” Adam said. “And that worked. We caught a 4 1/2-pound kicker.”
Brothers Cole and Tanner Atkinson of Camanche, who credited the Criggers for teaching them a lot about bass fishing over the last few years, were seventh in this event a year ago and second this year with a limit of 13.60 pounds. They won $1,000.
“We stayed in pool 14 and used crankbaits and plastic baits to catch about a dozen keeper largemouth and a dozen shorts,” Cole said. “We had a limit early and caught fish all day.”
Luke Berry of Mt. Carroll, who won this event a few years ago with a different partner, took third with Jim Combs of Rockford. Their limit weighed 13.35 pounds. They won $750.
Big bass honors and a new Minn Kota trolling motor went to John Schultz of Coal Valley for a 5.85-pound largemouth that came on a tube jig in pool 13.
The real winners of Saturday’s event will be the youngsters who will receive physical, speech and occupational therapy at the Moline based Children’s Therapy Center of the Quad Cities because of the money raised by the event.
Saturday was the fourth and final event in the Quad City Area Charity Bass Tournament Trail. The series that starts in May benefiting the Mississippi River Eco-Tourism Center, QC Red Cross, G.I.V.E. arm of Wounded Warriors and the Children’s Therapy Center. The four tournaments drew approximately 230 total anglers and raised nearly $15,000. Of the anglers who participated in all four events, Roger Koopman of Andalusia took top honors, followed by Scott Ford of Geneseo and Tom Buser of Taylor Ridge.
“The volunteers, sponsors and anglers who participate in this event are second to none,” tournament director Scott Ford said. “We were down a little in entries, but our organizing committee and volunteers worked hard to increase revenues through some other venues to generate a significant amount to the CTC.
“Next year will be the 40th annual event. This is a remarkable achievement for any fundraising event, let alone a bass tournament, and a credit to all who have been a part of it since 1975. We’re looking forward and planning to making the 40th better than ever.”
The 40th Children’s Therapy Center Charity Bass tournament is scheduled for Saturday Sept. 20.