LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Conway angler Steve Scherrey took home the top prize in this year's Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza. It was the second time Scherrey had won the tournament. In 2000, he won with a 6.76-pounnder.
The 6.98 pound bass he caught in the 8 a.m. hour on Saturday in the Dumas pool lifted him over one-day leader William Fitzgerald's 6.87 pound fish in the Dardanelle pool.
Scherrey is taking home $50,000 for his efforts. Scherrey beat out 2,277 other anglers to win the grand prize. Scherrey was fishing with Jim Langley of Conway. He caught the winning bass while fishing with a Buzz Bait. He said he will be splitting the money with his partner. Scherrey said he would use the money for a family vacation with his kids and grandkids, as well as pay bills and work on his boat.
Scherrey said, "I appreciate everyone involved. The Big Bass Bonanza is absolutely the best tournament for the average fisherman. It is very well run. I am a big proponent of the tournament. It pulls people in from outside the state."
First-place winners in each of the other pools, winning $10,000 each are:
• William Fitzgerald, Greenbrier (6.87) – Dardanelle pool
• David May, Little Rock (6.85) – North Little Rock pool
• Karry Dedmon, Huntington (5.69) – Fort Smith pool
• Jason Hamilton, Star City (5.63) – Pine Bluff pool
Roger Key and his son, Zane Moore, both from Van Buren, took home $1,000 cash and the Willow Leaf Award, which goes to the parent/child or grandparent/grandchild pair weighing the biggest fish. Their bass tipped the scales at 5.78 pounds.
Guaranteed place money for each of the five pools is $900 to 2nd place, $700 to 3rd place and $400 to 4th place to the winners, in each of the five pools. The winners of those are:
Pool 1 – Fort Smith
David Buck, Ozark 5.55
Bill Raggio, Charleston 5.20
Pool 2 – Dardanelle
Randy Osborn, Russellville 6.67
Gary Ledford, Clarksville 6.44
David Summers, Mt. Ida 6.43
Pool 3 – North Little Rock
Jimmy Terry, Little Rock 6.02
Mitchell Hope, Little Rock 5.59
James Dial, Bryant 5.35
Pool 4 – Pine Bluff
Terry Stewart, Greenbrier 5.13
Brian Pennington, White Hall 4.89
Ronnie Hackney, Star City 4.71
Pool 5 – Dumas
John "Steve" Burton, Monticello 6.65
Johnny Walker, Lake Village 6.64 J
acky Brown, Marion 6.12
A total of $234,200 in prize money was awarded, and the hourly payouts were $650 for first place, $400 for second place and $300 for third place. In addition, if the hourly winners purchased and were wearing a Big Bass Bonanza t-shirt and cap, they received an extra $100 in bonus money.
Academy Sports and Outdoor gift cards also were won. For a 3-pound fish on the third hour, a $300 gift card is awarded. For a 4-pound fish on the fourth hour a $400 gift card is awarded. Steve Squires of Morrilton weighed in a 3-pound bass in the third hour on Saturday in the Dardanelle pool, Kurt Copeland of Pine Bluff, weighed in a 4-pound bass in the fourth hour on Saturday in the Pine Bluff pool, and Eric Johnson of Little Rock weighed in a 4-pound bass in the fourth hour on Sunday in the Dumas pool.
Major sponsors of the tournament are Academy Sports and Outdoors, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Hardees. Other sponsors include Heart of Arkansas, North Little Rock Visitors Bureau, Pine Bluff Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Russellville Advertising and Promotions.