Rusty Linares and Patrick Chapman, of Hamburg, set a believed tournament record Saturday with a weigh-in of 27.83 pounds in the 16th annual Bill Sanders-Bo Piper Memorial Benefit Bass Tournament on the Arkansas River at Regional Park.
“It feels good,” Linares said. “It feels like it is due. We are overdue. Last year we came in third and this year we caught the right fish and we pulled it out.”
Last year, Linares and Chapman finished with a weigh-in of 16.54. This year, the duo also won the Big Bass with a weight of 6.42.
“I feel good because (the wins) are so few and far between,” Chapman said.
The two have been fishing together for about 20 years but really “hard and heavy” for the last 10.
“You got to have a good partner,” Chapman. “When you have a good partner, it really makes a difference. Just stick together.”
Linares said they caught their first fish at about 10 a.m. They started over near Dumas but had only about 15 pounds. It wasn’t until they came back closer to Pine Bluff did they really catch anything worthy.
“Fishing was a little bit slow, a little bit tough,” Linares said. “So you have to have a lot of patience.
“We had few and far between bites, so you just have to have a lot of patience. That was the key – not getting into a hurry.”
Linares said he doesn’t believe the weather really affected today’s tournament.
Last year, Teddy Bogard and Kurt Copeland won with a weigh-in of 19.67.
Barrie Hardin, a member of the planning committee, said the tournament had a “really good turnout.”
“We had a total of 92 boats, which is about what we have been having ever year,” Hardin said. “I think the rainy weather might have kept a few people away.
“But today was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fish weighed in today and more than usual.”
Linares and Chapman were the last team to register for the tournament. But despite their late launch, the duo was still able to come away with $3,000. They won $2,500 for finishing in first place and $500 for having the biggest bass.
“We blast off according to your entry,” Hardin said. “They were the last boat to leave, but they knew right where to go fish, I guess.
“That’s what it is all about.”
The tournament benefits the Meals on Wheels program.
“Which is in great need of funding,” Hardin said. “We had some great sponsors this year. It was just a wonderful community support for our event.”
Sanders-Piper Bass Tournament Top 10
1. Rusty Linares and Patrick Chapman, 27.83
2. Brett Rogers and Steve Henderson, 20.20
3. Justin Lambert and Justin Pierce, 19.25
4. Raymond Doering and Jared Langston, 18.77
5. David Brewer and Steven Ashcraft, 18.57
6. Ronnie Hackney and Glenn Patrick, 18.35
7. Bart Moore and Reed Heagler, 18.08
8. Sammy Alverson and David Corbitt, 18.06
9. Cody Pierce and Shannon Pierce, 17.72
10. Eric Agee and Floyd Fullerton, 16.86