Tonto Basin Couple Hooked On Fishing

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A Tonto Basin husband and wife team enjoys each other's company so much they spend hours at a time on a little boat in the middle of a lake.

Andy and Nancy Shelton like to fish, too.

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Nancy and Andy Shelton, of Tonto Basin, snagged a first-place finish in the Bartlett Allstar Bass Couples Tournament on March 17. The pair, sponsored by The Tackle Box, Highway 188 Tackle Shop and Pace Pacific Corp., weighed in a six-bass limit of 15.25 pounds.

And, as it turns out, they're pretty good at it.

The pair is the reigning AllStar Bass Supercouple Champions.

They amassed enough points from catching good-sized fish in enough tournaments last year to qualify for the two-day championship extravaganza in September 2006.

At the championships, they won a $22,000 Stratos boat.

The road that led them to this point was pretty straightforward.

"We just decided to start fishing together," Andy said. "It was something to do together."

The bass masters proved their championship run in 2006 was no fluke by snagging first place March 17 at the Bartlett AllStar Bass Couples tournament.

Along with the six monster fish they caught, amassing 15.25 pounds, the couple netted $2,239 in prize money.

"It's exciting waiting for that next bite," Andy said.

"It's a lot of work," Nancy added. "We have to go out ahead of time, pre-fishing, but it's always fun."

The duo has been fishing in couples' tournaments since 2003.

They cast out nearly once a month for tournaments. The next one is April 28, again at Bartlett Lake.

Maybe it will end up being their lucky lake, Nancy joked.

The AllStar Supercouple season tours various lakes around the state and runs from November to June, when qualifiers are announced for the championship tournament in September, Andy Shelton said.

Nancy said that along with the imposing competition by other couples, she and her husband have their own little contests going, each outing.

"We make our side bets," she said. "Sometimes he takes all of my money and sometimes I take all of his, even though it's usually only three dollars.

"We compete against each other, which makes it more fun."

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