Tommy Brown Wins PAA Fort Loudon-Tellico

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“This has been a wonderful, wonderful time. I just have to be so thankful for getting the opportunity to come out here and compete against some of the best fishermen in the world and to have the opportunity to do this has been incredible; to have a family that supports me in this has been incredible. I’ll always remember today as a really good day.” – Tommy Brown, Champion of the PAA Tournament Series event on Fort Loudon-Tellico Lakes in Knoxville, Tennessee, May 23-25, 2013

Tommy Brown of Louisville, Tennessee expected to have a better Day 3 than he did. He had started every morning at a smallmouth glory hole where there is a long flat that extends out into a good, solid point that’s almost like an underwater bluff; it drops straight off. Everything that washes down the river kind of washes up against that point. Brown’s big smallmouth were atop a rough patch at the end of that point every morning, and Day 3 was no exception. The smallmouth were there, but the current was pulling so hard that Brown could only manage to get one out of every 25-30 casts to hit that one little rough spot that was the payoff location – or he wouldn’t get a bite. To make matters worse, the dreaded mud flows that had ruined other contenders’ spots throughout the event had spared Brown’s spot – until Day 3. A lot more mud had washed into his area overnight. The big smallies he’d been catching on Day 1 & 2 were still there, but with the water being colored the way it was, and with the current pulling harder than he could have even imagined or anticipated, the fish just weren’t committing to Brown’s swimbait; they’d hit but not actually eat it. His first stop there this morning was a bust. He left the smallmouth hole earlier than he had the other days and decided to go where he had flipped some good largemouth on Day 2 – but still had no luck. After not getting bit for a couple of hours, Brown came back to the smallmouth hole around 11:00 and on his first couple of casts, he had some solid bites on a swimbait, but they still weren’t getting hooked, so he picked up a Gene Larew Biffle Bug and dragged it out there very slowly across the bottom just right, getting one good keeper smallmouth on it. He lost one on a DD22 but never got a chance to see it. Then he kind of scrapped everything as it was getting to be late in the day. Brown started zigzagging back down toward the launch ramp making a milk run of quick stops, catching one more keeper largemouth on the way back to the ramp.

Those two fish with a combined Day 3 weight of 5.46 pounds proved to be more than enough, given Brown’s 10+ pound lead from Day 2 over his nearest competitors – James Watson, Brandon Palaniuk and Ray Meredith who were all within 10 pounds and change of Brown going into final Day 3.

However, it was Chris Whitson, also of Louisville, Tennessee who became Brown’s biggest threat. Hard-charging Whitson had the heftiest sack of Day 3 – a respectable 17.97 pounds that moved Whitson into second place within 2.55 pounds of Brown. Whitson’s morning started slow. He went about an hour before he started catching them, and then the action was pretty consistent for the next 2-1/2 hours. He had held off on his fish on Day 1 and 2, trying to conserve them from one day to the next. On Day 3, he leaned into them pretty hard, and it was his best day of the tournament. Whitson was one of the few anglers in this event who stayed offshore. Most other contenders were fishing shallow. Whitson was running bars offshore, in about 8-12 feet of water, using a Rapala DT-16 crankbait.

Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tennessee had an awesome Day 3, weighing 13.90 pounds to move into third place. He caught a lot but also lost a lot of fish. He caught a pretty good one right off the bat on his third cast of the day, and then lost another good one. It was dead slick calm when suddenly brown fish (smallies) came up schooling around him. Strader tossed out a topwater bait, the Strike King Sexy Dawg, and caught a 19″ smallmouth; he threw right back at them and caught a 21″ smallmouth with a 14-1/2″ largemouth on a single cast. That was a first for Strader. He’s never caught a smallmouth and a largemouth at the same time. He had a five fish limit by 9:00 am and went up the river flipping muddy, shallow water like he’d been doing every day. “I had some really good opportunities with big fish to maybe win this thing today, but the water was so shallow, they had nowhere to go except ballistic, throwing the hook.” During the mornings this week, when shad were spawning, Strader was using a Pure Poison vibrating jig in chartreuse white with a white Zoom Speed Craw on it. The rest of the day, Strader was flipping Texas-rigged creature baits super-shallow, alternating between a Zoom Z Hog in California 420 color and a Reaction Innovations Beaver.

James Watson who sat in 2nd on Day 1 and 2 finished in fourth place. Brandon Palaniuk who held the Day 1 lead slipped into seventh place.

Joe Lee of Knoxville, Tennessee and Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, South Carolina finished strong, both with 12+ pound limits today, moving up to finish 5th and 6th respectively.

The top 15 pros who fished Day 3 finished:

Place First Name Last Name Hometown State Day 3
# of Fish Day 3
Weight Total Tournament Weight
1 Tommy Brown Louisville TN 2 5.46 47.36
2 Chris Whitson Louisville TN 5 17.97 44.81
3 Wesley Strader Spring City TN 5 13.90 42.88
4 James Watson Waynesville MO 2 5.10 36.91
5 Joe Lee Knoxville TN 5 12.30 36.48
6 Andy Montgomery Blacksburg SC 5 12.65 36.04
7 Brandon Palaniuk Hayden ID 1 3.69 35.44
8 Shinichi Fukae Palestine TX 5 10.49 35.41
9 Andy Morgan Dayton TN 2 5.84 34.14
10 Ray Meredith Smiths Grove KY 1 1.68 32.97
11 Brandon Coulter Knoxville TN 3 4.69 32.17
12 Matt Arey Shelby NC 5 9.30 31.77
13 Mark Rose West Memphis AR 5 7.59 30.47
14 Gary Yamamoto Palestine TX 4 7.09 30.03
15 Whitney Stephens Waverly OH 3 6.67 28.49

For winning, Tommy Brown was awarded a first place prize valued at $40,000 including a $36,000 Nitro Z-8/Mercury 225 Pro XS Prize Package and $4,000 cash.

Pro Josh Moore of Greenback, Tennessee won the Minn Kota / Humminbird Big Bass Award, a Humminbird 898c SI unit (valued at $1,500). Using a Texas-rigged Berkley Havoc Pit Boss, Moore boat-flipped a 6.52 pound donkey out of a bush in 2.5 feet of water on Day 1. It was the overall biggest bass caught by a pro during the event.

For a full list of pro results visit www.FishPAA.com

About the 2013 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series

Our next Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series event will be in Branson, Missouri in early September at Table Rock Lake. We’re hoping a lot of our fans and co-anglers had a great time at Fort Loudon-Tellico Lakes and that you’ll all come back and reunite with us to fish together again and have fun at Table Rock in September. Make your plans to attend now!

Event Fishery Location Official Practice Competition
#1 Douglas Lake Dandridge, TN March 25-27 March 28-30
#2 Ft. Loudon-Tellico Knoxville, TN May 20-22 May 23-25
#3 Table Rock Lake Branson, MO Sept. 2-4 Sept. 5-7
#4 Grand Lake Grove, OK Nov. 4-6 Nov. 8-10

Format – Pro Angler/Co-Angler, random draw pairings

Registration – Our events are open registration. PAA membership is required to fish. New anglers can purchase required membership upon registration for event(s) or by calling the PAA Office at (270) 527-2030. Pro Anglers must possess a $400 Tour level or a Legends level membership. Co-Anglers must possess a $50 General or $150 Advantage level membership. Students, ages 16-22, may fish as a Co-Angler with a $25 Affinity membership – proof of age must be provided upon registration.

Championship – Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) – The top 15 pros in the 2013 Angler of the Year standings (after event #3) will qualify for the 2013 TTBC on Lake Fork, TX (Oct. 4-6, 2013). The TTBC is a no entry fee event with a guaranteed check. The sport’s only true unifying championship, the TTBC pits the top 15 pros from the PAA Tournament Series against the Top 15 pros from the Bassmaster Elite Series and the FLW Tour. Unique chance to “double qualify” this year for the 2014 TTBC by entering up to four PAA events in 2013 with the best three events determining the top 15 who will qualify for the 2014 TTBC on Lake Fork, TX (May 9-11, 2014).

Local Event Hosts

Visit Knoxville
www.knoxville.org

Loudon County Visitors Bureau
• “Lakeway to the Smokies”
• visitloudoncounty.com

2013 PAA Tournament Series: Premier Sponsors

Bass Pro Shops
• “The Official Outdoor Retailer of the PAA”

Nitro Boats
• “The Official Boat Retailer of the PAA”
• Nitro boat owners can win up to an additional $7,000 by winning a PAA event
• Nitro boat owners can qualify for as much as $7,000 in local events as well

Mercury Marine
• “Number One on the Water”

Pursuit Channel
• “It’s a Way of Life”
• “The Official Television Coverage Provider of the PAA”
• FishPAA TV: #1 rated fishing show in its time slot; watched by 6.5 million viewers
• 2013 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series will air in early 2014

2013 PAA Tournament Series: Associate Sponsors

Game and Fish /Sportsman Magazines
• “The Official Magazine Coverage Provider of the PAA”
• Circulation: 425,000

Sign Designs (TNWraps.com)
• “The Official Wrap and Signage Provider of the PAA”

South Eastern Pond Management
• “The Official Fish Care Provider of the PAA”

Humminbird / Minn Kota
• Big Bass Award: This week’s winner will take home a new 898C SI sonar unit
• Big Bass of the season also wins a Minn Kota Talon shallow water anchor system

Yamaha
• “The Official Sponsor of the Live Leader Board on FishPAA.com”

Missile Baits
• “The Official Sponsor of the FishPAA.com Photo Galleries”