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Date: February 28, 2009
Region: 2009 East Region
Tournament: Sam Rayburn #2
Tournament Trail: 2009 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
StatsResultsBig BassStoryPhotosPoints
Big Winds bring Big Bags of Bass at Bass Champs on Sam Rayburn
By: Patty Lenderman

The wind howled, and 272 Bass Champs teams roared right back tackling big water with rollers that looked like the Gulf of Mexico. These anglers chased the big ones down as 178 limits were brought to the scales and scads of big bass were weighed. Twelve limits over 20 pounds made their mark, but Kirk LeLeux & Terry Dewitt claimed 1st place with a 29.94 lb total!

It is the dawn of the time of year that bass anglers love. The water is beginning to warm, hovering around the 60 degree mark. Sows are staging for the spawn, hanging near shallow water looking for bedding areas. This was the second East Region team event from the Umphrey Family Pavilion on Sam Rayburn and over $65,000 was on the line for the top 38 teams. The odds of winning a check here are much better than playing the lottery!

As the time for the weigh in drew near, the grill was started to make the hot dogs that has become a tradition at Bass Champs events. Prizes were displayed on the volunteer table that anyone could buy a ticket for a chance to win. Coolers full of water were iced down, and the release tank checked and ready to receive and care for all of the bass brought in. Then the anglers came.

It was plain to see on the faces of these water warriors that it had been a tough day fighting the wind, riding in rough water, putting their best effort and equipment through a rigorous work out, knowing their competition wasn’t going to falter.

Kirk LeLeux of Kirbyville, TX and Terry Dewitt of Orange brought in the biggest sack at 28.94 lbs, winning 1st place and $20,000. “It started out real good. We caught our first keeper pretty early, then it took a while to get a limit wrapped up.” Trying to get out of the wind, the team fished protected areas in shallow water. “All of our fish were caught on Carolina rigs and Rat-L-Traps in 8’ or less. Most were in about a foot and a half of water.” It was noon before they put their fifth fish in the livewell, but as the water warmed the bite got better. “We caught about three limits. Our last good one came on the last 10 minutes we had to fish.” Among their creel was a 7.06 lb kicker. They received the guaranteed 1st place purse from Bass Champs, and were riding out of a Skeeter boat. It wasn’t a qualified model for the double your money Skeeter bonus, but they did register and qualify for another Skeeter incentive called the Reel Money Bonus. They also won $200 from Sure-Life.

2nd place was won by Vincent Neal from Calwell, TX & Kyle Rowe of Waco weighing in 26.14 lbs. They went to one spot, a 60 yard stretch near a branch of a creek channel and fished it all day. “We caught them all on jigs, in water about 10’-11’ deep. Just kept flippin’.” They boated 10 keepers to cull from, their best five earned a check for $5,000.

Local anglers John Lynch of Brookeland, TX and Marc Woolems of Jasper brought in the first 23.82 lb sack to tie for 3rd place. “We had a good start, put a limit in the boat right away.” They stayed there and culled all of those, then went to two other areas and culled all they had again. “It was a nice day. We just fished shallow grass with traps around flats and in pockets.” They won $2,500 for their 3rd place win, then split the Skeeter Bonus with the tying team for an additional $1,250. Their sponsors include Lowrance electronics and American Rodsmith.

Paul Eason and Lyndell Bray, both from Brookeland TX also weighed 23.82 lbs. “It was a slow start for us, but mid morning on it got better.” They were throwing Rat-L-Traps and wacky worms in shallow water, 1’-2’ deep. “We put a limit in the boat around 10:30, and just worked on culling up from there.” Lyndell is supported by the Sabine Federal Credit Union in Orange, TX and Dawson Marine. “Good places to do business!” They received $2,500 from Bass Champs for their 3rd place win plus another $1,250 from Skeeter for tying as the top qualified team.

Johnny Watkins caught the biggest bass of the tournament weighing 9.18 lbs. Fishing with Bart Blakelock, this Lake Charles team had a limit in their boat when he caught it, giving them their first cull of the day. “I was throwing a 1 oz white Stanley spinnerbait in about 2’ of water. We were back in a grassy cove.” The bass won the team a $1,000 check to add to their 16th place overall finish paying another $1,000. They would like to acknowledge Stanley baits, Rat-L-Trap, American Rodsmith, Bandit lures, Bolton Ford of Lake Charles, Grande Bass, Nitro and Mercury.

Top Teams:
1st $20,000+ 28.94 lbs Kirk LeLeaux & Terry Dewitt
2nd $ 5,000 26.14 lbs Vincent Neal & Kyle Rowe
3rd $ 2,500+ 23.82 lbs John Lynch & Marc Woolems
3rd tie $ 2,500+ 23.82 lbs Paul Eason & Lyndell Bray
5th $ 1,600 22.50 lbs Artie Longron & Randy Gantt
6th $ 1,300 21.72 lbs Chris Clemens & Dallas Cole
7th $ 1,080 21.68 lbs Alvin Jones & James Jones
8th $ 1,070 21.18 lbs Shelby Shaw & Wesley Lewis
9th $ 1,060 20.78 lbs Rusty Clark & Cory Rambo
10th $ 1,050 20.70 lbs Richard Belt & Butch Carmack
and last in the money
38th $ 600 16.60 lbs Greg McDonald & Gary McDonald

“It was great to see all of the junior angler teams. We started a new program this year to get more kids involved,” stated Chad Potts, President of Bass Champs. “Any team that includes a junior angler (16 years or younger) only pays ½ price to enter the tournaments.” The youngest, 5 year old Macie Schreibvogel, has fished both 2009 events so far with her grandpa Yarri. “I don’t want to hear any moans and groans from you older guys about the wind and rough water – this little girl was out there right with you!”

Tournament Statistics:
Total Entries: 272 Teams
Total Collected: $70,720
Total Payback (C & P): $65,110
Payback Percentage: 92%
Total Fish: 968
Total Weight: 2681.36 lbs
Average Weight: 2.77 lbs
Number of Limits: 178

Let’s take a look at the Angler of the Year points race. The team with the most points at the end of the year will earn this prestigious title, and all of their 2010 entry fees in that region will be waived. It is already a tight race!

Top 5 – with ties!
534 pts Shelby Shaw & Wesley Lewis
529 pts Mike Michalec & David Ozio
529 pts Rusty Clark & Cory Rambo
526 pts Nathan Stroup & Eric Adams
521 pts Clint Goodeaux & David Kober
521 pts Richard Belt & Butch Carmack

Skeeter Bass Champs will pay out over $1 MILLION dollars to participants this year. Get your part of it! 817-439-3274, www.BassChamps.com

South Region schedule:
1/17/09 Lake Amistad PAID - $50,750
2/21/09 Lake Amistad PAID - $55,750
3/21/09 Choke Canyon
4/18/09 Falcon Lake
5/16/09 Choke Canyon

East Region schedule:
1/24/09 Sam Rayburn PAID - $71,410
2/28/09 Sam Rayburn PAID - $65,110
3/28/09 Sam Rayburn
5/09/09 Toledo Bend
6/13/09 Sam Rayburn

Central Region schedule:
2/07/09 Travis PAID - $60,250
3/07/09 Belton NEXT – Don’t miss it!
4/04/09 LBJ
5/02/09 Belton
6/06/09 Travis

North Region schedule:
2/14/09 Richland Chambers - PAID $51,600
3/14/09 Cedar Creek
4/25/09 Lake Fork
5/30/09 Lewisville
6/27/09 Tawakoni
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