Greers Ferry, Ark.—Staying with a topwater pattern for three days made a champion of Kansas angler Richard Risewick at Greers Ferry Lake in the BASS Federation Nation Central Divisional presented by Yamaha Outboards and Skeeter Boats.The 41-year-old grocery store owner from Norton, Kan., fished for the Nebraska team and caught 11 keepers weighing 23 pounds 12, ounces to win the Central Divisional. He held second place after day one and dropped to third place the next day, but his catch of four bass weighing 7-14 clinched the championship for the Milligan Bass club member.Fishing as a non-boater in his first divisional, Risewick relied on a LuckyCraft G-Splash topwater lure to catch all of his fish throughout the tournament. "I was fishing rock points where the fish were from 5 to 6 feet deep," he said. "I actually had some that I caught right next to the bank."
Today he started the morning on a chunk rock bank about a mile from the launch ramp. "I caught three fish off of it right away and then we ran to another spot where I caught a little spotted bass (keeper)," he recalled.
Winning the divisional and finishing as Nebraska's top angler also qualified Risewick for the BASS Federation Nation Championship, the ultimate test of amateur bass fishing's best, to be held Oct. 25-31 at the Harris Chain of Lakes in Tavares, Fla. Other state champions who advanced to the national championship were Mark Warner of Kansas; Russell Matt, Missouri; John Soukup, Oklahoma; Tom Jessop, Texas; Jay Ladner, Mississippi; Samuel Anthony, Louisiana; and Jared Taliaferro, Arkansas. The Central Divisional qualifiers will be among the 55 championship contenders vying for a berth to the Bassmaster Classic set for Feb. 19-21, 2010 on Lay Lake near Birmingham, Ala.Nebraska earned top honors in the team competition and won the divisional's top prize of a $30,000 Skeeter bass boat rigged with a Yamaha outboard motor. Nebraska's 14 anglers recorded a cumulative weight of 165 pounds, 14 ounces.Junior Bassmasters also competed in the Central Divisional today with their catches added to the cumulative weights of their respective state teams in the adult competition. The top Junior Bassmaster in the 11- to 14-year-olds age division was Ralston Lusby with a catch of two bass weighing 3-9. Craig Conger topped the 15-18 age group with three bass weighing 6-10. Both young anglers qualified for the Junior Bassmasters World Championship to be held in conjunction with the Federation Nation Championship in October.