Cheril Connell and Jeff Vernon, both of Killeen, show the two fish that earned them first place in the Tuesday Night Tournament at Belton Lake.

Courtesy photo

Jeff Vernon and Cheril Connell, both of Killeen, won the Tuesday Night Tournament with a two-fish bag weighing 12.16 pounds. 

The duo also earned “Big Bass” honors with an 8.6-pound catch. Their total first-place prize was $915.

The weekly event — sponsored each week by Tightlines Premium Fishing Tackle — usually takes place at Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

But due to rough conditions, last week’s event was held at Belton Lake.

Second place went to Chris Tatum and Justin Tatum with a three-fish bag of 9.14 pounds. Willie Vickers and Billy Hirschman took third place (8.67 pounds). Fourth place went to Adrian Barnes and Daniel Barnes (8.31).

“The conditions at Belton turned out to be pretty good,” Vernon said. “It was a little windy but not cold at all. The main lake was a little choppy, but we put ourselves in a spot where it wasn’t so windy. I have an 18-foot boat instead of the 21-foot boats like most of the others in the tournament.”

Vernon hauled in the 8.6-pounder around 8 p.m.

“It was a good fight but a lot of fun,” he said. “When I first hooked it, I thought it was a catfish because it came out running, not going to the top like a bass normally does. But a little bit later, it came to the top just enough for me to see it was a bass. My normal fishing partner couldn’t make it so Cheril, my girlfriend, was the one who netted this fish.

“It was the first fish she ever netted.”

She enjoyed the experience.

“It was all pretty exciting when Jeff caught that big fish,” Connell said.

But this week, Vernon will be competing in the TNT with his regular fishing partner.

“Well,” said Connell, with a laugh, “I guess I’m just the second fiddle. Jeff has been teaching me well about fishing. So, if he keeps me as the second fiddle, I may have to just compete against him.”

Contact Allan Mandell at or 254-501-7566 and read his column at

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