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Results
TEAM TOURNAMENT
Date: March 7, 2015
Region: 2015 East Region
Tournament: Lake Sam Rayburn #2
Tournament Trail: 2015 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
StatsResultsBig BassStoryPhotosPoints
Lunkers Abound at Bass Champs on Sam Rayburn
By: Patty Lenderman


There is always an air of excitement at Bass Champs tournaments, but on March 7 it was hard to tell what created the most excitement on Sam Rayburn. Was it the brief window of beautiful weather? Was it the 100% payback totaling over $72,000? Maybe it was the Sharelunker caught in this tournament. There were over 100 limits brought to the scales, eleven of them over the 20 pound mark. Rusty & Chris Harvey had the biggest sack weighing just under 30 pounds to win over $20,000 – and they DIDN’T have the big bass in their sack!

East Texas had been having another wintry round of weather the week prior to the tournament. Hard freezes, ice, sleet – the kind of weather that keeps people indoors if at all possible. On Saturday, March 7, on the cusp of the full moon, the morning started off with a frost on the ground then warmed to the mid 50’s on a beautiful sunshiny day. 248 participating teams were ready for a day like this, and it showed with nearly two thousand pounds of bass being weighed at the scales.

William Triana Jr christened the scales as the first angler to weigh in. He had come in about an hour early to weigh his catch. It was a single HUGE bass, tipping the scales for an official tournament weight of 13.43 lbs! Bass Champs is known for excellent fish care, with an oxygenated release tank mere feet from the scales. What led up to this moment? Triana has fished Bass Champs for several years with partner Jonathan Garrie. Jonathan is taking care of his new family this season, leaving Triana to go it alone. “I didn’t do any pre-fishing for this tournament, I just went to spots that they would traditionally be during this time of the year.” Heading out to pre-spawn areas that included flats with deep drop-offs, “the cold front had me concerned about that decision. With the water temperature dropping, they could move back off of those locations.” Heading out to his first target spot, there were already three boats there. “I drew a late boat number, so I had to dump that plan and head to some other areas.” He bounced around to about a dozen other spots with no success, throwing everything in his tackle box. “I finally stopped on this one ledge, and threw a 6th Sense 500 DD crank bait with a Custom Angle Xtra Deep Crank’n Rod.” He was at the right place at the right time. “On my first cast I latched onto a seven pounder!” Before he got it to the boat, the bass came unbuttoned and he lost it. He still didn’t have a single fish in his livewell, and was just a little frustrated. “I threw right back in there, hoping there was a school of bass.” Three cranks and then WHAM! “I knew it was another good fish, but had no idea just how good!” That is, until she came up out of the water and did a ‘tail dance’ trying to throw his lure out of her mouth! “Her gaping mouth looked like a five gallon bucket!” Keep in mind, he is fishing by himself, and has no net man. “It was a tug of war for the next three or four minutes. She took a couple of runs under the boat. She finally wore herself out and I was able to get her in.” He had caught her in deep water, and when fish are brought up from deeper depths, especially big fish, their air bladder swells and if they are not fizzed and relieved from this pressure they pose a high risk of dying. It didn’t take Triana long to decide to bring the massive fish on in to be weighed and cared for. At the scales, the official tournament weight was 13.43 pounds. This includes bag weight. The Texas Sharelunker program admits lunkers 13 pounds and over, so tournament officials weighed the fish again without the bag weight and it was 13.10 lbs. They quickly got her into the oxygenated release tank and proceeded to relieve her extended air bladder, then called Texas Parks & Wildlife to get them on their way to receive this Sharelunker bass. They arrived very quickly, and after getting the paperwork done and snapping some quick pictures of the catch, she was weighed on their scales. She had lost a little weight, probably from stress, but weighed 13.05 lbs when she was accepted into the program. “I have won tournaments before, and that is an awesome feeling. Catching this single bass (his personal biggest so far) is even more than that for me. It’s just indescribable.” William Triana was awarded $1,000 for his Big Bass catch, and would like to thank 6th Sense Lures, Custom Angle Rods, Bass Champs “and the Good Lord”.

That was only the beginning of this phenomenal event.

Cory Rambo and Rusty Clark were the first of many to bring in sacks weighing over twenty pounds. Before the scales closed, ten more teams hit that mark, and the winners Rusty and Chris Harvey nearly broke 30 pounds with their limit!

“We give all the thanks and credit to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” the brothers agreed. They start each day on their knees with a prayer. Rusty said “I always ask that he bless and protect my family first. Then I asked that He help us win this tournament.” They traveled to their first spot, and despite all of their efforts, couldn’t hardly get a bite. “We decided to move to another area, a (spawn) staging area in water 8’-12’ deep.” Using Carolina rigs and spinnerbaits, the next two hours was a frenzy of catching fish. “We were slow rolling our baits, and at the end of the day we had all cookie-cutters (all about the same size).” Their last cull was at 1:30, trading a 4.2 lb bass for a 6 pounder. Their total weight was 29.88 lbs, garnering the team the guaranteed 1st place $20,000 check. They also won the $500 Talon bonus as well as the $200 Sure-Life bonus. They would like to thank their sponsors, including Ranger, Yamaha, Falcon Rods, MinnKota, R1 Bass, Premier Yamaha, Rapala, Humminbird, Costa Del Mar, “and our wives – we really appreciate them!”

2nd place was won by Jason Hanks and Marc Woolems. They chose Rat-L-Traps for their catch, in a ‘red-ish’ color pattern. “We fished drains, about 5’-8’ deep.” It was a long, cold run to their first spot, and they started their day slow, only catching one here, one there. “About 11am we hit a little flurry, and we each caught nine pounders about 20 minutes apart!” They wrapped up a limit, and before the end of the day they were able to cull a few of them in exchange for bigger catches. “The bass are coming up and getting close to being ready for spawn!” They received a check for $5,500 for their 2nd place win.

Jasper High School angler Ty Moorhead and County Commissioner Charles Shofner Jr pulled out a 3rd place finish with a 24.97 lb limit. “It was a long, cold run to get to our first spot above the 147 bridge,” the team agreed. They targeted ditches, drains and flats that ranged in depths from 9’ to only 2’ deep using chatter baits, Alabama rigs and Rat-L-Traps. Ty experienced some ‘technical difficulties’ as they started their day, and lost a couple of his Alabama rigs. “We stayed in this one stretch all day. At one point, a boat went by us and he had retrieved one of the Alabama rigs I had lost – it was on the deck of his boat!” Ty knew it was his rig because of the particular swim baits on it and the line that was left on it. “It was really hard not to ask for it back – the other angler had no idea it had been mine.” In the meantime, Shofner boated an 8 pounder, then further down the bank boated a five pound bass. “We just kept working that drain back and forth. We knew the fish were there.” They had a limit fairly early in the morning, and culled several times throughout the day. At 12:30, Ty added a seven pounder to their creel on the Alabama rig. “The Good Lord blessed us today.” This duo has fished tournaments together for nearly ten years. This day they won $4,200 for their efforts and both agreed – “I love my partner!”

Rounding out the top 10 teams include:
4th $3,400 23.25 lbs Walter Land & John Viles
5th $2,400 22.88 lbs Brian Shook & Danny Iles
6th $2,000 22.85 lbs Ricky & Joshua Guy
7th $1,600 22.56 lbs Cory Harris & Kenneth Harris Sr
8th $1,500 22.24 lbs Kirk LeLeux & Roger Johnson
9th $1,400 20.58 lbs Charlie Brown III & Barret Robinson
10th $1,300 20.20 lbs Rusty Clark & Cory Rambo
….and last in the money….
33rd $600 16.46 lbs Todd Newman & Shannon Hale

The Ford Bonus was won by 9th place team Charlie Brown III & Barret Robinson.
Kyle Rowe & Ted Pate won the Skeeter Bonus, doubling their 12th place winning check.

There was not one, but two double digit bass weighed in at this event. Along with the 13.43 lb bass caught by William Triana, there was an 11.01 lb sow brought in by Corey Harris and Kenneth Harris Sr. GREAT day on Sam Rayburn!

The East Region only has one event left to fish. Bass Champs will be back on Toledo Bend on May 9th to wrap up the season at Cypress Bend Marina.

The top five teams in the Angler of the Year race with only one shot left to win this prestigious title are:
775 pts Jeff Holder & Terry Burghart
770 pts Brian Shook & Danny Iles
765 pts Kyle Rowe & Ted Pate
761 pts Rusty Clark & Cory Rambo
756 pts Lance Duff & Cole Costlow

For more information and full tournament results, click to www.BassChamps.com or call 817-439-3274
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