Crankbait helps free Central Open angler from sand bar

Courtesy of BoatUS Angler

Veteran tournament angler Jerry Lee found himself in a bad spot on the second day of competition during the Bassmaster Central Open. He was out of water.

Lee, age 71, of Kiefer, Oklahoma, wasn’t just out of productive fishing water. He was out of water deep enough to pilot his bass boat. The independent contractor was stuck on an ultra-shallow sand bar on the far north end of Lewisville Lake amid bone chilling north winds.

He might still be on the sand bar if TowBoatUS Captain, James Freeman hadn’t arrived 30 short minutes after Lee placed a call for assistance. But getting him ungrounded wasn’t easy. “He was stuck so shallow, that I couldn’t get my Tow Boat near him, so we pulled out a 300-foot rope,” explained Freeman, who also works for the Lewisville Fire Department.

“He threw the rope toward me as far as he could, but I was so far up on the sand bar that it fell short,” said Lee. That’s when a chartreuse-blue Bill Norman crankbait helped save Lee’s day. “I casted a crankbait out, hooked the rope, and reeled it the remainder of the way to my boat so that I could finally tie on.”

“Once we each had an end of the rope, I was able to jerk him free, essentially by spinning him around to dislodge him,” explained Freeman.  “Then I pulled him to deeper water so he could fire up his outboard and go back to fishing,” added Freeman.

The crankbait only cost Lee about $5, but because Lee hadn’t signed up for a $72 annual membership to BoatUS Angler with Unlimited Road and Water Towing, the tow cost him $165. If he had signed-up at the tournament registration, online, or by phone, the tow would have been totally free.

“I’ve done two stupid things at this tournament,” reflected the good-natured Lee. “I ran my boat up on a sandbar, and I failed to purchase a BoatUS Angler towing membership before the tournament started.”

Tournament anglers who buy a BoatUS Angler membership can also benefit from their subsequent free participation in the BoatUS Angler “Weigh-to-Win” tournament cash bonus program. To learn more, visit