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Date: March 3, 2012
Region: 2012 North Region
Tournament: Lake Ray Roberts#1
Tournament Trail: 2012 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
StatsResultsBig BassStoryPhotosPoints
Big Bass – Big Stringers – Big Winners on Ray Roberts at Skeeter Bass Champs
By: By Patty Lenderman

Skeeter Bass Champs North Region anglers converged on Ray Roberts for the second event in a series of five March 3, 2012. Nearly $50,000 was paid back to the top 25 teams in this 100% payback tournament. A 13.21 lb Sharelunker was caught, and the winners Ryan Dusek and Branden Hollingshead brought in over 33 pounds to win enjoying a $20,000 payday.

Fishing is not only a competitive sport, but a physical one as well. On a good day eight hours of fishing will give you a work-out, but when you put wind in the mix it can double or even triple the effort.

Branden Hollingshead and Ryan Dusek took a good look at the weather conditions to determine where they were going to fish. “We decided to stay on the calm side of the lake, put our heads down and just go fishing.” Going to secondary points and pockets, they used crank baits in 6’-10’ depths in treetops and grass lines. “Right off the bat, we lost a nine pounder.” While that is upsetting and can be quite unsettling, especially on a tournament day, they kept at it and things got better. “The day just fell out just like it’s supposed to. By 8:30 we had twenty pounds in the boat, and then we just kept catching one big fish after another.” They increased their weight three times after capturing their initial limit, their best cull exchanging a 14” fish for a 6 pounder. The biggest in their creel weighed 7.92 pounds, anchoring their 33.01 limit. Both professionals during the week, Ryan works at Tower Engineering while Branden works for Encore. They have been fishing the Bass Champs Tournament Trail for three years, and are enjoying their first 1st place win. “I don’t think it has sunk in with us yet. We thank God and our families for being there for us.” Bass Champs presented them with the guaranteed 1st place $20,000 check.

2nd place was won by the father and son team of Steve Joe Smith and Alan Smith. “I’ve been fishing with Bass Champs since they first started. Been lucky enough to have won a few boats with them. The past few years my son and I have been partners.” For this tournament, the duo did not have the opportunity to do any pre-fishing. “After take-off, we just went into the first cove we saw. No one else was there at first, but it didn’t take long to fill up with boats.” They spent the first few hours there, but couldn’t get a single bite. “At 10:00 we decided to make a move down toward the dam. That didn’t do us any good either.” Going on the hunt trying to find an area that had fish that would bite, they went to a nearby creek. “There were other boats in there, they were all on the left bank. We decided to fish the right side.” Using a junebug Carolina rigged lizard, they found a 200 yard stretch to concentrate on. “It seemed like waves of fish just kept coming in all day. We caught 12 keepers out of there, and no one ever came to that side where we were. Their final weight was 27.31 pounds anchored by a 7.20 lb kicker for a 2nd place finish and a $3,000 check.

Stan Lawing and JD Laughery had a day they will remember a lifetime. “It was absolutely incredible! The Good Lord really blessed us. It was quite amazing.” Their morning began without any action to write home about. That all changed in the afternoon. Fishing shallow water, about 2 ½ feet, Stan was using a spinnerbait. “It was around 1:30, and my line was almost all the way back in. It was only about 6’ from the boat when she struck.” Wearing his Costa Del Mar sunglasses, “I saw her when she struck. She was huge!” When a fish hits that close to the boat, many times they are lost. “After she struck, she made a short run to the trolling motor. JD was quick with the net and got her right in. Everything happened so fast. I was shaking so hard there on the deck of the boat. I didn’t know if it was the fish or the Red Bull.” Once the fish was secured in the boat, JD told him it was the biggest bass he had ever seen in person. They continued fishing, and when they brought their fish to the scales the big bass was weighed first. Make that huge – 13.21 pounds! They won $1,000 for that single catch being the largest single fish weighed in. Adding their other four to the scales, they had a 26.08 lb limit to win 3rd place overall for another $2,000 check. Wait! We’re not done yet. They doubled their 3rd place winnings fishing from a qualified Skeeter boat for an additional $2,000. Then they were wearing their Costa Del Mar sunglasses when weighing in their big bass to also win the Costa bonus. They wrapped up their day with the FNS bonus going home with well over $5,000 in cash and prizes. “The Bass Champs camera crew were there with the WFN Network and caught it all on film. Then Chad and Jeff called David Campbell with Texas Parks and Wildlife to report the Sharelunker. They all stayed three hours after the tournament was over, taking care of the fish until TP&W arrived to take her.” WFN recorded the transaction and will go to Athens to follow up on the Sharelunker Program to be aired at a later date. The fish measured 25 inches long and 21 inches in girth. “God truly blessed us today, as always. Thank you Lord Jesus!” They would also like to thank Fun N Sun Boating Center, Skeeter, Yamaha, Minnkota, Humminbird, Daiwa, Spro, Gamakatsu and Costa Del Mar.

It took 15.44 pounds to cash a check in this tournament, the last check was awarded to 25th place winners Randy Spence and Bobby Badarack for $600.

Each team racks up points at every tournament they participate in. These points continue to tally to the last tournament determine the Anglers of the Year for each region. The team who wins this prestigious title at the end of the season will receive free entries into the 2013 tournaments for the region they won the title in. There is already a tie for top spot in the rankings. The top five line-up after two events are:

322 pts Mike Burns & Rob Burns
322 pts Albin Pustejovsky & Mark Bailey
316 pts Rusty Edwards & Gene Robertson
315 pts Larry Bench & Hi Hillburn
311 pts Zach Parker & Heath Moody

Upcoming Tournaments

March 10 (South #3) Lake Falcon
March 17 (Central #3) Lake LBJ
March 24 (East #3) Sam Rayburn
April 14 (North #3) Lake Fork
April 21 (South #4) Lake Amistad
April 28 (East #4) Sam Rayburn
May 5 (Central #4) Lake Travis
May 12 (North #4) Lake Tawakoni
May 19 (South #5) Choke Canyon
June 2 (Central #5) Lake Belton
June 16 (East #5) Sam Rayburn
June 23 (North #5) Ray Roberts

For more information click to www.BassChamps.com or call 817.439.3274
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or paging him at (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.
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