Wind, no wind, bluebird skies and sun, nothing was going to stand between Kansas and their first Central Division Championship Title as the final day of the 2011 Central Division Championship came to a close on Lake Wilson in Russell, Kansas.
The home team advantage didn’t help their less than stellar first day performance, but the hunger for their first championship title fueled teamwork and an unstoppable drive for the win, not to mention, bragging rights among the other seven states in the central division.
Jeff Brin, from Olathe, Kansas lead the Kansas State Team and lead in the individual standings yesterday, that paired with another solid day of fishing earned him the title of 2011 Central Division Champion. Today, 16 TBF State Champions also advance to the 2012 Federation National Championship to compete state champions fromTBF’s six other divisions across the U.S., as well as, two TBF champions from Canada and two Boat US Collegiate Champions. The no-entry fee national contest will award thousands in cash and prizes, and the esteemed “Living the Dream” prize package to include paid entry fees as an FLW Tour Pro for a year with use of a wrapped Chevrolet Truck and Ranger Boat.
Emotions ran high today as anxious and excited Kansas anglers and their families awaited the final results. Sunday night’s meeting didn’t leave Kansas Team Captain, Larry Freesmann, feeling confident; Tuesday night was another story. “We met after dinner Tuesday and it started out slow, then it just kind of clicked,” Freesmann said. “Everybody started opening up and sharing how they were catching them, you know, grass, reeds, deep, and just helping one another.” A rough first day of fishing set them back in the standings, but they made a huge run on day two to command the lead. After trailing on day one Freesmann went to his team and said, “We’re just 2lbs behind; we have to pick it up.” One angler blanked the first day and was disappointed with his performance. “He finally said, ‘I’m just going to go out there and not think of it as a tournament; I’m just going to go out there and fish.’ He went out there and caught a 12lb bag; it sure worked.”
Going into the final day Kansas had a comfortable lead, but they weren’t taking any chances holding back. After their final meeting the word on the street was, “We’regonna put the hurt on ‘em,” and they meant business. Kansas caught 87lb 13ounces today making their tournament total 236lb 8ounces, nearly 56lbs ahead of second. “I told the guys, all we got to do is catch about 35lbs,” Freesmann said. “There were three points with grass beds and rock banks and they were all just kind of fishing around each other.” Freesmann was pretty confident he knew about how much they were bringing in throughout the day with several anglers fishing so close. “At one point I started counting and was like, ‘Wow! We’ve got our 30lbs’; but I didn’t know how good it actually was; it was more than exciting.” Don Glick, from Zurich, Kansas has qualified for the Kansas State team several years and has a lot of experience at this level. “I’m the oldest team member,” Glick said. “I’ve been here many times and this team clicked better than any other we’ve ever had.”
The Kansas State Team winning their first division championship title, in their home state; it’s like the icing on the cake. “The federation has seen 30 Central Division Championships over the years, and this will be the fifth year since The Bass Federation took charge in 2001,” TBF President and weighmaster, Robert Cartlidge said. “In 30 championships, we’ve had 30 Division Champions and today, ironically, with a tournament total of 31lbs, Jeff Brin from Kansas earned the 31st Central Division Champion title.” Brin was yesterday’s tournament leader and today he caught another nice stringer of bass that weighed 9lb 12ounces making his three day total 31lb. “Lots of people try to do this and never do; it’s just an honor,” Brin said. “I didn’t know if I had it; I hadn’t heard about the angler from Nebraska’s weight yet; that’s what I was worried.” Brin caught his keepers fishing heavy cattails in about 3ft of water and the rest in reeds using a Wacky Ridge Cinco. “It started out tough; I only caught one fish in the first hour and a half. Then, it picked up and I probably caught about 15 keepers.” This will be his first time to qualify for nationals. “I’m very excited for the opportunity; I mean, I think that’s what everybody is here for.” Brin wanted to thank the Kansas State Team for all the advice and help they provided, everybody that came to support him, and his family for teaching and instilling in him the love of fishing.
Second in the individual standings and first for the Nebraska State team, Lee Wubbels, from Lincoln, Neb., caught 10lb
2ounces today for a total weight of 29lb 5ounes. Our sponsors at Ranger offered a $750 cash prize to the top finisher who is Ranger Cup qualified. Wubbels was the top Ranger Cup qualified finisher so he walked away today $750 bucks richer. He had the crowd going after receiving his award stating, “I’ll take that.”
Our sponsors at Evinrude, who always namesake the Central Division Championship event, awarded, Steve Davenport, from Salina, Kansas, a Stainless Steel Evinrude prop for catching the tournament big bass of 4lb 12ounces.
The 16 TBF anglers, two from each state, a boater and co-angler, who will advance to the 2012 Federation National Championship are as follows: (boater, co-angler) Kansas; Jeff Brin, Mike Blaha, Nebraska; Lee Wubbels, Robert Hime, Texas; Jimmy Vann, Tom Enloe, Missouri; Brian Maloney, Richard Duncan, Oklahoma; Stewart Ryan, John Garcia, Louisiana; Jeff Bruhl, Rodney Teel, Arkansas; Doug Thompson, Larry Dugger, Mississippi; Joseph Webster, Taylor Roberts.
For Individual Overall Standings CLICK HERE
For Standing By State CLICK HERE
For State Team Standings CLICK HERE
For the list of National Championship Contenders CLICK HERE