California team collects $50,000 first-place check with Top 40 teams advancing to National Championship on Missouri’s Table Rock Lake this fall
LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – Amateur fishing buddies Jordan Collom and Cody Spetz claimed first place at the regional qualifying event for the Bass Pro Shops US Open National Bass Fishing Amateur Team Championships – a first-of-its-kind amateur fishing tournament offering the biggest payout in freshwater fishing history – on Saturday, October 2, on Lake Havasu.
After weather forced a reschedule of the qualifying event from Lake Mead in April to Lake Havasu in October, the wait was well worth it for Collom and Spetz, from Menifee, Calif., and Canyon Lake, Calif., respectively. The longtime friends fished from a Ranger boat and hauled in a five-fish catch weighing in at 16.63 pounds to top the 250-team field. They collect a first-place prize of $50,000 and are one of 40 teams to qualify for the National Championship on Nov. 19-21 at Big Cedar Lodge on Missouri’s famed Table Rock Lake. The National Championship will be broadcast internationally on NBC and carries a $1 million cash prize to the winning team.
The California duo had a slow morning of fishing but found luck midday with crankbaits and the magic of Collom’s mullet hairstyle. “About 8 months ago, my friend Cody [Spetz]’s dad bet us that he would pay for our Bass Pro US Open entry fee if I got a perm mullet,” said first-place winner Jordan Collom after winning the first-place $50,000 prize. “So I’ve been growing this out since then and I’ve got to get it permed now.”
Fishing buddies Terry Vance and Eric Bubenheim, from Tucson, Ariz., and Queen Creek, Ariz., respectively, landed a 5.70-pound Lake Havasu whopper to win the Biggest Bass category and take home $5,700, as well as the $10,000 prize for Third Place.
The top 40 teams received a payout and qualified for the National Championship. Additional prizes were awarded for catching the biggest bass within the following categories:
Biggest Bass: The biggest bass (5.70 pounds) was caught by fishing buddies Terry Vance and Eric Bubenheim from Tucson, Ariz., and Queen Creek, Ariz., respectively. Vance and Bubenheim earned $5,700 for the massive catch ($1,000 per pound), will receive a replica mount of the bass with a duplicate going on display at Bass Pro Shops in Las Vegas, and was entered into a drawing for a Nitro Z20 boat. Aided by their big bass, Vance and Bubenheim finished in Third Place overall with a 15.80 pound five-fish limit and won another $10,000 prize.
Youth Angler: Owen Reidhead, an 8-year-old angler from Mesa, Ariz., fished with dad Jordan Reidhead and earned a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card for catching the biggest bass (1.49 pounds) among anglers ages 0-10.
Fishing buddies Aaron Manning and veteran Christopher Adams from Mesa, Ariz., and Phoenix, Ariz., respectively won the Veteran category with a 5.34-pound bass and finished in Second Place to earn a $25,000 prize.
Junior Angler: Christian Soto, a 14-year-old angler from Inyokern, Calif., fished with dad Abraham Soto and earned a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card for catching the biggest bass (4.39 pounds) among anglers ages 11-17.
Veteran: Fishing buddies Aaron Manning and veteran Christopher Adams, from Mesa, Ariz., and Phoenix, Ariz., earned a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card for catching the biggest bass (5.34 pounds) by a Veteran team. The friends also finished in Second Place with a 15.86 pound five-fish limit and won another $25,000 prize.
Benefiting the Future of Fishing
The Lake Havasu qualifying event benefits conservation with proceeds supporting The National Fish Habitat Partnership. Thanks to Bass Pro Shops and Toyota, 100 percent of all entry fees – over $1 million throughout the tournament – will fund critical fisheries conservation and habitat projects nationwide.
Anglers and fans enjoyed free outdoor events and activities designed to help families get excited about the outdoors.
In keeping with a longstanding commitment to conservation, Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops partnered with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to help ensure all fish caught during the Bass Pro Shops US Open regional qualifying event on Lake Havasu were released responsibly following a fish-friendly weigh-in.
Remaining Regional Qualifying Events
Oct. 16 – Grand Lake, Oklahoma (registration closed)
Nov. 17 – Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas (registration closed)
About Bass Pro Shops Bass Pro Shops is North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela’s to create a “best-of-the-best” experience with superior products, dynamic locations and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America’s Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as “one of America’s Best Employers.”