SAVANNA, Ill. — Iowa angler Brad Teel was “totally” surprised by his catch today that put him in the lead at the Cabela’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Northern Divisional on the Mississippi River.
The 31-year-old machinist from the Cedar Rapids Bassmasters club noted he caught a lot of bass in practice, but he thought the action was sporadic. “I pulled into this one spot (today) and caught all of my fish out of there,” he said. “I never caught anything like that in practice.” His honey hole produced a five-fish limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces to move Teel into the top spot in the overall standings.
Teel avoided his primary spot during practice and kept making adjustments that paid off for him today. “I kind of figured out things to make them bite better throughout the week,” he said. “I still didn’t expect to catch that kind of bag out of that spot.”
Competing in his third divisional, Teel boated a limit by about 7:30 a.m. and continued to work the area for a couple of hours. “Every time I went through the spot we would catch at least one, but I finally told my partner we had to get out of there because I had to save some of those fish,” he said.
The Independence, Iowa, angler frequently fishes the Mississippi River, but usually farther upstream. “I am not real familiar with this pool,” said Teel, who noted this section of the river is fishing differently than his home waters. “I am used to fishing grass and I am just not getting bit in the grass.”
After practicing in sunny weather earlier this week, the contenders encountered cloudy skies and occasional drizzle today. The weather change apparently had little effect on Teel’s spot. “The fish were biting pretty decent,” he said. “They weren’t busting shad like they have been but the clouds kept them up close all day.”
Teel is striving to finish as the top angler on his Iowa team, which would earn him a berth in the Federation Nation Championship (FNC). Other state leaders bidding for FNC berths include Curt Samo of Illinois; Mark Nies, Indiana; Jamie Sochocki, Michigan; Chuck Steinbauer, Minnesota; Steve Strope, South Dakota; Kevin Fassbind, Wisconsin; and Michael Nesbitt, Ohio.
Teel’s Iowa squad leads the team competition with 123 pounds, 7 ounces. “We are all river rats from Iowa,” Teel said of his teammates. The host state of Illinois is in the runner-up spot with 86-1.
The Northern Divisional contestants will take off at about 5:45 a.m. tomorrow at Savanna Marina for the second day of competition.