Perkins Prevails At Lake Amistad For Epic Baits NPFL Championships Victory

Counce, Tennessee angler Brandon Perkins goes wire-to-wire at Lake Amistad earning the $100,000 grand prize and NPFL Championship Shield.


After a dominant start to the tournament on day one with 29 pounds, 9 ounces, Brandon Perkins sealed the deal in Texas, becoming the first-ever NPFL Championship winner. Carrying a 12-pound lead into the final day, Perkins caught five bass weighing 20 pounds, 3 ounces on Showdown Saturday, adding to his day two weight of 21 pounds, 12 ounces. With a three-day total of 71 pounds, 8 ounces, he secured the inaugural NPFL Championship title on Lake Amistad with a stellar three days of fishing.


Perkins's margin of victory was 15 pounds, 9 ounces and he has set the record for the most weight in NPFL history for three days.


He spent the week fishing a mixture of different things but the special areas were bluff walls where there were rock transitions. If there was wood, it was even better. Perkins got a clue in price when he saw and caught a big fish using his Lowrance Active Target and it may have changed the trajectory of the event.


“I knew the wind was going to be bad later in the week so I found places I would be able to fish without being affected too bad,” he said. “During practice, I was able to catch a ton of bass on FFS, but they were all small. I was going down a bluff bank and saw a big blob. I threw that Scope Stik out there and caught one almost 8 pounds. That fish got me dialed on bluff walls and that is how I fished this week.”


All week throughout practice and the tournament, Perkins for the most part had his water to himself, which was key for being able to manage fish. 


“I saw a few boats in practice, but they were not fishing the same types of bank I was. I felt like I had figured out something special,” he added.”My one-two punch was the Magdraft and the Bill Lewis MR-12 crankbait. When they were eating the swimbait, I could see them bite and it was an absolute blast.”


While the majority of the field was fishing a bit more offshore or on different types of banks, Perkins was able to locate big largemouth using his Costa Sunglasses and make precise casts. When the fish would miss, he would follow up with a Yamamoto Senko, but his execution was flawless.


On the final day, even with a 12-pound lead, the Tennessee angler was never nervous but still stressed throughout the day as things started to come together. He began his morning close by the ramp with the wind howling and started his day off with a small keeper. 


“The wind made it hard to fish, and I lost a good one; I just was not feeling it,” said Perkins. “I knew that was not what I was supposed to be doing, and then my gut told me, ‘I have to go where I had not fished since day one.’ I caught two small ones on Thursday but it felt right, my gut was telling me.”


Perkins made his way to the spot and almost immediately put his first big fish in the boat – a 7-pounder. He turned to the live camera and said “Trust your gut.” Soon after, he filled in a small limit and was on his way to securing the victory.


“At that point, I was feeling confident in my decision-making and again got a feeling that I needed to make a move. A five-pounder bit my bait but never got it. I knew if I caught one more big fish I would seal it and that was a shot.”


Around 2:30 pm, still without another big bite, he was working his way into an area when his friend and fellow angler, Richard Cooper stopped to see how things were going and ask about fishing a stretch.


“Cooper asked me if I was planning on fishing an area and I was just going to move in there. I told him to go ahead but he graciously turned around and left. I got back there and caught my second 7-pounder. That one meant a ton to me. The NPFL anglers this week were amazing, we had a lot of fun. It is pretty cool to be able to trust your buddies, and not only Richard, but Mike Corbishley and Will Harkins helped me out this week by lending me baits – I have to thank those guys a ton!”


With two bass for 14 pounds and a small limit to boot, the adversity was not over. As he went to lift his Minn Kota Ultrex, the cable had wrapped up and snapped while lifting it into the boat. And down into the bottom of the boat, he fell.


“Dustin Smith was close by and came over to help me,” laughed Perkins. “We got the motor back up and I was able to get going. That right there was my sign from above that I needed to make my way to the ramp. A lot of times throughout my career I felt like it was not my time, and it wasn’t. You can't control it, when it happens it happens. I thought I was going to win the AOY but it was not in God's plan. This week, it was my time.”


Without the support from his family, friends, and sponsors, Perkins would not be able to compete in the NPFL, let alone the NPFL Championship. 


“I have to give a huge shout-out to my wife, girls, and all my friends and family for the support, text messages, and calls. I owe a lot of people calls and I promise to get back to everyone. I started working with Reel Deal Tackle Shop and they overnighted me some stuff this week which was important. I also ran on high all day every day. My Miller Tech Batteries were at 85% at the end of the day and I never once had to worry about those, or my electronics one bit.”


“And finally, the NPFL. I have been with the NPFL for all of the years and these guys are amazing. The NPFL is my home and I love it,” he added.


With his winning weight, Perkins now owns the NPFL record for a three-day total weight of 71 pounds, 8 ounces.


Jesse Wise

Adding 19 pounds, 5 ounces on Showdown Saturday, including a 10-pound, 9-ounce lunker largemouth, Jesse Wise finished the Epic Baits NPFL Championship event in second place with a three-day total weight of 55 pounds, 15 ounces. He began his tournament with 18 pounds, 2 ounces, and added 17 pounds, 14 ounces on day two before making his move on the final day. 


Like many anglers this week, Wise located the stretch of Lake Amistad that had grass and developed a pattern he was confident he could ride throughout the tournament. 


“The hot topic in the industry is ‘scoping’ them but this place at this time of year is not the time for that,” he said. “I tried it in practice but only had a few bites and quickly got that out of my mind. On day two, I located the grass and knew I had found a place I would spend some time.” 


On day three of practice on Tuesday, Wise dialed in Lake Amistad even more and figured out a one-two punch that involved flipping, something he loves to do. 


“On the final day of practice I learned the big ones were coming and I was excited for the tournament to start,” he added. “Any piece of wood with more than four feet of water on it held fish and I knew we were going to catch them. I woke up on Thursday morning and I could feel it in the air; those spring derbys when you just know things are lining up to be fun.” 


When he arrived at his main area, two other anglers were in the vicinity and the three of them had a good day of catching. Wise, however, was concerned if the area would reload with fish or if the pressure would crush the area. 


“I got there on day two and we knew the wind was going to be bad, so I got into them as fast as I could but we only had a short window before the conditions got bad,” he said. “On the final day, it was a struggle until 10 am. I had one small fish before I caught the 10 pounder and then it died until the afternoon.” 


The struggle was short-lived. After the Weigh Live Tracker went off in the afternoon, the fish got set up and Wise got back to business catching the third biggest bag of the day and moving into the second place spot in the tournament. 


“I could call my shots this week. If it had more than four feet, they were biting. I caught them well on the final day but did not get enough bit bites to really make up the ground. When the wind was blowing, I could catch them on the Deep Creek Lures Stick Worm in Purple Haze color, and then when the wind blew, I switched to the shakey head and caught them on the Deep Creek Lures Trick Worm. 


“At the end of the day, it was a great week,” concluded Wise “Brandon was on them and I will tip my cap to him. I told everyone it would be 18 pounds a day, and that is what I ended up catching on average. We hit it at the perfect time while the lake was popping off. I knew we were going to catch them, and if the weather had not changed, we would have got them even better.”


Patrick Walters

Starting on day one in third place with 21 pounds, 15 ounces, Patrick Walters added 17 pounds, 6 ounces on day two, and 13 pounds, 9 ounces on day three to finish in third place spot with a total weight of 52 pounds, 14 ounces.


“I had a phenomenal week throwing around the Zoom Magnum Swamp Crawler and a new bait from Zoom, the Shimer Shad, it's a chatterbait/spinnerbait trailer. Most bites were on the chatterbait but today, the big fish came on the spinnerbait.”


Walters focused his efforts on Amistad this week fishing around transition banks with grass and timber, where fish were staging to spawn. 


“I lost a few key fish each day but around that much cover, it's going to happen,” he added. “The biggest thing when fishing around other boats is just keeping a bait in the water and trusting your equipment. Trent at Sonar Pros got me dialed and my Falcon Boat ran flawlessly this week. It was not my time, and I truly believe that is how it goes. With the lake low like this, being dialed and having good mapping is key.”


Darrel Robertson

Darrel Robertson finished the Epip Baits NPFL Championship in the xx spot with a three-day total weight of 48 pounds, 7 ounces. He started the event in the top five with 19 pounds, 5 ounces, added 15 pounds, 12 ounces on day two, and added 13 pounds, 6 ounces on the final day to finish up a successful tournament.

Randy Sullivan

With a three-day total of 45 pounds, 10 ounces, Randy Sullivan finished in fifth place in the inaugural EPIC Baits NPFL Championship on Lake Amistad. Sullivan started on day one with 19 pounds, 15 ounces, backed it up with 13 pounds, 7 ounces on day two, and added a Showdown Saturday bag of 12 pounds, 4 ounces.

Rest of the best:

Jason Wilson 44-11

John Cox 44-6

Kevin Martin 43-15

Barron Adams 42-8

Louis Fernandes 42-4

BassBass fishingForward facing sonarLargemouth bassPre-spawn

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