Yamamoto's Chuy Morales and Son Crowned Team of the Year on Mexico's Pro Angler Tour
Story by Chuy Morales and Russ Bassdozer
Team Yamamoto's Chuy Morales and son Chuy Morales Jr. from Monterrey, Mexico have won the title of Team of the Year for 2009 on the Pro Angler Tour, the most prestigious bass circuit in the country of Mexico.
The Team of the Year title is the culmination of one full year competing in multiple tournaments across Mexico, against the best bass anglers in the country.
Now in its third season, the Pro Angler Tour has become Mexico’s premier bass fishing circuit. It's a series of tournaments on the highest level in Mexico, the country's equivalent of tournament trails such as the Bassmaster Elite series or FLW Pro Tour in the United States.
All our congratulations go to Chuy and Chuy Jr. for this remarkable accomplishment. The Team of the Year title is comparable within Mexico to the title that Bassmaster has, that of Toyota Angler of the Year, which has been won the past four years by such exceptional anglers as Kevin Van Dam in 2009 and 2008, Skeet Reese in 2007 and Mike Iaconelli in 2006.
|Mexico's Pro Angler Tour is an invitational series with a maximum limit of 60 two-angler teams who compete for the prize equivalent to $15,000 US dollars in each tournament.
The format and scoring is based on points. At each day of every tournament, the best bag gets 60 points, the 2nd heaviest bag 59, the 3rd 58 points and so on. Empty bags earn 0 points.
So although there are four two-day tournaments, each and every day counts as if it is a one day tournament. In terms of points, the 4 two-day tournaments actually add up points as if 8 one-day tournaments.
In 2009, Chuy and Chuy Morales Jr. were the pro team who earned the most points throughout the 2009 season, capturing the title of Team of the Year. This is the highest title in Mexico for tournament bass fishing in the country!
"After several years of having many tournaments and all kind of circuits in Mexico, the leading Mexican tournament anglers just got a little disillusioned with low level tournaments with low payouts/prizes, virtually no public relations or media exposure for the anglers and every year, there were increasingly higher expenses, stiffer competition - and almost nothing to show for it, for all the hard effort you needed to invest," explains Chuy Morales.
"One good day, while having dinner during at one of those tournaments, three avid fishermen - Homero Tamez, Dago Luna and Ricardo Cavazos, all of them formerly involved in some way with tournament organization, started a “new project” that sounded more like a dream than reality. They aspired to develop a real professional bass fishing circuit in Mexico, a tour where the anglers can have publicity and media exposure so their sponsors find value in promoting the anglers, and to have the sponsors names and logos on boats, vehicles and anglers' apparel - and really attractive cash prizes bags that would make it worthwhile for the top anglers im Mexico to fish the dream - Mexico's Pro Angler Tour - which kicked off in 2007," exclaims Chuy Morales proudly.
Dago Luna (left), one of Pro Angler Tour's founding fathers, as the field salutes the Mexican flag before take-off.
"In order to provide a media platform for Pro Angler Tour, to gain exposure for our sponsors and anglers, this year I got Mexico's ProFishing magazine to be the official magazine for ProAngler Tour," says Dago Luna. "I write a related column in each issue, and I put all the sponsors logos in the magazine's ProAngler Tour section. 30,000 copies are distributed throughout Mexico."
"We also hire a TV crew to film and show each tournament, and you may also watch the videos on the ProAnglerTour.com website," adds Dago.
"Because of all this exposure, each year more sponsors are interested in having their presence on the circuit. In the picture of my wrapped boat (above), you can spot some of my sponsors, Kistler, Banorte Generali and Xcalibur."
"On the overall circuit level his year we had: Kistler, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, American Rodsmith, Browning, Shimano, Gloomis, Xcalibur, Legend Boats, Triton and more who are putting cash into teams and/or also products to support the anglers," explains Dago.
Following are the 2009 Pro Angler Tour Team Of the Year's results and Chuy's tournament by tournament commentary:
"We caught active fish early in the day on spinnerbaits and small crankbaits tossed over a shallow ridge. Later in the day, we caught our fish on weighted Senkos. Note: This lake has a slot limit, so only 14 to 17 inchers are legal fish," says Chuy.Our Finish: 4th place
Father and son Team of the Year champions, Chuy and Chuy Morales Jr.
"Our first bite was a 7 pound fish on a deep-diving crankbait on an offshore hump outside the Tigers Creek. In the same spot, one more good fish fell to a jig with a Yamamoto Flappin' Hog as a trailer. But the good bite there only lasted for the first thirty minutes of the tournament, and we had to scramble to find the rest of our limit by cranking the banks of Big Tiger and Salinillas Creek the rest of the day."
Our Finish: 4th place which moved us into the top leadership position on the circuit!
"Starting on a clear water flat, we caught some good fish flipping bushes and trees with Gary Yamamoto's Flappin' Hogs. When that bite slowed down, we moved to an island where we threw crankbaits on the windy side to barely make the five-fish limit the first day and we weighed just 3 fish for the very tough second day," says Chuy.
Our Finish: 15th place but still leading in total points for the year so far.
4th and Final Tournament of 2009 ~ Sugar Lake, Camargo, Tamaulipas
Click here for full Sugar Lake tournament results/report (en Espanol) at ProFishingTour.com
"Due to our not so good finish at the prior event on Lake Guerrero, we were still leading the circuit but the second place team was too close - just 3 points behind! Many people was talking about how tight the championship race would be at this final event on Sugar Lake!"
"We still were the favorites, because last year on Sugar Lake, Chuy Jr. and I won there - but Sugar Lake is the home lake of my friend Mario Pena (from M. Aleman, Tamps.) and his partner, Arturo Robles (my friend also), an excellent angler from Del Rio, Texas.
"Chuy Jr. and my first day was tough; we weighed good fish but not big enough for us to be in the top ten. We weighted 26 pounds to get 15th place. Our nemesis team, they got a little better weight, getting 10th place, putting them for this moment in first place for the circuit’s leadership, leaving Chuy Jr. and I just 2 points behind in second place."
"That evening, I went to where they were to dine together and honestly wished my friends good luck for the next day!"
"The second day got off to a good start for us, catching a couple of 5 pounders and two more 3 pounders on a deep ledge that drops from 22 to 33 feet deep. Again, the Yamamoto Flappin' Hog, now Carolina-rigged did all the job," reveals Chuy.
"Our next stop was the point of a sunken island where cranking a Mann’s 30+ plug over a 9 to 16 foot drop-off got one more 5-pounder and our heaviest, a 7-pounder. Yeah!"
"Now, we already had a good bag but that 7-pounder enabled us to cull one of the two 3 lb fish we still had in the livewell".
"Just a half hour before the tournament ended, we reached our last spot, it was an offshore hump, to try our Carolina rigs with Yamamoto Flappin' Hogs again. First cast, a 4 pound fish, gaining us one pound as we culled the last 3-pounder."
"Second cast, a massive and beautiful 7 pound fish! So that last fish, the 4-pounder, didn’t stay aboard very long!"
"Our 2nd day weight was 29.87 lbs."
"When we arrived to weight in, many of our friends were eagerly asking us how many fish we got? We got five fairly good ones was our coy answer! Immediately, everyone was cheering and congratulating us, which was a little confusing! They soon explained that Mario and Arturo (who were in 1st place at end of day one) just got two small fish, so that they dropped down to 4th place! Honestly I got a little sad because we expected a very tight, down to the wire 'photo finish' with them."
Our Finish: 1st place and Team of the Year .
"My son and I, we are so happy and satisfied! Because, besides the 2009 Championship, we have continually done better for all three years that the Pro Angler Tour has been in Mexico:"
- 2007:….4th Place
- 2008:….2nd Place
2009 Champions: Father and son Chuy and Chuy Morales Jr.
Yamamoto Flappin' Hogs figured prominently in the Team of the Year's success during the 2009 season, used as jig trailers, flipped into brush and trees on Texas rigs and used deep on Carolina-rigs.
|About Mexico's Pro Angler Tour
A limit of sixty pro teams qualify to compete on Mexico's Pro Angler Tour, which was founded in 2007, when this photo was taken.
Mexico's pro anglers have the most modern bass boats, highest-powered engines, latest electronics, top-of-the-line tackle - and possess the expertise to use it all. Dago Luna (standing) helped found the Pro Angler Tour in 2007.
Mexican pro anglers and friends from L to R: pro Pedro Carrasco, Russ Bassdozer, FLW Tour pro Brent Ehrler, pro Rodolfo Garcia (kneeling), Eliud Garcia, Carlos Cano Villalobos and pro Jorge Bruster. 2007 photo.
Mexico's pro anglers are better-powered and better-equipped than bass anglers in Europe or some other countries. 2007 photo.