CARTERVILLE — Clayton Campanella and David “Boo” Guill edged Jack and Ben Doan by .41 pounds to win the 1st Buddy Bass Tournament sponsored by Southern Illinois Bass Busters to benefit Special Olympics Illinois held at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday.
“We were contacted by Bass Busters after they had reached out to U.S. Fish and Wildlife to find out if there was another charity that they would be able to work with as the Boys Scouts were going to be unavailable I guess because of COVID-19,” said Kim Talley, co-director the Special Olympics Illinois Region K. “As it turned out Fish and Wildlife and I had been in conversations to trying to have a fishing tournament out at Crab because I’m such a fan and the venue is right in our backyard. With us being in Phase 3 it worked out perfectly that they were able to figure out a date so quickly. So we were able to be the beneficiary of $2,280.00 from today’s event.”
Fifty-seven boats pushed off at 6 a.m. and 30 returned with at least one keeper to bring to the weigh-in.
“We were real happy with 57 boats, which was more than last year, to support Special Olympics,” Talley said. “One of our athletes is actually out here fishing today. His name is Jacob Dozier, and he’s out here with his father. He’s also an Eagle Scout. He’s amazing.”
Campanella and Guill caught the limit of five live fish that weighed in at 22.35 lbs. to take home a check for $3,083, which figures to $616.60 per fish that weighed in at an average of 4.47 lbs. each, while the Doans took home $1,233.20 for their five fish total of 21.94 lbs.
“We caught all five early before the first weigh-in at 11 a.m. and after that never caught another keeper,” Campanella said. “We ran all over the lake and were using everything. We caught them on crankbait, caught some flipping, caught some on chatterbait. It was hot, but on this lake I like it hot. A little bit of wind would have been nice, just for my pleasure and not the fishing.”
For Campanella, who hails from Du Quoin and lives in Mulkeytown, it was the first time he won this tournament with his best finish being two years ago when he was finished second with another partner.
Guill who is 52 and from Royalton, has been fishing this tournament since he was 16 and won the tournament in 2004.
“Clayton and I have been fishing tournaments off and on for the last three years,” Guill said. “We caught them fast and furious here and there at first and then it kind of slowed down, so we couldn’t improve our bag any. We caught fish all day long, but just couldn’t catch any bigger ones. We caught some on frogs, some on worm, a beaver and a crankbait that I had custom painted. We covered a lot of water and ran a lot of miles on the boat today.”
Horn, who is from Carterville, won the Big Bass award for the third time at this tournament, with his biggest bass yet weighing in at 6.88 lbs. It came with a check for $570.00. Horn and older brother Shawn finished third overall to also take home a check for $924.90.
“I caught this one on the rocks on a jig at 6:45 this morning,” Horn said. “It was hot, sunny and no wind at all, but fishing was good after we solved our boat issues. The motor gave out and we had to bring in another boat, but we pulled through."
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