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Riggins and Bates Win On The St. Johns River

 

With the weather and water temperatures heating up, so did the fishing on the St. Johns River. Fifty three teams from fifteen different states battled the high winds and river currents to weigh in some incredible fish and stringers while visiting beautiful Deland, FL. Large crowds and an exciting finish kicked off the 2018 season with the First Leg of the Florida State Championship.

Damon Riggins and Allen Bates, both from Florida, entered into day two with over a pound deficit to make up and with a final day weight of 14.20 pounds, they did just that and won the two-day national qualifier on the St. Johns River with a combined total of 28.39 pounds. The Champions were one pole fishing by pitching corks and baiting up with Skipper’s Jigs tipped with minnows into shallow waters, 4-5 feet, and catching their fish 4 feet deep. The winning team credited their Spot-Lock feature on the MinnKota Trolling Motor to help keep their Ranger boat still while fishing. Humminbird Electronics were also used. Riggins and Bates sponsored by Vexan Rods, took home $5500.00 which included the Missouri Corn Growers bonus of $500.00 for using E10 fuel in their boat. 

Second place went to the red hot Paul Turner, Tennessee, with a two day total of 27.55 pounds. Turner was spider rigging on the main river with the new B’n’M Pow-R-Troll Poles in 12 feet of water, keeping his Skipper’s Jigs, Buttercup colored, tipped with minnows near the bottom. Again, the MinnKota Trolling Motor and Humminbird Electronics were key to his success which helped him take home a $2500.00 check. Turner is sponsored by Crappieholic, B’n’M Poles, and Strike King.

William Hinson and Tommy Slice, South Carolina, finished up in third place with 25.24 pounds and earned a check for $1350.00. The Skipper’s Jig sponsored team was long line trolling at 1.5mph in 4-5 foot waters with their baits at 1.5 foot deep. Key equipment included a MinnKota Trolling Motor, Humminbird Electronics, Skipper’s Jigs in the red color tipped with red/white and bubble gum/chartreuse colored plastics. Hinson and Slice are sponsored by Skipper’s Jigs, Fish Stalker Lures, and Motor Mate. 

Len Litwiniec and Bob Bourque, Florida, finished in fourth with 24.74 pounds and received a check for $1150.00.

Fifth place and $1000.00 went to the always tough team of Larry and Steve Durden, both from Florida.

Big Fish of the Tournament honors ended in a tie at 2.97 pounds between Tommy Skarlis, IA, with partner Mike Baker, MO, and the Missouri team of Jesse Shoemake and Shane Cappel. Each team won $530.00.

Top finishing Male/Female team was Eric and Leann Howard, FL, with 23.61 pounds. They took home a Humminbird Helix 5 unit.

Tracy and Matthew Tripp, FL, won the Adult/Youth Division with 20.24 pounds and won a Minn Kota Trolling Motor plus a $100.00 Everhart’s Outdoor Store gift card. 

Special thanks to local sponsors that include: West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority, and Highland Park Fish Camp.

Special thanks to our National Sponsors that include: Renewable Fuels Association, American Ethanol, Bass Pro Shops, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Ozark Rods, Mercury Motors, Power-Pole, Jenko Fishing, Millennium Marine, Bobby Garland Crappie Baits, Off Shore Tackle, B’n'M Poles, Navionics, Spike-It, On This Side Catering, American Angler, Tite-Lok Rod Holders, Midsouth Tackle, Slider, Honey Hole Outdoors, Crappie Now, Crappieholic, Timmy Tom’s Jig Company, Marine Metal Products, Valley Fashions, Grizzly Jig Company, Everharts Outdoor Store, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, The Original Rod Sox, Fish-D-Funk, Ardent, Crazy Angler, Skipper’s Jigs, Denali Rods, Foxy Fishing Gear, HH Rods, Rod Safe, Crappie.com, Monster Crappie Media and Huffman Publishing, and KMMO Brad & Brian in the Outdoors.

 
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