Watch this site for tournament reports as the Strike Pro Team
competes on the pro circuits throughout the 2013 season!
|Strike King Pro Luke Estel Wins the U.S.A. Bassin’ Nitro Classic Tournament in April, 2011|
|Part 2: How Luke Estel Set-Up a Pattern to Find and Catch Bass in the U.S.A. Bassin’ Nitro Classic Tournament on Kentucky Lake|
|Part 3: Luke Estel and Josh Jackson Established and then Expanded Their Bassing Pattern at Kentucky Lake Instead of Betting on a Honey Hole|
|Part 4: Adapting to Weather Changes at Kentucky Lake Gave Luke Estel and Josh Jackson a Chance to Win the Tournament|
|Part 5: Luke Estel and Josh Jackson Close the Deal at Kentucky Lake and Win the Tournament|
Editor’s Note: Strike King Pro Luke Estel of Murphysboro, Illinois, and his partner Josh Jackson recently won the U.S.A. Bassin’ Nitro Classic Tournament held on Kentucky Lake April 16 and 17. The prize was a 20-foot Nitro Z-8 boat with a Mercury Optimax 150-horsepower outboard motor, valued at $33,000, that was loaded with special features designed specifically for anglers. Estel’s the kind of fishermen many of us are – a Joe Lunchbucket type of angler who works a regular job 40 hours a week and has family responsibilities that eat-up his time but loves to fish for bass and compete. In this tournament, Estel demonstrated that he knew how to pattern bass and catch them.
Question: Luke, what did you have to do to qualify for the U.S.A. Bassin’ Nitro Classic Tournament?
Estel: There are more than 130 divisions in this tournament circuit in 24 states. I picked the division ran by my cousin Jason Estel on the Kaskaskia River that runs through central and southern Illinois. Only about 30 boats competed in this division. To fish in the regional tournament, you had to earn enough points. I fished four out of six tournaments with my partner Josh Jackson to qualify for the regional and won one event fishing with a Strike King Rage Craw. Josh and I have fished together for about 3 years and have competed as a team in several BASS Open Tournaments.
This year, we’ll also be competing as a team on the Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Tournament Trail. We’d earned enough points on the U.S.A. Bassin’ National Tournament circuit to qualify to fish on Rend Lake in southern Illinois for the regional championship, where we’d be competing against about 100 boats. However, since Josh would be out of town during the event, I had to fish by myself. In the regional, you’re allowed to fish as an individual or as a team. In this tournament, you only could weigh-in five bass. I finished in 12th place with only three bass that weighed a total of 8 pounds, but I still qualified to fish in the nationals. I caught all my bass on a green-pumpkin Strike King Finesse Worm with a Strike King Shaky Head Jig.
The national event was held on Kentucky Lake, and more than 200 boats competed in this tournament. Kentucky Lake was only about 2-hours from my home, and I’d fished there my entire life. So, I felt confident about fishing this lake. I was happy to learn that Josh would be able to fish with me in the championship, because we’d always fished well together and made a strong team. Too, I learned that my cousin had qualified, and we’d always fished well together and shared information in tournaments. I felt good going into the tournament and was confident that our team would finish strong, regardless of the outcome.