CARTERVILLE — The weigh-in at Saturday’s Boy Scout tournament at Crab Orchard Lake lasted less than 30 minutes.
Tough post-spawn conditions resulted in just 22 of 53 boats bringing fish to the scales.
Rodney Mandrell of Benton and Rob Stucker of Carterville took advantage of the opportunity with a five-fish limit, producing the winning weight of 15.54 pounds. Neither had ever won the tournament before.
It was the fourth lowest winning weight in the 42-year history of the tournament.
The largest winning weight in tournament history was 50 pounds,, 15 ounces by Fred Washburn and Bob Bush in 1997. However, the tournament had a two-day format at that time. The lowest weight was 12 pounds, 9 ounces by Ralph Shepherd and Robert Luke in 1982.
Mandrell and Stucker finished just 0.06 of a pound ahead of Zach Liddell and Nick Gooden. Jack and Ben Doan placed third with 11.44 pounds. No other boats weighed in more than 10 pounds.
“We just ran around and junk fished,” Stucker said. “We fished everywhere. It just worked out. If they weren’t biting, we just moved.”
While most teams struggled to put a single keeper in the boat, Stucker and Mandrell caught eight. And, Stucker said they duo caught another four or five short fish during the day.
The winners concentrated on rip rap most of the day.
“We caught them mostly on the same stuff,” Rucker said. “When we figured out where they were, we just ran, ran and ran. We burned a tank of gas.
“No one spot was the best spot. We have a lot of spots we didn’t catch anything on, then we’d hit a spot we’d catch two on. It just worked out. They’re going to eat shad now that they’re through spawning.”
They threw spinner baits and crank baits all day.
“I think they were done spawning, obviously by the turnout,” Stucker said. “This (tournament) is a tough one. Back when it used to be later in the year it was a whole lot better, with the grass. Now, we don’t have the grass, so it’s tough.”
Mandrell and Stucker did not have any big fish in their bag. Big bass honors went to Liddell with a 5.55-pound fish. Big bass paid $530.
Stucker and Mandrell each earned $1,283 for their efforts. Second place paid a total of $1,024 and third place paid $768.
The tournament netted $1,988 for the Boy Scouts of America.