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Anglers cast in the mist at Sangchris Lake. Photos by Chris Young.

Fishing clubs hold “fall classics”

October 11, 2013 at 03:24 AM

The State Journal-Registerr

Two local fishing tournament series held their fall classics last weekend — but don’t take that as a sign fishing is done for the year.

The Lake Springfield Open Buddy Catfish Tournament Series and Sangchris Bass Club finished up their seasons with two-day tournaments on their respective lakes.

“We had a hell of a tournament,” said Rod Cooke, longtime member of the Sangchris Bass Club.

Competition was close, too.

Teams took off just before sunrise with the top 15 boats within four pounds of each other.

Competitors wait for the signal to take off on the second day of the Sangchris Bass Club's fall classic.

That means one nice bass could have tipped the scales in favor of just about any team on the lake.

And that’s just what happened.

“One team just jumped out,” Cooke said.

Mike Bretscher and Mike Tuchmann jumped ahead of the pack with a weight of 29.92 pounds, including Tuchmann’s 5.59-pound bass that took big bass honors Sunday.

Steve Curry took big bass honors Saturday with a fish weighing 4.79 pounds.

Mark Watson and Greg Cooper took second place with a two-day total of 26.38 pounds. Dennis Loveall and Maurice Flint were third with 26.01 pounds.

Twenty-three teams qualified for the Classic. Over two days, 485.82 pounds of fish were brought to the scales.

Cooke is optimistic for the future of bass fishing at Sangchris.

“We should have some big fish next year,” he said. “There are lots of three-pound fish that are really fat.”


Sunday afternoon, catfish anglers gathered at the Lindsay Bridge Boat Ramp to weigh in their catch and crown the Lake Springfield Open Buddy Catfish Tournament Series classic champions.

The weather turned cold and windy Sunday, after a warm and rainy Saturday.

“The first day was pretty tough fishing but someone always finds the fish,” said tournament organizer Pete Ochs.

No matter the wind or rain in the forecast, 18 boats signed up to compete.

Tim Branstetter helps conduct the weigh-in Sunday at the Lindsay Bridge Boat Ramp.

The winning catch brought in by Jake Branham and Tim Branstetter, who totaled 70.5 pounds over two days.

Second place went to Pete and Lou Ochs with a two-day total of 68.6 pounds. They also had the biggest fish of day two with a channel catfish weighing 12 pounds.

Third place went to Chad Hughes and John Bowling, with 68 pounds.

For the season that ran from April to October, competitive catfish anglers brought close to two tons of fish to the scales.

“We weighed a total of 3,675.3 pounds of catfish, and the average weight to win first place was 61.2 pounds,” Ochs said. “And this is for a six fish limit.”

One catfish is chosen to be weighed for big fish honors.

That means to win, you had to bring six fish weighing at least 10 pounds each to the weigh-in.

But the end of the classic tournaments doesn’t necessarily signal the end of fishing.

It’s just that hunting gets in the way.

“A lot of these guys are deer hunters and duck hunters,” Ochs said. “A lot of the bowhunters probably wish they could be out today.”

Cooke said fishing stays strong at Sangchris Lake, just as long as anglers stay strong, too.

“It will be good all winter,” he said, even though parts of the site are closed for waterfowl hunting. “It will be great for fishing if you can bear the cold.”

Chris Young can be reached at 341-8487 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow him at

Lake Springfield bass and Springfield Crappie Club

The Lake Springfield Summer Trail bass tournament series finished its season Sept. 29.

Steve Parker and Herb rush took first place with 9.65 pounds. Joe DiGiovanna and Patrick Cravens were second, and third place went to Bill Bates and Ross Parks.

Big bass honors went to Kurt Gardner and Danny Muth with a fish weighing 3.77 pounds.

The Springfield Crappie Club has a pair of events left on the calendar in 2013.

An open buddy tournament is scheduled for Nov. 2 on Lake Shelbyville, and the final club tournament of the season is set for Nov. 9 on Lake Springfield.


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