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Date: January 22, 2011
Region: 2011 East Region
Tournament: Lake Sam Rayburn #1
Tournament Trail: 2011 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Bass Champs Teams battle the blustery cold as the 2011 season begins on Sam Rayburn
By: Patty Lenderman

Will winter ever end? That was a question on the minds of many Saturday morning, January 22nd. Bass Champs East Texas Region held their 2011 kick-off event at the Umphrey Family Pavilion on Sam Rayburn as much of the region had a coating of ice over it with temperatures dipping into the lower 20’s. Over 230 tough, rugged, hard-core teams lined up to launch pre-dawn. Others decided to wait until temperatures rose. Still others chose to forego a part of the nearly $62,000 purse to wait for warmer events.

Before days end 232 teams scattered across the lake in the hunt for the fish that would optimize their chances and fortify their wallets. Several very respectable limits were weighed in, but one team surged well ahead of the pack. Brian Shook and Cody Goodman found five fish whose compiled weight surpassed the 30 pound mark.

Winning 1st place with a total weight of 30.85 lbs, Shook & Goodman said that it was an all day effort for them. “We were not going out to catch numbers of fish today, only quality ones.” They focused on ridges and drop-offs in the 10’-14’ range. This team has been placing well in multiple events lately, keeping an aura of suspense about their secret weapon. “We’re using a prototype bait from 6th Sense Lures.” That’s about all they would say about the lure, other than it is scheduled to hit the market this summer. “We hit about six spots, but only two of them really produced. Brian caught our big bass (8.45 lbs). It was a grind for us all day. It was getting close to time to go in, and we still had a two pounder in the well we needed to cull. We pulled up on our last spot and was able to exchange it for a 5#.” Both working in the oilfield industry, Cody as an instrument tech and Brian as a valve tech, the duo has done well in the tournament industry as well. Bass Champs awarded them with the $20,000 guaranteed 1st place check. “We’d like to thank Jordan Marine, Power Tackle and Casey Scobczach of 6th Sense Lures.”

For 2nd place winners Ricky Newman, in the oilfield industry, and Shannon Hale of Hales Sandblasting, it was a little more of a struggle. Using orange Texas rigged lizards in deep grass averaging 12’ depths, they banked on just two spots. “The bite was slow. At noon we only had one fish in the boat.” Confident that their technique was the right one, they opted to try another spot. “Once we moved, things changed for us quite a bit. It didn’t take too long to finish up a limit, then we started culling. The one that anchored their initial limit weighed 8.70 lbs, the biggest bass brought in. This team had done their homework, and cashed in on several sponsor incentive bonuses. After winning $5,000 for 2nd place, $1,000 for Big Bass, they also won $200 from Costa, the Revo Reel bonus as well as the WFN bonus.

3rd place was won by Alan Moore and Robert Davis. They had decided to fish shallow water with red rattle traps for their creel. “We worked the banks, ripping our traps in about 3’ of water.” Their day started out just right with their kicker weighing just over 7 pounds. “It took until noon to put a limit together, and we were only able to cull one time after that.” This duo of mixed professions, Moore being a highway contractor and Davis being a director of a sleep lab, was awarded $3,000 for their efforts and their 21.71 lb sack. The team would like to acknowledge Terry’s Marine and Tri Lakes Tackle.

There are so many ways to win with Bass Champs. At each event, the team weighing in the first even weight has the opportunity to win an additional $250 if they have a qualified Skeeter Dealer business card on them. Brandon Tingey and Lance Duff was prepared, and when the scales locked in at 16.00 lbs, they produced the card and won the bonus.

That’s not all – the team who weighs in the smallest single bass also wins! “Our sponsors give so many opportunities to come out with more cash and overall winnings at every single Bass Champs event,” Chad Potts reminded the participants. “It does not cost anything to become eligible for many of these extra’s. All you have to do is go online to www.BassChamps.com and read up on each of the sponsor bonuses!”

Top 10 line-up:
1st $20,000 30.85 lbs Brian Shook & Cody Goodman
2nd $5,000 + 23.13 lbs Ricky Newman & Shannon Hale
3rd $3,000 21.71 lbs Alan Moore & Robert Davis
4th $2,000 + 21.31 lbs Bill Rogers & Ray Livingston
5th $1,200 20.46 lbs Jay Burford & Brian Seymore
6th $1,090 20.18 lbs James Coleman & Ted Kinard
7th $1,080 19.86 lbs Vincent Neal & Kyle Rowe
8th $1,070 19.76 lbs Randy Turner & Jerry McMullen
9th $1,060 19.73 lbs Jason Moorhead & Steven Moorhead
10th $1,050 19.60 lbs Jonathan Simon & Mike Holland
and last in the money
31st $ 600 16.55 lbs Pete Elliott & Danny Cherry

Big Bass $1,000 8.70 lbs Ricky Newman & Shannon Hale

Sponsor incentive winners:
Skeeter Double Money Bill Rogers & Ray Livingston
Costa Bonus Ricky Newman & Shannon Hale
Revo Reel Bonus Ricky Newman & Shannon Hale
WFN Bonus Ricky Newman & Shannon Hale

Bass Champs paid back a whopping 102.54% to participating anglers! Tournament statistics:
Total Entries: 232 Teams
Total Collected: $60,320
Total Payback (C&P): $61,855
Payback Percentage: 102.54 %
Total Fish: 601
Total Weight: 1795.30 lbs
Average Weight: 2.99 lbs
Number of limits: 83

All East Texas events will be held on Sam Rayburn, and the next event will be February 19th . In the mean time, Bass Champs staff and crew will head to Lake Travis to get the Central Region cranking on January 29th. To enter or get more information on any Bass Champs tournament, click to the website or call 817-439-3274.
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