Keller, Leagjeld Win Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit Leech Lake Regular Season Finale
Sep 27th, 2013 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 27th, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Walker, Minn.-Sept. 20, 2013-Minnesotans Connor Leagjeld andChad Keller flipped their way to a hard-fought victory at the Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit’s North Region season finale on Minnesota’s mighty Leech Lake out of Horseshoe Bay Lodge.
“This was a little bit of a shock,” said Keller, of St. Cloud. After bagging a 5-pound beauty on their third cast of the morning, the team battled tight-lipped largemouths the rest of the day, and returned to the weigh-in convinced they were out of range of the winners’ circle. But in the end, their 19-pound, 6-ounce five-bass basket was enough to claim top honors.
The win was worth $8,700 in cash plus another $900 in coveted Cabela’s gift cards and the $200 Optima Batteries True Blue contingency. Fourth-place finishers Jason Corrao, of Madison, Wisconsin, and Matt Stefan, of Junction City, Wisconsin, earned the $500 Cabela’s Angler Cash contingency for being the highest-placing team registered in the Cabela’s Angler Cash program. In all, the top 20 percent of the field shared more than $25,000 in cash and prizes.
“It hasn’t sunken in yet,” added Leagjeld, of Pequot Lakes. He explained the team pitched jigs tipped with soft-plastic craws to shallow reeds, wood, rice and other bass-holding cover. “With all of the weather changes, and an 8-degree drop in the water temperature within the past week, we knew the fish were going to slow down,” he added. “But I still thought it would take a bigger basket than ours to win.”
A total of 189 bass weighing 583 pounds, 4 ounces crossed the stage at Horseshoe Bay Lodge, and a full 100 percent were returned to the lake in the Circuit’s catch-and-release format. Second-place finishers William Baker, of Winnebago, Illinois, and Ricky Martin, of Winter, Wisconsin, collected $1,050 from the Big Bass Pot for catching big fish of the tournament, a 5-pound, 2-ounce beauty.
This was the fourth and final Cabela’s NABC North Region qualifying tournament in 2013. The North Region Championship is set for Oct. 11-12 on Wisconsin’s Chippewa Flowage. In addition, the NABC will kick off its South Region with an open tournament on Lake Lanier, Georgia, in December.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is in its third season as title sponsor of the NABC. Other sponsors include: Ranger Boats, Stratos Boats, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, Optima Batteries, O2 Marine Technologies and Sea Grant.
Based in Ponca City, Oklahoma, the Cabela’s NABC is open to two-person teams regardless of club or sponsor affiliation. Entry fees are $500 per regular season tournament and $600 for the two-day regional championship. Payback is 80 percent at the event, with the balance to support the championship and angler of the year prizes. In addition, a small donation is included in each entry fee and matched by NABC and other conservation organizations up to 3-to-1 in support bass conservation projects anywhere NABC does business. For more information, visit northamericanbasscircuit.com, email [email protected], or call (580) 765-9031.