GREENSBORO, N.C. — Using a strategy he dubbed "the baby pattern," Bassmaster Elite Series pro Fred Roumbanis of Auburn, Calif., won the Bassmaster American presented by Advance Auto Parts, topping runner-up Brian Snowden of Reeds Spring, Mo., by nearly 5 pounds through the tournament's final two days on Lake Townsend.
He's not the first: Roumbanis became the latest in a long line of anglers to win a big tournament within days of the birth of a child. That list includes 2006 tournament winners Preston Clark of Palatka, Fla., and Dave Wolak of Wake Forest, N.C., the defending champion of the Bassmaster American.
"I feel like I had that baby thing going on," Roumbanis said, laughing. "The baby mojo."
Coverage of the Bassmaster American presented by Advance Auto Parts can be seen on ESPN2 at 9 a.m. ET Saturday, May 26.
Snowden finished second with 17 pounds, 3 ounces; Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., finished third with 11 pounds, 6 ounces; John Murray of Phoenix finished fourth with 9 pounds, 1 ounce; Mark Tucker of Saint Louis, Mo., was fifth with 6 pounds, 9 ounces; and Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark., was sixth with 5 pounds, 14 ounces.
The tournament started at High Rock Lake, and Roumbanis barely made the top 12 cut after two days. Once the action moved to Townsend and the 12 qualifying anglers had their weights zeroed, the 28-year-old Californian was in the zone.
In compiling his two-day total of 17 pounds, 3 ounces, Snowden was the only angler to put a limit in the livewell both days at Townsend. But even his Sunday-best catch of 8 pounds, 3 ounces was not nearly enough to overtake Roumbanis.
"I just couldn't get the big bites I needed," said Snowden, a 34-year-old who now has three second-place finishes in BASS events.
Also helping Roumbanis was the fact that the 1,500-acre Townsend, a water supply reservoir, reminded him of the small lakes he grew up fishing in California.
"These places fish more sporadically, and that's just my style," said Roumbanis, whose Sunday catch of four bass weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces.
Roumbanis caught six of his seven keepers at Townsend by drop-shotting a 4-inch, margarita mutilator-colored Roboworm to target pre-spawn fish. He caught the other on an Easy Strike chatter bait.
He said he was confident heading out Sunday morning with the big lead.
"I knew if I stayed calm, focused on finesse fishing and fished smart and somewhat methodically, I was going to get bites and catch fish," Roumbanis said. "And that's what I did."