A Long Road to Texas

This was a big one — in more ways than one — at the first-ever NPFL Championship on Lake Amistad.

By Jesse Wise: The First NPFL Championship

It was a long drive from NC to Del Rio, TX, but it was well worth it. My travel partners for the Epic Baits NPFL Championship – Trent Palmer, Mike Corbishley, Todd Goade, and Patrick Walters – and I had a fantastic trip south. I really didn’t know what to expect from the South Texas region but I was greeted with amazing views and the nicest people in Texas – true Southern hospitality at its finest. All the anglers were invited to eat some of the best cooking around at Tim’s house. The time spent together and the comradery was great. Overall, The City of Del Rio was filled with amazing people; everyone we met at any restaurants or stores we went to was super nice and welcoming.

Lake Amistad Showed Out

Now for the fun stuff; let’s talk about the tournament. My practice was average, but on the final day of practice, I got keyed into a big fish deal and was super excited to get the first day of the event underway. After day one, I had over 18 pounds and was sitting in 8th place. It was shocking to see how many people caught them. In talking with the anglers on the off day and throughout the week, the word was everyone was struggling. I stayed consistent on day 2 with another good bag almost 18 pounds which moved me up to fifth place and means I had a live camera on Showdown Saturday – I was pretty excited.

The final day was a day I will never forget. I had a huge hole to dig myself out of knowing Brandon Perkins was catching quality bass and knew I had to do something different to get a bigger bite. Little did I know I was going to catch the biggest fish in NPFL history, and on a live camera.

When the fish hit, I set the hook and turned to my cameraman to say ‘This is a big one!’ When the 10-pound, 9-ounce fish came up, I felt like I lost several years of my life and prayed he wouldn’t come off throughout the fight. I landed the monster bass and was pretty excited. I quite possibly had caught the biggest fish of the derby. The emotions on the water were high, and I thought if I could only get one more of those bites, I might be able to pull off something special. Unfortunately for me, God had other plans and I ended the day with 20 pounds and finished the first-ever NPFL Championship in second place. A big congratulations to Perkins for fishing an outstanding derby and getting the win.

I just want to say thank you to the ownership of the NPFL for running the best family-oriented tournament trail out there. They are the true rock stars for all their effort in making the NPFL the greatest.