Roumbanis, Watson Help Team USA Win Gold Medal in Black Bass World Championship

By Joel Shangle - November 6, 2018

CHINA, Mexico – Major League Fishing Pros Fred Roumbanis and James Watson have plenty of hardware in their tournament-fishing trophy cases. But one shiny new award will probably be front-and-center in the Roumbanis and Watson households from now on: a world-championship gold medal.

Powered by a big-fish crankbait bite on a spot that Roumbanis and Watson located on the first day of competition, the Team USA squad of Roumbanis, Watson, Scott Martin, David Fritts, David Dudley, Scott Canterbury and Terry Bolton racked up 61,400 grams (135.4 pounds) in two days on Lake Cuchillo, Mexico to win the 2018 Black Bass World Championship.

“Dude, it’s just unreal,” Roumbanis said. “To go out there and do what we did is just mind-blowing. I mean, how many people in the world can say they won a gold medal in an international competition? It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.”

And it might not have happened if not for a deep contour with chunk rock that the members of Team USA came to call the “Golden Hole”.

After Day 1 was canceled due to high winds, Roumbanis and Watson found themselves midway through Day 2 on a point that Fritts had identified in practice as a potential cranking spot. Instead of fishing the shallow end of the point, though, Roumbanis slid out deeper and watched as his Garmin Quickdraw Countours drew him a map of chunk rock sitting in 24 feet of water.

Out came the deep-diving crankbait, and Roumbanis was quickly connected with an 8-pound Lake Cuchillo largemouth.

“I was like ‘Okay, this is the deal’,” Roumbanis said. “James and I kept watching this lip go further and further out, and we kept grinding that crankbait. We caught another one close to 8 pounds, and it got to the point where I thought I’d get a bite every cast. We got up to 28 pounds pretty quickly, and then called in the other American teams.”

Per the rules of the Black Bass World Championship, teams are allowed to communicate with each other during competition, so Martin and Canterbury motored over to the Golden Hole and promptly boosted their team total to just over 37 pounds for the day.

At the end of the first day, Team USA had a comfortable lead (81.72 pounds to 52.91 for Spain), and an additional 53.6 pounds on the final day gave the US squad a generous final cushion over Mexico and Italy.

“It was such a great team effort where we all sort of fished out strengths,” Roumbanis said. “Fritts being a crankbait guy, he identified that as a key bait to get quality bites, and that played a huge role. All in all, it was just a super-cool team win.”

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