Iowa angler JJ Patton cashed in on his home waters advantage to win the Cabela’s Federation Nation Northern Divisional on the Mississippi River today.
The tournament launched out of the Illinois side of Pool 13, but the Eldridge, Iowa, angler frequently fishes the same pool, which gave him a slight edge over fellow river fisherman Mark Dove of North Vernon, Ind. Dove held a 5-ounce lead over Patton yesterday, but Patton caught the bigger sack today and won by 6 ounces with a total of 38 pounds, 6 ounces.
Fishing in his second divisional, Patton was a co-angler who credited his partners with giving him a chance to fish his areas. “They respected that I am kind of a local,” said the 42-year-old family doctor. “I can’t say enough about the partners I had this week for them to put their trust in me and go to my fish and let me catch them. I made great friends with all three of them (Larry Paul, Kevin Fassbind and David Junk) and that is part of what this is all about. You meet new people and it was great.”
The Elite Anglers of Iowa club member caught limits of largemouth every day to win this tournament even though he had to fish from other anglers’ boats. “You just have to work together and make this like a team tournament even though obviously it is not,” Patton said. “If you have a good day and get along well and respect each other’s equipment, you will be better off.”
Patton relied on three lures — a 1/4-ounce white/gold Brovarney Baits Swim Jig with a 5-inch white Yamamoto single tail grub; a black/blue vibrating spin jig and 1/4-ounce black/brown Arkie Jig by A.C.T. Custom Lures with a beaver-style trailer–to catch fish from one primary area. “I am not exactly sure what the fish were doing,” he said. “There was quite a bit of bait there but it was really a nothing bank. It was probably something most guys would drive by and not even fish. But having fished around here, and I kind of knew what to look for and I found them.”
Winning the divisional and finishing as the top angler on his state team also earned Patton a berth in the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship (FNC) to be held on Wheeler Lake in Alabama Oct. 25-27. Other state winners qualifying for the FNC are Dove of Indiana; Curt Samo, Illinois; Jamie Sochocki, Michigan; Jonathan Patrick, Minnesota; Eddie Levin, Ohio; Corey Peterson, South Dakota; and Brady Farrell, Wisconsin.
Iowa won the team championship for the second straight year with 312 pounds, 9 ounces, while the host Illinois squad finished second with 243-6.
Image courtesy Bassmaster