CARTERVILLE — The disbelieving murmurs were the only audible sounds at the Boy Scout Tournament weigh-in at Crab Orchard Lake Saturday.
Dennis Drust of Carterville and David “Dedi” Guill of Royalton won the tournament with 14.32 pounds. First place paid $2,718.
Not only was the winning weight low, but just 12 of 55 boats brought fish to the weigh-in. There wasn’t a single limit caught. And, just 26 total fish were weighed in. Only three teams brought more than 10 pounds of fish to the scales.
“All I can say is ‘Wow,’” said tournament director Rod Calcaterra at the weigh-in. “I think we set a record in Boy Scout Tournament history.”
This is just the third year of a one-day format for the event. Last year the winning weight was 23.4 pounds and in 2013 it took 17.78 pounds.
“It was extremely tough,” Drust said. “We knew we had four good fish. Dedi (Guill) lost a good fish this morning, about 4.5 pounds, and I lost a good one with about a half hour to go. We thought that was our chance to win it. Obviously, it was a very tough day for everybody.”
This is the first time the duo has fished the event together and the first time either has won the tournament, despite the fact they’ve fished together for decades.
“I grew up fishing with Dedi, my junior high coach and my neighbor,” Drust said.
There were plenty of theories for the poor fishing.
“It was post-spawn, and we’ve had fronts going through,” Drust said. “A lot of fish spawned two weeks ago in the Four Man and you’ve had cold fronts go through here a lot in the last week much more than usual this time of year. It’s just tough. They’re in that mode. I think the big spawn happened two weeks ago. That just makes it tough now.”
Other anglers noted that the lake level had dropped markedly in the past week. In addition, this is the first time the tournament was held the first weekend in May. Normally, the tournament has been held in the middle of the month.
Despite the tough conditions, Drust and Guill caught just enough fish to hold off the second and third place teams.
Matt Swalls of Carterville and Ron Robinson of Pittsburg also weighed in four fish. Their weight was 13.89 pounds. Buddy Finney of Herrin and Kevin Finney of Carterville placed third with 13.86 pounds.
“We were just doing our same old throwing lizards and plastics up on the bank like we always do,” Drust said. “Most of them came off wood. We ended up finding two spawners late that gave us our four.”
The winners boated a couple of keepers early in the morning and caught another pair late. They caught a number of short fish throughout the day.
“The middle of the day was tough,” Drust said. “We had six keeper bites and put four of them in the boat."
Travis Frasier of Herrin took big bass honors with a 5.95 pound fish. That fish was worth $540.
The tournament, hosted by the Crab Orchard Bass Club, netted $1,813 for the Boy Scouts.
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