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Johnson hangs on for Champions Tour win on Gull Lake

Tadd Johnson (right) accepts his prize for winning the Classic Bass Champions Tour event Aug. 5 on Gull Lake. Submitted photo 1 / 3
Champions Tour angler Mark Fisher catched a bass Gull Lake Bass. Submitted photo2 / 3
Champions Tour anglers prepare to leave the Quarterdeck Resort. Submitted Photo3 / 3

Tadd Johnson bested 24 other anglers to win the Classic Bass Champions Tour event Aug. 5 staged at the Quarterdeck on Gull Lake.

Johnson recorded 52 scorable bass, weighing a total of 87 pounds, 3 ounces.

All Champions Tour anglers recorded a total of 885 pounds of bass caught and released back into Gull Lake.

Johnson fished the first Champions Tour event of this season on Mille Lacs and said his strategy going into this event was crafted with his experience from that event. Johnson had an incredible first half of fishing, where he caught 63 pounds, 9 ounces of bass and had over a 26-pound lead on second place angler Will Pappa. Pappa caught nearly identical 37 pounds in each half of fishing.

For his win Johnson walked away with the first place prize of $4,000 and a berth into the Champions Tour Championship, where the winner will walk away with a brand new Skeeter Boat, trailer and Yamaha Outboard package.

Johnson's game plan involved some risk, he said, as he made a long run in the morning, where he had to spend a significant amount of time idling through slow no wake zones.

"I had to go where my biggest schools were, as catching bass consistently is key in the Champions Tour," said Johnson. "If you go idle and aren't catching them, the sticks behind you are and you can quickly slide down that leaderboard."

The Classic Bass Champions Tour provides live results and techniques to Classic Bass users. Each angler is paired with a boat official who tracks and records every legal fish, along with enforcing the Champions Tour regulations. Each smallmouth or largemouth bass that is caught thst meets the 12-inch minimum length requirement counts towards the anglers overall weight/score. Upon measuring, weighing, and recording, the fish is immediately returned to the water. At no time is any fish placed in the boat's livewell or brought to a weigh-in.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the progress the Champions Tour is making during its first season, the anglers are working hard to catch bass, while still opening up and sharing valuable information for the fishing world to enjoy," said Scott Bonnema, Owner of Classic Bass. "Our host sponsor, Quarterdeck Resort, opened up their doors and rolled out the red carpet for us. The Friday night meeting at Quarterdeck's Boathouse Event Center and on-the-water facilities is top notch. We couldn't be more thankful for their partnership!"

At each of the Champions Tour events, the top six finishers qualify for the Championship which will be held on Sept. 1 on Lake Pokegama in Grand Rapids, where a brand new Skeeter boat equipped with a Yamaha Outboard will be given away. The top six anglers from the Gull Lake event were:

• First—Tadd Johnson, 87 pounds, 3 ounces (52 bass)

• Second—Will Pappa, 74 pounds, 13 ounces (50 bass)

• Third—Shane Raveling, 51 pounds, 8 ounces (25 bass)

• Fourth—Andy Walls, 49 pounds, 6 ounces (28 bass)

• Fifth—Brad Leifermann, 44 pounds, 3 ounces (23 bass)

• Sixth—Dave Skallet, 43 pounds, 11 ounces (25 bass)

Two other awards included the Don Nelson Memorial Big Bass award presented by Kruger Farms: Brad Leifermann, 4 pounds, 6 ounces; and the Major Mover Award powered by Wenzel's Farm to Dave Skallet who increased his weight from the end of the first half of the day to the end of the day by 22 pounds, 13 ounces.

"Our anglers did a great job on the water today, there was a lot of boat traffic, so keeping them and their Minnesota Bass Nation High School angler boat official's safe throughout the day was top," said Mark Schutz, Classic Bass Operations Manager and Champions Tour Tournament Director. "It continues to blow my mind just how fortunate we are to have not just quality anglers fishing the Champions Tour, but amazing stewards of the sport!"

For detailed video recaps from the entire list of award winners please visit You can also look back through to see how the event unfolded at, .

"Congratulations to Tadd Johnson on his win, he is a true sportsman and long-time supporter of Classic Bass, so to see him garner this award is very exciting," said Bonnema.

For a full schedule and details regarding the remaining 2017 Classic Bass Champions Tour presented by Skeeter Boats and Yamaha Outboards events, visit

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