Settled in the heart of the Brainerd Lakes Area, Gull Lake is a diverse body of water that hosts a myriad of bass tournaments from across the state of Minnesota and the Champions Tour has visited the lake multiple times in the previously.
One thing that never changes about Gull, there are always numbers of fish to be caught and when you bring together 48 of the top anglers in the region it’s bound to go down. Especially when those 48 anglers are all fighting to be in the top 25 in points for an opportunity to fish the Championship on Serpent Lake and win a brand-new Skeeter Boat.
Spotty storms bringing periodically heavy rains had made the practice an interesting one for most anglers but by all accounts, the fish were biting. The morning of the tournament brought a shifting wind and a nervous energy as competitors tried to focus on a unique lake split that cut out the entire main lake in the morning and had boats running to either end of the lake to their first spots. This would prove to be a challenge for many, who had practiced the main lake heavily in the mornings and were banking on an opportunity to catch schooling topwater fish that were no longer an option.
The tour features a handful of locals to this area, and it was on those locals, Bagley Baits Pro Tyler Bahr who raced out to an early lead and set a blazing pace to start the day. Behind, but in striking range was Bagley Baits Pro, Aaron Teal, and the ever-dangerous former Champions Tour victor Kyle Schutta. Long runs back to Ernie’s for lunch break cut the morning a bit short for many but Bahr had done his job and took the lead to the break with 22 fish for 48 pounds-4 ounces and just under a five-pound lead over Aaron Teal.
The second half brought a major shift as the anglers took to the main lake where the sun and calming winds were sure to bring out one of Gull’s famous dock bites which heavily favored guys like Arnold Helgerson who rocketed up into the top three in the early part of the second half.
Bahr’s progress slowed considerably as anglers behind him began to gain ground and eventually Aaron Teal would surpass him to take the lead and Bahr would continue to fall until he eventually landed in 7th place for the day which would be enough to qualify him for the championship.
Seemingly out of nowhere came a familiar face to any Champions Tour follower as Noah Schultz started to steadily climb the leaderboard and methodically pick off fish down a line of docks. Only 10 ounces separated the duo of Bagley Baits pro anglers, Schultz and Teal with less than 30 minutes remaining when Schultz scored a couple key bites for just enough room the slam the door shut and claim his fifth tour victory with a total weight of 73-04 on 38 fish.
This tournament officially locked in the roster of 25 anglers who will fish for a brand-new Skeeter Boat on Serpent Lake on September 1st and also paints a picture of how the angler of the year race could shape up as Skeeter Boats Pro, Matt Thompson takes a 12-point lead into the final event over Jim Moynagh. This year’s Championship field features some local legends of the sport as well as a mix of fresh young faces poised to make a run at their biggest win ever.
Stay tuned throughout the week as we set the stage for the biggest day of the Champions Tour season.