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Frank Villa’s National Championship Report

Posted by on October 31, 2012

frank_n_boat.jpg     22,000 BASS Federation anglers began the 2011 season competing for one of the 56 spots available at the 2012 BASS Federation National Championship. After many State and Divisional tournaments the final lineup was set and sent  to Decatur, Alabama to compete for 6 spots to attend the 2013 Bassmasters Classic At Grand
Lake of the Cherokees in Grove, Oklahoma.

     On October 21st Frank and his wife arrived at the Holiday Inn & Suites in Decatur, Alabama, The site of the 2012 BASS Federation National Championship. The championship would be held October 25-27, 2012.

     The Tournament held on Wheeler Lake, a 68,000 acre lake that stretches approximately 70 miles from Guntersville Dam on the east and Wheeler Dam to the west.  Wheeler Lake is a TVA impoundment and has several different types of structure available to a bass angler.

BFNC_Boat.jpg     On October 22 I was introduced to my boat for the week.  Anglers were given the option of bringing their own boat or BASS would supply a 2012 fully loaded 2012 Skeeter 200 SX boat supplied with a Lowrance, Motorguide or Hummingbird, MinnKota package.  In the afternoon, all anglers were required to register for the tournament then attend a welcome reception and dinner and a boat orientation.

Wheeler_Lake.jpg     Pre-fish began on October 23rd where I decided to head west or down river where I found lots of bluff walls, less current and Smallmouth.  Unfortunately, my first pre-fish day was slow with small fish being caught most of the day. 

     My 2nd day of pre-fish was spent up river around the Flint and Painted Creek areas where I caught better fish and found a concentration of spotted bass. It was from this pre-fish day where I decided to head upriver for the tournament. 

     Day 1: I headed upriver about 25 minutes where I ran into a fog bank and had to stop with several other competitors until the fog lifted. I was able to find Flint Creek in the fog but there were several anglers already there so we all fished within casting distance for about 1 hour till the fog lifted.  I went to my primary spot but had no luck.  My second and 3rd spots did not pan out either.  From there I headed back down river and began searching for another spot with something that I thought might hold fish. On the way down I found some Laydowns adjacent to a bluff and when I made my first cast with a bone colored spook I caught a 2 pound Largemouth.  I was able to get three largemouth before I had to leave.

     Day 2: I again headed upriver to try the spot I ended with the day before.  Unfortunately there was nothing biting.  I then began searching for more spots and after hours of basically junk fishing I was able to bring 3 to the scales.

     Day 3: After 2 days upriver and not catching the quality of fish I needed, I decided to head down river.  I made plans to take a 20 mile run to the Elk River.  After about 15 minutes and one of the roughest rides I have ever had, I decided to stop at my 2nd choice spot just east of the power plant. I began fishing docks and quickly caught 2 keepers.  I continued fishing this area the rest of the day and stayed out of the wind.  I brought in a limit and did fairly well for the day.

Plaque.jpg     It was an awesome time and I want to thank every member from the Colorado Bass Federation Nation! Even though I came up a bit short, I still had a great time, met some great people and made some new friends.  The fishing was a bit tough and trying to learn to fish in current in two days was tough.  Once I found some still water, on the final day, I did a lot better and was able to bring 5 to the scales. It was a great experience and I appreciate all the text messages and emails from everyone.  It is a great feeling to know that I had so many people behind me. I am looking forward to the chance to return and represent all of you at the national level once again!

Frank Villa

2012 BASS Federation National Contender

Catch em’ BIG