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Midwest Bass Classic

Father-son team Andy (right) and Dustin Rametta of Johnston City took first place at the Midwest Bass Classic at Crab Orchard Lake in Carterville, Saturday.

CARBONDALE — Dustin Rametta pulled in one last fish before he and his father Andy headed boat 37 back to the dock, and that fish proved to be  just big enough to hand them the title at the 24th annual Midwest Bass Classic, held at Crab Orchard Lake on Saturday.

“We caught our fish on the main lake, basically,” Andy said. “We ended up catching eight keepers today, so we had a really good day. I caught two of the shorter ones on a topwater bait, but we ended up culling them out when we switched to a 10-inch worm. As it was getting time to come in, Andy thought we had it wrapped up, but I kept telling him we needed a bigger fish. He caught the winner at 2:05. That was awesome.”

The winning haul was over three pounds heavier than last year’s winner of 19.57 pounds, and 7.77 pounds more than two years ago. This year's field of 58 boats hauled in a total of 100 fish that weighed in at 332 pounds.

The Ramettas were one of only nine boats to weigh in the five-fish limit, and when the last fish was weighed, the Johnston City fishing family team weighed in at 22.71 pounds, edging the second-place team by a little under half a pound to win their first trophy together and a first place prize of $3,000.

“Me and my dad started fishing together six years ago and we got Big Bass in the Boy Scouts, but this is the first win,” Dustin said.

Andy is having a career resurgence after winning the Bill Harkins-Don Sanders Four-Man Tournament seven weeks ago for the first time in 25 years, and now doing the same at the Midwest Bass Classic, for the first time in 22 years.

John Lemaster from Herrin and Clayton Campanella from Mulkeytown were the second-place team fishing from the 24 boat. The team finished with a five-fish haul of 22.24 pounds edging out the third place boat by 0.11 pounds. 

“We caught everything before 10:30,” Campanella said. “We had one bank about 100 yards long, and we stayed there all day.”

However, they soothed their disappointment by winning an extra $580 for the Big Bass of the day, a 6.86-pound whopper caught by Lemaster early in the day.

“I caught it on a frog in the bay,” Lemaster said. “This is only the second time we’ve ever fished in this tournament and we didn’t do very well last year.”

Ben Doan from DeSota and Jack Doan from Carterville in boat 42 finished third, with a split haul, weighing in three fish early that weighed in at 14.76 pounds and adding two more before the weigh-in to come at 22.13 pounds, for the third-place prize of $1,500.

Finishing fourth with its $1,000 prize were Dale Horaz from Creal Springs and James Horaz from Carterville in boat 12, with a five-fish bag of 19.05 pounds. Rounding out the top five at its $500 prize was the team of Shane and Shawn Horn in boat 58, with a haul of 17.27 pounds.

The sixth place team of Jerry and Kim Watson from Marion had a four-fish bag of 16.63 pounds. Defending champions Tyson Shoot and Hunter Grounds finished 10th (13.03).

The proceeds will go to the Southern Illinois Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days hosted by John A. Logan College. This year the event will be held Sept. 23-24.

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