Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C., claimed his first BASS victory after Gerald Swindle stumbled on the final day of the second 2010 Bassmaster Southern Open presented by Bass Pro Shops. Montgomery credits the win to his near-flawless execution.
"I've come in second more times than I can count, so this is awesome," he said. "I was as dialed in as I've ever been in my life. It was amazing. I think I've finally learned how to win."
Montgomery used a swimbait, spinnerbait and a swimming jig each one all white - to take home the top prize of $46,000 and change. For the first two days, Montgomery focused on docks. He caught spotted bass around docks that were in deeper water and largemouth along shallower docks. The final day threw him a curve – in more ways than one but he managed to adjust and bring 11-4 to the scales on Day 3 for a total of 34-9.
"I found a buzzbait was the key today," he said. "I had all sorts of problems, though. As soon as I figured the pattern out, and I knew what to look for, my trolling motor quit. On top of that, Todd Auten was fishing my areas, so I thought I was in real trouble. Turned out that my wires were cross-wired, so I fixed 'em and was calling my shots for the last hour."
Days 1 and 2 leader Gerald Swindle suffered from less-than-stellar execution.
"I haven't had a day like today in my whole career," he said. "I lost about 15 keepers and should've had at least that in weight. I lost it after that. The thing about fishing at this level is that when things like that happen, you can actually have a meltdown. When you've put this much time, effort, and hard work into something then it just falls apart on the last day, you can come undone. I hadn't lost a fish this entire tournament until today."
Swindle weighed in 7-14 on Day 3, leaving him with 33-0, 1 pound and 9 ounces short. Brian Morris of Cullman, Ala., also missed his shot at a victory by only bringing in three fish that weighed 7-5 to the scales. He finished with 31-11. In fourth is Todd Auten of Lake Wylie, S.C., with 30-3, and in fifth is Jonathon VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., who wound up with 29-6.
Co-angler Robert "JR" Dice of Perry, Fla., took home a brand new Triton/Mercury rig for his three-day total of 12-15.
"To finally win is unreal. I've fished a few BASS tournaments, and every tournament you go to you get let down a little bit then picked back up for the next one, then you get let down a little again," he said. "I'm tickled to death to get this win. I can't wait to get back home to Florida."
Dice found a Boogerman buzzbait with a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper as a trailer was the ticket to his winning sack. Dice's pro was also using a buzzbait, albeit unsuccessfully. Dice says he got bit because his Skinny Dipper was dipped in J.J.'s Magic Dippin' Dye. He was able to edge out Don Lewis, of Jacksonville, Fla., whose three-day total was 11-11. In third is Ben Humphries of Jasper, Ala., with 10-12, in fourth is Steven Roosen of Ft. Mill, S.C., with 9-11 and in fifth is Rex Harris of Bargersville, Ind., with 9-9.
With his win, Montgomery takes control of the Southern Opens points race. Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., sits in second and Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., will move into third. Lane also sacked the heaviest bass of the day, a 4-11 largemouth.
The next stop of the 2010 Bassmaster Southern Opens presented by Bass Pro Shops is Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Ga., October 7-9, 2010.