CARTERVILLE — It doesn’t matter how tough the conditions, someone will find the fish.
On Saturday at the 42nd Boy Scout Tournament, it was Tom Burns of Carbondale and Mike McKinney of Benton that solved the puzzle at Crab Orchard Lake.
Their five-fish limit tipped the scales at 20.8 pounds, 1.64 pounds better than the second place team of Trent and Steve Tuthill.
“Fishing was good early,” Burns said. “It got tough when the sun got up. It was pretty windy from about 11 a.m. on.”
Burns and McKinney earned $1,459 each for their efforts.
For most of the field, it was a tough day.
Nine of the 57 boats brought a limit to the scales, but 20 teams were blanked.
“There’s just not the fish there was in here 20 years ago. You’re going to have that. I just don’t think they’re in here.”
The winners adopted a trial-and-error approach.
“We caught them on four different things,” Burns said. “We were fishing mostly weeds. We had a limit about 10:30 a.m. and culled a couple. We fished shallow and threw frogs, a Sluggo and a crawdad. It was mostly a topwater bite.”
Conditions were tough due to a week of chilly temperatures, clear skies, post-spawn fish and windy conditions for the second half of the day.
“The wind probably hurt us a little more than anything,” Burns said. We were fishing a little more in the open. We had a couple bites we didn’t get because we couldn’t feel them.”
Hayden Snyder of Carbondale took big bass honors with a 6.89-pounder. Burns and McKinney won the tournament without that kicker fish.
“We had five almost identical fish, just five four-pounders,” Burns said.
The event netted $2,138 for the Boy Scouts.
Rounding out the top five teams were Lewis Schweizer and Dennis Heape in third, Jack and Ben Doan in fourth and Rick Byrnes and Earl Sigley in fifth.
Twenty-one of the 37 teams that weighed in fish topped 10 pounds.