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Date: January 17, 2015
Region: 2015 East Region
Tournament: Lake Sam Rayburn #1
Tournament Trail: 2015 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Madole brothers top 308 teams and dominate the win at Bass Champs season kick-off on Rayburn
By: Patty Lenderman

Skeeter Bass Champs launched their 2015 season on Sam Rayburn January 17, 2015 with over 300 teams ready to win big! More than $83,000 was won in forty places paid. The Madole brothers took 1st place with nearly 36 pounds to win $20,000.

There are a lot of changes at Skeeter Bass Champs for this season. First, they are back to a five fish limit. Next, there are only four qualifying events per division. This year anglers will fish both Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend in the East Region. Finally, with even more sponsor incentives, anglers have a chance to add thousands more to their winnings at every event.

After a long span of bitter cold days, the sun came out warming the day to the mid 60’s with a moderate breeze and gave this vast field of 308 boats a picture perfect day to fish. Big Sam was very cooperative, and at the end of the day 1,386 pounds of bass were registered at the scales.

The weigh in procession started off with the biggest sacks of the day. Cory Rambo and Rusty Clark established the initial lead with their 24.54 pound sack, and right behind them came Ricky and Ronnie Madole with their limit, blowing the field away.

“It was a good day to have the best fishing of our lives,” the brothers agreed. “We’ve fished Bass Champs tournaments before, but it’s been a while since we fished the whole season. We really like that they are having some of them on Toledo Bend again this year!” They started their day at deep points, 15-25’ with hydrilla. Using an Alabama rig with shad colored plastics, by 9:30am they estimate having 25 pounds in the boat. “It was quite a flurry there for about 30 to 40 minutes. We caught about seven bass, and then went almost four hours without a single bite. After that we caught three more to cull with – two 7’s and an 8 pounder.” They had a long wait until the scales closed to be declared winners of the event with their 35.95 lb limit. Bass Champs presented them with the guaranteed $20,000 1st place check. “We’d like to thank our wives for letting us fish!”

Clark & Rambo’s 24.54 lb sack held for a 2nd place win. “We focused on the ends of points in water 15-16’ deep.” Using a watermelon red Carolina rig, they started putting their limit together. “It wasn’t a fast bite for us. We’d catch one here, one there – we just kept pecking at it.” Rusty caught their last fish to cull with at 11am. “It was all over for us after that!” They were presented a check for $6,500 for their win plus they won the $250 Talon bonus. They would like to thank Golden Triangle Industries, Falcon Rods, Costa Del Mar, Simon Outfitters, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Lews, Talon, Ranger, Yamaha, Sunline, River 2 Sea and Premier Yamaha for their support.

3rd place was won by Kris Wilson and Charles Bebber, with their 22.74 lb sack. “We could tell you what we didn’t catch the fish on – that would be the bigger story,” the team laughed. “In all seriousness, we threw a lot of different things from a RatLTrap to crank baits, to Carolina rigged everything.” They focused on a grass flat 8’ deep. “We had our initial limit in about an hour and a half, and had all we weighed today by 10am. After that (the fish) just shut down on us.” Their kicker weighed in at 9.36 lbs, the second largest single bass weighed in for the day. Bass Champs presented them with a check for $5,000. They would like to thank God and their families for their love and support.

They weren’t the only ones who found a big one biting. Shane Hilton, fishing with Ray Beck, caught the biggest bass of the day weighing in at 9.78 pounds. “We had fished a tournament the week before, and found fish in a deep 8’-10’ drain. They were biting on ¾ oz RatLTraps.” They planned on hitting another spot to start out with for this event. “There were boats all over our first spot. We decided to go to that drain, and tied on a new Cherry Bomb color ¾ ounce trap, with 15# P-Line fluorocarbon on a 7’2” medium heavy Denali rod.” First they caught a small bass, then threw back in, pumping the bait off the bottom, and she hit. That catch netted a check for $1,000, plus they got another $200 from UnderArmour and the Abu Garcia Revo bonus. “We’ll hit that spot again next week. The bass are going to be looking for pre-spawn areas this time of year. Temperature, water levels – it all makes a play in what the bass are doing and where they are.” They would like to thank Denali rods, Abu Garcia, RatLTrap, P-Line, Under Armour and Costa Del Mar. “We would also like to thank Skeeter and Yamaha for getting us there and back. Both Ray and I have new Skeeter boats, as part of Bass Champs’ Reel $ Program. Thank you Bass Champs!”

Rounding out the top ten include:
4th 20.69 lbs $4,000 Jeremy Bawcum & Tom Walls
5th 20.52 lbs $3,000 Gary Parsley & Keith Browne
6th 19.55 lbs $2,500 Randy Millender
7th 19.54 lbs $2,000 Brent Broussard & Billy Howell
8th 19.00 lbs $1,800 Glen Freeman & Jeff Rice
9th 18.76 lbs $1,700 Jeff Bridges & Anthony Sharp
10th 18.04 lbs $1,600 Rusty Harvey & Chris Harvey
….and last in the money….
40th 12.17 lbs $600 Anthony Jones & Lubin Ramone

The next East Texas Region event will be February 14 (yes, Valentines day!) on Toledo Bend at Cypress Bend. For more information visit www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274.
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